Dog Kidney Failure | Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment

It is so sad to know that our furry little friends and companions can undergo illnesses such as kidney failure. Understanding the signs and symptoms and what causes this uncomfortable situation will help you combat the disease and see your buddy smile. This guide gives you all you need to know about kidney failure signs and symptoms.

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What Are The Types of Kidney Failure in Dogs?

Dog Kidney Failure

Majorly, there are two categories of kidney failure seen in dogs;

#1. Chronic Kidney Failure 

When a dog’s kidney gradually loses its function over a period of weeks, months, or years, renal failure is said to be chronic. Usually, chronic kidney failure in dogs is caused by degeneration which is associated with aging and many dogs do not fully recover it. So most pet owners resort to managing the disease till they die. 

#2. Acute Kidney Failure 

Acute kidney failure differs from the chronic type because it is characterized by a sudden decrease in kidney function over a period of hours or days. Usually, it is caused by ingesting toxic substances or infection. Unlike chronic Kidney failure, acute kidney failure can be treated if diagnosed and treated early.

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What Causes Kidney Failure In Dogs?

Anything that decreases blood flow through the kidney can cause kidney failure. So here are some of the few causes of kidney problems in dogs;

  • Heatstroke
  • Dehydration
  • Dental disease 
  • Congenital causes
  • Bacterial infections
  • Urinary obstruction.
  • Geriatric degeneration 
  • Severe vomiting and diarrhea
  • Disorders such as bee stings or snakebites
  • Ingesting a toxin such as antifreeze, household cleaners, or bad food.  

What Are The Early Symptoms of Kidney Failure in Dogs?

Dogs experiencing renal failure undergo a lot of pain which affects them and 70% of the time distorts their body functions. 

The first clinical signs they show are increased water consumption and urination which is often referred to as compensated renal failure. 

Following this for 2 to 3 days is a rapid rise in waste products in the bloodstream and an apparent sudden onset of severe disease. After this the dogs will start showing the following symptoms;

  • Pale gums.
  • Weight loss.
  • Muscle cramps
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Chemical smell to the breath.
  • Significant loss of appetite.
  • Swelling in feet and ankles
  • Loss of balance, or stumbling.

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What Are The Final Signs Of Kidney Failure In Dogs?

When the kidney disease has advanced to a great degree, some of the early symptoms may escalate and the dog may show additional signs that will let you know that the disease has advanced.

At this point, you may notice signs such as:

  • Lethargy.
  • Pale gums.
  • Blood in the urine.
  • Intestinal seizures
  • Ulcers in the mouth.
  • Significant weight loss.
  • Significant decrease in appetite.
  • Drunken behavior or uncoordinated movement such as stumbling.

How Long Does A Dog Live With Kidney Failure?

Depending on the stage of kidney disease, the length of the duration of survival may differ. In other words, how long a dog with kidney failure will live depends on the severity of the disease. 

Dogs at the last stage of kidney failure have a shorter median survival time. On a general note, the median survival time for IRIS Stage 1 dogs is over 400 days, Stage 2 dogs live for about 200 to 400 days, Stage 3 dogs on the other hand live for about 110 to 200 days, and Stage 4 dogs live for about 14 to 80 days.

Can a Dog Recover From Kidney Failure?

70% of the time, dogs with acute renal failure do not survive except for the interception of early and aggressive treatment.

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What Can I Give My Dog To Improve Kidney Function?

If you notice your dogs showing signs of kidney failure, you should introduce Omega-3 fatty acids to their foods. This has been shown to help slow the progression of chronic kidney disease in dogs. Omega-3 fatty acid reduces the production of inflammatory compounds that create oxidative stress on the kidneys.

What Should Dog Showing Signs Of Kidney Failure Avoid?

Dogs showing signs of kidney failure should avoid foods high in salt or sodium content. High sodium diets and treats may increase blood pressure and may worsen kidney damage.

How Do I Prevent Kidney Failure in Dogs?

To prevent acute kidney failure prevent your dogs from consuming toxins, tainted foods, or foods they shouldn’t ingest, such as grapes or chocolate. Also, do all you can do to keep toxic substances out of your dog’s reach.

On the other hand, there is nothing much you can do about Chronic kidney failure because it is age-related and predetermined by genetics.

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No one loves to see their dogs suffer in pain due to kidney failure. Do all you can to prevent and if peradventure occurs, aggressively treat it.


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