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Senior Dogs Protein Foods: Health Risk or Benefits?

Senior Dogs Protein Foods: Health Risk or Benefits?

Senior Dogs Protein Foods: Health Risk or Benefits?

The controversial topic on feeding pet dogs, especially senior dogs, with high protein foods have been a consistent controversy among pet owners and veterinarians alike. Although scores of veterinarian’s give advice to pet owners against incorporating a high protein diet with their pets, recent research shows a great deal of support with a protein-rich diet.

Even more mind boggling to some, research reveals that a meaty diet is acceptable even to senior dogs with mild kidney problems. The question remains, is a high protein diet good or bad for pet dogs? A conclusion made by researchers in two published studies conducted for dogs with kidney disease maintains that certain results does not support the claim of having adverse effects when feeding pets with a high protein diet.

Another study where senior dogs were divided into two groups was conducted to determine more accurate results between the comparisons. One group was fed a high protein diet while the other one was fed with a low protein diet. This method was done consistently for four years. No adverse effects were seen to be present with the group fed with a high protein diet. While the mortality rate or death rate is higher in the low protein diet group as compared to the other group.

High Protein Diet – Cause for Kidney Disease?

Doctors Foster and Smith of The Veterinary and Aquatic Services Department addresses the false rumor regarding the high protein diet on pet dogs. They maintain that pet foods containing high protein are not harmful to a normal animal’s kidneys. Nitrogen as a by-product is released as protein is metabolized in an animal’s body. (read more here)

The kidneys then excrete the excess nitrogen. A diet which is high in protein produces more nitrogen by-products which the kidney excretes in the urine. This process may seem to be a labor abuse on the kidneys’ part and would probably lead to kidney problems, but both Doctors Foster and Smith maintain that this is false.

However, the answer to the question that most veterinarians ask still remains unconvincing. They believe that there is a risk in high protein diet especially for senior dogs and their kidney health. Another report on this subject matter lies on the myth that has been around since before. In the past, patients with kidney problems and diseases were commonly advised to have low protein diets which in turn produces low nitrogen, which is probably the reason where dangers are associated with high protein meals.

In conclusion to Drs. Foster and Smith’s findings, they advise a restriction on a high phosphorus diet, not protein. Animals with kidney problems have been reported to regain both their health and strength by limiting and even restricting phosphorus intake. There is, of course, a real basis for the restriction of a high protein diet and it is only when senior dogs have an alarming rate of urinary nitrogen or an elevated urinary protein. Apart from that, no substantial evidence suggests otherwise.


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