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Kidney Failure in Dogs | When Should One Make the Hard Choice?

Dogs are one of the most loved pets; thus, considering all medical procedures and treatments is crucial when they suffer from kidney failure. Dog kidney failure when to euthanize? the Knowledge about the disease and its aspects can help to make a better choice in deciding the course of action, which is, on many occasions, to euthanize. Putting down one’s dog to sleep is not only an emotionally traumatizing situation but also an ethical dilemma. Recognizing early signs can help take precautions and provide the earliest critical care to the dog, which can help prevent making this hard choice.

What is Kidney Failure in Dogs?

The first task is to understand what is kidney disease in dogs. Kidney disease is perhaps one of the dogs’ most common and fatal conditions. Kidney disease eventually leads to kidney failure, a condition when the kidney cannot filter out impurities, and waste products from blood can be acute or chronic, depending upon the nature of the reason. As the name suggests, acute kidney failure is a sudden, painful situation that may arise due to infection or the accumulation of toxins. This can occur over hours or days.

Chronic kidney disease symptoms are a gradual deterioration of the renal due to geriatric degeneration or congenital disease. A healthy kidney maintains water balance, realises hormones, filters blood, removes waste products and balances electrolytes. Kidney failure is a disruption in these functions, which can accumulate waste products and toxins despite a heavy discharge of urine.

Signs of Kidney Failure in Dogs

Kidney disease in dogs and its failure have apparent signs and symptoms which should not be ignored. It would be better to seek immediate veterinary care. It is possible to trace the symptoms of kidney failure in dogs in dogs in stages. As the pet drinks more water and urinates more during compensated acute renal failure in dogs, this is the earliest stage of the disease. Since a major part of kidney failure occurs at this stage, there is a severe and fast accumulation of waste products which eventually leads to successive dog kidney failure symptoms. Below are some of the common signs of kidney failure in dogs:

  • Blood in urine
  • Pale gum, ulcers
  • Bad breath
  • Decreased appetite and subsequent weight loss
  • High blood pressure
  • Slow heart rate
  • Nausea and vomiting
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Generally, there are 4 dog kidney failure stages. With every successive stage, the symptoms become more severe and obvious. Acute kidney failure, on the other hand, has sudden, severe symptoms that become evident very early on.

When to Euthanize a Dog with Kidney Disease?

The toughest part of this disease for the pet owner is to decide kidney failure in dogs when to euthanize. Kidney failure can aggravate with time, and the eventual course of action might not be a good enough solution to treat the dog. When all dog treatments get exhausted, and the situation seems to worsen rather than get any better, one might consult the vet about last days dogs with kidney failure for euthanizing the pet. Though the choice of euthanizing the dog can be a hard decision, one can prepare themselves to do it since the advancement of symptoms takes time. Chronic dog kidney disease symptoms, mostly incurable, show their progression over the years. Most importantly, a combination of situations like

  • loss of appetite in your dog
  • their reduced movement
  • increased suffering

This may lead to euthanizing the dog as the only possible solution.

Diagnosis of Kidney Failure

There are a few treatments available to treat acute and chronic kidney failure in dogs. But before jumping into the position of providing treatment, a proper diagnosis is the initial step taken to understand the nature of kidney failure, its causes and any additional medical condition. This involves blood and urine tests and can also include radiography, ultrasound and biopsy to gauge the reason for kidney failure. Despite these tests, the exact reason might not be captured, but the symptoms can help the veterinary to prescribe the treatment.

Dog Kidney Failure Treatment and Precautions

During acute kidney failure, IV fluid therapy is one of the best treatments available for balancing the dog’s hydration levels while flushing out toxins. In addition to that, medications are being prescribed to cure infections due to bacterial and fungal growth. Temporary feeding tubes can provide nutrition to the healing dog, and proper clinical checkups and monitoring are necessary steps to manage blood sugar levels, blood pressure and heart rate. Advanced dog kidney failure treatments also include Peritoneal Dialysis and Hemodialysis.

In the case of chronic kidney failure, the symptoms might appear in the later stages since it’s a slow degeneration of kidney tissues. But with proper care, nutritional diet like most nutritious dry dog food, hydration and medical treatment, the dog can lead a healthy life for months and even years, prolonging its lifespan. The treatment for chronic kidney failure happens in two stages, with the first stage involving flushing out toxins through a process called diuresis, which removes unwanted metabolites. This might help kidney recover their normal functioning, but there is no guarantee.

Thus, the second depends on this outcome and involves therapeutic diets, drugs to bind phosphate, home fluid therapy and drugs to regulate the parathyroid gland and increase blood cell levels. These are ways of recovery and prolonging the lives of dogs, which might not necessarily cure the disease but help relieve some pain and increase the lifespan. (Separate the diagnosis and treatment part with subheadings)

The Way Ahead

Taking care of one’s pet becomes altogether more important when they are prone to such a fatal situation. While chronic kidney disease might go unnoticed, a healthy diet, balanced lifestyle, proper diagnosis and medical treatment can improve the situation. Euthanizing the dog might still be necessary, and dog owners should be prepared to take that path. Delaying the end won’t help with the suffering of your beloved pet, and it might be the only way out. Pet owners should also seek support to move on with the loss of their dog.


The decision of dog kidney failure when to euthanize is a difficult one for any pet owner to make. Nonetheless, it is important to make this decision based on the dog’s individual needs and their quality of life. If you are facing this decision, we hope that our guide has helped you to make the best possible choice for your beloved pet.