Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs

Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs

The symptoms of urinary tract infections in dogs include pain when urinating, straining to pee, blood in the urine, cloudy looking urine. Your dog may also begin urinating in the house.

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It might be easy to miss in the early stages, but as the infection worsens, you’ll notice more of the symptoms listed above.

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 remedies for UTI in dogs.

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. 

Why? 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
• Diabetes
• Cancer
• Stress
• Spinal cord or congenital abnormalities
• Prostate disease

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.

Bacteria Resistance

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 and anti inflammatory medication. 

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 Cranberry Juice

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:

Burdock

Dandelion

Red Clover

Alfalfa

Raspberry Leaves

• 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.

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.

How to Prepare for the Veterinarian Appointment

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:

Antiobiotics

Supplements

Increased Fluid Intake

Urinary Acidifiers

Intravenous or subcutaneous fluid therapy 

Surgery (in the case of bladder stones, for example)

 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.

Last But Not Least

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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