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Help, what can I feed a puppy with kidney disease?



We get a variety of interesting nutritional queries on the Hill’s Veterinary Consultation Service.  It is one of the most enjoyable parts of my job, helping vets find a nutritional solution for patients suffering from a variety of medical problems.  Often, we get asked about dietary options for puppies and kittens that have a condition requiring a specific diet. The following case is based on a real query we received.

Case Study: Polly

Signalment: 5 month old female entire Golden Retriever

History: Polyuria/polydipsia and intermittent vomiting

Examination: Small size for her age and dull coat

Differential Diagnosis: Kidney disease, diabetes insipidus, leptospirosis (unlikely as puppy in Victoria), hyper/hypo-adrenocorticism (very unlikely in a young dog)

Work Up

Laboratory: Non-regenerative anaemia, BUN 12, CREA 270, Phos 5, USG 1.014

Ultrasound: Small kidneys with poor distinction between cortex and medulla and some hyperechoic speckles in the medulla

Presumptive Diagnosis: Renal dysplasia

Nutritional Management for Renal Dysplasia

Interestingly, whilst renal dysplasia is uncommon, Golden Retrievers do appear to be over-represented for this particular condition. Unfortunately, this puppy has a poor long term prognosis, with most of these patients only living a year or two from diagnosis.


Dietary management can however help to improve the patient’s quality of life by reducing azotaemia. But the dilemma we often have is what dietary options fit the key nutritional factors for kidney disease and are ok for a growing puppy like Polly? The answer is Hill’s™ Prescription Diet™ l/d™.

liver care dry food
  • Complete and balanced for puppies and has undergone AAFCO feeding tests.
  • Controlled protein, phosphorus and sodium to help protect vital kidney function.
  • Added soluble fibre to help reduce ammonium production by colonic bacteria and increase nitrogenous waste excreted in the faeces, thereby indirectly reducing BUN.

What other conditions would benefit from l/d™?

  • Liver failure or hepatobiliary disease
  • Non-surgical portosystemic shunt
  • Copper storage disease
  • Patient experiencing signs of hepatic encephalopathy

What other Hill’s™ Prescription Diets™ are complete and balanced for puppies and kittens?

Hill’s™ Prescription Diet™ i/d™ canine and feline have both undergone AAFCO feeding trials to ensure they are complete and balanced for growth as well as for the maintenance needs of adult dogs and cats. Whilst we often use i/d™ short term for acute GI upsets, if a puppy or kitten needs to be on the diet long term, you have complete peace of mind that it is appropriate for growth.

If you have a tricky case and need advice on what to feed please remember we’re here to help. Call the Veterinary Consultation Service on 1800 800 733 Monday- Friday 9am-5pm AEST.

Dr Annabel Robertson, Hill’s Professional Consulting Veterinarian, BVSc (Hons) MANZCVS (SAM) MBA

Annabel graduated from the University of Melbourne with honours in 2008. Since then she has worked as a small animal veterinarian in private practice in Australia and the UK. She also completed an internship in small animal medicine during this time and sat her membership in small animal internal medicine in 2012, and finished her MBA in 2015. Annabel joined the Hill’s team in 2015 as a technical services vet in Melbourne. 

Dr Annabel Robertson