You notice that Sparky is drinking lots of water. And it seems you take him out to go potty more than usual of late. You can’t help but think…

Does he have kidney failure?

Kidney failure is a sad condition that plagues cats and dogs across the country. It is a source of pain for pets and heartache for their owners.

It could be that you have lost a precious dog or a beloved cat to this dreadful disease, and you want to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Or maybe you just got your new puppy or kitten, and you want to act now to protect her kidney health.

You may already have a basic knowledge of kidney failure and chronic kidney disease (CKD). In this article, I want to point out some things you may be unaware of. The more you arm yourself with knowledge, the more you can protect your pet.

(If you want to quickly address your pet’s kidney issues, go to my Kidney Health Program to understand what steps you need to take.)

Here are 5 things you didn’t know about your pet’s kidney failure:

1.) Kidney failure in pets is prevalent.

Even though your furry friend is full of fun and playfulness, that doesn’t mean you can ignore the danger of kidney problems. Kidney failure in pets isn’t some far-off possibility. It’s a present risk for your pet.

The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has a shocking statistic. Over 30% of cats will suffer from kidney problems. And according to a Merck Veterinary Manual statistic, 10% of older dogs at referral institutions have developed chronic kidney disease. If you have an older dog, be sure to read this article about kidney failure in elderly canines.

2.) Kidney failure in pets can be subtle.

Your cat or dog may have kidney failure, and you may not even know it. Here are some startling facts from the International Renal Interest Society:

  • To see what stage of CKD your pet has, he or she will be tested for something called creatinine in the blood.
  • However, a creatinine test can fail you. This test can give your cat or dog a more favorable diagnosis when kidney function is actually worse.
  • Your dog may have Stage 2 of CKD without any clinical evidences.

If you’re puzzled by your pet’s kidney failure diagnosis, click here to better understand your pet’s lab results.

3.) Bad breath is a sign of advanced kidney failure in pets.

I know this can be hard to consider, but your furry friend’s bad breath may be a sign that he is suffering from kidney failure. As VCA Animal Hospitals explains, severe halitosis can be a sign that your kitty or pup has the advanced stages of CKD.

Don’t always think that your furry friend’s bad breath is simply caused by what he ate. Take note of the symptoms, and schedule a trip to the vet to evaluate his kidney health.

4.) Kidney failure in pets can be caused by high blood pressure.

If your dog or cat has hypertension, he or she may be at risk for kidney disease. Next time you take your pooch to the vet, pay attention to what is said about your pup’s blood pressure.

Not dealing with high blood pressure now can lead to serious consequences down the road. You don’t want to give your kitty or pup unnecessary risk.


5.) Kidney failure in pets is worsened by dry food,
even “kidney diets.”

It may sound crazy, but your pet’s kidney problems may be directly related to what he or she eats. You see, conventional pet food can trigger inflammation in your pet’s body.

Dry food often contains grains that attack your pet’s gut. Even kidney diets can have an abundance of inflammation-producing grains.

Just check out these examples:

In Purina’s Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Kidney Function dog food, the first ingredient is corn.

Hill’s Prescription Diet k/d Feline touts kidney support. However, after chicken, the next ingredients are rice, corn gluten meal, and whole grain wheat.

The good news is that you don’t have to be powerless to help your pet prevent and fight kidney failure. You can help your cat or dog achieve holistic health.

Learn how to help your pet avoid CKD with my Kidney Health Program.

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Dr. Ruth Roberts has supported thousands of dogs and cats to overcome health hurdles like kidney disease, GI Illness, allergies, cancer. Her natural approach to healing creates a gentle yet effective path for your pet to take on their journey to wellbeing. 

Dr. Ruth will help you to develop a health plan for your pet via one-on-one consultation, e-learning, & videos on a range of health topics.


-Dr. Ruth Roberts, DVM, CVA, CVH, CVFT, NAN