In the first phase of treatment, vets may use a high dose of intravenous (IV) fluids to flush the kidneys and bloodstream to remove built-up toxins. If the kidneys aren’t too badly damaged, this may restore enough kidney function for your dog’s body to properly get rid of waste. If not, your vet will put together a more intense treatment plan.1
There are four main ways kidney disease can be treated — with diet, medications, fluid therapy, and regular check-ups. Depending on the severity of your dog’s medical condition, your vet may recommend combining some, if not all, of these treatment options to preserve your pet’s kidneys. Because vets consider chronic kidney disease to be incurable, the goal of treatment is to improve your pet’s quality of life.1
In the later stages of kidney disease, a special diet can help manage the health of the kidneys. In general, a diet for renal disease aims to provide:4,5
- Low protein to minimize the buildup of waste that the kidneys are struggling to filter
- Phosphate binders that manage phosphorus levels, which can further impair kidney function
- A balanced amount of sodium to help the body’s blood pressure and ability to absorb water
- Adequate amounts of fresh, clean water to prevent dehydration
Work closely with your veterinarian to develop a suitable dietary plan that best supports your dog's kidney health and overall well-being.5 You could make your pet’s meals yourself or purchase prescription diet food.
Your vet may prescribe medications and supplements to help your pet’s kidney function. Options include things like:1,2,4
- Antiemetics, which controls nausea and vomiting
- Omega-3 which can reduce inflammation in the kidneys
- Vitamin B complex to improve overall health and maintain energy levels
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors to manage high blood pressure that impacts kidney function
- Probiotics to help the gut process nitrogen and other toxins
Your vet may prescribe additional medications to treat acute kidney disease caused by infections or injury.4 How much medication — if any — depends on your pet’s specific case.
Fluid therapy aims to maintain hydration, correct electrolyte imbalances, promote urine production, and improve overall well-being. There are two methods of fluid therapy: IV and subcutaneous fluids.1,4
IV fluids rapidly restore hydration and correct electrolyte imbalances in severely dehydrated dogs or those with acute kidney injury. Subcutaneous fluid therapy is often used to manage chronic kidney disease in dogs. Unlike IVs, subcutaneous therapy can be given at home, but this option requires proper hygiene practices and tools to monitor your dog’s well-being.1,4
Dogs with acute or chronic renal disease may need regular vet visits to monitor their kidney function. Regular check-ups ensure the effectiveness of your dog’s treatment plan and improve their quality of life. How often you’ll need check-ups depends on the treatment plan. However, early-stage pups may need check-ups every 6 months or so, while later-stage pups may need check-ups every 1 – 3 months.4
Don't underestimate the importance of regular veterinary visits to ensure your furry friend's well-being. Since symptoms may not become noticeable until at least 2/3 of the kidneys are damaged, routine examinations and blood tests play a vital role in identifying any signs of kidney disease at an earlier stage.1 By catching the disease early, prompt intervention and management can improve your dog's overall prognosis and quality of life.
With the proper treatment and regular check-ups, most dogs can live normal, fulfilling lives after an early kidney disease diagnosis.1 The cost of care doesn’t have to get in the way of making sure your dog is happy and comfortable. Take a look at Leila’s story.
When Leila, a mixed pup in California, became sick, her pet parents took her to the vet. Leila’s urinalysis indicated she may have kidney disease. All of her diagnostic exams cost over $5,600. Luckily, Leila’s parents were reimbursed almost $4,500 through their dog insurance policy — allowing them to spend more time focusing on Leila’s recovery than the cost.6
Investing in a dog insurance policy with MetLife Pet can help you afford the best care for your furry friend. Learn more about how much pet insurance costs or get a personalized quote today.