Although a grim subject, euthanasia needs to be on the mind of dog owners. Ending your beloved pet’s suffering is, sometimes, the best option.
Just because your pet is undergoing organ failure doesn’t mean they need to be put to rest. There are treatments and surgery for digestive diseases. Whether you should euthanize your dog with kidney failure depends on how effective the treatment is.
What Is Kidney Failure?
A dog’s kidney is located just below its ribs. Their role is to cleanse their blood by separating waste from it. To achieve this, kidneys segregate water to effectively take out the detached waste and store it in the bladder.
Now, chronic kidney disease refers to any kind of permanent damage that doesn’t let the kidney work as it should. Moreover, this disease has stages: for example, if your dog is diagnosed at an earlier stage, they can live normally with a strict diet for many years.
However, the final stages, known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or kidney failure, present far more severe symptoms. It’s called kidney failure because the organ is so damaged that it can’t keep up with the body.
Since its body can’t purify its blood flow, your dog will start to develop blood circulation problems. Additionally, your pet won’t be able to eat certain foods, liquids, and medications, which leads to gastroenteritis.
Symptoms of Kidney Failure
Since the kidney is a key organ, kidney failure will induce several grievous symptoms.
- Pale and Dry Gums
Gums are pretty sensitive to any change in the body, so pale, dry gums mean a bloodstream issue or lack of water. Their original color is pink, but when the blood flow is affected, gums lose that color and instead display a whitish color.
Despite their appearance, pale gums are not detrimental per se. They only indicate your dog’s organs are not receiving enough oxygen and water.
Whenever the digestive system undergoes a disease, it is guaranteed diarrhea will appear.
The small intestine is the one responsible for absorbing water from food or liquids. When the intestine can’t do its job, water remains in the feces and gives birth to watery wastes.
There are numerous reasons for your dog throwing up, and one of them is kidney failure.
Once again, whenever the digestive system cannot endure consumption, its reaction will be rejecting it. Unfortunately, throwing up requires a lot of water, which worsens your dog’s condition: lack of water and bad blood flow go hand in hand.
- Depression & Lethargy
Just like humans, animals get depressed when they can’t do or enjoy what they used to.
Thanks to its body not processing energy well enough, dogs can only participate in a few activities. Of course, this listlessness lowers their mood and makes them depressed.
This symptom is easily identifiable: most of the things or activities that made your pet happy or excited will only evoke a small reaction.
- Loss of Appetite
Sick dogs tend to eat less in order to preserve energy. Add with throwing up to the mix and you have a severe lack of appetite.
Animals eat less or don’t eat at all when they are sick: this habit relocates the energy needed to digest food to fix the undergoing issue. To our dog’s dismay, this is a futile attempt: ESRD cannot be cured by natural means.
- Increased thirst and urination
One of the most noticeable indicators of kidney failure is excessive drinking and peeing.
Dogs try their best to fight dehydration during kidney failure. This entails a lot of drinking water, but since they can’t digest water properly, our pets end up leaking a lot too. Also, their urine will have a strong yellow color, meaning it’s full of waste.
- Uremia: mouth ulcers
Uremia, or uremic poisoning, is a condition that makes wasteful material travel through the bloodstream.
This hazardous waste acts as a catalyst and causes ulcers in the digestive tract. So not only your pet’s mouth is in danger, but also the esophagus and any other digestive organ. As a result, eating is painful and, thus, undesirable for your dog.
My Dog Has These Symptoms. Should I Put Them Down?
Not yet! Yes, these are indicators of kidney failure, but this doesn’t mean your dog will be forever in pain. Nevertheless, keep in mind it does mean their time is growing thinner. Start considering when you should euthanize them.
We first need to exhaust any option before we say goodbye to our beloved dogs and observe their progress.
Medications and Supplements
Kidney failure is not specifically the main culprit of your dog’s symptom: the loss of key minerals is. Low sodium and phosphorus levels make the bloodstream very difficult for your dog’s body to handle. This is how blood pressure issues are born.
In order to fight this, veterinarians prescribe supplements and medications to fill in this lack of minerals. It won’t cure your pet, but it’ll make ESRD less troublesome.
Despite the fact we highly discourage this option, it’s still a viable possibility for your dog.
Renal transplantation is a very expensive, yet dangerous surgery: many dogs don’t survive more than one month. Before the surgery, your pet must not have any other illnesses or infectious diseases.
After the surgery, the patients need to take immune-suppressive medications so that their bodies don’t kill the foreign kidney. If the body rejects it, the symptoms of kidney failure will kick in as if the surgery had never happened.
Surprisingly, this procedure has been proven to extend almost 11 years of lifetime, but the fatality rate in three months is very high.
When Should I Euthanize My Kidney-Afflicted Dog?
It’s a dreadful idea, but all dog owners need to consider this at one point in time. If your pet suffers plenty from an end-stage disease such as a brain tumor or arthritis, it’s time to give them serenity.
In your dog’s last days, you’ll notice they can’t put up a fight against their kidney failure anymore. They’ll be tired all the time, they won’t want to eat or drink, and they’ll want to rest in solitude.
After every treatment has been tried out, it’s time to say goodbye to your beloved dog. Consider all the troubles you’re saving your pet from and focus on staying with them in their last moments.
Sometimes, letting go is better than holding on to a painful life.