Posted by Camille Arneberg on

Dog Bladder Problems: What to Look Out For

Seeing your dog in pain is a nightmare for pet parents everywhere. Fortunately, when it comes to bladder problems, the signs and symptoms can be a bit more obvious than with other canine ailments. In this article, we are going to cover everything you need to know about dog bladder problems.

Table of Contents:

  • Signs of Dog Bladder Issues
  • Types of Dog Bladder Problems
  • How to Prevent Dog Bladder Problems

Dog sitting looking up

Signs of Dog Bladder Issues

Before we can dive into the various types of dog bladder ailments, let's pinpoint what symptoms to look out for. Naturally, the occurrence of the following signs and symptoms vary depending on the type of bladder issue. However, it is important to lay out all of the possibilities, so you know what to keep an eye out for. Signs of bladder distress in dogs may be: 

  • Sudden changes in urine (Color, smell, cloudiness)
  • Bloody urine
  • Straining to urinate regularly
  • Abnormally small, or large, amounts of urine
  • Uncharacteristic lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Attempts to "self-sooth" (such as licking their downstairs more than usual)
  • Increased thirst
  • Pain in the abdomen (as can be seen with an adverse reaction when you touch their belly)
  • Urinary leaking and incontinence
  • Unusual bathroom habits (suddenly peeing inside, needing to go out more often)
  • Inability to urinate at all

If your dog is experiencing one, or a combination, of these symptoms, they may be experiencing bladder distress.

Types of Dog Bladder Problems

Now that we know what symptoms to look out for, let's discuss what canine ailments may be to blame.

1. Urinary Tract Infection

Arguably the leading bladder issue in dogs is a Urinary Tract Infection, also known as a UTI. Interestingly enough, UTIs are more common in female dogs but occur in male dogs as well.

The urinary tract begins in the kidneys, where urine is produced, and then flows through tubes called ureters into the bladder. Finally, urine leaves the bladder and exits the body through the urethra. Typically, UTIs are caused by bacteria in the urinary tract. The urethra is the most commonly infected part of the urinary tract.  

If you suspect your dog has a UTI, your vet will likely request a urine sample for testing. Urinary tract infections are easy to treat and are usually not a cause for great concern. However, should they become frequent, UTI's may be a symptom of another underlying issue.

dog down on the floor staring

2. Bladder Stones

Another common issue in dogs is bladder stones. To enumerate, bladder stones are the result of a buildup of minerals (urate, struvite, or calcium oxalate) that form hard stones in the urinary tract. While bladder stones can populate anywhere in the urinary tract, they are most often found in the bladder. Correspondingly, bladder stones can be confirmed by an ultrasound or x-ray.

Furthermore, the treatment of bladder stones will depend on the type of mineral in which they are formed from. Sometimes, antibiotics or therapeutic diets can dissolve the stones internally. However, in more serious cases, surgery may be required to manually remove the bladder stones. 

In particularly serious cases, bladder stones can get lodged in the urethra. When this occurs, your dog will lose the ability to urinate entirely. Visit your trusted veterinarian immediately if you suspect a urethra blockage.

3. Urinary Incontinence

As a matter of fact, urinary incontinence is not just a symptom, but an ailment itself. Most commonly affecting spayed female dogs, urinary incontinence is the result of the loss of urethral sphincter functionality. To explain, the urethral sphincter is the muscle that controls the flow of urine out of the urethra. 

When this vital muscle is not functioning properly, your dog cannot help but leak urine uncontrollably. Typically, this leak is more of a "dribble" than a stream. Additionally, incontinence tends to be even more active when dogs are asleep.

husky with snow background

4. Kidney Failure

The kidney filters and expels waste from the body in the form of urine. In addition, the kidneys regulate blood pressure and produce an essential hormone that facilitates the production of red blood cells. Therefore, when the kidneys are malfunctioning, vicious toxins will build up in your dog's bloodstream. 

A common cause of kidney failure is the ingestion of poison or toxic substances. As a reminder, always keep all cleaning products and other toxic materials safely hidden (or even locked) away from prying puppy paws. Furthermore, be sure to monitor your dog's temperament following the administration of any new medications.

Keep an eye on the frequency, color, and smell of your dog's urine. That way, should any changes present themselves, you know what your dog's healthy baseline is. Additional symptoms of kidney failure include: 

  • Depression and/or lethargy
  • Ulcers in the mouth
  • Unusually pale gums
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Sudden weight loss

If your dog's urine is irregular, paired with any of the above symptoms, consult your vet immediately. 

5. Diabetes Mellitus

Another ailment associated with bladder issues is Diabetes. Specifically, Diabetes Mellitus can first be spotted by symptoms like increased urination and chronic Urinary Tract Infections. Diabetes Mellitus has two direct causes:

  1. Type 1 Diabetes - The pancreas fails to produce a satisfactory amount of insulin
  2. Type 2 Diabetes - The cells of the body are not responding to insulin properly

Either way, the result is low glucose levels inside of cells and excessive glucose in the blood. Therefore, should the appropriate symptoms be present, your vet will test your dog's glucose levels to determine a diabetes diagnosis. Diabetes can be managed in dogs with a series of insulin shots and a special diet.

6. Bladder Cancer or Tumors

Understandably so, seeing "cancer" is nerve inducing. However, a quick kind word of calm, just because your dog randomly peed on the rug does not mean they have bladder cancer. In fact, bladder cancer is typically associated with most, or all, of the symptoms on the aforementioned list. Specifically, bladder cancer presents itself in a series of stages. Pet MD has listed out the symptoms associated with the stages of bladder cancer in dogs.

All things considered, bladder cancer is an example of a worst-case scenario. As always, early detection is key when treating any form of cancer. If you witness your sweet dog suffering from multiple symptoms in the attached list, talk to your vet immediately about a possible diagnosis. 

dog smiling at the camera

7. Additional Ailments

All dogs are unique, and their bodies are full of vital and complex organs. Therefore, the previously mentioned list merely scrapes the surface of potential bladder ailments in dogs. Additional bladder issues may include:

  • Cushing's disease
  • Pyometra
  • Prostatic disease
  • Kidney stones

Ultimately, if your dog is displaying any adverse symptoms, be sure to make detailed notes and consult your vet immediately for a proper diagnosis.

How to Prevent Dog Bladder Problems

Naturally, prevention is the best way to treat canine health problems. 

Nutritional Bladder Supplements

Due to the high frequency of bladder issues in canines, there are a number of bladder-boosting supplements on the market today. For example, cranberries have been proven a highly effective warrior for bladder and urinary tract health for humans and dogs alike. You can purchase supplements, treats, and even dog food with the healing powers of cranberries. 

Here at PetHonesty, we made a tasty supplement using the power of cranberries with your puppies bladder in mind. Our CranBladder Health treats also utilizes these dynamic ingredients: echinacea, D-Mannose, and marshmallow root. Accordingly, this unique formula strengthens the immune system, fights harmful bacteria, and promotes a healthy urinary tract.

Canine Probiotics

Another way to encourage a healthy bladder is by using canine probiotics. As you may know, there are both good and bad bacteria for your gut. By tactfully using canine probiotics, you can effectively battle bad bacteria, and encourage healthy gut flora in your dog.

Our PetHonesty Canine Probiotic is a wonderful choice for dogs of all breeds and sizes. Moreover, our canine probiotic has a whopping six billion CFU's (colony-forming units), which is over twice the amount of most other brands on the market. CFU's represent the number of healthy and active microorganisms in probiotics. Spoiler alert: the higher the number of CFU's, the better!

Better yet, our canine probiotic has the added health benefits of pumpkin. Specifically, pumpkin is fiber-rich and helps relieve indigestion and promotes homeostasis in the gastrointestinal tract.

dog with American flag scarf

Dog Bladder Problems: In Closing

Every organ in your dog's body serves an important purpose. The bladder and the urinary tract are both vital, and often subject to health issues. For this reason, a vet-approved regiment of bladder healthy foods and supplements can work wonders in preventing bladder ailments. Talk to your vet today about maximizing your dog's bladder health and longevity.

From all of us here at PetHonesty, we are wishing you and your sweet fur baby a happy and healthy day!

Sources

Pet MD - 10 Urinary Problems in Dogs

Whole Dog Journal - Canine Kidney Stone and Bladder Stone Prevention

Pet MD - Bladder Stones in Dogs

The Spruce Pets - Signs of Urinary Problems in Dogs

The Spruce Pets - Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs

Pet MD - Canine Bladder Cancer

Pet MD - Kidney Problems in Dogs