If your pet has been diagnosed with kidney failure, there are natural treatments that can help. The first thing to be aware of is that monitoring will help you know what is needed. Many veterinarians will do blood work periodically to see how things are progressing. The BUN and Creatinine are the most commonly monitored tests. However, it is important to also keep an eye on the phosphorus, the hematocrit (red blood cell count), and the potassium.

The BUN and Creatinine monitor the progression of the disease. The phosphorus often elevates as the kidneys fail and can cause lack of appetite and vomiting. The hematocrit helps us keep an eye out for anemia. Finally, some cats with kidney disease will develop low potassium which complicates the condition. Be sure your vet is monitoring everything and is not struck with tunnel vision.

The first thing for any pet with renal disease is to feed the kidneys by providing the nutrients they need to function as well as possible.  A supplement to feed the kidneys is Canine or Feline Renal Support from Standard Process.  The omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and preserves kidney function.  If your pet develops a low potassium level, there are supplements that can be added to the mix.

A supplement that can help the body rid itself of waste that the kidneys are not handling well is called Azodyl. It provides special probiotic bacteria that basically suck the nitrogenous waste in the body out through the colon. This is a good place to start for pets with high BUN/Creatinine.

If your pet’s phosphorus is starting to go above normal, a phosphorus binder can be used. Aluminum Hydroxide is the most common one. It binds to phosphorus in the gut and keeps it from getting absorbed. I like Phos-bind by Rx Vitamins.

Milk thistle is well known for its positive effects on the liver but it can help the kidneys too. My favorite herb for the kidneys is Rehmannia. It is part of Chinese herbal formulas for kidney failure and helps improve the blood circulation to the kidneys. It is best to have your pet seen by a TCM practitioner to find the right Rehmannia formula for your pet.

When you look at all the supplements that can help with renal failure, it is easy to see that you can’t get everything into most pets. There just wouldn’t be room for food if you gave them all. I suggest you try the different ones and see what works for you and your pet. I have found acupuncture to help with pets’ appetites and renal function. And it is one less thing you need to get down the pet’s throat.

Have you had success with any treatments for kidney disease?

7 replies
  1. Teresa
    Teresa says:

    Your article specifically addresses cats…but what about dogs…do the same principles & recommendstions apply? What about a mini Dachshund that is almost 2 yrs old & survived Lepto…but sustsined kidney damage…do thesr same recommendations apply? He is on a Purina KD kibble…what do you recommend, any kibble at all or not?
    Thank you for replying & your help. Wish you could be cloned!!

    • Dr. Doug
      Dr. Doug says:

      The same principles apply to dogs. The same supplements/diets are appropriate depending on ALL laboratory tests and the pets condition. I really can’t give you any more specific information than that without examining your pet and seeing test results.

  2. Carol
    Carol says:

    My Golden Retriever has kidney disease. I am presently giving her an IV of fluids every night and injection of Epogen every two weeks.

    I would rather find a holistic vet and wondered if you can Refer me to someone in the San Diego area?

  3. Ann Cacioppo
    Ann Cacioppo says:

    I give my cat Tripsy. Is this a good supplement for a cat with Kidney Disease? The ingredients are: Stoneroot 33mg, parsley piert 33mg, hydranga 25mgs, gravel root 25mgs, echinacea purpurea 17mgs, marshmallow 17mgs,, and oregon grape 17mgs. I do realize some of these are diuretics, but do they work with each other?

  4. Aubrey pata
    Aubrey pata says:

    I was wondering how you feel about using herbs/spices like basil, thyme, rosemary, dill weed, etc to treat dogs with kidney failure. I was also wondering if you know of any herb/spice that should not be given with rehmannia 8.

    I can’t afford a holistic vet, all I can afford are tests and supplements. Barely. My dog is doing much better than she was, but I’m having trouble finding information about rehmannia 8 or spices interacting with it or each other. She’s not on any medication, she hasn’t needed them since I’ve been supplementing naturally.

    Any advice or assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    • Dr. Doug
      Dr. Doug says:

      I’m not familiar with the western herbs you are talking about but I doubt that there would be any problem combining them. Since there have been no studies with the combinations nobody is going to be able to give you a definite answer.


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