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No one wants to think about having to euthanize their beloved pet, but sometimes it is the kindest thing we can do. Renal failure is one of those times.

When to euthanize a dog with kidney failure depends on the severity of the illness and the dog’s lifespan.

A veterinarian can advise on the survival rates of pets with kidney disease and the best time to euthanize your dog. There are some important signs to look for to help you make an informed decision.

What is pre-renal kidney failure in dogs?

Pre-renal failure is a condition in which the kidneys are not able to filter blood properly due to a lack of blood flow. This can be caused by dehydration, heart disease, or other conditions that reduce blood flow to the kidneys.

The stages of renal failure in dogs are:

  1. Pre-renal failure
  2. Renal failure
  3. Uremia

Symptoms of Kidney Failure

The final stage of kidney failure is a difficult time for a dog.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, please consult your veterinarian. Symptoms of pre-renal failure in dogs may include:

  • lethargy
  • reduced appetite
  • weight loss
  • increased thirst
  • increased urination
  • weakness
  • vomiting

While the vet can help manage the symptoms, it is not always possible to cure the disease. Some dogs have an extended period of coping with the symptoms, while others succumb more quickly.

There are some treatments available for dogs who have kidney failure, including intravenous fluid therapy. This treatment helps flush toxins out of the body and regulate electrolytes.

It is not a cure for the disease, but it can improve the quality of life for your pet.

While it may be difficult to recognize these symptoms in an early stage, the first step in determining whether your dog has kidney failure is to consult a veterinarian. The vet will be able to diagnose the exact stage of the disease and suggest appropriate treatment.


There is no one definitive answer to this question. However, some things that may help prevent pre-renal failure in dogs include ensuring that the dog stays hydrated, maintaining good heart health, and avoiding any other conditions that could reduce blood flow to the kidneys.


When to euthanize a dog with kidney failure is an extremely important decision. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to prevent the condition from progressing further.

A vet can recommend diet changes and medications to help slow the progression of the disease.

Treatment for renal failure depends on the underlying cause, but may include fluids, antibiotics, dietary modification to reduce the workload on the kidneys, and medication to control symptoms such as nausea and vomiting.

Fortunately, dogs with this disease can still live a long life if they are treated properly. Early treatment is essential for easing the discomfort associated with the disease.

Regular hydration is important for dogs with chronic kidney failure. They will become very thirsty and need constant access to water and hydration supplements.

A veterinarian may also suggest subcutaneous fluids or IV drips to help them remain hydrated.


Medications like anti-nausea and appetite stimulants may be given to your dog to ease the suffering.

When To Euthanize

Though there’s no definitive answer as to when it’s time to put a dog down with renal failure, common recommendations are trimming the animal’s waste intake and fixing underlying health issues.

Ultimately, it is a decision that must be made by the pet owner in consultation with their veterinarian.

There are, however, some general guidelines that can be followed. As renal failure progresses, the dog will typically become less active and more lethargic. They may also begin to lose their appetite and experience weight loss.

As the condition worsens, the dog may start to experience more serious symptoms such as seizures, coma, and respiratory distress. At this point, the decision to euthanize is usually fairly straightforward.

However, even in the early stages of renal failure, it is important to consult with your veterinarian to discuss the prognosis and to make sure that all other treatment options have been exhausted.

Unfortunately, at times, euthanasia may be the best option for both the dog and the owner.

If you’re worried about letting your dog suffer through kidney failure, euthanasia is a painless and monitored procedure. It is also a less cruel alternative to allowing your dog to suffer needlessly.

This procedure is usually quick and involves two shots of a drug called pentobarbital. It shuts down the heart in two to three minutes.

How to make a dog with kidney failure comfortable?

Some tips on making a dog with kidney failure comfortable include providing a soft bed or mat for them to lie on, keeping them warm with a blanket or coat, and offering them small, frequent meals of easy-to-digest food.

What to feed a dog with renal failure?

A diet that is high in protein and low in phosphorus is often recommended for dogs with kidney disease. However, this diet is not ideal for all dogs with kidney disease.

Some dogs with kidney disease do better on a diet that is lower in protein. This is because a high protein diet can increase the amount of work the kidneys have to do to filter the blood.

A diet that is high in fat can also be hard on the kidneys. A diet that is high in carbohydrates is easier for the kidneys to process.

There are many different types of fresh, whole food diets that are available for dogs with kidney disease. You will need to work with your veterinarian to find the diet that is best for your dog.

In the past, researchers believed that dogs were similar to rats in terms of their physiology. As a result, they thought that reducing the amount of protein in their diets would be beneficial for their kidneys.

In fact, low protein diets may actually be harmful to dogs with kidney disease.

A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2009 found that dogs with kidney disease who were fed a low protein diet actually had a shorter survival time than those who were fed a normal protein diet.

Why Avoid Prescription Kidney Diets?

  • They are high in phosphorus, which can contribute to kidney disease.
  • They are low in calcium, which can lead to bone problems.
  • They are high in sodium, which can contribute to high blood pressure.
  • They do not contain all of the nutrients that a cat needs, so they must be supplemented with vitamins and minerals.

Feed High Quality Protein

Kibble and other commercial diets, including prescription kidney diets, are not ideal for dogs. Feeding them a fresh, whole food diet with easily digestible protein is a better option. Raw diets are more easily digestible for most dogs.

Include Kidneys

Organ meats are an excellent source of nutrients for your dog. They are packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals. Organ meats are also a good source of fat, which is an important part of your dog’s diet. Feeding organ meats as 10-25 percent of your dog’s diet is a great way to ensure that your dog is getting all the nutrients they need.

Keep Fido Hydrated

A fresh food diet is a great way to add moisture to your dog’s diet, but always make sure your dog has access to fresh, clean water. Monitor your dog closely for signs of dehydration, such as hard and dry stool or lethargy. If your dog becomes dehydrated, you can ask your vet to teach you how to give subcutaneous fluids at home.


There are many ways to help support your dog’s detoxification. One is to feed him a nutritious diet that includes plenty of fresh, whole foods. You can also give him supplements that help support liver and kidney function. Finally, make sure he gets plenty of exercise to help keep his body healthy and functioning properly.

Omega-3 fatty acids for dogs with renal failure

There is some evidence that omega-3 fatty acids may help dogs with renal failure by reducing inflammation and improving kidney function. One study found that omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce inflammation and improve kidney function in dogs with renal failure.

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Anamile Guerra is a pet owner and entrepreneur with a passion for the well being of pets and animals. She believes in educating pet owners about natural and healthy alternatives to toxic chemicals in our dog's diets and nutrition. By following a natural lifestyle, we can prevent most common illnesses we see not only in our pet's health, but in our own well being, allowing us all to live long and happy lives.

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