Dogs & cats with kidney disease

Many owners find themselves caring for dogs or cats with kidney disease, a common condition that tends to occur in older pets.

If your pet has been diagnosed, you’ve probably heard of ‘renal cat food’ or ‘renal dog food’, which is often prescribed for dogs and cats with kidney disease. Perhaps you’re wondering if a processed prescription diet is the best option for your pet – you’re not alone.

The role of the kidney

Kidneys play a vital role in the health of your pet. They assist in filtering the blood and removing unwanted waste, which is flushed out during urination.

The kidneys also help determine the correct amount of water to be retained in the blood, along with regulating sodium and potassium levels in your pet’s body. In addition to this, they’re responsible for the production of critical hormones that aid in the production of red blood cells, blood pressure regulation, and calcium retention.

The kidneys find ways to compensate for function loss. Chronic kidney disease can take years to show itself, by which time significant, irreversible damage has been done.

poorly cat looking sad

Symptoms of dogs & cats with kidney disease

If your pet displays any of the following symptoms, it’s always best to consult your vet for further guidance:

• Weight loss and reduced appetite  •  Nausea  •  An increase in thirst and urination  •  Blood in urine  •  Swollen abdomen  •  Ulcers inside the mouth  •  Lethargy  •  Diarrhoea  •  Vomiting  •  Pale gums  •  Bad breath

Prolonging & improving kidney health

A moist, whole food diet can do wonders for dogs and cats with kidney disease. Fresh, natural meals containing high-quality proteins and antioxidants can have a hugely beneficial effect on the kidneys, helping to prolong kidney health and slow the rate of disease.

Highly processed cereal-based diets are biologically inappropriate for dogs and cats – both species evolved to thrive on food foraged from natural environments. Their bodies have to work overtime to digest low-grade pet food, as it contains large volumes of processed cereals, and, often, added sodium, to improve the taste.

If you have a dog or cat with kidney disease, your pet’s kidneys are already under pressure. Feeding dry pet food that is not species-specific isn’t ideal, as this will increase thirst and place an even greater strain on the kidneys.

Whole food meals are easily digested, hydrating, and make nutrients such as omega-3 naturally available to your pet. Fibre helps to reduce the ammonia in the bloodstream, further lessening the kidneys’ workload.

Another benefit? Unlike standard dry pet food, natural diets are low in sodium, excessive levels of which can overtax the kidneys.

meat and vegetables drawing banner

Whole food meals they can’t resist

With some simple adjustments, our recipes can be suitable for early stages of kidney disease. We only use fresh veggies and high-quality proteins that are fit for human consumption, ensuring every Hug meal will naturally deliver the nutrients your pet needs for optimal health.

Dogs and cats with kidney disease are prone to excessive urination and can benefit from extra water soluble vitamins. Pets suffering from kidney disease may also have a reduced appetite, so tempting them with delicious whole meals is a good way to boost their interest in food.

Food that supports orthopaedic problems in dogs and cats

Need help choosing?

Hug food is designed to support and improve your pet’s long-term health so that they can enjoy the best possible quality of life.

If Hug’s raw or cooked meals aren’t for you, we also offer a brilliant cold pressed range for dogs. We only include premium bioavailable ingredients that are both natural and eco-friendly, using nourishing pea and rice porridge in place of the usual suspects like maize.

For guidance on the best recipes for specific health concerns, please get in touch – that’s what we’re here for.


Wambacq W, Rybachuk G, Jeusette I, et al. Fermentable soluble fibres spare amino acids in healthy dogs fed a low-protein diet. BMC Vet Res. 2016;12(1):130. Published 2016 Jun 28. doi:10.1186/s12917-016-0752-2

ACVN Nutrition Notes, Nutrition

Nutritional Management of Renal Disease: An Evidence-Based Approach

Sherry Lynn Sanderson, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVIM & ACVN, University of Georgia