Dogs/High Protein Levels
QUESTION: Hi, Roger -
My 10-year old boxer had a senior urine check test performed because she has lost weight gradually not extreme as of yet. I was told that her urine showed high protein levels. I know this may be more of a medical question and if you cannot answer, I understand.
I have consulted you many times in the past and I thought you would be a good resource for some advice on what my next step should be. I am also suspecting that maybe her age could have something to do with her weight loss or the protein foods that I give her can be a contributory factor as well. Maybe switching up her foods? Look for a lower protein food?
I would like to go the holistic route before I do further testing. The vet stated that it could be kidney disease as well and they want to take x-rays and ultrasounds.
Any recommendations or thoughts?
ANSWER: Hi Lisa,
Good to hear from you again but sorry under the circumstances.
Kidney disease seems to be getting a lot more common in today's dogs. I think between genetics, feeding/supplementation practices and environmental issues are creating this.
I would have to look back as I don't remember what you are currently feeding. But it would help me to know so we can look at it further.
I've been doing more research on kidney disease and diet in the last year as so many dogs are dealing with this now. My moms dog went through this a couple years ago and I really got into it for a while then.
One way or another you should get the rest of the test done so if this is kidney disease, you can catch things as early as possible. You don't have to use your current vet if you have a holistic vet in your area, they can manage the whole process as well. As well as make recommendations for food and supplements.
I know from my research, its not so much going lower protein as it is going for lower phosphorous foods.
Its the phosphorus in the proteins and vegetables that cause more harm to the kidney. So lowering these items and adding certain supplements will help preserve as much kidney function as we can for as long as we can.
That's why modern cooked food diets for today's dogs are causing certain diseases that would never be found in wild dogs or wolves. They were never meant to eat cooked foods.
Problem is that once a kidney failure or as they call it, chronic renal failure has occurred, there's not much chance to heal it rather than just prolong its function. So the earlier detection the better.
If it is chronic renal failure, we can address the diet and supplements. I don't want to take away from what your vet or a holistic vet may recommend but I can tell you what I've seen work first hand.
So take it for what it's worth as you can start feeding this way now or wait for confirmation from whomever does the test.
If your vet diagnosis her with renal failure, they typically recommend a prescription Science Diet formula that I really don't like.
Most vets take on this is to drastically reduce the protein in the dogs diet in order to lower the phosphorus levels. This may work to some extent but lowering the protein as much as this prescription does in my opinion will cause malnutrition. Yeah, you may preserve the kidney for a while but other things will go.
You see the more you cook meats, the more phosphorous it produces. So lightly cooked foods or a raw diet just works better.
Certain meats contain more phosphorous than others. Lean chicken and turkey contain higher levels than high fat beef does. Go figure.
Certain vegetables contain higher levels of phosphorous than others.
Certain supplements help to control the BUN and creatine levels.
There is one company we get food in from called My Perfect Pet. They are in California and produce some rally good lightly cooked foods. So its the next best thing to a raw diet and much better than canned foods.
They have several specialty blends we get in for kidney disease and extremely low fat needs such as from pancreatitis diagnosed dogs.
There kidney formula is called "Low Phosphorous" blend. We used to have to special order cases of it as needed but now one of our distributors called Animal Supply stocks it for us and others in our area. So that helps cost some.
You can check with your local natural pet food stores and see if they can get this in for you. It's a little ore expensive than premium canned but it does a great job at preserving kidney function. We have several customers on it now that are just delighted with the results.
It comes frozen in one pound packages and I think there are seven packages to a bag.
You can go to their website for more information about them and their company. But they produce a number of regular formulas as well and we are selling more and more of it.
Its really good for those who just don't or can't feed a raw food diet.
I'm at home today or I would attach an article from Whole Dog Journal that I have on my computer at work. It has a very good list of low phosphorous foods, diet recommendations, supplement recommendations and some good info for keeping the food and treats low in phosphorous.
Anyone that comes into our store that has a dog with renal failure, I print this out for them.
If you write back to this same question with any other questions or comments, I will attach that document to the answer tomorrow when I'm back at work.
If she is loosing weight, getting more lethargic, throwing up at all, then there's a good chance her kidneys are starting to fail.
But first things first is to get that diagnosis from your vet or a holistic vet and go from there. This could all be for nothing but at least you will have this knowledge should it come up in the future with her.
I hope the best for you and her, let me know if you have any further questions or would like that article on renal failure.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hi, Roger -
You have no idea how helpful you have been to me and I truly appreciate this.
I switch on and off Trixie's food but it is grain free dry and canned wet food. I give her more wet than dry but I really think I should take the raw diet approach after this high protein level was found in her urine.
I am right now giving her Natural Balance dry and whatever grain free canned I pick up that is reasonably priced. I give her different flavors and varieties because you always said that variety is best.
I actually was researching holistic vets and there is really none close to me but I found one that is like 50 minutes away and I called his office for advice. He actually got on the phone with me and asked me what level her protein was, etc. I called my vet's office and asked them to fax me her urinalysis results and I faxed it over to this holistic vet. I am waiting to hear back from him because I really think I will drive the 50 minutes to have him treat her. I would rather take the holistic approach.
I also spoke with a woman that I work with whose dog went through the same thing. Her vet put her dog on a medication for life twice per day and a prescription food. I didn't ask her which brand but I have a feeling that it is Science Diet. I don't want to medicate Trixie for life so I really need to see this holistic vet. Like you said, "it may be for nothing" but it will give me piece of mind.
Please send me that renal failure article from Whole Dog Journal. I would be very interested in reading it.
Thanks so much..
If you decide to go raw, the holistic vet will be able to help you through the transition. It is worth driving the 50 minutes.
We have our regular vet but when we have a dog that gets a diagnosis from them, we then take them to our holistic vet for treatment. Ours is around 30-40 minutes away from us. But well worth it.
Once they have a diagnosis and if there is any supplements we need from them, we can just call them and they send it to us so we don't have to keep driving there.
I would ask them about the Natural Balance for her diet. It's a decent food but very high in carbs. I would try to go for a grain free food that is higher in proteins. But that will not matter much if you go to a raw diet. It will be the best thing for her for longevity.
Make sure you are adding the enzymes and probiotics.
If she is going through some kidney failure and you get holistic treatment, pass that info along to your friend. Tell her that her dog will live longer and be happier if she will take the same holistic approach.
I'll attach the article from Whole Dog Journal for your info. I have to convert the PDF to an image file so I hope it comes through fine.
UPDATE: Just tried and the conversion was fine but it is four pages and they will only allow me to attach two pages. So if you want the other two, just send another question and I'll attach the other two pages.
Let me know the outcome and if there is anything else I can assist with.