10 Common Signs of UTI in Dogs

Pet Health


August 13, 2020

Are you noticing reddish or brownish discoloration in your dog’s urine lately? Although it may not be a serious issue, changes to the color of your pet’s urine and other symptoms could indicate illness in your dog.

Different factors can affect your dog’s urinary system. One of the usual causes of your dog’s urinary disorders is bacterial urinary tract infection (UTI).

Based on studies, around 14% of dogs experience UTI at some point in their lives, particularly during their old age. This article discusses the common signs of UTI in dogs, its causes, preventive measures, and possible treatments.

Signs and Symptoms of UTI to Look Out For

UTI in dogs is usually caused by fungi and bacteria, like Escherichia coli (E. coli). This disease is more likely to occur in female dogs, but male ones are not spared from contracting it. The rate of infection in dogs with other health issues like cushing’s disease and chronic kidney disease is also higher. Some of the signs and symptoms of UTI in dogs are:

  • Difficult and painful urination

One of the main signs of UTI in your pet is painful urination. If you observe that your pet is whining or irritable when urinating, it is best to consult your veterinarian. This symptom is no joke, as it could lead to a severe injury to your dog’s bladder. If left untreated, it could be fatal.

  • Blood in the urine

Another sign that needs immediate medical attention is the presence of blood in your dog’s urine. If you notice continuous discoloration of their urine, take your canine to your vet immediately as it could also be a sign of other conditions. Other possible causes are kidney disease, trauma, cancer, urinary tract stones, and poisoning.

  • Visible changes in urination habits

Be aware of sudden changes in your dog’s urination habits. If your four-legged companion causes several accidents around your house lately, they could be feeling some pain. Other changes you should be aware of are urinating with small amounts frequently and wetting their bed.

  • Lack of appetite

Almost all dogs love to eat, so if you notice a sudden loss of appetite in your pet, take immediate action. Consult your vet immediately if your dog refuses to eat within two days. However, if they have just received their vaccination, the lack of desire for food could be an adverse effect of the vaccine.

  • Lethargy

If your dog has UTI, they may become lethargic and lose interest in doing the activities they usually love to do. Your canine companion could be experiencing severe pain and fatigue due to their illness. Try to make them comfortable so as not to aggravate the condition. Bring your dog to your vet immediately if their condition does not improve in a couple of days.

  • Genital licking

Licking one’s genitals is a normal behavior in dogs. It is their way to clean themselves after urinating. But if your dog licks their genitals persistently, it could be a sign of a health problem.

  • Fever

Like people, dogs have a natural defense mechanism to fight off inflammation or infection. Having a high body temperature is one way to kill bacteria that attack the body. To know whether your dog has a fever, you could use a rectal thermometer to check their temperature. The average body temperature of dogs ranges from 100.4 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Weight loss

Dogs may still eat their food even if they suffer from UTI. However, if you notice your pup is losing weight rapidly, it could be a sign of an infection or other chronic conditions, like diabetes or renal failure.

  • Foul urine odor

Bad smelling urine is among the tell-tale signs your dog has UTI. It may also be due to other diseases like kidney stones and diabetes. Consult with your vet immediately if this symptom appears.

  • Frequent drinking

If you notice that you are filling your dog’s water bowl more often lately, your dog is experiencing increased thirst, which can be another sign of UTI.

What Causes UTI in Dogs

UTI occurs when fungi or bacteria invade your dog’s urinary tract, kidneys, and bladder through the urethra. However, it is hard to determine the real cause of UTI in your pet. Several experts claimed that the disease could be due to various factors, such as:

  • Abnormalities or deficiencies in your dog’s urinary tract.
  • The presence of tumors in your pet’s urinary tract or bladder.
  • Your dog’s immune system getting weak or compromised.
  • Other medical conditions, like diabetes, prostate disease, kidney stones, spinal cord abnormality, and cancer.

How to Prevent UTI in Dogs

Maintaining the health of your dog is essential for protection against illnesses like UTI. There are also easy and effective ways to minimize the risk of UTI infection in your pet. Here are some steps you can take to prevent your dog from contracting UTI:

  • Practicing proper hygiene and grooming. Make sure to bath your dog regularly to keep them clean and free from harmful bacteria. Maintaining proper grooming, particularly around the genital areas, can minimize the risk of infection.
  • Ensuring constant access to fresh, clean drinking water. Allowing your dog to consume plenty of safe water will enable them to flush out bacteria that could have entered the urinary tract and could cause possible infection.
  • Feeding your dog a nutritious, well-balanced diet. Healthy food will allow your dog to develop a robust immune system to protect their body against harmful bacteria and fungi.
  • Allowing your pet to urinate freely anytime by providing an area to do so. If your dog has no comfortable area to pee, they may hold their urine for an extended period. It can cause kidney stones and the accumulation of a dangerous level of bacteria.
  • Giving probiotic supplements and other vitamins, particularly vitamin C, allows your dog to build up healthy bacteria and strengthen the immune system. Consult with your vet to make sure you are giving the right amount of supplements to your canine.
  • Taking your dog to your vet regularly for a check-up. Regular consultation will allow your vet to monitor the health of your dog. As an expert, your vet can easily identify if your pet is healthy or suffering from a particular illness.

How to Cure UTI in Dogs

Your vet may conduct several tests to determine what is bothering your furry friend. The possible examinations include urinalysis, physical testing, urine culture, and analysis of the bladder and kidney.

If your vet diagnosed UTI in your dog, they might recommend several treatment options based on the severity of the infection or underlying medical conditions. Here are some possible treatments:

  • Antibiotics

If your vet confirms your dog has UTI, they may recommend an antibiotic based on the severity of the infection. Make sure to complete the prescribed number of days of treatment when administering antibiotics to your pet.

Failure to do so could result in the recurrence of the disease as the pathogens are not eliminated completely. Some of the possible antibiotics for your dog include amoxicillin, ampicillin, cephalexin, cefadroxil, and cefovecin. Your vet may also prescribe ceftiofur, orbifloxacin, chloramphenicol, gentamicin, and nitrofurantoin.

  • Surgical procedure

Your vet may recommend surgery to treat an underlying condition causing UTI in your dog. If a tumor or kidney stones are detected, procedures like cystoscopy and lithotripsy may be conducted. You may ask for the least invasive procedures to minimize the pain and recovery period for your pup.

Even if these operations could cost more, they may still be more economical in the long term. You will be buying fewer medications, and the risks of possible complications are minimal.

  • Dietary supplements

If the infection is not severe, your vet may recommend supplements and other dietary solutions to help your dog fights the infection. Among the supplements are probiotics, vitamins B and C, and products rich in antioxidants. You can also use several herbal remedies, such as cranberries, blueberries, parsley, juniper berries, and marshmallow roots.

  • Subcutaneous or intravenous fluid therapy

In severe conditions, your vet may recommend fluid therapies to keep your pet hydrated and prevent complications like dehydration, hypervolemia, and hypokalemia. Make sure to ask your vet about the benefits and possible side effects of the treatment before making your decision.

These treatments help maintain the ideal pH levels in your dog’s urine. They also help in preventing kidney and bladder stones. Also, encourage your pet to drink lots of water to increase the effectiveness of these medications.

  • Medication or procedure for an underlying condition like diabetes

If the UTI is due to an underlying illness, your vet will focus on treating it. If your dog has diabetes, he may recommend a dietary change to control your pet’s blood sugar levels. If diabetes is already severe, your vet may require daily insulin injections. For bladder or kidney stones, surgery could be necessary.

Final Thoughts

Although UTI is a common disease in dogs, you should not take it lightly because it could mean your pet is suffering from a serious underlying condition. It can also be fatal if not taken care of immediately.

Taking the recommended precautionary measures to prevent your dog from contracting UTI can save you both time and money. However, if you see the signs and symptoms of UTI in your canine, consult with your vet immediately.