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.
I’ve had a few urinary tract infections before and let me tell you…they are no fun. The pain, burning, and urge to urinate is awful. I suspect the discomfort is no different when a dog has a urinary tract infection.
Even though your dog can’t tell you what’s wrong, there are signs and symptoms to watch for.
What Are The 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?
• 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…
Urinary tract infections in otherwise healthy dogs are typically uncomplicated. 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.
Does your dog experience pain when urinating? Invetus are working with veterinarians to treat urinary tract infections.
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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.
Home remedies for urinary tract infections in dogs:
Treating you dog’s urinary tract infection 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.
• 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 the infection 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.
• 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.
WARNING: 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.
This is what the veterinarian will want to know.
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?
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)
How to 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-groomed, especially around the urethra where bacteria can enter.
• Make sure your dog is well hydrated.
• 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.