Canine Urinary Tract Infection Explained

Canine urinary tract infections are a common problem. If urine remains in the bladder for a long period of time bacteria can form and multiply. Some dog owners don't recognize urinary tract infections and assume the symptoms are behavioral issues.

UTI Caused by Bacteria

Urinary Tract Infections are usually caused by bacterial infections. Bacteria enters the body through the urethra and eventually making its way to the bladder. Inflammation reduces the size of the urethra, which makes makes urination difficult and painful. Other problems, such as bladder stones, can set in when less urine passes through the body.

Symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection

  • Difficult and painful urination
  • Having to urinate more frequently
  • Urinating in inappropriate areas/seeming lack of bladder control
  • Licking of the genital area
  • Urine odor or leakage
  • Abdominal pain and discomfort
  • Noticeable weight loss, anorexia
  • Pus or blood in the urine

Not every dog will show all of the same signs. Finding these symptoms doesn't necessarily mean there's a Urinary Tract Infection; urinary stones or obstructions have similar symptoms.

Diagnosing UTI

Since many of the symptoms mimic other diseases, your vet will first rule them out as causes. The urine will be tested for substances which may indicate an infection. Diagnostic tests also include x-rays and an ultrasound. For mild urinary tract infections, your vet may prescribe antibiotics and a change in your dog's diet. More severe cases may require surgery.

Treatment for Urinary Tract Infection

Antibiotics are given for most cases of canine urinary tract infections. The antibiotics are given for ten to fourteen days. Your dog may start feeling better within 48 hours of treatment. Rarely will an infection require antibiotics for a longer period of time.

Always having fresh water available for your dog is important. Urination is nature's way of keeping the urinary tract clean. Increasing the frequency of urination may reduce the risk of urinary tract infections.

Giving your dog fruit juices, such as cranberry juice, is commonly suggested. The juice may help the acidity of the urine. A substance in berries helps prevent bacteria from clinging to the bladder. Some dogs may not like the taste of juice; if yours doesn't, and your vet recommended it, try diluting the juice with water.

Generally, dogs will urinate more while being walked, so walking your dog more frequently may help.

Urinary tract infections may reoccur if preventative measures are not taken. Simple changes in your dogs routine can be very effective and lower the likelihood of an infection in the future.