Dog kidney failure when to euthanize

Albeit of the fact that dogs are of different species, their body functions are very much similar to that of human beings. Like all other remaining organs, dogs also have kidneys who play a prime role in their survival.

A dog’s kidneys are there for various essential functions like fluid maintenance, production of red blood cells, controlling blood pressure, and importantly for the removal of wastes and toxins.

Any malfunctioning in this important organ and will have a domino effect on your dog’s overall health.

Are you curious about what causes kidney failure in dogs?

Kidney failure in dogs is mainly of two types, Acute and Chronic. Both are life-threatening but chronic kidney failure develops slowly, while acute happens quickly in few days.

Causes of acute kidney failure

Many things can cause acute kidney failures, but most frequently acute failures are attributed to ingestion of poisons like antifreeze, house cleaners, and even bad food.

Some other causes of acute kidney failure are

  • Severe dehydration
  • Heat strokes
  • Leptospirosis (a bacterial infection)
  • Bites from snakes

One other common cause of acute failure is urinary obstruction. It happens due to a decrease in blood flow, providing less oxygen to kidneys and leaving them more prone to infections.

Causes of chronic kidney failure

Whilst acute problems develop rapidly and exact cause can be known. Chronic kidney failure develops slowly over time and its exact cause is difficult to pinpoint. Most of the time the early signs are also ignored due to their mild nature.

As per some studies, one leading cause of chronic kidney failure is Dental disease. Bacteria that build up on your dog’s teeth can go into the digestive system while your dog is eating or drinking.

These bacteria can lessen the function of your dog’s kidneys over time. Over a long period, these will cause permanent failure. Chronic kidney failure has 4 stages depending upon the severity of the disease.   

Dog kidney failure when to euthanize?

In case you do not know what exactly euthanizing a pet is. Euthanize or euthanasia is also known as mercy killing. In simple words, it is an act or practice of humanely killing those who have an incurable and painful disease, in a less painful manner.

Now after you know, the question is when to euthanize a dog?  The simplest answer is, after exhausting all the possible medical options and having zero progress. Nearing the prognosis may be the right time to euthanize.

One prominent sign is that when your dog is suffering is from constant pain and you are not able to soothe him. Most probably, it is the time when your pet stops eating and drinking.

If your still unsure to take any step. You can simply assess the future and predict what can happen. However, if your companion is suffering from a lack of self-restraint with no hope and fight left. It is certainly the right time to put your dog to sleep.

What are dog kidney failure symptoms?

Here are some signs of kidney failure in dogs

  • Lethargy
  • Significant weight loss
  • Mouth ulcer
  • Vomiting
  • Blood in urine
  • Un-usual water intake
  • Less appetite
  • Breath that smells like chemicals
  • Intestinal seizures

Apart from these symptoms of renal failure in dogs, Other diseases like diabetes mellitus are also associated with dog kidney failure. However, the type of kidney failure, the extent of damage done, and what’s next will help you identify the exact cause.

Other than these symptoms that one can notice are some non-obvious symptoms like abdominal pain and back pain that will only reflect in your dog’s overall energy and well-being.

Here are dog kidney failure treatments

Like all other medical treatments, the first step in the treatment of kidney problems in dogs will be assessing the cause. For this purpose, your vet will question you about what signs or symptoms lead to it.

After all the assessments or tests if required, the treatment would begin. In some cases, damage done from acute failure is more easily treated than those who may require treatment in intensive care units.

 On the contrary, chronic damage might be irreversible unless diagnosed in the earliest stages. For dogs having irreversible chronic kidney failures, vets focus on slowing the disease and improving the quality of remaining time.

Treatments may include

  • Dialysis
  • Fluid therapy
  • Blood pressure management
  • Medicine for anemia
  • Medicine for ease digestion
  • Medicine to reduce vomiting

For some lucky souls, it is possible to live for years with proper treatment. In these cases, your vet may recommend more supplements, therapeutic diets, and nutrients to help.

Is a dog in pain when it has kidney failure?

When the kidneys become damaged, regardless of the fact that the disease is acute or chronic. Most probably, a dog might never have pain in the kidneys no matter how they got damaged.

Abdominal pain, back pain, and frequent urination are some of the obvious conditions that will affect a dog with kidney failure. Along with these, less appetite and excessive vomiting can result in weakness that can lead to lethargy.

So, it will not be wrong to say that a dog suffering from kidney failure will never suffer from direct pain in the kidney. While other pains are imminent as the condition worsens.

How long does a dog have to live with kidney failure?

This answer to this question lies directly in the extent of failure or damage a dog is suffering from. If the problem is acute, it is obviously treatable. While those suffering from chronic have very few probabilities of a complete recovery.

Those who are lucky enough to be diagnosed with chronic kidney failure in the early stages can live for years with proper aggressive treatment. It will also increase the quality of life your dog will spent. 

All these scenarios of medical courses are medically known as Prognosis. According to IRIS or International Renal Interest Society the survival time for the 4 stages as per the extent of disease, are different.

For dogs suffering from chronic kidney failure the survival time

Stage 1 was over 400 days

Stage 2 ranged from 200 to 400 days

Stage 3 ranged from 110 to 200 days

Stage 4 ranged from 14 to 80 days

Dogs with kidney disease not eating

Lack of appetite and reduction in intake of water and other fluids are prime symptoms of kidney failure. But, why are they? Might be the question in the minds of most owners.

Kidney failure is simply the dis-functioning of kidneys. In other words, the main function of kidneys is to filter the wastes and toxic substances from food, medications, and blood.

When all these wastes and toxins are not properly purified. They get accumulated inside the body. Without treatment, this accumulation inflates every passing moment and results in heaps of harmful toxins and wastes everywhere, including the stomach.

It all results in the reduction of appetite and fluids by the sufferer, simply because there is no space. One other factor is less digestion and abnormal Osmo-regularity in the body which means that already intakes are going nowhere.

For those thinking that a dog suffering from kidney failure is urinating a lot. So, how it accumulates? This frequent urination is comprising only water that is not filtered properly, which means loss of vital nutrients.

The question now is What to do when a dog with kidney failure is not eating? The answer is proper treatment. Those who are undergoing treatment will not have this problem often, because the treatment will include medications that will help in digestion and virtual functioning of kidneys.

Last days of a dog with kidney failure

Until this time, a dog would have suffered a lot in terms of pain and inability of doing things he normally did. The owner would also have seen enough and realize that chronic diseases are progressive and no cure is 100% substantial.

In the final stages or the last days of a canine kidney failure. You will notice a noticeable decrease in health, energy, and overall being. These are probably the times when the toxins have accumulated too much and the remaining nephrons have also given up.

These last days will provide many signs that your dog is gradually dying. What you can do is, continue along with the guidelines of your vet and provide proper interest to your dog.


A dog suffering from chronic kidney failure is a devastating prospect for any owner. However, proper and timely medication or treatment can enlengthen such a dog’s lifetime.

It is very important to regularly consult with your vet to do whatever possible. It is always better to assess the future yourself and take important steps regardless of the sentiments.

Make sure to be there till the end!

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