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Discussion Starter #1
As I said in my intro, Lucy - my almost 2 year old Mastiff mix - has been diagnosed in the very very early stages of kidney failure (Kidney insufficiency). The results of her sterile bladder culture in the next day or two.

She's more likely than not going to have to switch to a low protein diet.
She has thrived on California Naturals lamb and rice large bites after months of tummy issues after I adopted her. The protein make up is 21%.

I would prefer to feed her a non-overly commercial food that has corn and wheat gluten. I'm even considering switching to raw.

Does anyone have any experience with this issue? Any particular food to stay away from? Recommended? I'm going to talk to the vet, obviously, but I thought I would see if others have been through this and what their experiences have been.

Thanks in advance for your help!
 

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I know you posted this in the kibble forum, and I certainly don't want to step on any toes here, but I would switch to raw. The protein levels in a raw diet are actually better than in kibble. The protein is in its whole form and has not been modified in any way through the process of making dog food. Most dog foods use protein meals, which are not the worst thing in dog foods, but it certainly is not good for dogs. They can be hard for dogs to digest (reason why high protein dog foods can be hard for dogs to adjust to, just plain old too rich in protein meals).

An added bonus to switching to raw is that she would get FAR more moisture in her diet which is ultimately a great thing for her kidneys.

There is the chance that even switching to raw wont help, but it certainly wouldn't hurt at all to do, will definitely make her healthier in other areas besides her kidneys. Its better nutrition all around. You just have to do the switch right. Follow the link in RawFedDogs's signature to get started.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
yes, I'm thinking raw - I've heard good things about Primal frozen, and it comes in lamb.

The vet told me that I could NOT cut 'low protein' food (which I assume also includes raw) with higher protein kibble. Does anyone have any insight in to this?

Are there supplements she might need if I switch her?

I am going to run this by the vet, but I think this might be the option. I have FULL faith in California Naturals - it's done wonders for her belly and really has so few ingredients that I recommend it to all my friends/neighbors whose doggies have tummy problems.

Thanks! Feel free to move this to the subforum it's supposed to be in - I didn't know where to put it - I'm new :)
 

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yes, I'm thinking raw - I've heard good things about Primal frozen, and it comes in lamb.
MUCH better to feed whole animal parts. Pre-mix raw is very little better than kibble. Check out my web page in my sig.

The vet told me that I could NOT cut 'low protein' food (which I assume also includes raw) with higher protein kibble. Does anyone have any insight in to this?
I don't know what you mean by "CUT low protein food with kibble".

Are there supplements she might need if I switch her?
POSSIBLY some salmon oil pills or fish oil pills for the Omega 3's but other than that, no supplements needed.

I am going to run this by the vet, but I think this might be the option.
Your vet is not going to have a clue. He already showed this by suggesting that protein levels have anything to do with kidney function. The two are not connected in any way.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
so, frozen animal parts aren't better? Do you really throw raw animal parts into your dogs bowl every night if it can't be frozen in to portions?
 

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so, frozen animal parts aren't better? Do you really throw raw animal parts into your dogs bowl every night if it can't be frozen in to portions?
Yes, I freeze my dog's food. I put 1 meal for each dog in a zip lock bag and thaw out a meal at a time. When I feed morning meal, I take evening meal out of the freezer and put in a container on top of the freezer. That evening I feed the thawed out animal parts and take more out of the freezer for the next morning meal. I do the same for the cat's food.

Generally I don't put the dog's or cat's food in a bowl. I stand at the kitchen sink and hand out food to each animal. They then take it to wherever they want to eat and eat it. When finished, they come back to the kitchen sink to see if there is any more.

On beef heart or fish night, I will put their food in a bowl. I cut the beef heart into chunks before I freeze it in ziplocks. THese chunks will go in a bowl.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
yeah...unfortunately I don't think that would happen at our place. the thought of raw animal parts anywhere but in a bowl in our 500 sq foot condo would keep me up at night!

We'll look in to it - I do think switching to raw would be better for her kidneys, I just need to be sure we can commit to it. If it involves handing raw animal hearts to her from the kitchen (I do not feed my dog in the kitchen/from the counter), then not sure it's something that we can do.

We'll figure it out.
 

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The pre-packaged raw diets are pretty darn expensive compared to feeding raw, whole parts, so that might be worth looking into it. Not to mention its much better for their teeth to chew through raw bones.

You can buy chicken quarters/backs and turkey necks and stew beef/beef heart and raw, whole fish for cheaper than the Primal things. We spend on average ~60 cents per pound.

You can feed the "animal parts" anyway that you want, not necessarily from the kitchen counter. If you have a patio on your condo I would do it there. We take their meat outside and they have at it out there...not a big fan of raw meat all over the floor in my kitchen. Even in the winter they don't mind being out in the cold to eat. Just because RFD feeds his inside doesn't mean that that is the only way. You do what fits your schedule and routine, as long as you do the diet correctly.

Also, your vet will most likely try and talk you out of a raw diet, considering most of them don't understand how its done and its benefits. And since you're new to the raw world you wont know enough about it to stand up for it. Print out the article in RFD's sig and take it with you to discuss it. Like I said its very rare to find a vet that will agree with a raw diet.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
yes, I have some printed out material as well as a nutritionist from our pet supply store.

I was just looking for people whose dogs had kidney insufficiency and whether a certain food/diet made an impact on the CREAT level, which is really the goal - to reverse or slow the increase of this level.

I don't know if we can reliably bring that much raw meat in our home. It's one of those things where it would benefit us to live in a town with small grocery stores and the space for a freezer dedicated to this. I'm pretty sure buying a whole chicken at whole foods to cut up and feed to my dog (which, I'd have to have the butcher do and I think WF stopped employing actual butchers).

I don't mind putting on gloves and portioning out raw hamburger meat, but since this diet is not just raw hamburger meat, but organs and other things I don't think I could buy without vomiting, I'd have to think about it. To be honest, just thinking about giving my dog any internal organ grosses makes me feel a bit sick.

Are there any vegetarians who had to get over this? I always say a dog will eat anything, just watch them lick their own butts....but this is a different issue - owner related!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
No crate - when we're not home for long periods, Lucy lives in the hallway with a big blanket, water, a few toys...that's it. a crate for a 90lb dog in 500 sq feet was something I tried to logistically figure out for a few weeks while she was in the eating furniture stage, then finally admitted that it was happening. Hey, the shelter said she'd be 60lbs!

Is raw food not something a dog can eat out of a bowl like other food? Am I missing something?
 

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yes, I have some printed out material as well as a nutritionist from our pet supply store.

I was just looking for people whose dogs had kidney insufficiency and whether a certain food/diet made an impact on the CREAT level, which is really the goal - to reverse or slow the increase of this level.

I don't know if we can reliably bring that much raw meat in our home. It's one of those things where it would benefit us to live in a town with small grocery stores and the space for a freezer dedicated to this. I'm pretty sure buying a whole chicken at whole foods to cut up and feed to my dog (which, I'd have to have the butcher do and I think WF stopped employing actual butchers).

I don't mind putting on gloves and portioning out raw hamburger meat, but since this diet is not just raw hamburger meat, but organs and other things I don't think I could buy without vomiting, I'd have to think about it. To be honest, just thinking about giving my dog any internal organ grosses makes me feel a bit sick.

Are there any vegetarians who had to get over this? I always say a dog will eat anything, just watch them lick their own butts....but this is a different issue - owner related!

I can understand not being able to handle the raw meat if you're a vegetarian. But just think about it...you are a vegetarian partially because you thinks its better for yourself right? Why not provide the best choice in food for your dogs (who rely completely on your decision to give them the best food possible)? With that in mind, could you get over the gross factor?

My sister is vegan so I see what her reaction is like to the smell of meat, and its not good! But I think if you have the right idea about it, you could get over it. But maybe not :wink:

BTW...Whole Foods is the downright most expensive place you could buy meat for your dog. Depending on where you live (if you have a WF, you must be in a larger city) you can find meat for MUCH, MUCH cheaper. Find a local butcher and strike a deal with them to order meat for you. Or find a meat distributor or check out the co-op post in the raw forum for one near you.
 

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You can put it in a bowl, but often they will take it out to make it easier to chew on. There's no harm in trying and seeing what she does though. A plate might work better.
 

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Yes, my dogs regularly eat their chicken wings and drumsticks from a metal dog food dish, cut up meat and such will stay in the bowl, if they have a good sized bone, that gets dragged around. A lot of people here train their dogs to eat their food on a towel or rug, it can be done. It's the bones that they like to trot around with.
 

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...not a big fan of raw meat all over the floor in my kitchen.
You'd be surprised. My dogs each clean their own eating places after they eat. They both eat on carpeted floor and they clean it up very well. Then they each go to the other's eating area and clean it then its off to the cat's eating places and they clean those also. The cleanest floors in my house are the places where the animals just finished eating. There is no smell in my house so you would have to assume that they are doing a good job of cleaning.

BTW: The dirtiest place in your or any house is the kitchen sink. There is more bacteria in your kitchen sink than in your toilet. The dirtiest item in your house (bacteriawise) is the dish rag in your kitchen. Sooooo ... knowing all that, it doesn't bother me one bit for the dogs to eat on the floor, even if its carpet. :smile:
 

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Is raw food not something a dog can eat out of a bowl like other food? Am I missing something?
Raw meat parts (chicken quarters, turkey necks, etc) are not meant to be chopped up. The fact that they are large enough for your dogs to chew right thru is part of the benefit. When your dog is chewing straight thru a whole chicken quarter, the bones scrape tartar off their teeth and keep them clean. Its definitley not recommended to cut up the bones in smaller pieces since they can then be swallowed whole and cause problems. Its also not recommended to smash up the bones for them because it can cause problems. The best way is to really just give them the entire thing and let them chew it themselves.

There are types of raw that you could feed out of a bowl, like chopped beef or organs but that is only a small portion of their diet.

Granted a raw diet of ground meats is probably way better than any kibble...the diet you are providing is a PREY MODEL raw diet. Mimicking that of their wild relatives...wolves. Imagine what a wolf eats in the wild...you are doing your best to give them just that.
 

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You'd be surprised. My dogs each clean their own eating places after they eat. They both eat on carpeted floor and they clean it up very well. Then they each go to the other's eating area and clean it then its off to the cat's eating places and they clean those also. The cleanest floors in my house are the places where the animals just finished eating. There is no smell in my house so you would have to assume that they are doing a good job of cleaning.

BTW: The dirtiest place in your or any house is the kitchen sink. There is more bacteria in your kitchen sink than in your toilet. The dirtiest item in your house (bacteriawise) is the dish rag in your kitchen. Sooooo ... knowing all that, it doesn't bother me one bit for the dogs to eat on the floor, even if its carpet. :smile:
I just forgo all that by letting them eat outside. They show no distress in doing so. The kitten eats inside, since she is indoor only. The dogs come in and clean up after her. She gets whole small animals so it gets kinda messy...when we give her a whole small fish she will eat it all, just not the head which Akasha is more than happy to gulp down!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
yeah, we'll have to see.
I don't eat vegetarian because of the health benefits. I skip meat because it makes my stomach churn. My boyfriend's a marine, and also a vegetarian, but he eats salmon once in a while for the protein because he needs so much of it to stay strong. I feel ill for days after I cook it.

So, like I said, we'll see!

Sadly, in DC, we've got huge chain stores or Whole Foods (can I lump them in to the huge chain stores category now?!) I don't think any of the stores near me have butchers. They have dudes in white coats that put out the meat, which I believe is pre-shrink wrapped before it gets to the store most of the time.

We go to Wegmans once in a while, but it's about 45-60 minutes away.

Next time I'm at the store, I'll see what animal parts they have. I'd probably have to try to pay her dog walker to make the food, though!

Also - please post if your dog has had similar kidney issues and NOT eaten a purely BARF diet.
 

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My older dog had kidney problems and was put on Science Diet KD (their prescription kidney diet formula thing). On it, she gained and lost weight constantly, she could barely walk (she'd gotten hit by a car when she was younger), always had super loose stools, she had random bouts of vomiting and diarrhea, her fur was falling out, her teeth turned brownish yellow, and she got a raging yeast infection in her ears that last 8 years because the vets didn't know crap about nutrition.

I tried her on a more natural food with little improvement.

I switched her to a raw diet a little over a year ago and the results have been miraculous. She can out-sprint me, she loves to go for walks, her coat is soft and shiny and beautiful, she never vomits or has diarrhea anymore, her teeth have turned white again, she seems happier and spunkier, and it's the ONLY thing that firmed up her stools 100%.

Raw food is absolutely the best thing for a dog (or cat) in kidney failure because it supplies their kidneys with the appropriate protein it is designed to digest. When you feed dogs foods with whole grains or specifically listed grain glutens, those glutens are extremely hard on their kidneys because they have to work twice as hard to process them because their kidneys aren't made to process plant-based protein, they're made to process animal-based proteins. When the kidneys have to work twice as hard, they wear out twice as quickly. Sadly, this can happen faster to different pets.

So putting a kidney failure dog on a raw diet guarantees that they are only getting the right types of protein and none of the wrong ones. Plus, as someone else mentioned, the extra moisture is also essential for kidney health. I'd say if you won't do raw, at least go canned.

Also, I'm a vegetarian and I got over the disgust of raw meat for my dogs and now I care less about it than my carnivorous boyfriend when it comes to chopping up organ meat and whatnot. I know it's gross to us, but if it's best for my pups and going to give them the best quality of life while giving my wallet a break from the vet bills, I'm more than happy to deal with it! Also, if space is a problem, you could get a mini fridge (I know there's lots of cheap ones on craigslist) specifically for your dog's food. Feed your dog outside on the patio or in the bathroom if you don't want them eating in your kitchen. And WalMart usually carries some pretty darn cheap chicken leg quarters :smile:
 

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Discussion Starter #20
yes it's commercial, sorry, but does anyone have experience using merrick canned food?

my parent's dog eats it with kibble sometimes and loves it, and I know they have some kinds with bones in it.
 
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