This is a review article of the kidney care diets produced by Hill’s, both their dry and wet food. In this review, it will touch on the following topics surrounding the kidney care diets.
- Kidney issues and the importance of diet
- What’s in Hill’s Kidney Care food and does address the causes of kidney problems?
- Why do Veterinarians prescribe a processed food?
- Prescription diets, legal action and food recalls.
- Your next steps.
Disclaimer, I am not a medical professional or Veterinarian, I’m a certified dog nutritionist. This video is for educational purposes and should not be confused for medical advice.
Kidney problems and renal support with dog food
Kidney issues or chronic kidney disease in dogs are related to a loss of kidney function, this causes the kidneys to have a reduced ability to filter the blood, which leads to a build-up of waste like excessive amounts of creatinine, urea, or imbalances to the phosphorus, calcium, potassium and sodium levels. It’s also highly likely to see raised liver enzymes as well.
Many dogs prescribed kidney care food by hills will have chronic kidney disease. A progressive disease that is extremely variable depending on how early it is diagnosed and by how well it is managed, particularly when it comes to nutrition and diet.
Digestion is the breakdown of food and distribution of nutrients via the bloodstream, to nourish your dog. All blood is filtered by the kidney and therefore what you feed your dog is vitally important if they are suffering from kidney issues and the rate of progression.
If you’d like to know more about Canine Kidney Disease and nutrition, I’ve written a research article here.
- Long term, low grade inflammation
- Increased waste in the food
- Gut Microbiome dysbiosis
- Chronic bacterial infection
- High blood
- Congenital or at birth malformation of the
- Vitamin D
- Prolonged periodontal disease
What’s in Hills kidney care food?
Unfortunately, nothing that’s going to support their overall health.
There are a few problems with the ingredients in Hill’s Kidney care dog food:
- Long shelf life dog food
- High in human waste ingredients, animal by-products.
- Generic Recipe formulation
- No variation by stage (not all stages should be managed the same).
What are animal by-products?
The eight causes of canine kidney disease in dogs, does Hill’s renal food address these causes?
- Overall bodily inflammation – Inflammation reduction requires a natural, fresh and correctly balanced diet. Not a long shelf life processed food, which in fact will have the opposite effect.
- Increased waste in the food – Processed food made in massive factories is much higher in waste products, synthetic additives when heated create waste.
- Gut Microbiome dysbiosis (wrong diet) – A natural balance of the gut microbiome can only be achieved with a natural fresh food diet.
- Chronic bacterial infection – Bacteria levels are managed by the gut microbiome and the food that nourishes it.
- High blood pressure – High blood pressure levels come from too high carb diets and low quality fats, which can be found in this food.
- Congenital or at birth malformation of the kidneys – this is extremely unlucky, but fresh food support is vital.
- Vitamin D deficiency – Hill’s dog food has killed dogs before due to vitamin D toxicity.
- Prolonged periodontal disease – Kibble gets stuck in a dogs teeth (if you’ve ever eaten a biscuit you’ll know that you have to use your finger to get rid of the remnants. Processed wet food has more waste that stains the teeth.
How does kidney care food work?
Hills kidney care dog food might reduce certain markers in the blood test as it’s highly restrictive; creatinine, phosphorus, calcium etc. But there is a consequence to such high levels of protein and nutrient restriction. Your dog will likely suffer in other areas of their health E.g. the low quality and extremely low quantity of protein will reduce creatinine in the short term, but could easily cause reduced mobility, skin issues, hair loss etc. in the future.
This is also not a recommended option for earlier stage dogs at all, who don’t need such high levels of restriction. The reason why Hill’s have chosen to be so limiting in nutrients is so all dogs, at any stage, show a decline in blood markers, causing vets and owners to assume it’s working.
The truth is, you’re wasting around £10 per 1kg or $14 per 1kg on a generic food, high in human waste ingredients, in a smelly and bland meal that’s not really any different to a normal dog food.
If you want the best nutrition for your dog, please get my Homemade Renal Diets for Dogs Recipe Book.
Hill’s is actually made by Colgate, not known for their health food products
Why do Veterinarians recommend Hill’s Kidney Care Dog Food?
In the UK there are seven universities offering degrees in veterinary science. Nutrition however, plays a minor role in their education.
The average Vet only receiving 19 hours of nutrition training for all animals.
I’ve spent around 900hrs learning about dog nutrition, just dogs.
A lack of education and chronic underfunding (or in some cases just greed), many universities are very open to external sources of revenue and are happy to accept ‘sponsorship’ from companies despite glaring conflicts of interest, has meant that over decades, The Big Three (Colgate, Mars and Nestle) have exploited this situation to develop ever closer ties with vet schools around the world, providing funding and education.
The Nutrition Textbooks
The most popular text on the subject, entitled “Small Animal Clinical Nutrition” is made by Hill’s. They also make the accompanying “Quick Consult” guide and the “Key to Clinical Nutrition”. Royal Canin’s best-known texts are the Encyclopedia of Canine Clinical Nutrition and the Encyclopedia of Feline Clinical Nutrition.
It probably won’t surprise you to hear that these texts are not what most people would call ‘impartial’ on the subject of pet food.
As an example, the Canine Encyclopaedia dedicates more space to promoting Soy Protein Isolate Hydrolysate (a common Royal Canin ingredient) than it does to exploring the entire subject of home-preparing a fresh food diet.
The very last sentence in the entire textbook perfectly summarises how Royal Canin consider your sick pets: “Ideally, space should be organized in such a way that owners are led to buy a new supply of food for their dog, and even to buy new products for the dog that they have not seen before (e.g., chewing bars for dental hygiene)”.
This book is one of the primary sources of information on pet nutrition for vets. Unfortunately, your Vet knows little to nothing about nutrition.
Legal action against prescription pet food
Because the foods are so low quality, their association with Vets is being considered as deceptive and their marketing as being different to normal dog foods, as fraudulent.
MOORE V. MARS PETCARE US – California Court of Appeals 2020
The panel concluded that under the reasonable consumer test, plaintiffs sufficiently alleged that the sale of the prescription pet food exclusively through vets or with veterinarian approval was a deceptive practice.
Also, plaintiffs satisfied the heightened pleading standard for fraud because they alleged sufficient facts to show that prescription pet food and other pet food were not materially different.”
Food Recalls – it get’s worse.
In 2019, Hills had one of the biggest food recalls ever. Around 22 million cans of their food had to be recalled because Vitamin D levels in tested lots were 33 times the recommended safe limit.
Attorney Nyran Rose Rasch – “We believe that hundreds, if not thousands, of pets have died or become seriously ill as a result of eating Hill’s foods with toxic levels of Vitamin D,”
The FDA investigation found that the vitamin premix had not been analysed and that the final product had not been tested to determine that it met Hill’s specific formulation. Plus, Hill’s failed to obtain certificates of analysis from the supplier of the vitamin.
Are these diets really formulated with your dog’s best interest at heart?
Your next steps
The power of food is that it can make a dog healthier. Just like with us humans, when we start eating a super healthy diet, it undoes the damage of an unhealthy diet.
Read my blog post on making homemade diets for dogs with kidney disease.
Or check out my specifically formulated recipe book, for every dog and their specific stage.
The healthiest and most cost effective way to feed your dog is homemade food.