Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs: What You Should Know

Updated on November 22, 2016

Due to their intelligence, personality, loyalty, and overall lovability, dogs have come to be a part of families across the world. However, like other members of the family, dogs can become ill and need treatment. One of the most common reasons a dog may be feeling under the weather is because they have a urinary tract infection. In fact, a study shows that at least 14% of dogs worldwide will have a urinary tract infection every year.

Types of bacteria are the number one cause for urinary tract infections. Your dog can ingest bacteria by eating unclean or spoiled food or water. Bacteria can also enter through the urethra to the bladder. Females are much more likely to get a urinary tract infection than males are because their urethra is much shorter, making it easier for bacteria to make its way to the bladder.

Symptoms will usually depend on the stage that the infection is. The first symptom that most owners will notice is their dog is using the bathroom more or less often than normal. This symptom is usually also the first symptom that is ignored. Many owners may notice the symptom, but simply think it is due to something less serious, such as the dog drinking more or less water than normal, hence using the restroom accordingly. However, it is important to remember that even if thirst seems to be the case of abnormal urination, drinking more water can also be a symptom of a urinary tract infection. Dehydration is common in dogs with urinary tract infections because of their body’s reaction to fighting the renal problems.

If your dog is an indoor dog that you take out to use the bathroom during the day, it is easier to notice a change in your dog’s urination patterns. However, even if your dog stays outdoors, you may notice them continually squatting to using the bathroom, but being unable to. You may also notice blood in your dog’s urine or a foul smell of the urine. Your dog may also seem less interested in activities they used to enjoy, such as walks or playing, and seem lethargic or tired.

If you suspect your dog has a urinary tract infection, do not delay in taking them to the veterinarian. There are many articles out there that state that urinary tract infections can be cured with at-home remedies without any treatment from a veterinarian. However, by not seeing a veterinarian, you are leaving your dog venerable to the possibility that the infection is not treated and can continue to infect other organs. This can cause permanent damage or even eventual death.

Your veterinarian will run multiple tests to check for urinary tract infection. A urinalysis will most likely be the first test that will be done. To make it easier on your veterinarian, try to obtain a urine sample before you take your dog to the veterinarian. This can be easily done by using a ladle and taking your dog out to use the bathroom before you leave for the veterinarian. The sample should be no older than a few hours old when it reaches the veterinarians’ office. X-rays may also be taken in order to diagnose your dog. As treatment, your veterinarian will most likely prescribe antibiotics to fight off the infection. The type or strength of the antibiotic will depend on the stage that the urinary tract infection is in.

Prevention is important when it comes to keeping your dog healthy and free from urinary tract infections. By taking your dog outside frequently to use the bathroom, you avoid bacteria sitting in the bladder for long periods of time. This can cause the bacteria to infect other organs. You can also help prevent urinary tract infections in your dog by only offering them fresh food or water. Giving your dog citrus juices such as orange or fruit juice can also help fight bacteria and keep your dog healthy from urinary tract infections.


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    • Ashley Gray profile image

      Ashley Gray 6 years ago from Colorado

      I think my dog has a UTI right now! He is 7 years old and has suddenly started peeing in the house all the time.... not fun. Useful info!

    • profile image

      Jane Reese 6 years ago

      My own little puppy had a UTI not to long ago. Wish I would have tried to prevent it from the start. It sure was expensive to clear up!