Kidney / Renal Diets (Low Phosphorous, Quality Protein)

Renal Diets available in Australia

Cats are more prone to kidney problems than dogs, so I’ll focus more on cats on this page. Kidney problems require a special diet to stabilise health and reduce discomfort.

Unfortunately for us pet owners, the variety of renal diets in Australia is limited to big corporate brands. The smaller (often better brands) simply don’t have the resources to cater for prescription diets.

Royal Canin (Mars) and Hill’s Prescription Diet (Colgate-Palmolive) are our only two feasible options, although with a little research you should be able to tailor a diet to suit your pet using fresh and raw meat ingredients.

If you read our reviews of Royal Canin and Hill’s Prescription Diet you will see they are very negative, with the simple reason being they contain too many grains to sustain optimum health of a feline as an obligate carnivore and a canine as what we’re told is an omnivore but is in fact more similar to cats than to us.

Our best tip is this: Both Royal Canin and Hill’s Prescription Diet wet foods are much better than their dry food counterparts.

Should a renal diet be low protein and phosphorous, or just low phosphorous?

Low Phosporous is essential, Low Protein on the other hand is misleading.

Kidney / Renal Diets (Low Phosphorous, Quality Protein)

It’s important to be aware phosphorous is vital for strong bones, teeth, and to help our cats convert food into energy. The issue arises when a cat is suffering kidney disease. When the kidney’s aren’t functioning correctly we get a build up of phosphorous which can cause greater kidney damage, elevated phosphorous levels in the blood, and discomfort. A renal diet can slow kidney disease by reducing the intake of phosphorous.

So what’s with the notion of feeding low protein? Cat’s are obligate carnivores, they need meat (and meat proteins) for their organs to function correctly. The problem is meat contains phosphorous, so manufacturers of renal diets cut phosphorous by cutting meat. This can cause more long-term harm than good.

The importance of moisture in a renal diet

You often find vets will prescribe a dry renal diet for your poorly cat. There are benefits to dry foods, but in this case you’re better off with wet. Moisture is very important, and a wet renal diet will likely be more beneficial for your cat. If you can afford wet over dry then do that, but regardless of what food you feed you should always ensure your cat has access to clean, fresh water.

What if your pet refuses to eat a low phosphorous diet?

Sometimes cats will refuse to eat a different diet, so rather than letting them starve you could speak to your vet about phosphorous binders. These can help prevent phosphorous build-up in the kidneys and blood.

Analysis of the Renal Diets available in Australia

Below are short overviews of the dry renal diets available, and these may convince you to opt for a wet diet.

Hill’s Prescription Diet Feline k/d

This food contains chicken, but the dominant ingredient is brewer’s rice. It really appalls me that a diet aimed at keeping your cat healthy has a waste product making up most of the food. Corn gluten meal isn’t the best ingredient either, but this will provide a lower phosphorous source of protein. There’s also a lot of wheat in the food which isn’t good to see, being one of the cheapest filler grains available.

Royal Canin Renal

Royal Canin Renal is mostly corn flour and rice, with animal fat and hydrolysed animal proteins. It contains wheat gluten, corn gluten, and soya. They recommend 2~4 weeks on this diet for temporary renal dysfunction, and up to 6 months for cases of chronic renal insufficiency.

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