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How to Recognize the Signs & Symptoms of Canine Kidney Disease

Canine kidney disease is a serious condition that can develop over time or appear suddenly, without warning. Identify the common signs and symptoms so you can call your vet for advice.


  • Step 1: See if your dog drinks more than usual Watch your dog to see if he drinks more water than usual. Dehydration is an early sign of kidney disease.
  • TIP: Always provide your dog with plenty of fresh drinking water. Measure the water you given them to see if the amount they drink increases or decreases.
  • Step 2: See if your dog urinates more than usual Determine whether or not your dog is urinating more than usual. See if you have to make more trips outside during a day, or whether your dog starts having accidents inside the house.
  • Step 3: Check your dog's energy level Take note if your dog is constantly tired and unwilling to play. Monitor your dog's energy level to help spot other potential problems.
  • TIP: Don't feed your dog grapes or raisins. They can cause kidney failure, particularly in dogs with other health problems.
  • Step 4: See if your dog eats and maintains their weight Be sure that your dog is eating their food and not losing weight, as loss of appetite can signal kidney disease.
  • Step 5: Check for thinning coat or discolored tongue Check your dog's coat to see that it isn't thinning or drier than usual. Look at the dog's mouth, and make sure his tongue isn't a brown color, there aren't any ulcers, and that the dog's breath doesn't have an ammonia-like smell.
  • Step 6: Respond quickly React at the first symptoms of kidney disease. Many of the physical signs occur only in the final stages of the illness, when 75 percent or more of the kidney tissue has been destroyed.
  • Step 7: Take your dog to the vet if they show any signs Take your dog to the veterinarian if the dog shows any signs of canine kidney disease. Follow the vet's advice and change the dog's diet, administer medicines, or do whatever is needed to stabilize or improve the situation. Early treatment can prevent a more serious situation.
  • FACT: A 2010 study showed that dogs mimic their owners' behaviors and body movements. For instance, when the owner yawned, the dog yawned, too.

You Will Need

  • Dog
  • Water
  • Dog food
  • Veterinarian

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