When to Put a Dog Down with Renal & Kidney Failure

Dog owners often wonder and ask the obvious question of the best time to euthanize their dog diagnosed with a chronic disease like kidney failure. 

To euthanize your dog means to carry out Euthanasia on them. According to the oxford dictionary, Euthanasia is the practice of painlessly and intentionally killing a living being for a humane reason. 

In most cases, it is usually done to end the suffering of that living being (in this case, your dog). It is an alternative painless death.

This article does not compel you to follow the views outlined because euthanizing your dog should be your decision. But it advises that you follow professional advice from your vet. 

Talking from experience, we would like to throw insight into the popularly asked question of when to euthanize your dog with kidney failure. 

Simply put, the perfect time to euthanize your dog with diseases like kidney failure is when you have run out of all available medical options. At that time, your dog will probably not be lively again. So it best to put it down before it gets even worse. 

Best Time to Euthanize Your Dog with Kidney Failure

Although it’s rare, dogs sometimes suffer from chronic and acute kidney failure, which causes their kidney to fail and stop functioning. Acute kidney failure happens suddenly, while chronic kidney failure builds up gradually. 

It can be quite hard to carry out Euthanasia on your dog because you love the dog so much. Still, you have to do it because it is better than allowing your dog to suffer. 

Kidney failure is renowned for causing a lot of pain and harm to dogs, especially when it is in advanced stages. No one would want their dog to suffer that much, hence the need to euthanize them. 

Also, no one wants to put their dog to sleep because of the strong emotional attachment they share. Yet you have to euthanize your dog when the pain becomes unbearable. 

Even veterinarians admitted that Euthanasia is one of the most challenging parts of their job. 

Although it is much easy to say than to do, it is highly recommended that you keep away your emotions and think of it as the best way to alleviate your dog’s pains. 

You can wait till you do not have any other choice (when they stop responding to treatment), and their condition keeps getting worse before euthanizing your dog. This is because every dog has a different kidney failure experience. 

In the long run, when you weigh both options, you will realize that Euthanasia is the right thing to do. Think of how kidney failure has impacted your dog’s life. Even you will not enjoy the dog at that point. 

So as much as you love to keep your dog close, it is not worth it to watch them suffer excruciating pains.  

This article further provides insight into canine kidney adrenal failure and also on when and how of Euthanasia. 

How Long Can A Dog Live with Kidney Failure?

There is a glimmer of hope if your dog is diagnosed with kidney failure. However, it depends on the stage of the disease at the point of diagnosis. While some dogs live for several months after diagnosis, some can live for years. 

You have to note that dog kidney failure prognosis varies in some cases, but it is still classified as a terminal disease. So you have to be ready to euthanize your dog.

It is common knowledge that euthanizing is not easy, so you can always consult your vet for guidance and advice on the disease’s progress and the right action course. 

In addition to euthanizing, when you might have exhausted all treatment options possible, here are a few signs that also shows that you might need to euthanize your dog:

  • Your dog is not drinking or eating.
  • Your dog sleeps too much.
  • It feels pain when you touch them.
  • Your dog’s situation is getting worse rather than better.
  • Your dog becomes incontinent.

There are many other signs, but the above are the most common. 

As a dog owner accustomed to their dogs’ personality and temperament, you must look for any unusual behavior carefully. 

One proven way to know the right time for Euthanasia is to give your dog something he likes and see how he responds to it. For instance, if your dog likes to eat watermelon, cut it out in pieces for him and see if he still hops at it. 

If your dog does not react to the watermelon, this could imply that the disease has gotten worse, and you might need to choose Euthanasia. It should not be that hard to decide since your dog does not feel well because of kidney failure. 

In a nutshell, you are the primary decision-maker here. Do not be scared to assess how your dog feels using your instinct. If you notice any behavioral changes or concerns, consult your vet. 

Your vet is in the best position to tell you when to euthanize your dog because they are an expert in such cases and they know all the things to look out for and the initial treatment they offer to the dog. 

However, after trying the last resort, and there seems to be no improvement or way forward, you and your vet can conclude and agree on the next step. In such cases, the next step is often Euthanasia. 

In most cases, Euthanasia is carried out in a veterinary hospital, although some veterinarians do it at home. If you have an anxious dog, it is best to put them to sleep at home. This is because the dog will be calm and feel safer in a familiar surrounding. 

After Euthanasia is complete, feel free to mourn your dog and express yourself the best you can. Do not hold in the grief but rather seek help for it if need be. 

You can seek help from support or counseling groups or support groups with like-minded persons who have also put their pets to sleep or lost them to natural deaths. You do not have to be ashamed of feeling distressed about your dog’s passing. 

Hint: there is a famous saying that all dogs usually die with their eyes wide open. This is a misconception, and it is not valid. It depends on how you put the dogs to sleep. 

Some Dogs Live Up To 4 Years Even with Kidney Failure

This is possible with early diagnosis and the right treatment. Four stages lead to a dog’s kidney failure. If your dog is in the early stage, it can live even longer as long as you manage the disease well with the help of your veterinary doctor.

Your veterinary doctor will assess the stage of kidney failure by considering various factors like creatinine, urine-t-protein-ratio, and your dog’s blood pressure. 

How Can My Dog Live If It Is in Stage Four of Kidney Disease?

Like we mentioned earlier, your dog has a higher chance of living longer if their kidney disease is diagnosed early, maybe in stage 1 or 2, especially if you start treatment early too. 

On the contrary, if your dog diagnosis is late, and you know of the kidney failure at stage 3 or 4, the life expectancy is shortened. You can be lucky that it will be up to months, but it is only for some weeks in most cases. 

Symptoms and Signs That Your Dog May Die from Kidney Failure

There are several symptoms of kidney failure your dog exhibits. The signs of advanced canine kidney failure, together with the ones already mentioned above best, indicates the perfect time to put your dog to sleep.

Below are some of the prevalent symptoms and signs of advanced kidney failure (stage 4) in dogs:

  • Seizures
  • Anemia
  • Tremors
  • Disorientation
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Increased dehydration and thirst
  • Depression
  • Loss of muscle and fat mass 

If your dog exhibits any of these signs and symptoms, please consult your veterinary doctor as soon as possible. When you notice these signs and symptoms in your dog suffering from kidney failure, it often implies that he is ready for Euthanasia.

After using all available means, even your vet might not be able to ease your dog from any of the above symptoms, which further indicates the need to euthanize. 


You love your dog, and you want the best for him. Your dog also loves to play with you and be active. You and your dog share a strong bond such that you always want to be healthy together. 

All these changes when your dog is diagnosed with kidney failure. Gradually, your dog’s health begins to deteriorate, and he can no longer do the usual things he used to do. 

Later, it becomes so worse that your dog goes through a lot of pain because of the disease. Now, your dog’s life is in your hands. You have the power to ease him of the constant pain. 

It is expected that you might hesitate to euthanize your dog because it can be incredibly distressing. However, you should own up to it and perform your responsibility. Choose to end their pain quickly rather than watching them suffer. 

Even your dog will be grateful when you euthanize them as a last resort while also taking comfort that you helped your dog live a happy and fulfilling life.

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