The best way to keep your dog as healthy as possible is to recognize signs of illness – and get ailments treated as soon as you can. Canine kidney failure is a common problem found in older dogs – and can often go unnoticed for a long time before symptoms show. There are many treatments available when your dog has been diagnosed with this condition and once you’ve got all the facts about dog kidney failure – when to euthanize – you’ll know just what to expect.
Chronic renal failure is the inability of the kidneys to efficiently filter the blood of waste products – most dogs with kidney failure produce large quantities of urine but the toxic wastes aren’t being eliminated. The disease progresses slowly and typically stems from being poisoned or ingesting some kind of toxin – such as antifreeze.
Acute kidney problems can include decreased blood flow or oxygen delivery to the kidneys – as well as infection and urinary obstruction. Long-term kidney disease can cause kidney damage that isn’t reversible. Medications such as antibiotics or chemotherapy drugs, cysts in the kidney, and birth defects can all be factors.
One of the first symptoms of kidney failure is an increase in thirst alongside excessive urination – as the kidneys are damaged the body uses more fluids. Other noticeable symptoms include:
Pale, dry gums – dull and dry to touch
Mouth ulcers – that are raw and painful
Bloodshot eyes – whites of the eyes are red
Decreased appetite – loss of interest in food
Weight loss – with gradual loss of fat and muscle mass
Excessive shedding – with a dull, lackluster coat
Lethargy – with no interest in moving around
Increased sleeping – with only brief periods of wakefulness
Vomiting – unable to keep food down
Breathing difficulties – unable to breathe normally
Loss of balance – disoriented and clumsy
Trembling – with periodic seizures that are a major sign of kidney failure
There are other symptoms that your vet will be able to test for and these include:
Uraemia – the build-up of waste products in the body
Anemia – the lack of iron in the blood
High blood pressure – elevated due to the illness
Slow heart rate – a faster rate will turn to slow down during the end stage of kidney failure
A change in diet will initially be recommended – low sodium and low phosphorus may help in slowing down the progression of kidney failure. Natural supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil provide anti-inflammatory values that can reduce kidney inflammation – and Vitamin B and C complexes can help replenish lost vitamins and increase appetites.
Alternative medication includes anti-hypertensive options that include ACE inhibitors – reducing stress offers a better quality of life. Natural flower essences and regular acupuncture have proven to help slow the progression of kidney failure – both are safe to use alongside conventional treatments.
Keep your dog comfortable
Your vet will discuss with you how to keep your dog comfortable after diagnosis of end-stage kidney failure. You can:
Make sure your dog’s bed is quiet, warm, and cozy with a blanket and toys
Spend as much time with your dog as possible as this will bring company and calm
Supervise interactions with others to ensure gentle play
Keep your dog clean and dry, washing and brushing regularly
When is the right time to euthanize?
After all treatments for kidney failure have been tried – and your dog is getting worse you may need to talk to your vet about Dog euthanasia. There are signs that your dog is really in distress – when the pain is constant when you are unable to soothe, and when eating and drinking stops. If your dog is suffering from incontinence and all the fight has gone you’ll know this is the right time.
If you’re still undecided you need to look to the future and the quality of life that your dog will have – when the end is near your care and attention will make all the difference to your dog. You’ll be able to take comfort in the knowledge that you were there when you were needed most.
Gentle at-home euthanasia
You’ll need the advice and support of trained and qualified vets to get you through these last few days – and Cloud 9 Vets will make sure you get all the help you need. With years of experience in helping families and their pets your vet will understand exactly how you feel – anxious, guilty, and incredibly sad.
You’ll be comforted by the fact that your dog will be put to sleep in familiar surroundings – and the stress of taking your dog to the clinic is all taken away. You’ll be able to hold your dog’s paw and provide comfort until the very end.
Dog euthanasia involves two injections – the first gentle pinprick will cause your dog to drift off to sleep within 15 minutes. The second injection will be administered either intravenously through a vein in the front leg – or by an intravenous catheter into the back leg.
You can ask your Cloud 9 Vet to take care of the cremation on your behalf – or you can make your own arrangements and contact the crematorium yourself. You’ll be given time to decide on the type of service you want for your dog.
Dealing with the loss of your dog
You may find that getting in touch with specially trained bereavement counselors will help you after your dog has gone – grief affects everyone differently and you might need extra support to get your life back on track. Grieving is an important part of your recovery and even little things can trigger an emotional response. There isn’t an exact formula but you should be prepared to experience denial, anger, guilt, depression, and finally acceptance.
Creating a memorial to your dog can also be therapeutic – discuss the options with your family and friends to see which works best for you. It’s important to do something from your heart that helps you remember your dog and at the same time process your grief.