Do I Need Low Protein if my Dog Has Renal Disease?

No, your dog most likely does not need a low protein diet if they have kidney disease.

There is a paradigm shift that is happening with respect to protein and renal disease, in both cats and dogs. There was never any evidence protein caused the progression of renal disease (tubulointerstitial disease) as it does in rodents and potentially in humans. The studies that were performed on phosphorus restriction using normal commercial diets were always protein restricted due to manufacturing constraints from the large pet food manufacturers. Because the large pet manufacturers tend to use meat meals (protein with high bone/ash content) they are unable to lower phosphorus content without lowering protein content, as phosphorus is found in bone. Therefore, there was a dramatic linear relationship between phosphorus content and the protein content. When experimental studies were performed as early as the 1980s assessing dietary phosphorus and protein independently, it was found that phosphorus was the only determinant of progression (due to renal secondary hyperparathyroidism).  We recognize, more noticeably in cats, that in end stage kidney disease, loss of muscle / lean mass occurs fairly profoundly. Wynwood Dog Food’s renal diets are high in lean protein, allowing us to keep phosphorus at or below the amounts in commonly prescribed therapeutic commercial renal diets. This increases palatability, seems to preserve lean body mass and allows us to use phosphorus binders more sparingly.