Acute and chronic kidney failure in canines results in eventual failure in the dogs’ kidneys. Although acute kidney failure may come suddenly, chronic failure is a gradual disease. However, nobody wants to have to put their dog to sleep forever. Sometimes, this is necessary, especially when dealing with lifetime diseases like kidney failure that is in the advanced stages.
Advanced stages of kidney failure cause significant pain and harm to your dog. Therefore, any dog owner in such a situation must consider whether letting them die painlessly or seeing them suffer every day is the best course of action. It is natural to be emotional because the dog is part of your family, however, your emotions should not affect your judgment when it comes to euthanizing a dog with advanced kidney failure.
Chronic Kidney Failure
With chronic kidney failure, the kidneys are unable to efficiently filter waste products in the blood. Most dogs that have kidney failure will produce large urine quantities, but toxic wastes in the blood are not eliminated. Kidney failure usually progresses slowly and results from being poisoned or consuming toxins like antifreeze.
With acute kidney failure, your dog may experience decreased blood flow or low oxygen delivery to his kidney. In addition, the pooch may also experience urinary obstruction and infections. Long-term kidney disease causes kidney damage that cannot be reversed. Medications like antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs, birth defects, or cysts in the kidney can all cause damage of this important organ.
Although any dog owner may fear this final stage of kidney failure, this stage simply means that your dog’s passing away is looming. However, predicting how long your dog will leave is a challenge. Their living will depend on the symptoms they exhibit and other conditions that may arise because of the dog’s poor health. The age of your pooch is also another factor. In general, you should expect the dog to die within three months to one year after they get to stage 4 kidney failure.
Signs of End-Stage Kidney Failure in Canines
The common signs that your dog is dying from kidney failure are as follows:
- Uremia-this is the buildup of waste products within the body producing a distinct ammonia smell that can be detected on the breath.
- Dry and pale gums
- Bloodshot eyes
- Mouth ulcers
- Decreased appetite
- Increased thirst
- Dehydration-your dog will feel dehydrated even if he drinks more fluids
- Significant weight loss
- The gradual loss of muscle mass and fat leading to emaciation
- A dull coat that tends to shed excessively and looks unkempt
- Fatigue-the dog will sleep often with very little periods of wakefulness
- Lethargy-the dog has no energy and loses interest in moving around
- High blood pressure
- Frequent vomiting-the dog will vomit frequently and will have difficulties keeping the food down
- Incontinence-the dog is unable to control urination
- Breathing difficulties
- Tremors or shaking
- Slowing heart rate
- Periodic Seizures
- Loss of coordination and balance
- Disorientation or dog may appear confused most times
- Lack of interest in the surroundings
You should consult your vet if your dog has these symptoms. With these symptoms, this would be the perfect time to euthanize a pooch that has kidney failure. Your vet may not help your dog get rid of these symptoms because he has done everything possible for the dog.
When Should You Euthanize a Dog With Kidney Failure?
When the pooch enters end-stage renal failure, your veterinarian may recommend a home treatment plan that will make the last days of your pet comfortable and maintain his quality of life. With end-stage kidney failure, the treatment plan usually includes dialysis, pain medication, intravenous or stomach tube therapy, and techniques to take care of a sick pet. Based on the symptoms, your pet may not be in pain but may deal with other issues like lethargy, depression, constant dehydration, diarrhea, and frequent vomiting.
Your veterinarian will point out when to euthanasia your dog after he has exhausted all the possible treatment options with your pooch. If your dog experiences unresponsive pain or is too weak to handle any treatment, your veterinarian will recommend euthanasia.
Other signs that your dog may be ready to be euthanized include:
- They are getting worse instead of getting better or they show no improvement
- They are incontinent and unable to go to the toilet on their own
- They are no longer drinking or eating
- Your touch causes them pain instead of soothing them
- Excessive time sleeping
- Touching them causes them pain instead of soothing them.
Dealing with Grief
Any dog owner may have challenges dealing with the fact that his/her pet is dying owing to an irreversible disease like kidney failure. You should find comfort in the fact that your four-legged friend appreciates the love and care you are showing him during his final days. He knows that you really love him and he appreciates your presence and everything that you do to ensure his life is much easier. Although losing your pooch to kidney disease is quite heart-breaking, just know that you have given your dog the best, most fulfilling, and happiest life possible.