UTIs are the worst! Even humans know that the painful, burning sensation when you go potty isn’t normal.
Urinary tract infections are common among both humans and dogs, and it is important to know the signs so that you can best take care of your dog. While for humans, the treatment for a UTI is relatively easy, the same is not true for dogs.
Unfortunately, these infections are very uncomfortable for dogs to deal with and can cause additional health issues and severe complications if they do not receive treatment in a timely manner. In this blog post, we will go over some information about what urinary tract infections are, the symptoms, and steps that can be taken to prevent them.
What Is A Urinary Tract Infection?
The most common cause of urinary tract infections is bacterial. Most dogs will get urinary tract infections when bacteria from their skin or gastrointestinal tract enter the urinary tract. These bacteria colonize the urinary tract which causes the infection.
One of the most common bacteria to cause a urinary tract infection in a dog is E. coli, but there are various other bacteria and fungi that can cause infection.
Conditions such as prostate disease, bladder cancer, bladder stones, kidney stones, and tumors in the bladder, can cause the buildup of bacteria in the urinary tract that causes urinary tract infections.Female dogs have increased chances of contracting urinary tract infections than male dogs, though both can still get them.
Additional health problems can increase the likelihood of a dog getting a urinary tract infection, with chronic kidney disease and Cushing’s disease being potential factors among others. If urinary tract infections are detected early, they can easily be treated.
However, if left untreated, these infections can lead to additional health complications and possibly death, so it is crucial to be aware of the symptoms and causes of urinary tract infections.
Symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection
Dogs that are suffering from a urinary tract infection are likely to demonstrate discomfort or pain when they go potty.
When a dog is suffering from a urinary tract infection, its urine may contain traces of blood, but this is hard to detect unless it is leaving a stain somewhere visible. A large indication of a urinary tract infection is when a dog begins to break their housetraining and has more accidents inside, or when your pooch looks like he is peeing but he really isn’t.
Here are a few additional signs that your dog may be suffering from a urinary tract infection:
- - Accidents in the house and breaking housetraining
- - Bloody and cloudy urine
- - Difficulty peeing
- - Constant peeing
- - Straining or whimpering while peeing
- - Pee smells foul
- - Fever
- - Excessively licking their genitals
If you spot blood in your dog’s urine, be sure to contact your veterinarian immediately, as this is a concerning sign that your dog may have a urinary tract infection or a different health concern.
Many of these conditions need medical attention, as they can indicate many other issues such as a rupture in the bladder, obstructions, trauma, or scar tissue blockage. Urinary tract infections are commonly painful for dogs, but thankfully can be treated easily if they are diagnosed early.
In general, it is important to pay attention to the urination habits of your dog. If these habits change suddenly, or if they begin having accidents in the house more frequently, it might be time for the vet.
While changes in habits could just be a behavioral issue, they can possibly be an indicator of a serious medical issue that needs attention. Unusual changes in behavior overall can be signs that something is wrong, so it is important to be aware of your dog’s typical behavior and patterns.
Preventing a Urinary Tract Infection
While there are not many direct actions that can be taken to prevent urinary tract infections, you can reduce the risk by maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle and ensuring adequate water intake. Try to take your pooch out as much as possible so that he or she will not hold their pee which might exacerbate the infection.
Water is key to preventing urinary tract infections. If your dog isn’t much of a water drinker, try using treats or some natural flavoring in the water bowl to entice your pooch to drink. The more he drinks, the more water gets flushed out of the body, together with any bad bacteria that might be lurking.
Ensuring that your dog is drinking enough water and staying hydrated, along with maintaining a healthy amount of exercise in their daily life can help act as preventative measures.
It is crucial to make sure that your dog is eating nutritious, hypoallergenic dog food and that they are receiving proper hygienic care to prevent a variety of issues, including urinary tract infections and other health concerns.
Vets may also recommend various supplements, but it is important to note that without professional consultation these can sometimes worsen various other infections depending on the cause of the urinary tract infections.
Underlying medical conditions can contribute to the likelihood of your dog contracting a urinary tract infection, but by ensuring that they have consistent access to fresh water and exercise, the possible causes can be narrowed down. If your pup is constantly getting urinary tract infections, you or your vet may want to pursue additional testing to try and uncover what is causing these chronic infections.
If you think that your dog may be suffering from a urinary tract infection, contact your veterinarian and find out for sure.
It is better to be safe and seek medical consultation sooner rather than later when your dog’s health is at risk. There are a variety of treatment plans your veterinarian may take, depending on the severity of the infection and the medical history of your dog.
Treatment plans can include prescribing antibiotics, recommending a specific diet, or probiotics. Additionally, your vet may want to treat underlying health conditions that can contribute to your dog contracting a urinary tract infection.
Good luck, and all the best to you and your pooch!