How to Cook Chicken for Dogs With Kidney Disease (Easy Steps & Complete Guide)

Cooking for dogs with kidney disease can be a delicate process, as they often need very lean proteins and have trouble processing protein in general. To cook chicken for dogs with kidney disease, you’ll want to serve boiled, skinless chicken in low quantities. 

But how should you cook chicken for dogs with kidney disease? What does kidney disease mean for your pup? Read on to find out everything you need to know about how to cook chicken for dogs with kidney disease. 

The cooking process

Cooking chicken for dogs with kidney disease is all about reducing the fat content of the chicken and taking advantage of how lean of a protein it is. In order to do this, you’ll want to follow these simple instructions. 

First, take the skin and bones out of your chicken. These not only increase the nutrition content (especially of nutrients that dogs with kidney disease can’t properly process), but the skin makes the food excessively fatty and the bones pose a choking hazard. 

Boil the chicken until it’s cooked thoroughly. Afterward, drain the water out of the pot and put it on a cutting board. Using two forks, shred the chicken until it’s easily edible for your dog. 

After this, you can serve it in your dog’s bowl with whatever sides you decide are best for your dog. Make sure you’re serving smaller portion sizes than you did when your dog was healthy, as proteins are difficult for your dog to process when it’s struggling with kidney disease. 

How much chicken to serve dogs with kidney disease

As mentioned above, it’s quite difficult for dogs with kidney disease to process proteins, even ones as lean and healthy as boiled, skinless chicken. That being said, you’ll want to cut back on how much chicken you’re giving a dog with kidney disease as compared to their healthy counterparts. 

1/2 a cup of food for every 25 pounds of body weight is a decent rule of thumb. Of course, dogs that are more active or exercise daily may need more, while older dogs, younger dogs, smaller dogs, or lazier dogs may require less. 

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How often to serve chicken to dogs with kidney disease

Chicken is a fine meal to serve to dogs daily, even those with kidney disease. Even though they have trouble digesting and processing it, protein is still a core part of their diet. It helps dogs grow muscle that not only helps them with daily activities such as walks, play, and exercise, but is also crucial for basic functions like standing up, walking, sitting down, and other movements. 

Health benefits of chicken for dogs with kidney disease

The main health benefit present in chicken for dogs with kidney disease is protein. Since dogs with kidney disease have a hard time digesting and processing protein correctly, it’s extra important that you’re picky with how your dog is getting this essential nutrient. 

It is also very low fat and high in vitamins and minerals that help the overall physical health of your dog. 

Things to watch out for when serving chicken to dogs with kidney disease

Of course, you’ll still need to watch out for how the protein is affecting your dog. Kidney failure is very complicated, so some dogs can handle more protein than others while they’re experiencing kidney disease. 

To know for sure if chicken, or any diet change, is the right change for your dog, it’s important to consult your vet. Your vet’s guidance should be a crucial step in the decision-making process when it comes to what you’re looking out for and what you’re feeding to your dog. 

What is kidney disease?

Kidney disease, renal disease, kidney failure, or renal failure are all terms for when your dog’s kidneys aren’t working properly. Kidneys filter out waste and excrete it as urine, control levels of calcium, control blood pressure, control levels of salt and water in the body, and more! If any of these functions is failing, that’s very bad news for your dog. 

Kidney disease should be taken extremely seriously and warrants an immediate visit to the vet. 

Signs of kidney disease in dogs

If you see any of the following symptoms on a regular basis, your dog’s kidneys might be failing. Seek veterinary help as soon as possible. 

The signs to look out for are: more frequent urination, more frequent drinking, less frequent urination, urinating during sleep, blood in urine, decreased appetite, diarrhea, vomit, sudden weight loss, and hunched posture. 

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If you see any one of these signs with frequency or multiple signs, you should call up your vet and ask what the next steps should be!

Alternative proteins for dogs with kidney disease

Chicken isn’t the only protein that is fine for dogs with kidney disease. 

Other lean proteins are good as well. Eggs (in moderation), as well as dog-friendly fish (such as salmon), are good replacements if chicken won’t work for your dog. 

Water for dogs with kidney disease

If you’re suspecting your dog has kidney disease (or it’s been confirmed by a veterinarian) you want to have it drinking only distilled or filtered water. This will be easier for the kidneys to process and will help with the treatment and recovery. 

Sides to serve with chicken for dogs with kidney disease

Brown rice is the best side to serve with the chicken for dogs with kidney disease. This is because it is very easy for dogs to digest. 

Vegetables are also crucial to any dog’s diet. Kale, carrots, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, asparagus, and other dog-safe vegetables provide the vitamins and minerals needed to make sure your dog stays as healthy as possible. 

Just avoid any vegetables or sides that are high in phosphorus, as these are not easily processed by dogs with failing kidneys. 

Feeding schedule of dogs with kidney disease

Dogs with kidney disease seem to do better with more frequent, smaller meals throughout the day. Try four or so smaller meals in a day rather than two large ones and see if your dog’s symptoms improve!

Special Note from Sabrina Kong, DVM, on Kidney Disease Diets

The diet for a dog with kidney disease often varies from dog to dog mainly depending on the stage of the disease.

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Preparing and cooking your dog’s diet when they suffer from kidney disease is the option that offers you more control and guarantees they are receiving the right nutrients they need for their health.

Now, there are some debates in terms of how you should be cooking it, as the word cooking is one of the debate’s points. During the last few years, the BARF diet has been one of the most accepted ones for feeding dogs in general but also for dogs with kidney disease.

The BARF diet covers the nutrients dogs with kidney disease need:

  • high-quality proteins
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • fish
  • veggies
  • low levels of phosphorus and sodium

This diet consists of feeding dogs raw high-quality meats, bones, fruits, veggies, and supplements that include omega-3.

The most important thing to consider when switching your dog to a diet designed for kidney disease is that they still need high-quality proteins that are easy to absorb by the body, that’s why I recommend homemade diets instead of storebought foods as those rarely cover the special needs for this kind of condition.

(Source – Sabrina Kong, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, from WeLoveDoodles.com)

What Not To Feed Your Dog With Kidney Disease

Registered veterinarian Dr, Corinne Wigfall, of SpiritDogTraining.com, noted you should “avoid raw feeding and feeding treats high in salt such as cheese and meats from the deli such as salami. Be careful feeding commercial dog treats- many are high in sodium and protein which is not ideal for kidney disease.

Do not feed your dog a home cooked diet that is purely meat, or a home cooked diet that you have not run past a veterinarian as you may not have reached the minimum requirements for good health.”