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, causing it to not function well. There are lots of possible kidney problems that if left untreated, can lead to kidney failure.
Luckily, there is a lot of research out there to help educate pet parents about kidney health in our pets, the causes & symptoms of kidney problems, and what we can do about it.
How Dogs Develop Kidney Problems
There are different types of kidney failure that can develop in your fur-baby.
First, acute kidney failure. This happens fast. This is where dogs develop acute kidney problems as a result of ingesting harmful substances like toxins, certain medications, certain foods, etc. Other reasons can also include urinary obstructions and infections that decreases the flow of oxygen and blood to the kidneys.
There is also chronic kidney disease. This type of kidney failure takes time to develop and it is usually harder to determine the cause. These causes 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 fur-baby’s bloodstream and attack vital organs like the liver, heart, and yes, kidneys!
Ways to Tell If your Dog has Kidney Problems
The following are the signs to observe and watch out for to know if something is off about your fur-baby’s kidney functions:
- 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)
- Presence of ulcers and sores in the mouth
- Pale gums
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Lethargy and weakness
The Treatment and Management for Kidney Failure in Dogs
Acute Kidney Failure
The treatment for kidney failure in dogs depends on the type, causes, and your fur-baby’s age and overall health condition. If your fur-baby suffers from acute kidney failure, he may need:
- hospitalization until he gets better
Chronic Kidney Failure
If your fur-baby is suffering from chronic kidney failure, treatment is geared towards slowing down the progress of the disease and improving your pup’s quality of life. Dialysis can also be a possible treatment. Depending, too, on the condition of your dog, he may also be given treatment for anemia, electrolyte disturbances, and blood pressure alterations.
Things You Can Do
There are also other ways you can better the life of your pup:
Give regular potty breaks. Your dog with kidney disease will be needing more potty breaks. If you’re busy, you can ask a family member or a friendly neighbor to help out. You can also have your dog wear washable diapers so he can relieve himself when he needs to, but you do not 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 when deemed 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 an accessible area.
Provide good nutrition. The role of nutrition for kidney failure in dogs is very essential. Managing electrolyte balance and blood proteins are a few of the functions of the kidneys. Making sure your dog has all of the nutrients he needs 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® Supplements for Bladder and Kidney Support into the healthy and balanced diet of your fur-baby (especially the ones coping with kidney issues) is very helpful.
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 & kidney health and protection). These also have 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.
With your veterinarian's assistance and your will to do everything for your dog, a long life for your pup is a possibility. Kidney failure in dogs is a great challenge but as motivated pet parents like us, we don’t just give up on our dogs and we’ll do everything to give them a healthier life.