Just like us, our canine companions need their kidneys to function properly as they have a number of important roles. These include removing toxins from her blood by excreting them out in urine, regulating her blood pressure and blood acidity levels and ensuring her metabolic system remains healthy. If something stops the kidneys from working as they should, it can have catastrophic consequences for your dog.
While kidney disease is fairly uncommon in canines, it isn’t unheard of. The outlook for the condition is also quite unpredictable and although some dogs may recover completely, others will deteriorate very quickly and need urgent treatment if they are to become well again.
Types of kidney disease in dogs
There are two different categories of canine kidney disease. These are chronic renal disease and acute kidney failure. Let’s take a look at the differences between the two.
Chronic renal disease in dogs
In cases of chronic renal disease, the function of the kidneys begins to deteriorate over time. While this can mean that symptoms are gradual, there are occasions where they appear out of nowhere. This is often because considerable damage has already been done to the organs. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for chronic renal disease and instead our vet will have to help you to manage your pet’s condition and slow the progression of the disease.
Acute kidney failure in dogs
If your dog develops acute kidney failure, this is almost always a response to another condition such as the presence of kidney stones or a cancerous tumor. In these instances, treating the underlying cause can eliminate the effect on the kidneys and enable your furbaby to make a complete recovery.
Symptoms of kidney disease in dogs
Whether symptoms appear suddenly or over a period of weeks or months, typical signs of kidney disease include:
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Loss of toilet-training ability
- Loss of appetite
- Pale gums
- Mouth ulcers
However, it is important to remember that many of these symptoms are quite generic and indicative of a range of conditions. Therefore, you should always seek professional advice from our veterinarian at Heartland Animal Hospital.
Preventing kidney disease in dogs
If you knew that you could save your dog from the pain and suffering of kidney disease, you would, wouldn’t you? Well the good news is that there are steps that you can take to help reduce the likelihood of your canine pal from developing renal failure.
Ensure she is eating right
The right diet plays a huge part role in the health of your pet. Most veterinarians agree that a high-quality dog food provides much better nutrition for your furbaby, and in particular, improved quality proteins. This is important since those which are considered poor make the kidneys work that much harder, speeding up the rate at which they will deteriorate.
Know your poisons
Poisoning is a leading cause of acute renal failure in dogs. The thing is, many owners don’t realize that something is toxic to their pet until it is too late. By learning what substances and foods are unsafe for your canine companion, you can keep her safe from poisoning and lower the risk of her being affected by kidney problems. Things that may seem innocent but are actually dangerous if consumed by dogs include:
- Grapes & raisins
- Garlic, onions & chives
You should also be careful to wipe up any spills of potentially harmful substances such as antifreeze or pesticides, and keep all medications, whether human or animal, locked securely away.
Keep her hydrated
Water is essential for all animals, but it is particularly important for healthy kidney function. Ensure your furbaby has access to fresh, clean water at all times.
Keep her teeth clean
Periodontal disease affects 1 in 3 dogs by the time they reach their third birthday, but this inflammatory condition can be prevented by regular tooth-brushing and professional cleans with our vet. Why is this important? Periodontal disease has been shown to increase a dog’s risk of developing renal failure.
Kidney disease can be dangerous, but with understanding and preventative steps, it doesn’t need to cause problems for your pet. For more advice on canine kidney disease, contact our Boiling Springs, SC clinic today and speak to our veterinarian regarding Early Detection Testing.