Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Home Remedies

Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs

The burning sensation and severe pain that accompany a dog’s urination when they suffer a urinary tract infection can make your dog miserable. The condition is common in both male and female dogs and seeing your pet suffer excruciating pain can leave you miserable. To help you identify the condition early enough, we discuss the symptoms, causes, treatments and home remedies of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) in dogs.

Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs

Urinary tract infections are not only uncomfortable for your pet but also painful and at times dangerous.  The infections are as a result of bacteria that settles in the urethra, urinary bladder, ureter or the kidneys. While both male and female dogs are susceptible to the infections, they are most common in female dogs.

The bacteria that affect these organs usually get to them from an external source such as feces. These then move up through the urethra before getting lodged in the bladder. From here they may travel to the ureter and kidney. This may result in the infections getting severe. Left untreated, urinary tract infection in a dog can be fatal.

According to dogsnaturallymagazine.com, dog UTIs result from normal skin and gastrointestinal flora ascending the urinary tract and overcoming the normal urinary tract defenses that are responsible for preventing colonization. As is evident, most urinary tract infections are attributed to bacteria but is this the only cause? We explore the causes further in the section below.

What Causes Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs?  – Causes of Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs

In order to deal with urinary tract infection in dogs, it is important to understand what causes it. While it is common to attribute these to bacteria, this is not always the cause. Urinary tract infections can be categorized into two general categories: bacterial and non-bacterial UTIs.

Bacterial Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs

Bacterial infections usually emanate from the environment. In most cases, the causes of bacterial urinary tract infections in dogs are attributed to fecal contamination resulting in the spread of bacteria up the urinary tract. Some of the causative bacteria are Staphylococcus, Proteus, streptococcus, and E coli.

It is also possible for bacteria from elsewhere in the body and which is circulating in the bloodstream to lodge in the urinary tract leading to infections.

Non-Bacterial UTIs in Dogs

Other than bacteria, fungi such as Candida, Trichosporon and Cryptococcus, parasitic worms, viruses and mycoplasma could cause urinary tract infection in dogs. Small worms known as Capillaria plica can infect their bladder when they eat earthworms. Eating infected fish and frogs could also result in giant kidney worms. These, though, are not common in pets.

To prevent urinary tract infection in dogs, it is important to ensure that whatever predisposes them to it is eliminated.

Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs

While urinary tract infection in dogs may have obvious symptoms, failure to present them does not fully mean that the dog does not have the infection. The extent to which they exhibit the symptoms is dependent on the dog’s pain and discomfort threshold. Here are the most common urinary tract infection in dogs symptoms and signs. Visit your veterinarian immediately you notice them.

  • Increased urination frequency with small amounts every time.
  • Urgency of urination
  • Straining while urinating
  • Pain while urinating which may see your pet vocalizing
  • Accidents within the house
  • Presence of blood in the urine
  • Dribbling urine
  • Obsessively licking their genital areas
  • A strong offensive odor from the urine

Urinary Tract Infection in Female Dogs Vs Male Dogs

When it comes to vulnerability, urinary tract infection in female dogs is more prevalent than in male dogs. Petwave.com attributes this to the fact that females have a wider but shorter urethra than their male counterparts. This makes them more prone to the infections.

Urinary tract infections cannot be spread to other dogs through contact. As such, this should not worry you much if you have multiple pets. However, ensure that their environment does not offer chances for them to contract it.

Dog Urinary Tract Infection Diagnosis

While diagnosing a urinary tract infection in dogs, the dog’s clinical history is taken and a thorough physical examination is done. This may then be followed by urine testing and analysis which are what offer a definitive diagnosis. To obtain the urine, the veterinarian may insert a needle in the dog’s bladder. The technique has a very low risk of complication.

Where this is not possible, your vet may require you to obtain a first-morning urine sample. Where the infections are recurrent, additional tests including urine culture, ultrasounds and x-rays may be necessary. Additionally, chemistry blood profiles may be done to test for systematic diseases.

Urinalysis will usually point out any urinary tract infections even when the dog shows no symptoms while the blood tests are necessary to help identify predisposing conditions that may be present.

Dog UTI Home Remedies – Dog Urinary Tract Infection Home Remedy

In situations where the UTI is recurrent, long-term antibiotics may be prescribed. These though come with side effects and the dog could develop resistance with time. To curb this, you may talk to your veterinarian about managing the infections at home. A few interventions at home using dog UTI home remedies and treatments can help get rid of the infections. These may include:

Dietary Changes

Making dietary changes can help improve your dog’s immunity and make them less vulnerable to infections. Offer foods with high moisture to increase fluid intake. This will encourage urination. You can eliminate foods with colorants, additives, and preservatives too to reduce the risks of infection.

Encourage your dog to take water by ensuring there is a fresh bowl of water close to it. Drinking will encourage urination which will in turn help in flushing out bacteria from the urinary tract.

To prevent the formation of bladder stones through pH regulation, your veterinarian may prescribe urinary acidifiers. These eliminate the risk of the stones blocking the system.

Herbal Remedies

Herbal remedies such as Uva Ursi and Golden Horsetail have been said to be successful in treating dog UTIs. These are natural and safe home treatments that eliminate irritation and reduce inflammation as well as pain. Talk to your veterinarian about incorporating these in your home treatment plan.

Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs Treatment

Most urinary tract infections in dogs can be treated with a course of antibiotics. This usually lasts between 7 and 14 days. Cephalexin and Clavamox are some commonly used antibiotics for dogs. These work by destroying and inhibiting the growth of bacteria. Once the medication is over, your veterinarian may recommend a follow-up urine culture to find out if the infection has cleared up.

Where the infected dog has a condition or conditions that predispose it to infections, they may be put on long-term antibiotic treatment to avoid recurrence. This though comes with the risk of your dog developing antibiotics resistance. Talk to your veterinarian and discuss any side effects that may come with the medication. You can also explore home remedies for the same.


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