Some of you are aware that my beautiful girl Tia was recently diagnosed with kidney disease. Tia is a cavalier cross and is a sweet 13 year old little diva that captivates you with those beautiful big eyes.

We started to see changes in her behaviour that didn’t make sense around the end of 2023. The changes we were seeing were things like:

  • Fussy with her food
  • Wanting to be alone and barking until she was allowed upstairs
  • Pulling dog beds and blankets (whatever she could touch on the floor) and dragging them around
  • No longer sleeping on our bed
  • Being unsettled and panting a lot
  • Waking up during the night wanting to go outside
  • Going to the toilet inside
  • Seeming anxious and out of sorts

We were worried it might be doggy dementia and weren’t sure what to do.

So, I reached out to a dog behaviourist and she also thought the same thing based on the videos I sent to her. She then referred me to a vet that specialised in both the medical and behavioural side.

We started with a telecall to talk about Tia’s issues and then Dr Jess did a home visit to do a full physical on her. She took blood and we also had to collect urine for analysis

I was really surprised to hear that she suspected she had kidney disease. I would never have thought her behaviour changes were the result of something like that.

He bloodwork revealed what Jess had suspected and she had Stage 1 kidney disease. The good news was we not only had a diagnosis but it was treatable and she could live with this for years with the right treatment.

Now this is an emotional journey. Having had 3 dogs that have passed, one of which had kidney failure due to the drugs he was on to treat his heart issues, this shit is hard. You only want what is best for your baby and I felt like I want to fix her so she can live her happiest and healthiest life.

So next steps were to start her on some medication to clear up the infection and try to change her kidney levels as well as a change in diet.

Now comes the most challenging part. The diet ….

There is soooo much information on Google but it is all conflicting.  One website would say she can have this food then another website would so she couldn’t so it was super confusing. Even the info from the vet was the same. OMG how could I work this out? It was sooo frustrating and confusing.

After buying the recommended Renal diet (both wet and dry types) that she initially started to eat then decided, nope, this is not for me. The novelty of it wore off very quickly. Then trying to get her to eat was one of the biggest struggles. Typically she wanted everything she wasn’t supposed to have.

It was suggested that we slowly changed her diet and introduce the renal type foods over time. Sounds easy enough right?

After a couple of weeks, I knew that it wasn’t working so I reached out to a dog nutritionist I had interviewed for the Pawsitively Spoilt podcast. She was great and come back to me with a diet that was suited to her health issues.

We were told she could have kangaroo, duck and chicken, various plant foods and supplements as well as a special home-made bone broth.

So I sourced all the meat products, placed an order for all the right veges, bought the supplements, made the bone broth (Shayne did that part) and started the diet. Every day is an experiment to see what she will eat and not eat. She is not fussed on raw meat so we are introducing this slowly. She seems to like the bone broth (and the bone mouse we made from the soft bones) and that is really good for all the dogs, so that was a positive. Some mornings she eats all her food and other mornings she eats a fraction of it. Same as dinner time.

She also suggested giving her alkaline water so we bought a special filter jug just for her and not only is she enjoying that water, but we are also.

The good news is we are starting to see pawsitive changes in her behaviour (thankfully)

  • She is spending more time downstairs with us
  • She is sometimes sleeping on the bed (this is a girl who didn’t want to get off our bed in the past)
  • She is not peeing inside
  • There is less dragging of the beds & blankets (although still doing it)
  • She is sleeping through the night and is calm and comfortable
  • She seems less anxious overall

If you had told me that kidney disease caused many of the symptons she had I would told you that you were crazy. It seems so strange to me that it cause the types of changes in behaviour that it did.

We have the specialist doing a house call this week so will update you on her progress. I cannot thank Dr Jess from Synergy Veterinary Behaviour Solutions enough for the prompt and caring service she has provided to us.

Tia is such a sweet girl and everyone who meets her falls love with her (even the vet and vet nurse did in minutes)

I will continue to do everything I can to give her the best life and keep my little angel happy and healthy. Because being a dog owner is furever and that is just what you do.