When signs of urinary tract infections in dogs arise, you need to know what to do. More importantly, you need to know how to prevent it from happening again. Any time I notice pain or discomfort in my dog, I get a little anxious. I hate it when she doesn’t feel well, and all I want to do is fix the problem ASAP.
Signs of urinary tract infections in dogs are most noticeable when your dog is straining or in pain. It might be easy to miss in the early stages, but as the infection worsens, you’ll notice more of the symptoms listed below.
By the time you’re finished reading this post, you’ll have a good understanding of what causes URI’s in dogs and what can be done to treat them. This post includes traditional and alternative or natural remedies for UTI in dogs.
Even though your dog can’t tell you what’s wrong, there are signs and symptoms to watch for.
Unmistakable Signs of Urinary Infections in Dogs?
Urinary tract infections are more common in female dogs, although males can get them too. Watch for:
• Pain when urinating
• Inability to urinate
• Blood in the urine
• Cloudy urine
• Unusual urine accidents indoors or loss of bladder control
• Peeing more often than usual
• Strong-smelling urine
• Licking around the urethra opening
What Causes Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs?
If you recognize symptoms of urinary tract infections in dogs, bring your dog to the veterinarian before trying any of the natural remedies listed further down this post. The reason? Urinary tract infections can be caused by underlying conditions or disease that only a licensed veterinarian can diagnose.
• Weak immune system
• Kidney/bladder stones, crystals, or debris accumulation
• Bladder disease
• Bladder infection or inflammation
• Spinal cord or congenital abnormalities
• Prostate disease
GOOD TO KNOW…
Symptoms of urinary tract infections in dogs are usually the regular variety that happen from time to time. An otherwise healthy dogs would have what is known as an “uncomplicated” infection. In other words, there are no underlying functional, structural, or neurological problems.
The treatment, usually a course of antibiotics, lasts from 10 to 14 days. You should notice improvement within a few days, but do not discontinue the antibiotics. Early discontinuation of antibiotics is the leading cause of bacteria resistance. You might think the infection is gone, but it’s still there, quietly waiting for its chance to reappear. By stopping the antibiotics, you allow that to happen. That means yet another round of antibiotics. Meanwhile, bacteria become more and more resilient against these treatments.
The YouTube video below offers info on signs of bladder infection in dogs.
What If The Urinary Tract Infection is Complicated?
That means the veterinarian suspects an underlying cause/disease and may want to investigate further.
Depending on test results, treatment could involve antibiotics along with other prescriptions, tests, and treatment plans. A complicated urinary tract infection might take longer to clear up, but will improve with time. If your dog has a condition like diabetes, for example, it’s important to make sure insulin production is kept within normal levels. Allowing any chronic condition to worsen only weakens your dog’s immune system further.
Underlying Causes of Complicated UTI in Dogs
The veterinarian will likely treat the UTI with a prescription of antibiotics and strict orders to return if the infection doesn’t clear up.
Sometimes, the UTI will clear up but will return again once the antibiotics have been taken. That could be due to an antibiotic resistance, or it could be bladder stones, bladder infection, weak bladder, hormonal disturbance, cancer, and stress.
Signs of Bladder Infection in Dogs
The urinary system includes the urinary tracts, kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. All are very painful and might not be noticed in a dog until the symptoms become severe.
Signs of a bladder infection in dogs could include:
- Pees a lot
- Pees or poops in the house
- The dog’s urine is tinged rust or pink – blood in the urine
- Dribbling urine.
- It might hurt the dog to pee and he/she might cry out
- Straining to urinate.
- Frequently licks the genitals
Natural Remedies for Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs
Treating urinary tract infections in dogs should only be done after the diagnosis has been made, and under the approval of your veterinarian.
Holistic/natural treatments should always be balanced with the “sound, accepted principles of veterinary medicine and the medical judgement of the veterinarian”.
Holistic, or home remedies, might be better used to stave off a urinary tract infection in dogs without underlying disease, rather than treat an established infection.
• Increase Water Intake
You’ve probably heard the old saying “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”. The same applies to dogs. But…if you are able to encourage more fluid intake it could aid in flushing impurities out of the urinary tract. Reducing signs of urinary tract infections in dogs will also reduce the discomfort your dog is feeling.
• Apple Cider Vinegar
Put 1–2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in your dog’s drinking water once or twice a day. The common household vinegar has a lot of natural antibacterial and antiseptic properties.
• Blueberries or Cranberries
These fruits are thought to inhibit bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract lining and help flush bacteria from your dog’s urethra.Blueberries/cranberries may help lower the pH levels in your dog’s bladder.
• Juniper Berry
Juniper berry is a herb known for speeding up the rate the kidneys filter and flush out any impurities in the system. It essentially acts as a diuretic. For that reason, you want to make sure your dog has plenty of water.
Do not treat your dog with multiple herbs that may also act as diuretics. These include:
• Vitamin C
You can increase your dog’s vitamin C intake by grinding vitamin C tablets in their food. This may help fight urinary tract infections in dogs and boost your dog’s immune system. Vitamin C will also make your dog’s urine more acidic which will help in flushing out the bacteria and will promote faster healing.
NOTE: Unlike their human counterparts, dogs produce their own supply of vitamin C (18 milligrams per pound of body weight each day).
• Citrus Juice
Letting your dog drink fresh citrus juice will help restore their pH levels and help them fight off the bacteria. You can use fresh lemon, orange, and lime juices. NOTE: Urinary tract infections in dogs with diabetes require careful adherence to diet. Never give your dog any food or juice containing natural or artificial sugar unless the veterinarian gives the okay.
• Cooling Foods
Eastern medicine supports the teaching that food can have warming or cooling properties. Offering your dog “cooling foods”, such as certain vegetables and fruits, is thought to aid in balancing the immune function.
Keep in mind that some foods are either toxic to dogs, or hard on their stomachs. Do not feed your dog grapes, raw potatoes (cooked or dehydrated sweet potatoes are okay), tomatoes, onions, or mushrooms.
Reminder: Proper diagnosis is important in order to determine the real cause behind the infection and to make sure that there is no underlying serious disease.
Info for the Veterinarian
When you make an appointment with your vet, be prepared to answer questions like what kind of urinary changes did you observe? How long has your dog been unwell? Have you noticed any behavioral changes? When discussing signs of urinary tract infections in dogs, the more information you can provide the better.
If the veterinarian isn’t able to diagnose your dog with a physical examination, he/she might need to order urinalysis.
Depending on your dog’s diagnosis, your vet may recommend the following treatments:
• Increase fluid intake
• Urinary acidifiers
• Intravenous or subcutaneous fluid therapy
• Surgery (in case of bladder stones, tumor, congenital abnormality)
The poor baby in the picture above isn’t feeling well! A special thank-you to the Loved at Last Rescue Shelter in Ladner, British Columbia for the photo.
Prevent Urinary Tract Infections in Your Dog
There are things you can do as a pet owner to help prevent urinary tract infections.
- Keep your dog well hydrated
- Use a cleanser formulated for dogs, especially around the urethra where bacteria can enter Take your dog outside to urinate more frequently. Dogs who have to hold their urine for 8 or more hours are more likely to get urinary tract infections.
- Avoid dry commercial foods which make the urine more alkaline.
Urinary tract infections do not get better without some form of treatment. If you suspect that your dog has an infection, seek advise from your veterinarian. The longer you let it go, the worse it’s going to get. You’re going to want to ease your dog’s pain as soon as possible. Getting a prescription antibiotic as fast as possible is recommended.
Remember, I’m not a veterinarian. I always suggest that you take your dog to a licensed veterinarian whenever you feel something is wrong. I cannot and do not attempt to diagnose medical conditions in your dog.
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