Canine Kidney Failure Symptoms
Exploring Renal Failure in Dogs

Is your precious pooch presenting canine kidney failure symptoms?

A diagnosis of canine kidney disease can come as a real shock as you scramble about searching for information on dog renal failure and the best renal dog food options for your pooch.

Perhaps your veterinarian has recommended an expensive prescription K/D dog food but, either your dog simply refuses to eat prescription dog foods or, like us, you're unimpressed with their ingredients list. Do you prefer to feed him an appropriate all natural holistic dog food brand?

Or maybe your best option is to feed homemade, in which case it's essential that you only use healthy homemade dog food recipes specifically formulated for renal failure in dogs.

German Shepherd

Our overview of canine kidney failure symptoms also contains some very valuable additional reading from expert resources (See bottom of page). We hope to assist you during this difficult time, and help you decide on the most effective renal dog diet for your furry friend.

Please also take a moment to read our articles on:

Canine Kidney Disease - Acute vs. Chronic

Acute Canine Kidney Failure

ACUTE renal failure in dogs may be triggered by a trauma injury, exposure to poisons such as antifreeze or rat poison, or by damage caused by medications, bacterial infections (such as leptospirosis), fungal infections, or dog dehydration.

Important Note on Canine Kidney Failure Symptoms and Diagnosis:

Should your dog receive a diagnosis of renal failure, be sure to have your veterinarian run tests for dog health issues that could cause "acute" kidney disease in dogs. Don't simply put it down to "old age" - Aging does not automatically cause acute canine kidney disease.

Once the underlying cause has been treated, acute canine renal failure can often be stopped with many dogs making a full recovery!

Tests to consider include: Sterile urine culture for urinary tract infections, blood test for tick borne diseases, blood work and ACTH stim test for Cushing's and Addison's Disease, and a test for leptospirosis blood titer. All of these can cause elevations in BUN, creatinine, low specific gravity, and protein in the urine.

Chronic Canine Kidney Failure

CHRONIC Canine Kidney Failure, also referred to as as Canine Renal Failure (CRF), can occur in any breed of dog, male or female, and at any age.

The mean age is seven years, and large breed dogs often begin showing signs earlier than small breeds.

Chronic kidney failure is, unfortunately, a progressive and irreversible disease where the kidneys have reduced ability to effectively eliminate waste Holding dog's pawproducts from the blood.

Prognosis for dogs with this disease is generally not very optimistic.

Although treatment rarely improves renal function, it may ease canine kidney failure symptoms and help make your dog more comfortable.

Treatments aimed specifically at attempting to slow progression of the disease are controversial.

See the bottom of this page for additional studies on renal dog food diets, and canine kidney failure.

Take a moment to read the reviews from other dog parents on this 100% natural holistic supplement for canine kidney failure and kidney stones. Consumer feedback points to some quite remarkable results and improvement in canine kidney failure symptoms. This supplement is also an infection fighter, a natural anti-inflammatory and a pain reliever!

Chronic Renal Failure in Dogs - Causes

In most cases, chronic renal failure appears to have no specific cause. It is considered a result of the normal aging process, with the kidneys failing to function as normal.

Other conditions known to cause chronic renal failure are:

  • Hereditary and congenital renal disease
  • Kidney toxins (nephrotoxins)
  • High blood calcium (hypercalcemia)
  • Kidney infection (pyelonephritis)
  • Polycystic kidney disease (PKD or PCKD)
  • Certain medications
  • Kidney stones (nephroliths)
  • Chronic urinary obstruction
  • Lymphoma, a type of cancer
  • Inflammation of the internal structures of the kidney (glomerulonephritis).

Chronic Canine Kidney Failure Symptoms

Early Stage

Photos on this page courtesy of EraPhernalia Vintage
Beautiful German Shepherd
  • Increased thirst (Polydipsia)
  • Increased urination (Polyuria).
    You may also notice that your dog’s urine is much lighter in color, as a result of a weaker functioning kidney.
  • Dehydration.
    (Tip: You can test for dog dehydration by 'tenting' the skin. Gently pinch the skin between your dog's middle or shoulder blades and note how quickly it springs back. It should take less than 5 seconds. If the skin tends to stick or the "tent" is prolonged, then your dog is dehydrated).

Later Stage

  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bad breath
  • Weakness and no tolerance for exercise
  • Muscle wasting
  • Stiff gait and arching back. A sign that his kidneys are causing him pain.
  • Sudden blindness. Due to high blood pressure causing the eye to bleed.
  • Seizures

Please work closely with your veterinarian to discuss your options, and to ultimately decide on the best form of treatment for your own pooch.

You may also wish to consult with a holistic veterinarian, a homeopathic vet, or a dog nutritionist who has experience dealing with renal failure in dogs.

A qualified professional can offer great assistance in tailoring, monitoring, and adjusting your dog's diet and treatment, and bring relief to individual canine kidney failure symptoms.

Expert Resources


  • Canine Bladder Stones - Causes, Sytmptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
  • More on Bladder Stones in Dogs - Types and How They Form
  • Canine Urinary Tract Infection - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
  • Dog Bladder Infection - At Home Prevention Tips for Dog Urinary Problems - Prevent and Avoid Recurrence (Coming Soon)
  • Canine Bladder Stones Prevention - Prescription Dog Food, Homemade Dog Food Recipes, Natural Dog Supplements and Other Home Care Tips (Coming Soon)
  • Canine Kidney Failure Symptoms - Renal Failure in Dogs and Renal Dog Food Diets
  • Low Protein Dog Food - Unlike high protein dog food, reduced protein dog foods are usually only indicated as a treatment aid for various dog health problems

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