Acute Kidney Failure Symptoms in Dogs

Acute kidney failure can put a dog out of commission.
Acute kidney failure can put a dog out of commission. (Image: stray sleeping dog image by Cherry-Merry from

Acute canine kidney failure is defined as the abrupt decline of kidney function in a dog. While infection or introduction of a toxin is often the cause of the syndrome, it rarely is diagnosed. The symptoms are fairly simple to spot, but even with treatment, acute kidney failure is often fatal.

Increased Need to Urinate

Kidneys help to clean blood, and the toxins and waste products are eliminated via urine. However, when kidneys start to fail, a dog will need to urinate more frequently and may even find it painful.

Increased Water Intake

When a dog begins to urinate more frequently as a result of acute kidney failure, it quickly becomes dehydrated. Thus, it is common for the dog to rapidly increase water intake. Continuous panting and drinking of water is often a sign acute kidney failure.

Lethargy and Loss of Appetite

The process of kidneys shutting down is exhausting. Due to fatigue and the pain associated with urination, dogs experiencing acute kidney failure often lose their appetite and may lose a great deal of weight. They will become tired and lethargic.

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