Chronic Kidney Disease and Your Senior Pet

Chronic kidney disease, and the signs to look out for

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) occurs when the kidneys are unable to perform their job of filtering blood, removing waste and returning fluids to the bloodstream, as a result of structural and/or functional abnormalities in one or both kidneys for 3 months or longer. As a consequence, waste products (urea, creatinine, hormones etc.) and excess fluids build up in the body. Signs may present as increased urination, increased drinking, decreased appetite, gastrointestinal signs (vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, anorexia), lethargy, weight loss, muscle wasting. This disease is more common in older animals, which is why we suggest annual health checks for your senior pet!


I think my furbaby has CKD signs. What should I do?

Visit your veterinarian for a CKD workup. Where CKD is suspected, a routine investigation will be carried out. This often includes blood and urine tests.

If diagnosed, your vets may conduct further tests to stage the disease based on the International Renal Interest Society (IRIS) staging. IRIS staging can assist with the development of appropriate, logical treatment plans for each CKD stage.

What can I do to help manage CKD?

Management is targeted to keep the excesses and deficiencies minimal. The use of prescription renal diets have been shown to be the most important intervention that can prolong survival time in CKD patients. All animals with CKD stage 2 to early stage 4 should be placed on a renal diet! These renal diets are designed to control the intake of phosphorus, protein, sodium, B-vitamin, and soluble fiber and are enriched with Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and antioxidants. The single most important thing you can do to increase the acceptance of renal food is gradual transition over 3-4 weeks.


Royal Canin offers renal diets, such as the renal special and renal. Renal special is basically the same as renal diet, but for fussy patients that will not eat the normal renal diet. There are other brands that support renal diet too, such as Hills k/d, Specific CKW heart and kidney support and Eukanuba renal diet.

*Renal multi-function + hydrolysed protein, renal support + advanced mobility support, renal support – A (Aromatic), D (Delectable), E (Enticing), F (Flavorful), S (Savory), T (Tasty) are not available in Australia and New Zealand. 

Early CKD may not have any symptoms

Kidneys have a greater capacity than needed to keep us healthy. This is why you can donate one kidney and stay healthy, or you can have kidney damage without any symptoms as your kidneys are still doing its job to keep you feeling well. In the early stage, it is possible the only way to know if your pet has kidney disease is to get their kidneys checked with blood test and urine test. It is recommended that a full health check be performed every 6 months. Early Renal diet, a senior diet that has reduced protein and phosphorus, may be recommended when the dog is diagnosed in CKD stage 1. They should be switched to a renal diet should the creatinine elevate outside of reference range.

We provide Royal Canin renal and Hills k/d at Summerhill Village Vet 🙂

We can also order specific food for you! Call us on 02 9797 2555 to inquire.