Frequently Asked Questions About UTIs in Dogs

UTIs, or urinary tract infections, are just as much a concern in veterinary medicine as they are in human medicine as well. These infections are generally caused by bacteria that enters into the urinary tract and infects the bladder, the urethra, or another portion of your dog's system. Left unchecked, these infections can lead to very painful swelling and irritation. They can even cause your pet to suffer from more serious medical side effects as well. Read on for a few of the most commonly asked questions about UTIs in dogs.

1. What Causes UTIs?

UTIs can be caused by a number of different factors. If bacteria is allowed to get into your pet's urinary tract for one reason or another, that bacteria can quickly reproduce and cause an infection that results in a UTI. Bacteria can enter into your pet's urinary tract through foods and other items that your pet ingests, or it can enter occasionally by coming into direct contact with other parts of your pet's body as well. If your pet isn't able to flush the bacteria that collects in his urinary tract out of his system, it is likely that he'll develop an infection.

2. How Do You Identify a UTI?

UTIs can be identified in several different ways. First, you may notice some of the following symptoms at home:

  • Swelling and irritation of your pet's abdomen
  • Moaning, crying out, or barking in pain
  • Frequent urination and excessive drinking
  • Discolored or foul smelling urine
  • Blood in the urine

If you suspect that your pet might have a UTI, take him to the vet's office immediately for an examination. To confirm the presence of an infection, your vet will likely take a urine sample from your pet and then have the sample tested in a urinalysis lab. This can confirm the presence of bacteria.

3. How Common Are UTIs in Dogs?

Approximately one in five dogs will suffer from a UTI at some point in his or her life. Female dogs are slightly more likely to develop infections of this type, although UTIs can affect dogs of both genders, all sizes and breeds.

4. How Are UTIs Treated?

UTIs can be treated with a dosage of antibiotics. Antibiotics will reduce the quantity of bacteria and eliminate the cause of the infection at its source. Antibiotics which will do this are available through a veterinarian's prescription.

When you treat your pet's UTI with antibiotics, it's important that you follow your vet's recommendation for dosage and treatment duration carefully. If you don't follow his instructions precisely, you may set up the bacteria that cause the infection in your pet's urinary tract to become more resistant to future treatments.

5. Are UTIs Serious?

While a UTI will likely cause your pet some discomfort and inflammation, it is not serious in and of itself. However, these infections can quickly and easily spread to other parts of your dog's body, where they can become very dangerous (and even life threatening) fast.