Kidney Disease in Dogs

Kidney disease is a fairly common problem in dogs, and it’s usually diagnosed in pets older than 10 years. It can be a scary diagnosis for pet parents, but having a basic understanding of what causes kidney disease and how it affects the body can help you to make informed decisions regarding your dog’s care.

Signs of Kidney Disease in Dogs

  • If a dog is showing signs of kidney disease, it’s important to visit the vet immediately and let them know that your pet has been diagnosed with one.
  • The symptoms of kidney disease in dogs include:
  • Change in appetite.
  • Loss of appetite for more than 24 hours.
  • Weight loss or gain without any change in diet or exercise routine (however slight).
  • Increased drinking habits, like excessive urination or dehydration from not drinking enough water! This can lead to anemia (lack of oxygenated blood), weakness, lethargy, fainting spells… everything that would make you want to call an ambulance if someone around you was exhibiting these symptoms!

What happens to the body when kidney disease is present?

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that are located near the middle back of a dog’s abdomen. They perform many critical jobs, including filtering waste products from blood and regulating electrolyte balance. Kidneys also produce hormones that help regulate blood pressure and blood volume, red blood cells, and erythropoietin (EPO), which controls the body’s production of red blood cells.

The kidneys are essential for life because they’re involved in so many different functions within your dog’s body. If one kidney is removed surgically or damaged by disease or injury, however, its remaining partner can take over all of its tasks—for now. But eventually both kidneys will start to fail together; at this point it becomes necessary for you to make some tough decisions about your pet’s quality of life versus longevity.

Causes of Kidney Disease in Dogs

Kidney disease is a common cause of death in dogs. It’s also the most common chronic illness, and the second most common cause of chronic pain, in our four-legged companions.

The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste products from the bloodstream and then removing them through urine. In dogs with kidney disease, this process becomes compromised as they lose their ability to filter out toxic substances like urea and creatinine that build up in the blood stream (creatinine is an indicator that your dog has kidney problems).

Diagnosis of Kidney Disease in Dogs

The most common method of diagnosis is by taking a blood test to measure the amounts of various substances in your dog’s bloodstream. An abnormally high level of creatinine or urea (a waste product made when muscles break down) indicates kidney failure, but these are not always reliable indicators since they can also be caused by other diseases and conditions.

Blood tests can also detect high levels of BUN and uric acid, which often accompany kidney disease. Urine tests may be used for further confirmation that there is an underlying problem with your dog’s kidneys.

Treatment of Canine Kidney Disease

The treatment of canine kidney disease is aimed at supporting the kidneys to function better, lessening the workload on them and slowing down the progression of damage. The first step in treatment is to determine whether your dog has a chronic kidney disease or an acute one. If it’s the former, then you will likely have to make some changes in your dog’s lifestyle for him/her to live longer or have a better quality life.

If your pet does have an acute kidney disease, which means that his/her renal system has become acutely inflamed and may not be able to function properly without intervention from medication or other treatments. In these cases, it’s important that you take him/her to see a veterinarian right away so they can conduct tests on samples taken from his/her urine. Once diagnosed with this condition, there are several different ways doctors recommend dealing with it – but unfortunately none of them seem very effective at prolonging your pet’s life expectancy when compared against those who don’t get diagnosed until later stages.

Nutrition for a Dog With Kidney Disease

When your dog has kidney disease, it’s important to keep them on a high-quality diet. This is because a poor quality diet can aggravate the condition and make it harder for you to manage at home. In particular, there are four things you should look out for in your dog’s food:

  • High-quality proteins that are low in sodium
  • Low levels of phosphorus and potassium (which are essential minerals)
  • High levels of water content in the food
  • A variety of vitamins and minerals

You can help your dog live longer with kidney disease.

The most important thing you can do for your dog is to get their health under control. Kidney disease often affects the entire body, so it’s important to make sure your dog doesn’t have other problems that could be making kidney disease worse.

For example, if they have heart disease or diabetes (common in older dogs), those conditions can make it harder for kidneys to work properly. If you suspect your dog has one of these diseases, talk with your vet about whether they should start treatment right away or wait until after the kidney issue has been resolved.

It’s also crucial to keep up with regular bloodwork tests so that you know how well their kidneys are functioning and whether their treatment is working as planned. This will help them avoid painful complications like infections and high blood pressure later on down the road!


Kidney disease can be a scary diagnosis, but it can usually be treated and managed with the right care. Keeping your dog hydrated and preventing urine infections are key for people who want to keep their dog healthy after being diagnosed with kidney disease. With the right diet, you’ll be able to keep your dog hydrated and prevent infection, which will improve his quality of life!

We hope that this guide has helped you understand how to manage kidney disease in dogs so that you can give him a long and happy life!