Foods That Cause Kidney Failure In Dogs: Best Diet Plans

Kidney or renal failure, which refers to the kidney’s inability to filter waste products from the blood, is a severe concern for dogs.

Different causes contribute to the malfunction of kidneys and related organs. Food is inclusive. So what are foods that cause kidney failure in dogs?

The condition of canine kidney health is greatly influenced by dietary intake.

However, it is not so rare for some pet owners to give their pups little treats without awareness of their potential toxicity.

Below is a list of foods to avoid, along with symptoms of kidney problems and my suggestion on how to feed dogs with kidney diseases.

What Are Foods That Cause Kidney Failure In Dogs?

foods that cause kidney failure in dogs

Your dog might confront a risk of kidney failure if fed one of the following foods: grapes (raisins), too salty foods, gain mold, high-carb diets, chocolate, garlic, onion, chives, foods with additives and chemicals, etc.

Grapes & Raisins

Grapes and raisins are always the first names that pop up in my mind whenever I am asked what foods cause kidney failure in dogs.


Grapes are highly fatal for dogs. Consumption of this fruit potentially results in acute kidney failure in dogs, not to mention serious damage to their liver.

So, no matter how much you love grapes, never feed them to your little friend, even a single bite. This also holds true for raisins – basically dried grapes – and any treats containing this ingredient.

High-Sodium Foods

It is common knowledge that high salt intake is harmful to human kidneys. This is true for dogs, too.

Redundant salt hinders the kidneys from absorbing water, which strains the kidneys and increases blood pressure.

Consequently, your pet’s health is potentially threatened by not only reduced kidney function but also cardiovascular diseases.

High-Starch Diets (Including Corn On The Cob)

Diets with excessive content of carbohydrates can promote calcium oxalate and struvite crystals building up in the bladder.

With this condition, your dog might have difficulty in urination.

Prolonged consumption of cereal-based or manufactured dry pet food will likely harm canine kidneys over time.

Grain Mold

Mold is another lethal enemy for your puppy’s kidneys, directly responsible for mycotoxicosis in dogs.

A potent substance called ochratoxin (OTA) produced by Penicillium and Aspergillus in moldy foods poses negative effects on kidney function.

Surprisingly, these harmful factors can be present not only in the grain, the main ingredients used in industrial feed production but also in any kind of canned foods that are improperly stored.


Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, can cause kidney poisoning in dogs.

The main culprit is a stimulant called theobromine which damages the kidney cells.

A dog eating chocolate might get some symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, pancreatitis, high blood pressure, and more severe conditions.

The same result happens if dogs ingest some common household drugs like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

That’s why I always try to block my dog from approaching these threats.

Foods Packed With Additives And Chemicals

An undeniable fact is that hardly any dry dog food does not contain preservatives and colorants.

A wide range of industrial chemicals must be filtered out by the kidneys when dogs eat bowls of all-in-one pellets for days, leaving them at high risk of chronic kidney failure.

Another artificial sweetener, xylitol, is also extremely fatal to your dog. Hence, remember to carefully check all ingredients on dry food packs or dental products before adding them to your cart.

Besides, alcohol and uncooked yeast should be kept from the reach of dogs with kidney disease; otherwise, they might suffer from vomiting, bloated stomach, seizures, difficulty breathing, or even death.

Onion, Chives & Garlic

Although these seasonings contribute to a more flavorful dish, you’d better eliminate them from your pet’s meals.

Garlic, onions, and others in the allium family contain thiosulfate, which is toxic to pooches due to anemia and damage to red blood cells.


A toxin called persin present in avocado seeds, skin, and leaves may cause a risk of gastrointestinal obstruction and diseased kidneys when ingested by a dog.

Although a small amount of avocado flesh poses no serious harm to your dog, it is advisable not to feed it with this fatty fruit regularly.

Hard-To-Digest Cooked Meat Or Cooked Bones

It is hard to say no to a dog’s temptation of cooked meat or bones.

However, be conscious of feeding this treat to your pet.

The glomerular filtration rates of canine kidneys can be gradually reduced if consuming heavily processed and cooked meat for a long time.

Meanwhile, cooked bones bring no special nutrients but a risk of getting choked or injuries to the gut system because of sharp broken shards.

Macadamia Nuts

Scientists have been examining the possibility of macadamia as a dog food causing kidney failure.

However, there are certain findings of macadamia nut poisoning in dogs, which can result in muscle weakness, lethargy, fever, vomiting, and tremors.

Symptoms of Kidney Failure In Dogs

what foods cause kidney failure in dogs

Here are some common and significant clinical signs indicating a potential dog with renal disease:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Abnormally excessive/decreased urination
  • Unreasonable weight loss
  • Decreased appetite
  • Blood in urine
  • Lethargy
  • Strange smells of breath
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

Symptoms of renal disease in dogs may depend on whether it is an acute kidney failure or chronic kidney failure.

Chronic kidney disease can be subtle and often neglected as it slowly progresses from mild to severe stages of kidney disease for months or years.

Diagnosis of kidney failure in dogs must be made by professional veterinarians who are capable of identifying how the progression of kidney disease is.

So, if you notice one of the listed symptoms above in your pup, an appointment for blood tests is essential.

Dogs’ Diets To Avoid Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is one of the most severe concerns for dogs.

Fortunately, the risk can be mitigated if they are nurtured with a properly balanced and healthy diet.

Keep reading to learn how to avoid kidney disease in dogs through nutritional changes.


Nutrition plays a big role in both the prevention and treatment of kidney failure in dogs, with the main and simple rule being to avoid all bad foods for dogs with kidney disease.

Requirements of kidney-friendly meals for canines can be summarized into the key checklist as follows:

  • Sodium: Reduce sodium content in foods. The recommended intake of salt is less than 1 mg sodium per kcal.

You can consider feeding your dog green beans or sun-dried tomatoes as an alternative to salty processed treats like cheese, ham, and sausages.

  • Phosphorus & Protein: Diets low in phosphate and moderate in protein are proven to do good for the renal function of dogs. Pay attention to protein quality, too.
  • Fatty acids: Increased provision of Omega-3 fatty acids helps to lower inflammation and enhance renal performance.

Homemade diets are also game changers. Spend time preparing fresh foods for your pet in addition to dry dog food, if possible.

Water Intake

Like humans, sufficient hydration is strongly advisable not only for dogs’ kidney health but also for their overall wellness.

In addition to good kidney diets for dogs, ensure that your dog drinks plenty of water daily, especially if it is physically active.


dog food causing kidney failure

What Fruits Can I Feed My Dog With Kidney Problems?

Not only a dog with renal failure but normal pups are advised to eat watermelons, apples, bananas, green beans, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, and blueberries.

But NEVER give dogs grapes and raisins which cause deadly kidney damage.

Are Eggs Ok For Dogs With Kidney Disease?

Generally, eggs are fine for dogs with kidney failure but should only be fed in moderation because the egg yolk contains a certain amount of phosphorus.

But things are a bit complicated when combining bacon and eggs – a staple breakfast that you’ll be likely to give your pooch – since bacon is considered a high-sodium food.

Click here for more details on feeding bacon and eggs to dogs.

What Are The Causes Of Kidney Failure In Dogs Besides Food?

A dog’s improper renal function can derive from several other causes than common food intake.

Bacterial infections, hereditary/congenital conditions, kidney cell death due to natural aging, ingestion of ethylene glycol (found in antifreeze), etc., are a few to name.


For now, you have gained certain knowledge of foods that cause kidney failure in dogs.

If your dog ingests one of the foods and has any sign of kidney failure listed above, bring it to a vet immediately for diagnosis and treatment.Also, prevention is better than cure.

Consider consulting with a pet nutritionist for suggestions on how to keep dogs’ kidneys healthy.


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Hi I am Mitchell. Dog Growth is a blog about dog caring and training where I share my experiences to my community. Hope you enjoy it!

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