Dog Kidney Failure Or Disease – When To Euthanize

Kidney failure is the condition in which a dog’s kidney becomes incapable of disposing of metabolic waste from the body. Blood is not filtered properly by the kidneys. As a result, the metabolic wastes, like urea and creatinine, continue to rise to dangerous levels in the blood. The dog dies if not given the proper treatment on time. Therefore, in the case of dog kidney failure when to euthanize remains a frequently asked question. 


In this article, we’ll tell you how to notice end-stage kidney failure in dogs. Additionally, you’ll learn how to stop it before it gets to that point and when to put a dog down if it has such a renal condition. 


Causes of Kidney Failure in Dogs

The most common kidney diseases in dogs include kidney stones and kidney infections. Most of these often progress and eventually result in kidney failure. Kidney failure in dogs is of two types:


  1. Chronic renal failure progresses over months and years. 
  2. Acute renal failure progresses within a short period of time. 


The most apparent cause of chronic kidney failure in older dogs is ageing. The tissue of the kidney degenerates with age and is unable to recover. Some other causes of chronic kidney failure are:


  • Genetic defects in kidney formation which occur by birth
  • Consistent high blood pressure due to other metabolic diseases
  • Bacterial and fungal infections involving the kidneys
  • Immune disorders like inflammation of the kidney parts (glomerulonephritis)
  • Kidney stones (nephrolithiasis)


The causes of acute kidney failure are:


  • Eating toxic foods like chocolate, resins, grapes, macadamia nuts, caffeine, xylitol, etc. 
  • Ingesting toxins like antifreeze, pesticides, etc.
  • Snakebite
  • Severe bacterial and viral infections 
  • Kidney tissue necrosis due to hypoxia
  • Urinary obstruction 


Symptoms of Kidney Disease and Failure

Before discussing “dog kidney failure and when to euthanize, let’s first know the signs and symptoms of kidney disease and kidney failure. 


The prognosis of kidney stones or infections can be followed by common symptoms like extreme abdominal pain, diarrhoea, vomiting, weakness, pale skin and gums, etc. However, chronic kidney failure usually remains asymptomatic. The symptoms appear when two-thirds of the kidney tissue has already deteriorated.


The very first symptom of chronic kidney failure is excessive urination. It results in thirst and dehydration. To remove waste, the diseased kidney filters more blood with each pump. Therefore, large volumes of urine are produced. The dog drinks more water than usual to compensate for dehydration due to water loss. Here are some other symptoms you may notice:


  • Mouth ulcers and pale gums
  • Red eyes, rarely blindness due to irregular blood pressure in the eyes
  • Increased thirst and decreased appetite
  • Hair loss and a dull coat
  • Lethargy and sleepiness 
  • Difficulty in breathing (in rare cases)
  • Tremors and periodic seizures, or coma (in end-stage renal failure)


The laboratory tests will show:


  • Uraemia due to high levels of metabolites: urea, creatinine, etc. 
  • A low count of RBCs indicating anaemia 
  • Proteinemia


How Can You Treat Kidney Failure in Your Dog?

If you notice any of the above signs or symptoms of renal failure in your dog, consult your vet immediately. They will prescribe medications like NSAIDs and anti-inflammatory drugs or IV fluids. These treat pain and inflammation in the kidneys. Run important laboratory tests to determine the stage of renal failure on the prescription of your veterinarian. Keep foods and chemicals that may cause toxicity away from your dog. In dogs with last-stage renal failure, dialysis or kidney transplants are also considered by vets. 


Dog Kidney Failure-When to Euthanize? 

If you notice signs of end-stage dog kidney failure “when to euthanize” is the next question. The answer depends on the severity of the condition, the size of the dog, and possible treatment and prevention. Smaller dogs live up to 10 to 14 years with kidney failure, whereas larger dogs survive only up to 7 to 8 years. 


If laboratory tests have confirmed a severe kidney condition, you should look for any possible treatments. Consider euthanising your dog only when:


  • Renal failure has progressed to the end stage. 
  • The kidney tissue has degenerated completely due to an infection or ageing. 
  • The dog no longer responds to the medication. 
  • Dialysis or a kidney transplant is no longer available options.
  • Nothing soothes him and he quits eating and drinking. 
  • Your vet says euthanizing is the only option remaining. 
  • You can’t afford the high cost of therapy and dialysis.

How can You Prevent Kidney Failure in Your Dog? 

Chronic kidney failure is one of the most common health problems in dogs. You must prevent it at all costs. Because when you notice its symptoms, it’ll already be too late to treat. If you want to spend a long, precious time with your furry friend, you must:


  • Keep him away from toxic foods.
  • Don’t feed him edibles that are frequently associated with kidney stones (e.g: tomatoes and greens).
  • Don’t let your dog go near antifreeze or pesticides.
  • Treat minor renal infections on time.
  • Have regular checkups.
  • Consult your vet immediately if you notice any signs of kidney disease.


Things to Consider After Euthanizing Your Dog

After you euthanize your dog, your own mental health is what you should be concerned about the most. Remain close to your friends and family members to overcome your sorrow. Consult a grief therapist to help you with your mental recovery. Hold a memorial service to say goodbye to your furry friend in the best way. 



Departing with your long-time companion is undoubtedly the most difficult decision ever. In the case of dog kidney failure, when to euthanize is often the last thing to be considered. Although it’ll bring you pain and mental torture, you should never leave your dog in agony just for your own peace. Consult with your vet and decide what’s best for your suffering dog. 

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