Kidney Failure in Dogs

Updated: April 27, 2022

The kidneys serve many important functions - they balance out several substances in the blood and filter out body waste. They sustain proper levels of salt in the body, help control blood pressure, and stimulate red blood cell production. When kidney function is compromised, toxins can build up. There are a lot of possible kidney problems in dogs, that if left untreated, can lead to kidney failure.

Luckily, there are a lot of research out there, too, that can help educate pet parents about kidney health in dogs, the causes & symptoms of kidney failure in dogs, and what to do about the signs of kidney problems in dogs to prevent it from worsening.

How Dogs Develop Kidney Problems

What causes kidney failure in dogs and how do dogs get kidney failure? There are different types of kidney problems in dogs that can develop.

"The treatment for kidney failure in dogs depends on the type, causes, your furbaby’s age, and overall health condition."

First, acute kidney failure. This happens fast. The causes of acute kidney failure in dogs are usually the ingestion of harmful substances. Toxins, certain medications, certain foods, and other substances can all cause acute kidney failure. Other reasons can also include urinary obstructions and infections that decrease the flow of oxygen and blood to the kidneys.

According to experts at the Marietta Vet Clinic, dogs with acute kidney failure may have a variety of problems. Some common symptoms of acute kidney failure in dogs include excessive thirst and excessive amount of pee on the onset of the early stages. Later on acute kidney failure in dogs can cause a loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, and decreased peeing to loss of ability to pee occurs.

There is also chronic kidney disease. This type of kidney failure takes time to develop and it is usually harder to determine the cause. The causes of chronic kidney disease in dogs are believed to be of hereditary and congenital states. Some causes are also considered to be because of dental diseases caused by bacteria. These bacteria are able to penetrate your furbaby’s bloodstream and attack vital organs like the liver, heart, and yes, kidneys!

Some of the clinical signs of chronic kidney disease in dogs include general depression related to the elevation of waste products in the blood, increased volume of pee that may worsen into incontinence, particularly at night, anemia, excessive thirst, and lethargy.

Signs of Kidney Failure in Dogs

The following are the signs of kidney failure in dogs to watch out for to know if something is off about your furbaby’s kidney functions. If you notice any of these symptoms of kidney failure in dogs, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

  • Change in water consumption
  • Very little or too much volume of urine produced
  • Decrease or total loss of appetite
  • Straining while urinating
  • Cries in pain while urinating
  • Visible signs of discomfort while urinating
  • Presence of blood in the urine
  • Bad breath (chemical-like smell)
  • Presence of ulcers and sores in the mouth
  • Pale gums
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Lethargy and weakness
signs of kidney failure in dogs

The Treatment and Management for Kidney Failure in Dogs

Acute Kidney Failure

The treatment for kidney failure in dogs depends on the type, causes, your furbaby’s age, and overall health condition. If your furbaby suffers from acute kidney failure, they may need:

  • hospitalization until they get better
  • intravenous fluid therapy to hydrate the dog’s body and dilute out of the toxins, giving the kidneys some time to recover
  • antibiotics

Chronic Kidney Failure

If your furbaby is suffering from chronic kidney failure, treatment is geared towards slowing down the progress of the disease and improving your furbaby’s quality of life. Initial treatment and management also include proper nutrition. Dialysis can also be a possible treatment. Depending on the condition of your dog, they may also be given treatment for anemia, electrolyte disturbances, and blood pressure alterations.

Things You Can Do

If you see the signs of kidney failure in dogs in your own furbaby, here are a few ways you can them to keep up their quality of life.

Give regular potty breaks. Your dog suffering from kidney problems will be needing more potty breaks. If you’re busy, you can ask a family member, friendly neighbor, or petsitter to help out. You can also have your dog wear Pet Parents® Washable Dog Diapers so they can relieve themselves whenever they need to, and you no longer have to worry about any messy accidents. Note: As your dog pees every now and then, be sure to always check the diapers if they are full. Replace every 4 hours or as necessary.

Ensure proper hydration. This is very important. Be sure to always provide your dog with fresh water and make sure it’s placed in accessible areas in your house. A good rule of the thumb: Your dog needs at least an ounce of water for every pound of body weight they have. So, if you have a 20-pound dog, they will need at least 20 ounces of water every day.

Provide good nutrition. The role of nutrition for kidney failure in dogs is very essential. Managing electrolyte balance and blood proteins are only a few of the functions of the kidneys. Making sure your dog has all of the nutrients they need will either help the kidneys' function or make the kidneys’ job a whole lot easier.

With this comes providing your dog supplements that help support kidney and urinary health. Adding Pet Parents® Bladder SoftSupps® into the healthy and balanced diet of your furbaby (especially the ones coping with kidney issues) is very helpful. These supplement chews for dogs also support kidney health and can be given to dogs to help prevent kidney problems.

These supplements contain organic licorice root that supports normal kidney detoxification. It also enhances the production and interferon of T-cells (procedures that are necessary for liver and kidney health and protection). Pet Parents® Bladder SoftSupps® also contain D-mannose, a simple sugar known to be effective in helping prevent infections because it attaches to the bacteria, causing them to stick to each other and preventing them from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract and kidneys.

Also, don't forget the Gnawtlers® in your pet's first aid kit! Treats are a great way to distract and keep your dog calm when wounded. Giving premium antler chews to your pet is very helpful to keep her busy especially when you’re cleaning the affected area, bandaging or transporting him to the vet.

After accidents occur, think about the recovery. Consult your vet for the best advice but consider how Pet Parents® supplements can help. Our 5-in-1 Multi-vitamin can help better your dogs overall health. Whether it’s to promote skin coat health, hip joint support, immune intestinal function or to help maintain heart health, our dog multivitamin chews have your furbaby covered.

"Adding Pet Parents® Bladder SoftSupps® into the healthy and balanced diet of your furbaby (especially the ones coping with kidney issues) is very helpful. These supplement chews for dogs also support kidney health."

Kidney problems in dogs can be scary for pet parents. But knowing the signs and symptoms of kidney failure in dogs can help you catch it early and provide the best treatment. If your furbaby's kidney functions are impaired, it can negatively affect our dog’s quality of life. But with your veterinarian's assistance and your will to do everything you can for your dog, a long life for your pup is still a possibility. Kidney failure in dogs is a great challenge but as motivated pet parents, we don’t just give up on our dogs and we’ll do everything to give them a happier, healthier life. So, consult your vet and work with your dog to keep them comfortable.