The food you feed your cat contributes to their overall health and wellbeing. Our Dallas vets explain whether or not dry food can cause kidney failure in cats and what to feed your kitty if they are suffering from a kidney condition.
Dry Food Diets For Cats
It can be hard to choose the right food for your cat because you have to take into account nutritional value, your cat’s choosy (and potentially ever-changing) palate, and your budget. You also have to choose between wet food and dry food. But, which one is best for your cat's long-term health and nutrition?
Here, we talk about dry cat food and whether it causes kidney problems. We also list the real causes of kidney failure in cats and recommend the best foods for cats that have kidney disease.
Does Dry Food Cause Kidney Failure In Cats?
You may find your cat likes one type of food more than the other, whether they prefer wet food from a pouch or dry kibble.
If you are a well-read cat owner, you may have heard varying advice in pet publications or talked to other cat owners about dry food and been told that it can impact kidney health or be bad for your cat’s teeth or urinary tract.
However, the nutritional content of cat food is much more critical than whether it’s dry or wet.
The Ingredients In Your Cat's Food
By nature cats are carnivores, this means fatty acids and meaty proteins are imperative to their diet. Too many carbohydrates can result in obesity and diabetes. While your kitty does require a small number of carbohydrates, a diet that contains too many of these can cause health problems.
However, many dry foods contain rice, cornmeal and grains to help your cat process the kibble, which adds up to more carbohydrates (on the other hand wet food contains less of these). In some cat foods, you may even find vegetable proteins instead of meat, which isn't ideal for your meat-loving cat.
Our feline friends need foods that are high in animal proteins and fats, and low in carbohydrates. While the amount of carbohydrates in some dry food is acceptable (and there are little to no vegetable or grain products), these often have especially labels.
Just as you do when you shop for your own food, read the ingredients list on your cat’s food and leave the items with ingredients such as peas, beans, corn, potatoes or rice on the shelf.
You need to be conscious of the nutrients that are in your pet’s food and make sure they match your four-legged friend’s dietary requirements.
Can Dehydration Cause Cat Kidney Failure?
Because of their low thirst drive (compared to other animals), cats don't usually drink a lot of water during the day. While they may be dehydrated, they won’t feel thirsty. Therefore, our feline companions rely on their food to give them water.
Wet food contains more water than dry food and is more similar to what kitties would dine on naturally. Extra moisture encourages better bladder and kidney health in cats, whereas prolonged dehydration can irritate the urinary tract and potentially cause kidney disease.
If your cat prefers dry food sprinkle some water on the food to encourage them to drink more. This way, they get the benefits of wet food without actually switching meals. To get specific advice that is tailored to your cat's individual needs, call your vet to schedule an appointment.
The Causes of Kidney Failure in Cats
There are actually two types of kidney failure in cats, and each has its own causes.
Acute Renal Failure
When cats get acute kidney failure, their kidneys suddenly aren't able to function properly. This type of kidney failure occurs suddenly (within days or weeks). If it is diagnosed early enough, acute renal failure can often be reversed.
Cats of any age can develop this condition and it is usually caused by infection, organ failure, poisons, dehydration, urethral blockages, and other triggers.
Chronic Kidney Failure
Chronic kidney failure typically develops over several months or even years, making it more gradual in nature. This type of kidney failure is usually caused by autoimmune diseases, genetics, or cysts in the kidneys.
This form of kidney failure can cause total kidney failure, and as a result, the kidneys gradually cease working as they lose the ability to filter toxins from the blood.
Foods To Feed Your Cat If They Have Kidney Disease
If your cat has been diagnosed with kidney disease, it means their kidneys aren't able to filter out waste products effectively, resulting in a build of these substances within their body. In order to help manage this condition as effectively as possible, it's essential to provide your kitty with the essential nutrients that can help manage their symptoms, control the waste build-up, and slow the progression of their condition.
There are several commercial diets available that can help cats with kidney disease. These foods aim to help your cat's condition, by containing less phosphorus, sodium, and protein, and including more Omega-3 Fatty acids. Therefore, these foods help prevent metabolic acidosis in cats. Your vet will be able to prescribe or recommend the food that will help manage your cat's kidney disease best.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.