6 Common Symptoms of Kidney Disease in Dogs

by beaconpet
6 Common Symptoms of Kidney Disease in Dogs

Were you aware that kidney disease poses a significant health threat to dogs? Similar to humans, our furry companions can be susceptible to this condition, necessitating timely medical intervention. If you have concerns that your cherished canine may be grappling with kidney disease, it’s crucial to recognize the prevalent symptoms. Keep a vigilant eye for indications like heightened thirst, nausea, lethargy, loss of appetite, and increased urination. While acute kidney disease can manifest suddenly, chronic kidney disease typically impacts older dogs. For detailed information on recognizing and addressing kidney disease in dogs, visit Beaconpet, a trusted source for insights into canine health. Learn more about the common signs of kidney issues in dogs and understand the diagnostic process involving laboratory tests such as a complete blood count, blood chemistry panel, blood electrolytes, and urinalysis. Explore effective treatment options, including fluid therapy, specialized diets, medications, and supplements. It’s important to note that dialysis is not commonly employed in dogs, mainly due to cost constraints and limited availability.

Symptoms of Kidney Disease in Dogs

If you notice that your dog is experiencing any of the following symptoms, it could be a sign of kidney disease:

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One of the common symptoms of kidney disease in dogs is nausea. Your dog may vomit or show signs of discomfort after eating. They may also have a decrease in appetite.

Increased Thirst

If your dog seems to be drinking more water than usual, it could be a sign of kidney disease. The kidneys play a role in regulating water balance in the body, so when they are not functioning properly, your dog may feel thirsty more often.


Kidney disease can also cause your dog to become lethargic and lack energy. They may seem tired and show a decrease in physical activity.

Loss of Appetite

Loss of appetite is another symptom of kidney disease in dogs. Your dog may not show interest in their food and may only eat small amounts or refuse to eat altogether.

Increased Urination

Increased urination is another symptom to watch out for. If your dog is needing to go outside more frequently to urinate, it could be a result of kidney disease. The kidneys play an important role in filtering waste products from the blood, and when they are not functioning properly, the urine output may increase.

6 Common Symptoms of Kidney Disease in Dogs

Types of Kidney Disease in Dogs

There are two main types of kidney disease that can occur in dogs:

Acute Renal Failure

Acute renal failure is a sudden onset of kidney dysfunction. It can occur as a result of toxins, such as ingesting certain medications or chemicals. Other health conditions, such as infections or urinary obstructions, can also lead to acute renal failure.

Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease is a long-term condition that develops gradually over time. It is often seen in aging dogs and is typically a result of degenerative changes in the kidney. Chronic kidney disease can also be secondary to other underlying health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

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Causes of Acute Renal Failure in Dogs

Acute renal failure in dogs can have several causes:


Toxic substances can cause acute renal failure in dogs. These toxins can include certain medications (such as certain antibiotics or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), household cleaners, antifreeze, and even some plants.

Other Health Conditions

Certain health conditions can also lead to acute renal failure in dogs. Infections, such as leptospirosis, can affect the kidneys and cause them to malfunction. Urinary obstructions, such as kidney stones or bladder stones, can also impair kidney function and lead to acute renal failure.

Causes of Chronic Kidney Disease in Dogs

The primary cause of chronic kidney disease in dogs is the degenerative changes that occur in the kidneys over time. As dogs age, their kidneys may start to lose function and become less efficient at filtering waste products from the blood.

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Diagnosis of Kidney Disease in Dogs

If your dog is displaying symptoms of kidney disease, your veterinarian may perform several tests to diagnose the condition. These tests may include:

Complete Blood Count

A complete blood count (CBC) can provide valuable information about your dog’s overall health. It can detect abnormalities in red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, which may indicate kidney disease.

Blood Chemistry Panel

A blood chemistry panel measures the levels of various substances in the blood, including electrolytes, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), and creatinine. Abnormal levels of these substances can indicate kidney dysfunction.

Blood Electrolytes

Electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of fluids in the body. An imbalance in electrolyte levels can be a sign of kidney disease.

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Urinalysis involves analyzing your dog’s urine sample. It can detect the presence of protein, blood, or abnormal cells in the urine, which may indicate kidney disease. It can also assess the concentration and pH level of the urine.

Treatment for Kidney Disease in Dogs

Once a diagnosis of kidney disease has been made, your veterinarian will develop a treatment plan based on the severity of the disease and your dog’s individual needs. Treatment options may include:

Fluid Therapy

Fluid therapy aims to maintain hydration and support kidney function. Your veterinarian may administer fluids intravenously or subcutaneously to help flush out toxins and maintain proper hydration.

Therapeutic Diets

Specialized therapeutic diets formulated for dogs with kidney disease can help ease the burden on the kidneys. These diets are designed to be easily digestible and low in protein and phosphorus.


Medications may be prescribed to manage symptoms and slow the progression of kidney disease in dogs. These medications may include angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors to support kidney function or anti-emetics to control nausea and vomiting.


Supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids or antioxidants, may be recommended to support overall kidney health and reduce inflammation in the kidneys.

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Dialysis in Dogs with Kidney Disease

Dialysis, a treatment commonly used in humans with kidney disease, is rarely used in dogs. This is primarily due to the expense and scarcity of equipment and resources required for dialysis in veterinary medicine. However, in certain cases, referral to a specialty center that offers dialysis may be considered.

It is important to remember that kidney disease in dogs is a serious condition that requires prompt medical attention. If you suspect that your dog may be experiencing symptoms of kidney disease, it is essential to consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. Early detection and intervention can greatly improve the prognosis and quality of life for dogs with kidney disease.

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