Symptoms of dogs dying of kidney failure

Updated February 21, 2017

The kidney, along with the liver, is responsible for removing toxins and waste from the blood stream. In dogs, as in humans, when the kidneys fail, toxins build up in the blood stream, eventually resulting in death. Even if kidney failure is caught in time to save your dog's life, not recognising the signs early can result in substantial veterinarian bills. Watch for the classic signs of kidney failure to make sure your dog maintains a high quality of life.


One of the earliest physical manifestations of kidney failure is dehydration. When your dog's kidneys begin to fail, toxins build up in his body. As a result, his body will overcompensate by sending more blood to the kidneys to make up for the lack of filtration. This extra blood sent to the kidneys results in an overproduction of urine. Your dog will begin to urinate more often, causing dehydration. He will start to drink copious amounts of water to make up for what is being lost through frequent urination.


In later stages of kidney failure, your dog will begin to feel the physical result of toxic build-up affecting her internal organs. Her stomach will become sensitive and she will throw up anything she tries to eat. Excessive vomiting can cause malnourishment and ulcers in the oesophagus and mouth.


Diarrhoea is another way for your dog's body to try to expel toxins. As kidney failure progresses and frequent urination is insufficient to expel toxins from the body, diarrhoea will result. Diarrhoea will exacerbate your dog's other symptoms.


The build-up of toxins in his body will leave your dog feeling incredibly ill and unable to do much of anything. Being unable to play or eat, having no energy, and feeling sick will actually make him depressed. He may do nothing but lie still or sleep.

Extreme Bad Breath

The build-up of toxins in her body can actually be detected in your dog's breath. Extreme bad breath is a clear sign of late-stage kidney failure when other symptoms are also present. If your dog is dehydrated and vomiting, check her breath. If it smells worse than usual, take her to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

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About the Author

David Montoya is an attorney who graduated from the UCLA School of Law. He also holds a Master of Arts in American Indian studies. Montoya's writings often cover legal topics such as contract law, estate law, family law and business.