Dog Kidney Failure: When To Euthanize Your Dog

One of the most difficult decisions that pet owners may face is determining when it is time to euthanize their beloved dog. This decision can become even more agonizing if their dog has been diagnosed with kidney failure. Kidney failure in dogs is a serious and often progressive condition that can greatly impact a dog’s quality of life.

In this article, we will explore the topic of dog kidney failure and discuss important factors to consider when determining when to euthanize a dog with this condition.

Dog Kidney Failure: When To Euthanize Your DogDog Kidney Failure: When To Euthanize Your Dog

Deciding when to euthanize your dog is an incredibly difficult and emotional decision for any pet owner, regardless of the reason. However, when it comes to kidney failure, the decision can be even more complicated. This is because dog kidney failure can be a slow and progressive disease, and determining the right time to say goodbye to your beloved pet may not be clear-cut.

Here are some things to consider when deciding whether it is time to euthanize your dog with kidney failure:

1. Quality of Life

The most important factor to consider when deciding whether to euthanize your dog with kidney failure is their quality of life. If your dog is no longer able to enjoy all the things that used to bring them joy, such as playing, walking, eating, and interacting with you and your family, it may be time to consider euthanasia. Dogs with kidney failure can experience a range of symptoms, including lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, and weight loss, which can greatly impact their quality of life.

2. Treatment Options

Depending on the severity of your dog’s kidney failure, there may be treatment options available. These can include medication, special diets, and even dialysis or kidney transplants in extreme cases. It is important to have an open and honest conversation with your veterinarian about the potential success of these treatments and whether they will ultimately improve your dog’s quality of life.

3. Financial Considerations

Unfortunately, the cost of treating kidney failure in dogs can be expensive. If the treatments are not financially feasible for you, it may be difficult to justify prolonging your dog’s life. However, there are also financial assistance programs and options for pet owners in need. Talk to your veterinarian about any potential resources that may be available.

4. Emotional Impact

Watching your beloved pet suffer from kidney failure can take a toll on you emotionally. While you may be willing to do anything to help your dog, it is important to consider the impact on your well-being as well. If the emotional toll becomes too much to bear, it may be time to consider euthanasia.

Ultimately, the decision to euthanize your dog with kidney failure is a personal one that only you can make. It is important to weigh all of the factors and have an honest and open conversation with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action for your pet. Remember that your dog’s well-being and quality of life should always be the top priority.

What Do Kidneys Do in Dogs?

The kidneys are vital organs that play a crucial role in maintaining a dog’s overall health and well-being. They are responsible for filtering waste products from the blood, maintaining proper electrolyte balance, producing hormones, and regulating blood pressure.

The main functions of the kidneys in dogs include:

  1. Filtration: The primary function of the kidneys is to filter waste products and excess fluids from the blood. These waste products are then eliminated from the body in the urine.
  2. Regulation of Water and Electrolyte Levels: The kidneys also play a crucial role in regulating the levels of water and electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, in the body. This helps to maintain proper hydration and electrolyte balance, which is essential for the functioning of all body systems.
  3. Production of Hormones: The kidneys produce hormones that help to regulate blood pressure, stimulate the production of red blood cells, and maintain bone health.
  4. Removal of Toxins: The kidneys are responsible for removing toxins and harmful substances from the blood, such as drugs, chemicals, and poisons. This helps to keep the body free of these potentially harmful substances.
  5. Regulation of Blood Pressure: The kidneys play a critical role in regulating blood pressure by producing hormones that control blood vessel dilation and constriction. This helps to keep blood pressure at a healthy level.
  6. Acid-Base Balance: The kidneys help to maintain a proper acid-base balance in the body, which is essential for many biochemical reactions to occur.
  7. Production of Vitamin D: The kidneys are also involved in the production of an active form of vitamin D, which is important for the absorption of calcium and maintaining healthy bones.

Kidney Disease In Dogs

Kidney disease in dogs, also known as canine kidney failure, is a serious and often progressive condition that affects the functioning and health of a dog’s kidneys. This vital organ is responsible for filtering waste products from the blood, regulating electrolytes, and maintaining water balance in the body.

There are two main types of kidney disease in dogs: acute and chronic. Acute kidney disease develops suddenly and can be caused by various factors such as infections, toxins, or dehydration. Chronic kidney disease, on the other hand, is a long-term condition that develops gradually over time and is often irreversible.

What Are The Stages Of Dog Dying Of Kidney Disease?KIDNEY 1

  1. Early stage: The early stages of kidney disease in dogs may not cause any obvious symptoms. However, a blood test may show increased levels of creatinine and urea, which are waste products that the kidneys usually filter out.
  2. Mild to moderate stage: As the disease progresses, symptoms such as increased thirst and urination, weight loss, and lack of appetite may appear. The dog’s coat may become dull and the eyes may appear sunken.
  3. Severe stage: In this stage, the dog’s kidney function has significantly deteriorated and symptoms become more severe. The dog may experience vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and extreme dehydration. This stage is also known as end-stage kidney disease.
  4. Final stage: The final stage of kidney disease is characterized by a complete loss of kidney function. The dog may be unable to urinate and may have extremely low energy levels. They may also develop neurological symptoms, such as seizures, and have difficulty breathing. Without proper treatment, this stage is fatal.

What is End-stage Kidney Failure in Dogs?

End-stage kidney failure, also known as chronic kidney disease or kidney failure, is a serious condition that can occur in dogs. In end-stage kidney failure, the kidneys are no longer able to function properly, leading to a build-up of toxins in the body. The most common signs of end-stage kidney failure in dogs include excessive thirst, increased urination, weight loss, and poor appetite. Other signs can include vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. If left untreated, end-stage kidney failure can be fatal.

How Do I Know What Stage Of Kidney Failure My Dog Is In?

Your veterinarian will determine what stage of kidney failure your dog is in by performing a series of tests. These tests may include blood and urine tests, as well as X-rays and ultrasounds. Your veterinarian will also take into account your dog’s age, overall health, and other medical conditions they may have. Once they have all the information, they will be able to determine what stage of kidney failure your dog is in and develop a treatment plan accordingly.

Diagnosis of kidney disease in dogs often includes blood and urine tests to assess kidney function and levels of waste products in the blood. Other tests such as ultrasound or X-rays may also be recommended to evaluate the size and function of the kidneys.

Symptoms of Kidney Disease In Dogs

  • Changes in Urination: One of the first signs of kidney disease in dogs is changes in their urination habits. This could include an increased frequency of urination, difficulty urinating, or accidents in the house. Additionally, you may notice that your dog’s urine is darker in color and has a stronger odor.
  • Excessive Thirst: As the kidneys are responsible for balancing the body’s fluid levels, dogs with kidney disease may also have a constant feeling of thirst and may drink more water than usual.
  • Lack of Appetite: Kidney disease can also cause a decrease in appetite in dogs. This can result in weight loss and lethargy.
  • Vomiting and Diarrhea: As the kidneys are responsible for filtering waste products when they are not functioning properly, these waste products can build up in the body and cause gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Bad Breath: Toxic waste products can also affect a dog’s breath and cause it to have a foul odor.
  • Weakness and Lethargy: The buildup of waste products in the body can also cause weakness and lethargy in dogs. They may have less energy and seem fatigued.
  • Poor Coat Condition: The kidneys play a role in maintaining a dog’s coat health by regulating the production of hormones and vitamins. Dogs with kidney disease may have a dry and dull coat.
  • Mouth Ulcers: Some dogs with kidney disease may develop mouth ulcers. These are painful sores that can make it difficult for a dog to eat and drink.
  • Swollen or Painful Abdomen: In more advanced stages of kidney disease, fluid buildup in the abdomen can cause it to become swollen and painful to the touch.
  • Changes in Behavior: Dogs with kidney disease may also show changes in their behavior, such as being more withdrawn or less active than usual.

My Dog Has Kidney Failure Why Is She Shaking

Shaking is a common symptom of kidney failure in dogs. This can be caused by the build-up of toxins in the blood, which can lead to muscle tremors. In addition to shaking, other symptoms of kidney failure in dogs can include weakness, lethargy, decreased appetite, and increased thirst. If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to take them to the veterinarian right away. Early diagnosis and treatment is crucial for managing kidney failure in dogs.

SEE ALSO: 20 Reasons Why Dachshunds Are the Worst Breed

Last Days of Dog With Kidney Failure Diarrhea

When a dog is in the final stages of kidney failure, diarrhea is a common symptom. This is because the kidneys are responsible for filtering toxins and waste products from the blood, and when they are not functioning properly, these toxins can build up and cause gastrointestinal upset. In addition to diarrhea, other common symptoms of end-stage kidney failure in dogs include vomiting, lethargy, weight loss, and difficulty breathing. 

How to Comfort A Dog With Kidney FailureKIDNEY 2

  1. Provide a Calm and Quiet Environment: Dogs with kidney failure are often tired and weak, so it is important to provide them with a peaceful environment to rest and recover. Keep the noise level low and avoid loud or sudden noises that may startle or stress out your dog.
  2. Keep Your Dog Hydrated: It is important for dogs with kidney failure to stay hydrated. Make sure your dog always has access to fresh, clean water, and encourage them to drink regularly. You may also try offering low-sodium chicken broth or ice cubes made from chicken broth to entice them to drink more.
  3. Keep a Consistent Routine: Dogs with kidney failure may feel more comfortable and at ease when they have a consistent routine. Keep their feeding, medication, and bathroom schedules the same every day to help them feel secure.
  4. Maintain a Balanced Diet: Talk to your veterinarian about the best diet for your dog with kidney failure. A diet low in protein and sodium and high in moisture may be recommended to help ease the strain on their kidneys. Avoid giving your dog table scraps or high-fat treats, as these can be harmful to their kidneys.
  5. Provide Comfort and Support: Your dog may be feeling weak and uncomfortable, so it is important to provide them with extra comfort and support during this time. This can include giving them extra attention and cuddles, providing a soft and comfortable bed to rest in, and gentle massages to help ease any pain or discomfort.
  6. Monitor Bathroom Habits: Dogs with kidney failure may have difficulty controlling their bladder and may have accidents in the house. Be patient and understanding, and try to take them outside more frequently if needed. You may also consider getting puppy pads or a doggie diaper to help with accidents.
  7. Administer Medications as Prescribed: Your veterinarian may prescribe medications to help manage your dog’s kidney failure. It is important to follow their instructions and give the medications as prescribed to help alleviate any symptoms and improve your dog’s quality of life.
  8. Watch for Signs of Pain or Discomfort: Dogs with kidney failure may experience pain or discomfort, which can make them irritable, anxious, or lethargic. Watch for any signs of distress or changes in behavior, and talk to your veterinarian about managing any pain your dog may be experiencing.
  9. Remain Positive and Loving: Your dog can sense your emotions, so it is important to remain positive and loving during this difficult time. Your dog may be going through a lot, but with your love and support, they can still enjoy a good quality of life.

How to Comfort A Dog With Kidney Failure at Home

If your dog is suffering from kidney failure, there are a few things you can do at home to make them more comfortable. First, be sure to provide plenty of fresh water and encourage them to drink often. You can also try offering them wet food or adding water to their dry food to help increase their fluid intake. It’s also important to make sure your dog is getting enough rest. Keep their bed or sleeping area clean and comfortable, and try to minimize any stress or excitement in the home.

Treatment For Acute Kidney Disease

The treatment for acute kidney disease in dogs will vary depending on the cause and severity of the condition. However, most treatment plans involve supportive care and medication to help manage symptoms and improve the dog’s quality of life. Supportive care may include fluid therapy, nutritional support, and medications to control vomiting, diarrhea, or pain. In some cases, more intensive treatments such as dialysis or a kidney transplant may be necessary.

Treatment For Chronic Kidney Disease

The treatment for chronic kidney disease in dogs is focused on slowing the progression of the disease and managing symptoms. This typically involves a combination of medication, dietary changes, and lifestyle modifications. Medications may include angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, diuretics, and phosphate binders. Dietary changes often involve reducing protein and phosphorus intake and increasing the amount of water and fiber in the diet.

What Foods Help Repair Kidneys In Dogs?

  • High-Quality Protein Sources: Dogs with kidney problems need to consume high-quality protein sources that are easily digestible. Good protein sources include lean meats like chicken, turkey, and fish.
  • Low-Phosphorus Foods: Phosphorus is a mineral that can be harmful to dogs with kidney disease. Choose low-phosphorus foods like egg whites, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for kidney health as they reduce inflammation and improve kidney function. Good sources include salmon, sardines, and mackerel.
  • Antioxidant-Rich Foods: Antioxidants help protect the kidneys from further damage. Foods rich in antioxidants include blueberries, spinach, and sweet potatoes.
  • Probiotic Foods: Probiotics help maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria, which is important for kidney function. Yogurt and kefir are good sources of probiotics for dogs.
  • Low-Sodium Foods: Dogs with kidney problems should consume low-sodium foods to prevent water retention and high blood pressure. Avoid processed and canned foods, as they are often high in sodium.
  • Water: Keeping your dog hydrated is crucial for kidney health. Be sure to provide plenty of fresh, clean water for your dog to drink throughout the day.

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Q. How long can an old dog live with kidney failure?

A. The lifespan of a dog with kidney failure will depend on several factors, including the severity of the disease, the age of the dog, and the response to treatment. On average, dogs with kidney failure typically live for about 6-18 months, though some dogs may live for years with proper treatment.

Q. Can you save a dog with kidney failure?

A. It is possible to save a dog with kidney failure, though it will depend on the severity of the disease and the treatment options available. In some cases, aggressive treatment with medication, diet, and lifestyle changes can stabilize a dog’s condition and improve their quality of life.

Q. Is dog kidney failure painful?

A. Kidney failure can be very painful for dogs. The most common symptoms of kidney failure are increased thirst and urination, as well as lethargy, weakness, nausea, and vomiting.


In conclusion, dog kidneys are vital organs that play a crucial role in filtering waste from the blood and regulating fluid and electrolyte balances in the body. When a dog’s kidneys fail, it can be a devastating and difficult time for both the dog and its owner. Pet owners need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of kidney failure in dogs and understand when it may be time to consider euthanasia.

Euthanasia should be considered when a dog’s quality of life is significantly impacted by kidney failure, and medical treatments are no longer effective in managing the condition. Some indicators that it may be time to consider euthanasia include a significant decrease in appetite, lethargy, weakness, difficulty breathing, and severe weight loss. A veterinarian can also assess the progression of the disease and guide when euthanasia may be the best option.

Pet owners need to make this decision with compassion and understanding, keeping in mind the best interest of their beloved pet. Saying goodbye to a pet is never easy, but in cases of advanced kidney failure, euthanasia may be the kindest and most humane option to relieve a dog’s suffering.

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