Diuretics for Dogs

Diuretics for dogs are prescription medications that force the release of fluid from the body’s tissues, thereby creating an exchange and turning that fluid into urine. This process is known as diuresis, a process by which forced urination is used to help cleanse the dog’s body of impurities and toxins.

Uses of Diuretics

Water retention within a dog’s body is generally controlled by the kidneys. The kidneys are responsible for creating a balance among sodium, chloride and water. When a medical condition interferes with the kidney’s ability to properly eliminate and balance these substances, the result is excessive retention of fluid within the dog’s body. The purpose of diuretics in dogs is to help neutralize this balance.  

Diuretics for dogs can be used to successfully treat a variety of health conditions. The most common use of diuretics in dogs is for the treatment of congestive heart failure (CHF). Congestive heart failure in dogs occurs when the heart is no longer able to pump a sufficient amount of blood to support the dog’s body systems and organs. In cases of CHF, the blood vessels constrict and reduce blood flow. This effect of this is increased blood pressure and secondary fluid retention. Diuretics for dogs can be used to reduce the swelling and fluid retention caused by congestive heart failure.

Another common use of diuretics for dogs is kidney failure. In this case, the ability of the kidneys to perform their normal functions of elimination through filtration becomes impaired. The direct result, then, is an excessive balance of sodium, chloride and water within the dog’s body, along with chemical toxins that the kidneys can no longer filter. Diuretics are used to reduce fluid buildup associated with kidney failure, create a balance for sodium and chloride, and remove the harmful toxins left behind by the debilitated kidneys.

Although less common, diuretics may also be used to treat dogs with glaucoma. Glaucoma occurs when there is too much fluid buildup within the eye, and this creates pressure greater than eye is intended to handle. This pressure then pushes on the internal components of the eye and eventually leads to blindness. In some cases, dogs with glaucoma may be placed on diuretics to help reduce the buildup of fluid within the eyes.

Diuretic Medications for Dogs

The type of diuretic prescribed for your dog will depend on the primary medical condition being treated. Perhaps the most common diuretic for dogs is furosemide. This is a prescription medication that works by assisting the kidneys with the removal of salt and water from the blood. These elements are then excreted through the urine.

Furosemide for dogs is predominantly used in cases of:

  • congestive heart failure
  • kidney failure
  • high blood pressure
  • abdominal fluid retention

Amlodipine is another popular diuretic used in dogs. The main function of amlodipine is to block calcium, since calcium causes the arteries to contract. Essentially amlodipine dilates these vessels so that blood can flow through them freely. When the arteries remain open and unrestricted, it reduces the instinct of the body to release extra fluid.