UTI in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Laura Richards
June 23, 2017

Unfortunately, your dog can get a UTI. Here's everything you need to know about this condition.

Did you know that your dog can get a urinary tract infection (UTI)? This uncomfortable condition may prevent your furry friend from feeling his best, so it's important for you to be aware of the common causes and symptoms. Here's an overview on UTI in dogs.

What Is a UTI?
A UTI is a bacterial infection of the urinary tract. Your dog's urinary tract starts at his kidneys, which act as a filter for his blood and remove any excess proteins and minerals that he doesn't need, says Dr. Lori Pasternak, a veterinarian at Helping Hands Affordable Veterinary Surgery & Dental Care in Richmond, Virginia.

These excess materials pass down a tube called the ureter, which connects to your dog's urinary bladder, she says. Then, this storage vessel collects all the body waste and releases it as urine through your dog's urethra. According to Dr. Pasternak, "an infection can develop in any part of this system and spread throughout."

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of a UTI in Dogs?
If your dog is suffering from a UTI, she might have urinary accidents in your house, ask to go out more often or drink more water. You may also notice blood in your pet's urine or see that she relieves herself in small amounts frequently throughout the day, as opposed to doing so in one large stream. Your furry friend may also have difficulty urinating, which your dog walker or pet sitter can also spot and tell you about.

How Can a UTI Be Treated?

If you notice that your pet is exhibiting any of the above signs and symptoms, you should take her to the vet right away to be tested for an infection. In the case that your vet does diagnose a UTI, he will prescribe your pet antibiotics, says Dr. Pasternak. If your pet has a mild infection, she will likely only need oral antibiotics for 10 to 14 days.

But if your pet has a more severe infection, she may need a longer course of medicine or require hospitalization for fluids and IV medication. According to Dr. Pasternak, there's no self or home care treatment for a UTI.

How Can You Prevent Your Dog From Getting a UTI?
There are several steps you can take to prevent your pet from getting a UTI. For instance, you should provide your dog with constant access to a fresh, clean supply of water and make sure that she has ample opportunities to relieve herself throughout the day -- at least once every eight hours. You should also groom your pet regularly so that her coat is clean and mat-free and be sure to pay close attention to her private area during this process.

If your previously house-trained dog has an accident in your home due to her UTI, you should not reprimand or scold her. Accidents are to be expected when your dog suffers from this condition, so you should take any necessary steps to protect your floors and furniture with training or "piddle pads."

After some time has passed and your dog seems to be getting back to her old self, you should follow up with your veterinarian, who will recheck your dog's urine to ensure that the entire infection has cleared.

Your cat can get a UTI, too! For more information, check out UTI in Cats -- Here's What to Look For.

Laura Richards is a Boston-based freelance writer and the mother of four boys, including a set of identical twins. She is also mom to three rescue pets: Scarlett, a 7-year-old beagle, and Edith and Ollie, 15-year-old identical twin black cats. She has written for numerous parenting publications and is the president of On Point Communications.

 *This article is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be providing medical advice and is not a substitute for such advice. The reader should always consult a health care provider concerning any medical condition or treatment plan. Neither Care.com nor the author assumes any responsibility or liability with respect to use of any information contained herein.

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