Kidney Failure In Dogs

Kidney Failure In Dogs

The kidneys have a fundamental function in the organism of dogs, including dogs. Generally, in adult dogs, they deteriorate and begin to no longer do their job of filtering and eliminating waste substances from the body well. But how can this deterioration of the kidneys be prevented? Some important tricks can save the life of our beloved Fido. When a dog suffers from kidney failure, it is important to contact your vet to prevent the situation from escalating immediately. In this article, you will get a complete guide about kidney failure in dogs.

Kidney failure in dogs: what it is

The degeneration of the kidneys, or the failure of them to function properly, favors the diffusion of waste substances. Free to circulate in the body since they remain trapped in it without exit according to the normal physiological expulsion. Normally the renal arteries carry blood to the kidneys. And the filtering action of the blood occurs through micro-filters called glomeruli. Blood cells and proteins remain in the blood, while the tubular cells divide water and mineral salts from the waste material. Which is excreted in the form of urine.

As in the renal system of the cat, also in the dog the kidneys. Therefore, have the function of cleaning the blood from waste, regulating the water and salt balance, the metabolism of vitamin D. As well as the osmotic pressure between tissues and blood, as well as producing a series of hormones. Kidney dysfunction is a pathology of the kidneys that retain waste substances, eliminating only water.

Kidney failure in dogs can be of two types: acute, or IRA, and chronic, or CRI. In the first case, the kidneys become blocked, and the dog has extreme difficulty urinating; in the second case, however, the pathology’s progression involves the diffusion of waste materials in the blood, the formation of stones, and favors the appearance of trauma and tumors. The body becomes intoxicated, and the kidneys become heavy. Even the constant intake of medicines or poisonous substances can impair their normal function. According to some recent studies, about 15% of dogs run the risk of this pathology.

Kidney failure in dogs: symptoms

Unfortunately, renal failure presents with rather varied symptomatology, which includes: gastrointestinal disorders such as vomiting, diarrhea, but also bad breath, gastritis, a general feeling of exhaustion, excessive weight loss, and stomatitis. What are the immediate signs of kidney failure? When the dog needs to drink a lot and urinate as much. It is necessary to take the dog to the vet to undergo all the necessary checks. If the situation worsens, the dog may have problems with the kidneys that go into the blockage and the lungs and heart. The effects of this organ malfunction could be convulsions and metabolic acidosis.

Kidney failure in dogs: the causes

Among the causes that can trigger renal failure are: immunological problems, systemic lupus erythematosus, vasculitis, amyloidosis, nephrotoxic agents, hypertension, renal ischemia, leptospirosis, leishmaniasis, and other infectious diseases. Kidney stones and urinary outflow obstructions could also lead to kidney failure. In addition to these problems, other factors can contribute to a kidney system’s malfunction: here they are.

  • Medicines: if taken continuously, they can have a nephrotoxic action.
  • Nutrition: probably only low-quality feeds have a disabling action on the kidneys. We pay attention to the quality of the food and the continuous administration of dry food, especially in dogs that do not drink much.
  • Surgery: Some operations may decrease blood pressure and cause kidney damage.

Kidney failure in dogs: treatment

After diagnosis through urine and blood tests, the vet may decide to proceed with drug treatment based on diuretics or antibiotics. A fundamental role is entrusted to nutrition, which will have to change radically, preferring specific foods for dogs with renal insufficiency.

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Of course, the sooner the symptoms are recognized, the sooner a diagnosis is made, and the sooner a cure can be reached. It is also essential to consider the dog’s life expectancy and that it is impossible to ‘solve the problem. But only to treat it to guarantee the dog life as normal and serene as possible. Here’s what we can do.


Better to avoid foods that are too protein (without eliminating them, since it is a carnivorous animal) and with too much phosphorus, such as fish. Unfortunately, this type of diet tends to tire dogs, which may begin to refuse to eat it, also due to the strong lack of appetite typical of the later stages of the disease. The chosen meat must always be fresh and of good quality, even better to leave it raw as in the Barf diet or, in any case, undercooked: in this way, it will be more digestible. To it, you can add cereals such as spelled or rice, or vegetables such as zucchini and carrots.


If in the early stages of the disease, the dog is stimulated to drink a lot and therefore manages to maintain good hydration of the body as the disease progresses. With the onset of vomiting and diarrhea, the number of liquids taken may not be enough. If the dog is not hydrated, less blood will reach the kidneys. Whose filtering function may be compromised over time.

Pressure control

Always having blood pressure under control can be a useful weapon against kidney failure.

Also Read: Symptoms Of Kidney Stones


They can help but not solve the problem. Essential fatty acids can be useful as well as B-complex vitamins in case of anemia.

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It would help if you didn’t overdo it because some research has shown that dogs subjected to intense physical activity suffer from kidney fatigue.

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Dog kidney failure: care and life expectancy

Dog renal failure has symptoms that are clearly recognizable only when it is in an advanced stage.

This happens essentially for two reasons: the initial phase is asymptomatic and, when the disease begins to manifest itself, the symptoms are very similar to that of other pathological states. For this reason, in the case of renal insufficiency, it is often difficult to make a correct and timely diagnosis.

In its chronic form, the disease is unfortunately irreversible: therefore, no therapies can allow the recovery of renal function. However, recent developments in veterinary medicine make it possible to guarantee the dog an acceptable quality of life and a life expectancy that is certainly higher than that which it would have in the absence of adequate treatments. Thus, in the presence of renal insufficiency, the dog’s life expectancy can now extend by months or even years, depending on the stage in which the disease is at the time of diagnosis.

Specific drugs, appropriately dosed, and an appropriate diet are two key aspects of modern treatment methods. Prevention is still the best way to counter renal failure in dogs, as they can detect the disease in the early stages, even if they are not obvious symptoms.  A dog with a very active lifestyle (such as those engaged in sports competitions) can, in fact, have a very high creatinine value while not suffering from renal insufficiency; conversely, in an elderly dog ​​with reduced mobility levels, creatinine can be very low even in the presence of renal insufficiency. Parameters. Since the disease can arise at any time, it isIt is essential to regularly take the dog to the vet from an early age to regularly carry out all the necessary checks.

Nutrition for the dog with renal insufficiency

When a dog suffers from renal insufficiency, the diet plays a predominant role in maintaining optimal well-being conditions and improving life expectancy. A fundamental requirement of a targeted formulation is, consequently, a reduced intake of proteins and phosphorus. This measure allows not to overload the kidneys, helping to stem the progression of the disease. In fact, it represents a precious aid for the health of dogs with renal insufficiency. Thanks to their ability to reduce creatinine levels and to act positively on the arteries. Furthermore, Omega 3s have an effective anti-inflammatory actionable to counteract the formation of kidney stones.

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Farmina Vet Life Renal dog renal croquettes stand out among the best foods of this type. Nutritious yet extremely digestible, these Farmina dog food facilitate the work of the kidneys. Thanks to balanced levels of phosphorus and sodium and a reduced protein intake from dehydrated eggs. Rice and potatoes provide the right dose of low glycemic index carbohydrates to ensure the body’s energy. And vitality without burdening the intestine and the renal system. The presence of vitamins A, E, C, D, and group B strengthens the immune defenses while protecting visual function and cellular health at the same time. The croquettes also contain fish oil, very rich in the precious essential Omega 3 fatty acids.

The highest production standards and scientifically tested by the Disciplinary Sector AGR / 18 of the Department of Zootechnical Sciences. And Food Inspection of the University of Naples “Federico II” in collaboration with VFR (Farmina Vet Research). Renal failure has different nuances from subject to subject, and not infrequently. Ideal food for one dog can prove to be absolutely unsuitable for another.

What to do if the senior dog has kidney failure?

Renal failure in older dogs should not be underestimated and should be treated in the best possible way to allow your four-legged friend to live his last years peacefully. Here’s what to do.

Kidney failure is a condition not to be underestimated. Because it is the most common cause of death in older dogs. Being difficult to cure, especially in the most advanced state, prevention plays a fundamental role and gives the animal a good life expectancy. There is no definitive cure that can solve the problem. But certainly, if diagnosed in time, kidney failure can be kept under control.

What are the kidneys used for?

Before going into the topic, we want to explain what kidneys are for briefly. The kidneys are vital organs for the many functions they perform:

  • They remove metabolites from the blood (waste products which, if not eliminated, cause toxicity);
  • They regulate sodium and potassium levels;
  • So they filter the nutrients;
  • They regulate blood pressure;
  • They form urine.

What does kidney failure consist of?

Kidney failure mostly affects adult or older dogs, where vital organs are burdened with age. And the body’s reaction is no longer as good as it was when young. With good therapy and timely diagnosis, if it is not by now chronic. The pathology can be reversed, and the dog guaranteed a good survival without pain or imminent death.

Kidney failure in dogs clearly affects the dog’s kidneys. Which are vital organs for the health of the whole organism. And when one of them becomes damaged, there is no way to restore the situation. They are cells, in fact, that are not able to repair themselves and therefore give rise. First to an inflammatory state, then to scar tissue.

Thus the other nephrons begin to do the work for the damaged ones and wear themselves out over time. This explains why renal failure, which originates from this chain process of deterioration of the nephrons, affects the elderly.

How can the disease be diagnosed?

Kidney failure can be diagnosed by urinalysis, specifically by studying the presence of protein in the urine. This would mean that the kidneys are not filtering properly. And therefore, the proteins are being eliminated instead of being absorbed.

Symptoms of kidney failure in older dogs

Depending on the type of kidney failure in dogs, symptoms can occur suddenly (acute) or gradually (chronic).

In the beginning, since the percentage of damaged nephrons is meager, the dog can have symptoms. That isn’t easy to recognize, such as a slight increase in urine. This sort of asymptomaticity makes it difficult to diagnose kidney failure in dogs in time. The following may also occur:

  • He retched;
  • diarrhea;
  • loss of appetite ;
  • depression;
  • halitosis ;
  • small ulcers in the mouth.

Furthermore, in the terminal phase, erythropoietin production, the hormone responsible for the production of red blood cells, stops. Anemia and lethargy then occur, the kidneys enlarge, and the pressure rises considerably. With the worsening of these symptoms, death comes from a complete arrest of the kidneys’ functioning.

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