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Can Dogs Develop Kidney Problems? A Guide for New Pet Parents

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Did you know a dog’s body functions are almost similar to those of humans? That means they can get the same diseases we do. For instance, your new canine friend can develop diabetes, thyroid problems, epilepsy, and more. 

They can also have kidney problems due to dehydration, a bad diet, toxic exposure, etc. Symptoms include changes in the frequency of urination, vomiting, diarrhea, sudden weight loss, itchy skin, blood in the urine, and more. 

But what happens when a dog’s kidney fails? In that case, your pet’s blood pressure isn’t controlled, and they cannot balance nutrients or filter waste. Overall, renal problems can be catastrophic to their health without treatment. 

In this blog, we will discuss everything you need to know about kidney problems in a canine.

What Are the Types of Kidney Problems in Dogs?

Kidney Problems
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As a new pet parent, you probably didn’t know that your dog can develop two types of renal issues: acute and chronic. Chronic kidney problems show in your pet at the last stages because they happen slowly over time. However, acute renal problems occur suddenly and quickly within a few days. 

#1. Acute

In most cases, acute kidney problems in your new dog might arise from external exposures like toxin ingestion. Urinary tract infections and obstructions can also be the reason. When that happens, the blood flow decreases, reducing the oxygen level in the kidneys.  

Heat strokes, leptospirosis, snake bites, and severe dehydration can also contribute to acute renal issues. The fatality rate for this injury is 45% to 60% if left untreated. 

#2. Chronic 

Usually, chronic kidney problems are common in older dogs when early, mild symptoms are overlooked. Approximately 10% of dogs are affected by this injury. 

Your senior dog can develop chronic renal issues due to underlying health conditions and a prolonged, improper diet. Even poor hygiene can disrupt their digestive system and affect their kidneys. In some cases, the kidneys simply lose their function because the dog is old. 

3 Ways to Prevent Renal Failure in Your Canines

Brown dog
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To safeguard your dog’s health and prevent them from developing renal problems, you should follow these tips:

#1. Nutritious Diet

Did you know that you can prevent your dog from developing kidney problems by putting them on a healthy diet? But unfortunately, home-cooked meals won’t provide the correct nutrition for vital kidney function. 

The dog food should have balanced nutrition with amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, etc. You’ll also need to find something tasty that comes in different flavors, like lamb, chicken, fish, or beef. 

Well, Hill’s k/d Canned Dog Food is one such product. It’s clinically proven to protect vital kidney functions. That’s because the ingredients in this canned food can control phosphorus and lower the sodium levels in your pet. These include corn gluten meal, fish oil, a vitamin E supplement, chicken fat, vitamin C, etc. 

It can also reduce the levels of uremic toxins to manage the kidney’s workload with the help of L-carnitine and essential amino acids. According to PetCareRx, this dog food can increase mobility levels and strengthen their quality of life within 21 days. Moreover, glucosamine, omega-3 fatty acids, chondroitin sulfates, and other minerals in this product can be therapeutic for your dog’s health. 

#2. Dental Health

PetMD states that ignoring your canine’s oral health can lead to severe consequences. For example, they can develop immunity imbalances, diabetes, heart disease, and other problems. 

As a new pet parent, you probably didn’t know that kidney problems can occur due to poor dental health. That happens because bacteria can seep into the dog’s bloodstream, affecting the kidney’s ability to filter waste. Therefore, it’s important to keep your canine’s teeth clean and oral health in check. 

Remember to consult a vet to get more information about brushing your dog’s teeth. You can also ask them about foods that can help with dental hygiene. Use a specialized toothbrush and toothpaste designed for a canine’s oral health. Other dental care products for dogs include dental chews, dental sprays, etc.

#3. Avoid Exposure to Harmful Materials

Did you know that your little furball’s chewing habit can eventually lead them to develop kidney problems? Yes, dogs can drink dangerous chemicals or chew plastic bottles out of curiosity. You should also keep your pet away from human medications and contaminated water sources. 

Remember to take preventive measures by placing these harmful materials away from your dog’s reach. For example, you should keep dangerous household cleaners, antifreeze, detergents, fertilizers, and other chemicals in locked cabinets. 

How Can Vets Treat Renal Problems in Dogs?

Prevent Renal Failure
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Before starting treatment, the vet will first rule out any underlying health conditions. Once done, they will perform tests like urine cultures, blood pressure measurements, radiographs, urinalysis, ultrasounds, etc. 

Doing these will help determine the type of kidney issues your dog has. However, the treatment options will depend on the extent of their symptoms. For instance, acute kidney problems are easy to treat. But unfortunately, damage from chronic renal injuries isn’t reversible if treatment doesn’t start early. 

That’s why you should take them to the vet the moment they show any symptoms. These include decreased appetite, weight loss, issues with urination, lethargy, etc. 

To treat the kidney problems, the vet will initially address conditions like infection, dehydration, or chemical poisoning. Once the cause is determined, the vet will start the following treatments:

  • Medication to encourage urine production and reduce vomiting. 
  • Fluid therapy and kidney dialysis.
  • Use of electrolytes to balance red blood cell production.
  • Pills for anemia and to manage blood pressure.
  • Treatment to ease gastrointestinal problems.
  • Surgical kidney transplant as a last resort.

In some cases, kidney problems can lead them to lose their appetite. In that case, you can use FDA-approved appetite stimulators recommended by the vet.

In summary, if you see signs of renal issues in your new pet, don’t try to self-diagnose or treat them at home. Kidney problems in a dog can often be life-threatening if left untreated by a vet. Your pet will feel better only with a proper diagnosis and treatment. 

However, the prognosis will depend on the type of disease, its progression, and the underlying health conditions. If you love your new dog, remember to keep their dental health in check, save them from chemical exposures, and provide them with therapeutic nutrition.