Posted by Camille Arneberg on

How Does a Dog Get a UTI?

Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are a common ailment amongst people. However, did you know that our four-legged friends can get UTIs as well? In fact, UTIs are one of the most common bladder issues affecting dogs today. You may be wondering, how does a dog get a UTI? Read on to find out everything you need to know about urinary tract infections in dogs.

Table of Contents

  • What is a UTI?
  • How Does a Dog Get a UTI?
  • Symptoms of a Canine UTI
  • How to Treat Canine UTIs
  • UTIs as a Symptom
  • Preventing UTIs in Dogs

dog in stream

What is a UTI?

A urinary tract infection, also referred to as bacterial cystitis, is a bacterial infection of the urinary system. The urinary system is composed of the kidneys, the bladder, the ureters that connect the kidneys to the bladder, and the urethra where urine exits the body. In dogs, UTIs are more common in the lower urinary tract, specifically in the urethra.

Moreover, urinary tract infections are more common in dogs over the age of seven. Female dogs are more prone to UTIs due to having shorter urethras than more dogs. Additionally, certain breeds are genetically predisposed to contracting UTIs. Shih Tzus, Yorkshire Terriers, and Bichon Frises are prone to urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and bladder stones. However, dogs of all breeds, sizes, and genders can get UTIs.

How Does a Dog Get a UTI?

Urinary tract infections are caused by the unwelcomed entry of bad bacteria through the urethra. Typically, this bacteria is sourced from feces or dirt that gets caught in your dog's undercarriage, so to speak.

Most often, E Coli is the bacteria responsible for causing UTIs. However, the bacterias Porteus, Staphylococcus, Klebsiella, Enterobacter, Streptococcus, Corynebacterium, and Pseudomonas can also cause urinary tract infections in dogs.

puppy running

Symptoms of a Canine UTI

First of all, in order to properly asses possible health problems in dogs, it is important to know what their neutral baseline is. For example, you should know when and how often do they typically go to the bathroom. Additionally, keeping track of eating and drinking habits is a good idea. Finally, knowing their normal energy levels and general temperament is imperative.

Consequently, in the event symptoms of a budding health ailment arises, you will spot the disturbance quicker and easier. In the case of urinary tract infections, the following symptoms may present themselves:

  • Cloudy or bloody urine
  • Changes in urine color or smell (typically dark in color and/or foul in odor)
  • Increased or decreased frequency of urination
  • Fever
  • Increased incidents of "bad potty" in the house
  • Difficulty urinating (possibly paired with whimpering or straining)
  • Incontinence or uncontrolled "dribbling"
  • Excessive licking of nether regions (licking areas in pain is how dogs attempt to heal/soothe pain)

If you suspect your dog is suffering from a canine urinary tract infection, visit your veterinarian for further examination. It will be helpful if you bring a urine sample with you to the vet. Ideally, you should collect urine "mid-stream" directly from the source. This ensures the best possible sample for veterinarian testing. If this is impossible, you can collect a urine sample from the ground or floor. However, these samples will be contaminated with bacteria and impurities from the ground.

How to Treat Canine UTIs

As previously mentioned, UTIs are all too common in dogs. Fortunately, the diagnosis and treatment of a urinary tract infection is easy. First, your veterinarian will test a urine culture to confirm the diagnosis. Traditionally, your dog will be prescribed a 10-day regimen of antibiotics to clear up the infection and expel bad bacteria. As with any antibiotic, it is important that your dog take the full dosage of antibiotics even if symptoms begin to subside early. Otherwise, the infection could come back.

Additionally, your vet will likely recommend increased water consumption and potentially a specific diet plan. If your sweet pup is severely dehydrated from the infection, your veterinarian may recommend an intravenous in-office hydration treatment.

dog beside pool

Homeopathic Remedies

Considering the high levels of chemicals in traditional western antibiotics, you may opt for a more holistic approach to treatment. In addition to increased water intake, you can add two tablespoons of chopped cranberries to your dog's food twice daily for 7-10 days. It is imperative that you use raw or dried cranberries with zero added sugars. As you may know, cranberries are a powerful natural antioxidant and are commonly used for the treatment of UTIs in humans. Finally, using vet-approved canine CranBladder chews is a tasty natural way to treat your dog's urinary tract woes.

UTIs as a Symptom

Commonly, UTIs are their own ailment and are easily treatable and not cause for great concern. However, in some severe cases, a urinary tract infection can be a symptom of an underlying issue. Correspondingly, UTIs can also be caused by:

  • Bladder disease
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Bladder stones
  • Kidney stones
  • Bladder infection or inflammation
  • Kidney infection
  • Prostate disease
  • Spinal cord abnormalities
  • Certain types of Cancer

Keep in mind these are rare and severe cases. In addition to a urinary tract infection, your beloved dog would be showing many other adverse symptoms. Including, but not limited to vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, reduced appetite, sudden weight loss, and more.

Severe Case Treatment

If your dog has a UTI, in addition to the aforementioned symptoms, this could mean something more serious is afoot. In which case, you should immediately seek medical attention for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. For example, if your dog has kidney or bladder stones, surgery may be required to remove the stones.

grey puppy running

Preventing UTIs in Dogs

Once your dog has been cleared of their pesky UTI, there are a number of ways you can help prevent them from getting another infection. As always, prevention is the best treatment.

Hydration

First and foremost, hydration is vital to your dog's health. Specifically, water helps encourage frequent and healthy urination. Therefore, always make sure your dog has plenty of fresh, clean water. Additionally, be sure to clean water and food bowls regularly to avoid bacteria build-up.

Cleanliness is Key

As a reminder, the leading cause of UTIs in dogs is bacteria entering the urethra. This bacteria can be from dirt, feces, contaminated water, or debris. Therefore, be sure to keep an eye on the area and make sure they have a clean slate. Give your dog regular baths, especially after rowdy trips outside or adventures in swimming.

Moreover, most pet stores sell canine-friendly antibacterial wipes. These wet wipes are an easy way to give your dogs downstairs an added level of bacteria-fighting power.

Probiotics and Healthy Bacteria

While UTIs are caused by "bad" bacteria, they can indeed be prevented by a tactful regiment of healthy bacteria. That's right folks, we are talking about probiotics for dogs.

Probiotics help promote healthy digestion, gastrointestinal homeostasis, and as an added bonus, boost immunity to fight free radicals like "bad" bacteria. When selecting a probiotic for your dog, it is essential to pick a brand that is specifically formulated for dogs, grain-free, and 100% natural.

Our PetHonesty Canine Probiotic Chews proudly meet these important standards. Moreover, our canine probiotic contains double the amount of CFUs (healthy bacteria) over alternative choices. With the addition of gut-healthy pumpkin and enzymes, the PetHonesty Canine Probiotic Chews can work wonders in preventing UTIs and gastrointestinal upset in your precious pup.

Cranberry Bladder Health Supplements

If you have ever personally experienced the woes of a urinary tract infection, you have likely heard tell of the UTI healing abilities of cranberries. Specifically, cranberries possess the immunity-boosting, bacteria-fighting antioxidants, as well as Vitamins A, B, and C. Paired with the health warriors fiber and potassium, cranberries pack a powerful urinary and gastrointestinal tract health one-two punch.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that cranberries have worked their way into dozens of canine bladder health products. From treats to kibble to cranberry nutritional supplements, you have plenty of choices when it comes to UTI prevention via cranberries.

We recommend our PetHonesty CranBladder Health Chews. These tasty treats will:

  • Reduce the frequency of UTIs
  • Improve bladder functionality
  • Treat incontinence
  • Increase bladder and kidney strength
  • Enhance bladder control
  • Treat and calm current UTIs

In addition to bladder healing cranberries, our CranBladder Health Chews contain Echinacea, D-Mannose, and marshmallow root. To enumerate, Echinacea and marshmallow root are powerful immunity boosters. On the other hand, D-Mannose works hard to expel "bad" bacteria from your dog's urinary tract and restore healthy gut flora.

dog in a cave

Canine UTIs: In Summary

At the end of the day, a random urinary tract is not a cause for concern. UTIs are easily treatable and preventable. However, should UTIs become chronic or paired with additional adverse symptoms, you should promptly consult your veterinarian for further examination.

From all of us here at PetHonesty, we wish you and your sweet pup-a-doodle a happy and healthy day.

Sources

American Kennel Club - Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs

Mayo Clinic - Urinary Tract Infections

Pet MD - Lower Urinary Tracy Problems and Infections in Dogs

Canine Journal - How to Treat UTIs in Dogs