Signs of Kidney Failure in Dogs and Cats

Recognizing the Symptoms That Require Veterinary Care

Thirsty Great Dane Drinking Water From Hose
Thirsty Great Dane drinking water from hose. Getty Images/Stephanie Atkinson/EyeEm

Kidney failure is common in dogs and cats. Knowing the symptoms to watch for can help you know when to seek veterinary care for your dog or cat. Prompt and aggressive treatment for kidney failure will give your dog or cat a better chance of a successful outcome.

Most Common Signs of Kidney Failure in Dogs and Cats

The symptoms of kidney failure most commonly noticed by dog and cat owners include:

  • loss of appetite

Other Signs Seen in Kidney Failure

There are a few other symptoms that may be seen in dogs and cats suffering kidney failure as well.

  • Your pet may lose weight, especially in chronic renal failure.
  • Dehydration may occur because of ongoing fluid loss.
  • Your dog or cat's body temperature may drop to subnormal levels.

    Kidney Failure and the Effects on Other Body Systems

    Kidney failure results in waste products produced by the body building up in the bloodstream. As symptoms of kidney failure progress, other body organs are also affected by these waste products.

    • Blindness or other visual abnormalities may occur due to elevated blood pressure (hypertension).
    • Bleeding disorders and excessive bruising may occur.
    • Seizures and other evidence of brain disease may result as toxic waste products affect the central nervous system.
    • Breathing may become difficult as fluid builds up in the lungs (pulmonary edema).
    • Abnormalities in the heart muscle and disturbances of the heart rhythm can occur as electrolyte levels in the blood reach abnormal levels.

    Left untreated, kidney failure will eventually prove to be fatal for your dog or cat.

    However, there are treatments that can successfully slow the progress of kidney disease.

    More About Kidney Disease in Dogs and Cats

    Please note: this article has been provided for informational purposes only. If your pet is showing any signs of illness, please consult a veterinarian as quickly as possible.