Canine urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common but potentially serious health condition that can affect dogs of all ages and breeds. UTIs occur when bacteria enter the urinary system, usually through the urethra, and cause an infection in the bladder or other parts of their urinary system.
If left untreated, a UTI can lead to more serious conditions, such as kidney damage or bladder stones. The good news is that UTIs are usually treatable with antibiotics and other medications prescribed by your veterinarian. Certain lifestyle changes might help prevent future infections.
Symptoms of Canine Urinary Tract Infections
UTIs can cause a range of uncomfortable and even dangerous symptoms, including
- Frequent urination
- Pain or difficulty while urinating
- Blood in their urine
- Straining to urinate
- An increased urge to go outside
In some cases, your dog can also have vomiting or a decreased appetite. If your dog has any of these symptoms, it’s important to take them to the vet for a proper diagnosis.
Diagnosing Canine Urinary Tract Infections
Your veterinarian will use a combination of physical exam, laboratory tests and urine samples to diagnose a UTI. Once the infection is confirmed, your vet can determine the appropriate course of treatment. The most common treatment for UTIs is antibiotics, which are usually prescribed for two weeks or longer. Other medications can also be prescribed to treat any underlying conditions that could be contributing to the infection.
Stages of Canine Urinary Tract Infections
UTIs can be split into three stages: early, middle and late.
In the early stage, the symptoms are mild and can include frequent urination, straining to urinate and an increased urge to go outside.
In the middle stage, the infection has spread to multiple parts of their urinary system and your dog can have blood in their urine as well as pain while urinating.
In the late stage, the infection has become more severe and can cause other serious symptoms, such as fever, lethargy, decreased appetite and vomiting. If left untreated, a UTI can lead to life-threatening conditions such as kidney damage or bladder stones.
Treating Canine Urinary Tract Infections
Treating UTIs usually involves a combination of antibiotics and other medications prescribed by your veterinarian. Depending on the severity of their infection, your vet might also recommend additional treatments such as fluids, anti-inflammatory medications, or dietary changes. If your dog has bladder stones, they might need surgery to remove them.
Preventing Canine Urinary Tract Infections
UTIs can be prevented with a few lifestyle changes. First, make sure your dog has access to clean, fresh water throughout the day and encourage them to drink. Drinking regularly will help flush out any bacteria that could accumulate in their bladder or urethra. You should also take your dog outside regularly for potty breaks, because this will help reduce the risk of infection. Finally, keep your dog’s living space clean and free of bacteria-filled urine or feces.