Here are some foods, herbs and supplements that can benefit dogs and cats in need of extra kidney support, and five ways you can use them.
The different parts of a dog or cat’s body must function well together in order to maintain vibrant health. Each system interlinks and plays a vital role in the animal’s vibrant, active, happy, and hopefully long life. To better support your dog or cat’s kidneys, it’s important to gain a deeper understanding of which foods, herbs and supplements help this organ and body system thrive. Let’s take a look at some of these elements, and how you can use them to promote kidney health in your animal companion.
1. Prioritize hydration and circulation
Eating: Providing proper fluid and electrolyte balance is key to supporting the health of the kidneys. In most cases, hydration can be improved with moisture-appropriate fresh foods and broths. Heat processed, dry kibble foods require that the body provide fluid to properly digest, move and absorb the nutrients. Typically after a dry food meal, an animal will become very thirsty. This thirst means the body feels dehydration from using body fluid for digestion, which can stress the kidneys. Foods that maintain natural moisture in their structure are less likely to cause this stressful dehydration as they are digested with the appropriate moisture on a cellular level.
Drinking: Of course a full water bowl is important but we can also increase consumption of basic fluids by using meat broths. Animals will drink a more of a natural and nutritious liquid if it tastes delicious.
Circulation support: Certain ingredients promote healthy circulation and help clear impurities. For instance, light doses of dandelion root and Rehmanniae radix have been helpful to support circulation in the kidneys.
2. Feed appropriate food
Protein: Many people believe that a low-protein diet can prevent kidney disease, but research has not fully proven this. This makes sense, since dogs and cats rely on proteins for their healthy bodily functions. Because most commercial kibble dog and cat diets are typically very low in protein (most average less than 30% protein) and are too high in inflammatory carbs (typically over 40% carbs), limiting the protein even further can cause more harm than good.
3. Provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant support
Animals with kidney disease are likely to have inflammation. Though NSAIDS can damage the kidneys further and should be avoided, there are many other ways to combat inflammation.
- Decrease digestible carbohydrates, which increase insulin and inflammation in the body.
- Provide natural herbs that have been shown to balance immune responses and do not damage kidneys: Gingko biloba, Rehmanniae radix, Omega-3 FA, inositol, green tea extracts, turmeric, etc.
- Taurine has been shown to have possible cytoprotective effects in the kidney cells.
4. Keep micronutrients in balance
Talk to your vet or animal nutritionist to ensure that all micronutrients remain in balance, avoid over-supplementing with vitamins and minerals that the kidney must process, and specifically ensure dietary phosphorus is limited or bound. Mild food-based phosphorus binding substances like chitin may help in early kidney disease. B vitamins may be depleted in animals with kidney disease, so periodic injections of B12 (which can be difficult to absorb orally) and supplementing with food sources like brewer’s yeast for other B vitamins have long been used to support these patients.
5. Don’t forget about the microbiome!
Oral probiotic supplements, unpasteurized goat milk, or tripe can be added to your animal’s diet to help promote the health of the kidneys. NOW® Pets Kidney Support is made with botanicals, antioxidants, and taurine to safely offer supplement combinations that can make a difference for dogs and cats who need extra kidney support.