Understanding Kidney Infections in Dogs: The Causes, Symptoms and How to Prevent
September 12, 2022

Understanding Kidney Infections in Dogs: The Causes, Symptoms and How to Prevent

Kidney Infections in Dogs

Kidney infections in dogs are a very common condition. It is also one of the most dangerous canine diseases because it can lead to permanent damage and even death if left untreated.

In this article, we’ll talk more about what causes kidney infections in dogs, the cause and symptoms and of course, ways to prevent it.

What is a kidney infection in dogs and how is it diagnosed?

Kidney infection is a common, but potentially life-threatening condition in dogs. The kidneys are responsible for keeping the body healthy by filtering waste products from the blood and getting rid of excess water and electrolytes.

When dogs get kidney infections, the body's immune system doesn't recognize the bacteria that cause the infection as foreign. As a result, it can't fight them off and often becomes more severe over time.

The condition known as "renal failure" is actually a very broad term that encompasses many different conditions. Some of them are very serious, but others are more common and easier to treat.

If your dog has an infection in one or both of his kidneys, it will affect his overall health. The symptoms may look like a urinary tract infection or a kidney disease rather than kidney problems, so it's important to rule out other conditions before making a diagnosis.

What to look out for?

Kidney Infections in Dogs


If you have a dog that has been sick for more than two days, the first thing to do is to take him to the veterinarian. If the vet suspects that your dog has a kidney infection, he will perform a urinalysis. This test examines the urine for signs of infection. The vet also may perform blood tests to check for signs of anemia.

In some cases, a dog owner might not realize that their pet has a serious illness until it is too late. A veterinarian can help detect early signs of illness by taking x-rays or performing other diagnostic tests on your pet's body. If you suspect that your dog has a kidney infection, call your vet immediately and ask him to come out and examine your pet.

What causes kidney infections in dogs?

The main reason for kidney infections in dogs is that the bacteria known as Pseudomonas aeruginosa is found in many places around the body, including your dog's mouth and skin. However, it also lives inside your dog's urinary tract. When this bacteria enters through a cut or damaged urine flow, it can cause an infection.

Bacteria that cause kidney infections include:

  • Escherichia coli (E. coli)
  • Klebsiella pneumonia (Pneumocystis carinii)
  • Enterococci and Staphylococcus aureus (Staph)
  • Other species of bacteria can also cause kidney infections in dogs, such as Bacillus cereus and Clostridium perfringens. These bacteria are not as common but they can also cause serious illness if left untreated or if they spread to other parts of your dog's body.

The second reason for kidney infections in dogs is that there are several different types of bacteria that cause this condition, including E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus. The most common type is E. coli, which usually affects large breeds of dogs but can also affect smaller breeds with compromised immune systems such as toy or miniature poodles, Dalmatians, and Yorkshire terriers.

Signs of kidney infections in dogs

Usually, the signs are subtle and can be difficult to detect. As a rule, kidney infections in dogs start slowly, with little or no discomfort. The dog will have a dull-looking coat and may have some of the following symptoms:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness and poor performance in sports or other activities
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Fever or increased body temperature (above 103 degrees F)
  • Changes in behavior, such as depression or anxiety

Top Causes of kidney infections in dogs

The most common causes of a kidney infection include:

Eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water

The most common cause of kidney problems in dogs is infection due to bacteria or viruses. These infections can be spread through contaminated food or water and are most common in puppies and older dogs. Sometimes a dog will develop an infection after a long period of illness or stress.

If you have a puppy or older dog who loves to eat table scraps or treats from the table, make sure you always use separate bowls for each meal so that none of the foods on one plate touch any other food on anything else on the plate! Also, wash all dishes thoroughly before using them again so there are no germs left behind.

Infection from another animal such as a cat or dog

Infections that are spread by direct contact with an infected animal can be especially dangerous to your dog. If your dog is exposed to an infected animal, it could become ill and pass the infection on to your dog. The risk of transmission increases if you have a large number of pets in the household, and if you don't clean up after them or keep their waste away from areas where your dog plays.

Bladder stones or urinary tract stones

Bladder stones or urinary tract stones are the most common cause of kidney infections in dogs. Bladder stones are formed when special salts and crystals form in the urine. These crystals can form into hard deposits, which are called bladder stones. When these bladder stones become too large to pass through the ureter (the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder), they will move into the urethra (the tube that carries sperm out of the body). The resulting infection can be life-threatening if not treated quickly.

Kidney disease or cancer (prostate cancer)

In some cases, kidney disease can be caused by prostate cancer. This is particularly true if the dog has a large tumor on his prostate. If your dog has this type of cancer, you may need to have it removed surgically. The surgery will typically involve removing part of the prostate gland and then surgically implanting a prostatic capsule that contains urine from another part of the body, such as the bladder or urethra (tube that carries urine from inside a dog's body).

If your dog has been diagnosed with kidney disease, it is important that you get an ultrasound done by your veterinarian as soon as possible. This will help determine if there are any masses in their kidneys that may need treatment or surgery.

Ways to Prevent Kidney Infection in Dogs

The kidney is a vital organ in the body. It's responsible for filtering out waste products from the blood and storing that waste for removal by the bladder. Kidney infections are common and can be fatal if left untreated.

Here are some ways you can help prevent your dog from getting a kidney infection:

  • Keep your dog's water fresh and clean. If you notice any unusual color or smell coming from your dog's water bowl, change it immediately!
  • Avoid feeding your dog raw diets containing uncooked meats, eggs, bones and other foods that require cooking. Some dogs don't tolerate these diets very well and can develop digestive issues as well as an infection.
  • Make sure your dog has access to clean water at all times when outside of his home or kennel. You should also provide plenty of fresh, clean drinking water indoors when you're not around to monitor him closely.