Much like our kidneys, our dogs’ kidneys help to filter out waste from their blood. It also helps control their blood pressure and aids in maintaining the right levels of phosphorus in their bloodstream, among other important functions.
With how important the kidney is for a healthy dog, it’s not hard to imagine the damage that can be caused when their kidneys fail, especially as they age. In the category of Kidney failure, there are two main types - Chronic Kidney Disease, also known as Chronic Renal Failure and Acute Renal Failure.
Chronic Kidney Disease refers to the progressive loss of kidney function over a period of time. The most common reason for this is old age, but certain congenital conditions can increase the likelihood.
On the other hand, Acute Renal Failure refers to a sudden decline of kidney performance, sometimes in the span of days and even hours. It happens most often as a result of bacterial infection or Toxicosis (Kidney Poisoning), something that can happen if your dog ingests certain drugs like ibuprofen or poisons like grapes or antifreeze.
Some common signs of kidney failure in dogs include:
- Being prone to dehydration / Increased drinking and urination
- Lethargic / Weakness / Having lower energy than usual for an extended period of time
- Poor appetite / Weight Loss
- Pale Mucous membranes in the mouth and other parts of the body
- Pale Gums
- Mouth Ulcers
While the unfortunate truth is that signs of kidney disease in dogs often only appear when your dog has already lost 75% of their kidney function, kidney failure can be managed,and in some cases even cured if your pup is discovered to be suffering from Acute Renal Failure instead of Chronic Renal Failure and seeks treatment immediately.Regardless, many dogs with Chronic Renal Failure can live for several years on end, as long as consistent attention is given to their health.
Let’s take a look at how you can help prevent and manage kidney failure in your dog!
Preventing Kidney Failure
A High Quality Diet- High quality dog food for kidney health made with highest quality proteins help ensure your dog’s kidneys don’t have to work too hard to absorb the necessary nutrients they require. Low quality proteins like beak, snout or hide are hard to digest, and can tax your pup’s kidneys unnecessarily.
Hydration - Water is obviously important for dogs, but for your dog’s kidney function most of all! Ensure your furry friend always has access to clean and fresh water.
Supplement Their Diet - It’s vital to help your pup manage and maintain their electrolyte balance in their body, as well as the blood proteins that play a crucial role in maintaining their kidneys.
Keep Poisons Out Of Reach-This includes actually understanding what foods or everyday items in your home is actually poisonous for dogs. Foods like grapes, chocolate or garlic may seem innocent enough, but can be extremely dangerous. If you do spill any potentially harmful substance, be sure to keep your dog away while you wipe it up immediately, to avoid accidental consumption or contact.
Brush Their Teeth Regularly - Periodontal disease, a type of dental disease, occurs in many dogs. But while this inflammatory condition may not seem very severe, it can actually result in a higher risk for renal failure if left untreated. Regularly brushing your pup’s teeth with a good toothpaste like Tropiclean’s Fresh Breath Teeth Gel For Dogs will help reduce their risk of contracting any dental disease, and hence prevent renal failure. You could also provide your pup with plenty of dog chews like Whimzee’s Dental Dog Chews.
Regular Checkups- Visiting the vet for regular health checkups is vital for keeping plenty of diseases at bay - but it’s especially important as your dog grows old. Many illnesses, like Chronic Kidney Failure, are more likely to occur in senior dogs and as such, regular physical examinations will help aid in early diagnosis and treatment of kidney failure in dogs.
Managing Kidney Failure
If your pup does have kidney failure, it’s not the end of the world! Dogs that experience severe symptoms such as being very easily dehydrated may require intensive care in the hospital for a few days, but many pups that display less severe symptoms can receive treatment in the comfort of their homes.
In fact, today, there are many ways you can help your pup manage their condition and help them live a long and happy life. This will take some time and effort on your part, but will pay dividends in helping to ensure your dog is able to overcome this health condition.
#1 Dietary Adjustments
First, ensure your pup has access to fresh and clean drinking water, and a good kidney diet for dogs, especially on the instruction of your vet. What exactly is a good diet for dogs with kidney problems?
These diets often adjust the amounts of different nutrients in your pup’s daily meals. For instance, it’s important for dogs with kidney problems to have a low phosphorus and low protein diet to slow down the progression of renal disease. Subsequently, increasing the fat content of their diet would also be necessary to help make up for the reduced protein in their diet.
#2 Keeping Up with Relevant Treatments
Next, help them manage other health conditions that could worsen kidney failure, such as protein issues or high blood pressure. It’s essential to consult your vet on the ways you can help your pup through the process, especially if that includes giving your dog their regular antibiotics, fluids or other medications. Dialysis may also be a method of managing the illness.
#3 Kidney Supplements
Kidney supplements for dogs are also a great way to help boost the diet of a kidney patient. If your dog is having trouble getting their medicine down, or are uncomfortable during their kidney dialysis treatment, indulge them with a pump of the Zesty Paws Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil as fish oil supplements have proven to be a great addition for dogs with compromised kidney functions.
#4 Alternative Potty Arrangements
Dogs with kidney disease will also require more trips to the bathroom, hence it’s vital to plan around their needs depending on whether they go to the potty indoors or outside. If your pup does go to the bathroom outdoors, bring them out more frequently to avoid accidents in your home.
Just in case, you may also want to set up a dedicated toilet area at home for your pup using Honey Care’s excellent doggy toilet essentials - their Honey Care Dog Pee Tray and U-Play Dog Pee Pad combination. This way, life could be a lot more convenient for both you and your pup.
Kidney failure in dogs can be a scary condition, especially with how difficult it can be to detect. However, with careful monitoring and regular visits to the vet, it would be much easier to prevent contracting kidney disease.
In the situation where your dog does contract kidney disease, it’s vital to keep in mind that you’ll also have to put in more time and effort to support your pup through their recovery. Help them feel safe and comfortable, especially as their lifestyle may experience big adjustments.
Regardless, never lose hope or give up on your furry friend! Over the years, renal disease has become much more manageable given appropriate treatment and medication as prescribed by your vet. With an abundance of patience and love, your dog can still live a long and rewarding life by your side!
Tammi writes articles about anything from data analytics to animal health, and loves doing the occasional craft. But most importantly, she loves hanging out and doing photo-shoots with her dog.