Phosphorus in dog foods helps to grow new bone, which means it is important in early development. However, older dogs and those with certain conditions don’t need phosphorus as much, and in some cases it can be harmful. Many vets recommended dog foods with lower phosphorus levels.
What Kind of Dogs Need a Low-Phosphorus Diet?
In general, it can be a good idea to lower the amount of phosphorus your dog is eating as he gets older. Just because you have an aging canine doesn’t mean that you have to feed him a low-phosphorus diet. However, vets recommend that dogs with kidney problems be fed low-phosphorus food.
Why Eat a Low-Phosphorus Diet?
Research has shown that older dogs who have a diet with an excess of phosphorus experience more kidney problems. Likewise, for dogs who already have kidney problems, lowering the amount of phosphorus in their diets helps to make renal failure slow and allows dogs to live longer, healthier lives.
Does Low-Phosphorus Mean Low-Protein?
Absolutely not. In fact, there has been a decent amount of research to show that older dogs need more protein. Why? Because getting older puts more stress on the various systems of the body and protein helps cells to repair. Choosing a low-protein food because it’s also low-phosphorus can cause just as many problems. This true for dogs who are experiencing kidney problems – even renal failure. The goal should be to find a low-phosphorus food that still contains plenty of high-quality protein.
Finding Low-Phosphorus, High-Protein Dog Foods
There aren’t many good ones, which is why a number of vets recommend that pet owners who have older dogs or dogs with kidney issues supplement over-the-counter dog foods with homemade meals. Good, high-protein choices include things like meat that has been lightly cooked or left raw, egg whites and green tripe. For dogs with chronic renal failure, many vets suggest a diet that consists of one-third fat, one-third protein and one-third carbs. Of course, any time you make a change to your dog’s diet, it’s best to do so slowly and after speaking with your veterinarian to make sure it doesn’t cause too many unexpected issues.
Juliana Weiss-Roessler has been writing since 2000. She worked as the head of the Web content department for the star of an Emmy-nominated reality series. Her ghostwriting has appeared in "PARADE" and "People." Weiss-Roessler is a blogger for Resumark and an editor for Pink Raygun. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Florida.