Feeding Tricks or Tricks in Feeding?
Standard Disclaimer - See a qualified Professional. Get your pet to the vet, get yourself to the doctor and ask pointed questions. I am not a doctor, this is merely what I am finding as I go along.
See here's the thing. Chronic Renal Failure, Kidney Disease to the rest of us out there, can be a trial. Especially when the patient can't speak like a dog or a cat.
I'm getting a lot of good information on the side of what to do, and it's complex to sort through all the information.
First get tested. That Vet is a requirement. I am not a vet. Did I say that earlier? Oh yes I did.
The Kidney Foundation is a great resource for diets and suggestions at http://www.kidneyfoundation.org - and they ARE professionals for people.
There are three main kinds of things that you have to watch out for in feeding.
1. Protein. When protein is processed by the body, it makes Urea and a lot of other chemicals. The kidneys process it and put the urea in the urine. That's why it's yellow. So you have to limit the amount of protein you feed your friend. I was told it was ".6 grams to .8 grams per Kilo". To work that out in numbers that an American would understand, my 43 pound dog should get between 11 and 15 grams per day, no more, roughly.
2. Potassium. Too much potassium and your dog's kidneys have to flush it out of the system. They're taxed enough as it is, so try to keep that down. Luckily that's usually listed on the nutrition labels of foods these days.
3. Phosphorous. Same as Potassium. As Low As Possible.
So what I'm being told is:
Cut back on Protein - easy on the meats like Beef and Chicken. I'd put peanut butter in this same bucket too since you can easily get a lot of protein from a PB&J.
Increase Carbohydrates. I'm getting good results with oddball things like unsweetened cereals and low sugar cookies and crackers.
Since they do need some protein, small amounts of Cottage Cheese, Tofu, low salt cheeses like Feta are a good idea, if they will tolerate it. Too much protein and you will know it tomorrow when they refuse food.
No Bananas, No Oranges, No Tomatoes. There are a lot of fruits and vegetables that you would think are safe but aren't. I'm still sorting through this as well and there are more that are unsafe.
The problem is that cereals, you know the stuff you put in a bowl and smother with milk, tend to be small pieces. Your best friend will have a problem since one of the symptoms is that they're nauseous. Sick to the stomach means they won't want to eat at all. You're sitting in a Captain's Chair in the dining room much earlier than you prefer bleary eyed and not exactly happy because the dog won't eat out of their own bowl now. So you pick up the bowl and start handing them to her one at a time. Get a cereal with a larger surface area - Rice Krispies are too small, Try Corn Flakes... that sort of thing.
Yes, that is indeed what I do every morning before sunrise.
I also found that we both got bored fast with that. So I turned feeding into a game. When some people think "Fake The Throw" is cruel, but in reality it's a great way to keep your dog entertained. Feeding my own Lettie takes an hour twice a day now. I'm tossing food at her one bit at a time. When the nose is down on the floor trying to get the last bit, you might accidentally drop another piece of Cheerios on the floor and have her discover them.
Anything to keep her moving. After all it's tough to schedule this much time and have a productive life. I'm already thinking about bumping the alarm clock back another half hour just to get things done at a reasonable pace.
If you don't want to put "that kind of time" in to helping your best friend, then please, when they cross the rainbow bridge, don't get another. They deserve better than that.