Tiny Pnut forlorn Chihuahua deals with Kidney failure in dogs

Kidney Failure in dogs

Full Diary Part 2

[Continued from Full Diary Part 1]

Kidney Failure in dogs seems daunting BUT I discovered I shouldn’t panic because I could make a big difference at home with diet and vitamins, minerals and herbs so my dog Pnut could became a normal happy dog again.

I read early on the internet that although kidney failure in dogs is easily identified; moderate damage is probably more common and not recognized because signs do not appear until renal damage is severe. Early recognition and management of renal disease are important for two reasons: Renal damage is irreversible; animals lose structure and function in affected nephrons and renal damage is progressive so if untreated, normal nephrons are destroyed and management’s goal is to preserve normal nephrons, to halt continuing damage.  And my dog Pnut is a testimonial it is possible to avoid kidney failure in dogs!

When Pnut’s first blood work came back with her creatinine at 2.2 it quickly went up to 2.4 and 2.6 within the next 2 weeks and the normal range tops out at 1.8. So I researched online just what that meant, and I read what I could about what those numbers were telling me especially how long she might live. And, I read the good news for my dog was that pets with blood creatinine levels below 2.8 mg/dl usually do well for long periods. [4]  Another site, the IRIS (International Renal Interest Society) stated “Chronic kidney failure patients can in some cases have a good quality of life for many months with good management, particularly if the disease process is caught in the early stages. This is one of the reasons it is important to regularly check screening blood work and urine samples in older pets.” So, we had caught it somewhat early although I must admit my vet wanted my dog to come in for 6 month check-ups but I had never had this occur before and have had 10 other Chihuahuas in my lifetime so I stuck with annual visits. But she was diagnosed 11 months after her last annual and that was only because of her becoming very ill.

I see now it would have been better had I taken her in at six months, but I have to live with my decision (and I’m pretty conservative) and now I had to help her and stop the regression and I’m am happy to say I truly have. BIGTIME. And without any fluid therapy. My little one is now easily gaining back lost weight, running to her bowl and eating EVERY meal with a robust appetite, gobbling down healthy snacks three times daily, not excessively drinking water or urinating (NO more accidents), passing big normal firm stools two and three times a day, perky ears, wagging tail, barking at me if breakfast or dinner is late, running outdoors, playing again with her brother and our cats, laying flat and walking with NO curve in her spine, sleeping well through the night – and because of my diet change and vitamins, minerals and herbs got her creatinine level to drop from 2.6 to the normal range of 1.8  and just a few days ago it went on down to 1.6 with my final diet change.

dog kidney disease help



I just started a little at a time as I discovered ideas online that can benefit dogs with kidney disease/renal failure. I read, and read, and read and I LEARNED. And I said to myself, what the vet advocates – feeding reduced protein and the commercial canned foods special kidney diet recommended – she WON’T EAT. That idea IS NOT WORKING. During that time of trying that, I had to call the vet every 3 or 4 days because she was throwing up again, sometimes vomiting up the little food she would get and I was always feeling so helpless. Pnut barely moved, had no interest in anything. I thought she would die soon and each time I had to call with concern, the vet let me think that too, indicating there was nothing else we could do. Pnut was on the RenaPlus potassium gel they prescribed, but she was still fading more every day. And I am a strict disciplinarian and would let her go two and a half days not eating at all knowing if I gave her something she liked but not good for her she would end up in pain and sicker, defeating the purpose, then seeing only a glimmer of hope when she would finally nibble at something.

But… then I made home-baked sweet potato treats -very easy–  and I customized a recipe from many I saw on kidney treat sites on line to make it even better for her by only mixing in organic rice flour, brown or white. I read on a message board that because white rice has had the insoluble bran removed more of it is soluble fiber [6], but brown has more B vitamins [7] which a kidney-diseased dog needs and in my case I chose brown because Pnut would not tolerate a B-complex vitamin which I explain in more detail later. These treats also have egg white for protein [8] and she LOVES them, especially smudged with a little room temperature Brie cheese, high in fat for energy. I had read that sweet potato was really good for her because it was a fermentable soluble fiber that absorbs toxins and allows them to be removed through her stool and not add to the work of the kidney. [9] And that Brie cheese is at 1:1, calcium to phosphorus so OK for her too which I found in an article about List of Foods to Avoid With Renal Problems in that it gave Brie and cream cheese as dairy foods to eat instead of other bad choices.  I would make a bunch of treats and freeze them in small containers as they keep in the fridge only about a week, and I warm some in the microwave then spread a dollop of Brie on them and after rubbing some brie on her lower nose & teeth area to get her primed with the good taste & the deliciousness of the Brie, she would then eat 8 to 20 of them!! Really great. But unfortunately that wasn’t every day, often hitting a slump of eating nothing for 48 hours, because when her kidneys would hurt it would spoil her appetite and I was still playing the game, will she eat or won’t she? So I wasn’t doing enough.

I have a 150+ IQ. I got on the Internet and did even more serious researching. And I was so aware that the canned kidney diet commercial foods dictated by my vet she wouldn’t eat. Just wouldn’t. End of subject. She was dangerously thin. And she was lifeless, still just barely existing, cold and sleeping fitfully all the time, all hunched up out of shape and in pain from kidney discomfort.  So, onto the Internet I went some more and read, read, read. THANK GOD I DID.

PLEASE KEEP IN MIND that in the text following, some facts are taken from articles that I don’t believe everything in the article. You should know I believe in:

1. Feeding raw, [11] high quality protein [Note: My anti-virus program searched the       footnote link as safe but just search in your browser for Mythology of Protein Restriction for Dogs with Reduced Renal Function and you’ll find a couple of links to this important pdf file]

2. I don’t push water and I ONLY offer PURIFIED WATER.   As mentioned earlier her BUN is the only part of her bloodwork in the HIGH range, but raw food has a very generous moisture content and is how she is used to getting most of her fluids and I make her fast before bloodwork so as a result she never has her meal moisture in her system which would then contribute to a high BUN reading.

  1. Adding Internet-researched advised vitamins, minerals and herbs – all covered later – and a little at a time is OK. Just get started. Then, I’ve learned much later, don’t over do it. More is not better if she won’t eat it.

This has worked miraculously for my dog. As a disclaimer though, I must implore that you use your own best instincts, eyes and vet’s advice to decide for yourself. I know not all dogs are alike but I read a lot online about many this has helped. And when I got her second improved blood work back and was totally proud of my accomplishments I expected some acknowledgment from my vet, but all she said was “Well it worked for her” and it made me realize how each animal is an individual with separate reactions and one probably will not fit all so anyone reading this has to do what is best for their pet, keeping your eyes open and observing improvement or lack thereof.

Green tripe to avoid kidney failure in dogs!

I read about home-made food recipes and vitamins and herbs and dosages that could be beneficial but then a biggie for me was when I read an obscure recommendation in an article for feeding raw green tripe  and it really got going when I read another caregiver’s review for Tripett Green Beef Tripe Original Formula for Dogs titled Stinky Deliciousness!, March 3, 2010 By  S. Kehrberg “HarveShmarve”  on Amazon.com.  [Note:  A mention of Dr. Harvey’s Veg-to-bowl is mentioned, but I wouldn’t use that because some of the ingredients were higher phosphorus than other veggies choices, so I began making my own.] Sure, I knew it would be a big leap going from low protein to high quality protein, but what I was currently doing was NOT working, she seemed on an obvious path to a quick death, so why not give it a try? And I read up on the controversy surrounding the low vs. high protein issue with many very informative articles stating the vets just have it WRONG and they are doing more harm than good restricting protein.  In other research on lowering creatinine in dogs with kidney failure I read how beneficial it was to feed a high quality protein raw meat-based diet. So this prompted me to re-visit the advice of most vets for low protein versus this high protein concept and I found a lot of literature on the subject of which I took away that often a low-protein diet can lead to malnutrition  which I felt I was seeing in PNut.

Well, I live in the Florida Keys where a lot of items are hard to get but my local pet store carries food for exotic pets and they had canned before B>G>grain 96% tripe, so I bought one.  SHE LOVED IT. LO-O-O-VED IT! I mean ate it so fast, I couldn’t believe it.  And she ate it the same way two, three, four times in a row – both meals a day, on and on.

So I knew I was on to something. It is all monitored and effectiveness demonstrated on the blood work for each individual patient, but Pnut is living proof of high quality protein meals, where I supervise the amount she gets mixed with fermentable soluble fiber which I addressed previously – and will touch on again, I have learned it is so important.

Just getting her to eat seemed like a miracle. And again, the next meal, she ate the canned tripe just as fast. So I got serious about feeding green tripe and read an article that called it the “Old-fashioned wonder food for dogs”  and another that stated the calcium:phosphorus ratio of green tripe is near perfect (1:1) where as in raw muscle meat it is 1:6.[18]  Now the fact that canned type is not raw and again raw tripe was what the article said I should feed so I researched where I could buy raw green tripe. That and the canned had some ingredients in it I thought weren’t that good for her.  So I started researching raw meat for dogs online and found several links but wanted to find something close to home to save on shipping and ended up finding GratefulPet.com but they discontinued offering raw a few months ago and I started using their supplier Hare Today Gone Tomorrow [20].  I ordered their frozen 1 lb packages of raw tripe and at the same time ordered beef, rabbit, goat and turkey for my other Chihuahua as there is a minimum you need to buy since they pack it in a cooler to ship two-day service so it doesn’t spoil and shipping is costly for a small amount. They want a full cooler of already frozen packages then add the dry ice and mine came perfectly frozen solid with little of the dry ice melted.

Early on I had read about an easy dehydrated/freeze dried chopped veggie mix when reading about home-made diets so bought Dr. Harvey’s grain-free Veg-to-Bowl to mix in with her raw green tripe 60/40 or 50/50 so she got plenty to eat and not all protein. Raw diet proponents say not to mix grains with raw meat – that animals don’t need grains, in fact they write that they interfere with the digestion of the raw meat and lead to upset stomachs since their digestive system cannot process grains.   But vegetables seem to be OK and many of the vegetables in Veg-to-Bowl offered soluble fermentable fiber which assists the kidneys by absorbing their toxins to be removed in the stool but after reading more about the product felt that the herbs in the mix weren’t really acceptable as they had diuretic properties (and some of their mixes contain rolled oats which are high in phosphorus) so I decided I would not feed it to a renal dog. So I looked at the mix I was using and I saw it contained parsley and papaya leaf which are both diuretics and it does have peas too which are high in phosphorus so I stopped using it and began to puree my own mix from fresh veggies, which basically are supposed to all be considered low phosphorous: ”  The only common vegetables that are not low in phosphorus are dried beans and peas. ” [22] But my veggies were specifically chosen for proper calcium to phosphorus ratio and especially low phosphorus content like squash, baby carrots and green beans. [23] But I knew I needed the soluble fiber to help remove toxins and not tax her kidney so I don’t feel guilty for having fed her the purchased veggie mix until I learned this because all of the advice said you had to get your dog to eat SOMETHING and I would think this was better than most foods I could offer and at least it got me started feeding veggies until I could learn how to improve on it.  And it was convenient.  When you start out you just can’t know everything but a step in the right direction is always an improvement I think. We can only do the best we can when dealing with kidney failure in dogs.  Better late than never. [Note: And I have come to learn by experience that feeding my dog soluble fiber like in veggies is SOOOO critically important! More first-hand experience about the proof in this later.]      [Continued Full Diary Part 3]