Skip to Content

What Are Some Senior Dog Kidney Failure Symptoms?

Close up of a golden retriever laying on the floor next to a full metal food dish

Dogs are like humans, in some ways, the two are hard to keep separate. Like humans, dogs can get different diseases that require treatment. Kidney failure is just one of those diseases and if not treated right away, it can lead to your treasured pet’s death.

Unlike humans, pet insurance may not cover long-term kidney failure care. Read the fine print to make sure your pet is covered for these costly treatments. You do not want to get caught by surprise.

To learn if your dog is suffering from kidney failure just continue to read our article. It has the information you need to know about.

Canine Kidney Failure Symptoms

There is a way to tell if your dog has a severe disease like kidney failure. The following are symptoms of that disease, but they are not limited to it. The source may be something else so when you see a symptom, it is best to have your vet check your pet out.

  • Very thirsty and urinates a lot
  • Very tired all the time
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Bad breath (but then don’t most dogs have this)
  • Pale gums
  • Your dog vomits a lot
  • Blood in their urine
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Intestinal seizures
  • Uncoordinated movements

The Causes of Kidney Failure

Digram of a dogs internal organs on a bright green background

It is hard to protect your pet from everything. They are animals that like to explore new areas and try new delicious dishes like roadkill. They can get kidney disease through a variety of sources including those two and dental issues.

Some of the following sources are preventable while others are not. You just have to do your best to keep the preventable sources away from your pet.

  • Birth defects or congenital diseases
  • Kidney cancer
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Infections to the kidneys
  • Fanconi syndrome
  • Elevated calcium levels
  • Kidney stones
  • Renal dysplasia
  • Immune system failure
  • Poor blood flow to the kidneys
  • Blocked urine flow
  • Some medications like nsaids and some antibiotics

With dental issues, it is the bacteria that can build up on your dog’s teeth that causes the damage. That bacteria gets to your pet’s stomach and kidneys through eating and drinking normally. Once the bacteria reach their kidneys, it will limit the kidneys’ ability to filter out waste.

This is one reason your vet tells you to brush your dog’s teeth regularly. Brushing their teeth helps kill the bacteria that will eventually harm your dog.

Two Types of Kidney Disease

Close up of a Dachshund laying down

Just like humans, the dog’s kidneys play a very important role in your pet’s life. Their healthy kidneys control blood pressure, regulate hydration, remove toxins, release hormones, and more.

When their kidney function is impaired, kidney failure will occur. When the kidneys start to fail, then the other vital organs in their body will be affected as well. It is important to protect your dog as best as you can from the sources of kidney failure.

There are two types of this disease, which is also called renal failure.

1. Chronic Kidney Failure

Portrait of a black dog with a graying face outdoors in grass

This is a slow and gradual deterioration and is usually seen most often when your dog is in his or her senior years. This is also the most common version you will find in dogs.

The bad news is that this type of kidney failure is not reversible nor is it curable. It can only be managed to give your pet some comfort in their last days or months.

2. Acute Kidney Failure

Yellow labrador being examined by a vet

This is a sudden illness that will affect your pet’s kidney function quickly. It happens in a matter of a few hours or a few days after ingesting something poisonous or a kidney infection that is severe in nature.

There is some good news though. It is treatable and reversible if the treatment is aggressive. Just make sure not to delay treatment.

The diagnosis of this disease is simple and straightforward. usually, all that is needed is a blood and urine test. If those are not accurate an ultrasound, x-ray or special blood tests may be required.

Those latter tests are done to find out the severity of the disease and its source. At worst, a biopsy of the kidney may need to be done to get all the facts for proper treatment.

The Treatment for Kidney Failure

German Shepherd mix being examined by a vet while being consoled by a woman

The specific treatment will depend on the type of disease, its source, and its severity. Hospitalization is not out of the question, but mild cases are usually treated with antibiotics and fluids on an outpatient basis.

Treatments for chronic kidney failure are designed to slow down the progression of the disease and delay any irreversible damage. If you delay the treatment, then your pet will most likely pass away.

Roughly 60% of those dogs that suffer from it die. Dialysis is needed when medical treatments do not work and survival without this option is very low. However, about half the dogs contracting this disease can be cured.

Some of those pets’ cures will also have some internal damage and won’t recover completely.

Some Final Words

Senior dog, Boxer, laying outdoors in grass.

Preventing most cases of kidney failure is as simple as keeping poisons, toxins, and other harmful foods, etc., away from your pet. Also, vaccinating your pet for Leptospirosis will prevent your pet from contracting this disease.

The bad news is that chronic kidney failure is genetically determined or old age related. There is nothing you can do to prevent it. bring your dog to your vets for annual check-ups to make sure you can catch this disease early and take the right steps to cure your dog quickly.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.