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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 21416
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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My dog has just been put into Hills KD food as he is showing

Resolved Question:

My dog has just been put into Hills KD food as he is showing "ageing" in his kidneys, he is not properly concentrating his urine, but the vetis not seriously worried. His blood tests are not showing a problem but often these are inconclusive until it is too late or very serious. My problem is that my dog will not drink water unless it has a dash of milk in it. As I am trying to keep him on a low protein diet, can you recommend an alternative to cows milk, with low protein, and low phosphorous , that will not be harmful to hugs kidneys. Thanks
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

First, I am very glad to see that you have a good understanding of kidney disease in the dog. As you noted, often urine dilution is our first hint of the kidneys starting to struggle a wee bit with old age. This is because urine is a product of the kidney, where blood changes are only seen once the kidney has been struggling so long that metabolic wastes leech back into the blood instead of being filtered into the urine by the kidney.

Now to be honest, a dash of milk to encourage a older dog to drink more and hydrate his kidneys is not going to be a significant risk here. And I would even say it would be a worthwhile compromise since getting those fluids in is so important. If you are using a lot of milk in that dash, consider slowly cutting back the amount you use to as little as possible and using skim milk. Further to this, goats milk has a bit less protein and could be an alternative. Otherwise, since the only low protein/phosphorus alternatives will be our vegetarian milks (which dogs likely won't have), you could consider using a small dash of chicken broth in his water. Ideally, you will want to use a low sodium preparation for him. The best would be to make broth by boiling a chicken carcass so there is no salt and just flavoring to encourage his drinking.

Overall, when kidneys are aging we often want to reduce their work load by feeding less protein and phosphorus (as well as sodium). In this situation, a true dash of milk is not going to be a significant intake of these components. Furthermore, if that dash of milk gets him drinking well then this is a worthwhile balance. So, I'd not be worried here but just suggest using 2% or skim milk or even goat's milk. Otherwise, you can try chicken broth as a water flavoring. And if you are truly concerned about those components, you can request his vet put him on a phosphate binder (to counteract any phosphorus in that dash) +/- start a low dose of kidney support medication (ie Fortekor) to just ensure that his kidneys will tolerate his daily dash of milk and keep the function as best they can for as long as they can.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you so much for your very detailed response. I currently use semi skimmed milk, and tried skimmed, but he wouldn't touch it. Would goats milk be lower in protein etc than the semi skimmed I am currently using?
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.
You are very welcome, Judith.

I suspect they will be of similar protein values if not the goat's milk being a bit richer then semi-skimmed (where it'd be less the full fat). So, if Coco was my patient, I would just keep him on the dash of semi-skim. As I noted before, the fact that he it gets him drinking more is such a positive that that wee bit of milk isn't likely to be doing any harm and if anything is a bonus for the hydration it does bring the body by encouraging him to drink.

All the best,

Dr. B.

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If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )






Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you Dr B. You have been a great help, and I feel much more relaxed about the situation now. With kind regards, Judith.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.
You are very welcome, Judith.

It sounds like Coco is in great hands with you. Smile
Keep up the good work with him and hopefully we will see those kidney keep chugging along as they should with their reduced dietary workload and good hydration.

All the best,

Dr. B.

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If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )






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