Learn about a dog’s urinary tract infection (UTI) symptoms, which include frequent urination, straining to urinate just a few drops and peeing blood.
Is your dog urinating frequently? Or is your dog peeing blood or crying and straining while urinating, only to produce a few drops? These are all symptoms of a canine urinary tract infection or UTI.
The urinary tract is the tube leading from the bladder to the outside of the body. If left untreated, the dog’s UTI will spread up the urinary tract and into the bladder. If the bladder infection is left untreated, the bacteria may travel up the ureters and into the kidneys, resulting in a potentially deadly kidney infection. Therefore, it is important to diagnose and treat your dog’s urinary tract infection as soon as possible.
Signs and Symptoms of a Canine Urinary Tract Infection
The following signs and symptoms can be indicative of a dog’s urinary tract infection:
- Frequent urination;
- Frequently licking the genital region;
- Whining and crying while urinating;
- Refusing to eat and drink;
- Peeing in unusual locations;
- Urine with a strong odor;
- Peeing blood; and
- Straining to urinate (but the dog produces a very small amount of urine).
Notably, many UTI symptoms can also be associated with other conditions such as bladder stones, kidney stones and a swollen prostate in male dogs. Therefore, it’s extremely important to bring the dog to a veterinary clinic for an examination, urinalysis, and diagnosis.
In addition to the aforementioned symptoms, it’s not uncommon for a housebroken dog to pee in the house when he or she has an infected urinary tract. Therefore, if your housebroken dog suddenly starts peeing indoors, take note because this is usually one of the first (and most noticeable) signs of a UTI.
Urinary Tract Infection Treatments for Dogs
There are no effective home remedies for a dog’s urinary tract infection and delaying appropriate treatment by attempting to treat the pet at home may lead to a potentially deadly kidney infection. Antibiotics are the only effective treatment for a dog’s UTI. The antibiotics are typically administered for 10 to 14 days.
In addition, the veterinarian may prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication to alleviate some of the discomforts.
Many pet owners may be tempted to give the dog cranberry juice, as this can help alleviate symptoms of a human’s UTI, but this is not recommended for dogs. Do not give your dog cranberry juice, as it will cause additional problems like upset stomach and diarrhea.
How are UTIs Diagnosed by the Veterinarian?
The veterinarian will diagnose the dog’s urinary tract infection by performing a urinalysis to look for bacteria and other signs of infection. The dog’s urine will also have a cloudy appearance.
If possible, collect some of the dog’s urine in the hours before your appointment at the veterinary clinic. Use a clean disposable pie plate to collect a sample. Pour the sample into a clean container, like a small disposable Tupperware container, and seal the container inside a Ziploc bag. Double bag it if desired.
Store the dog’s urine sample in your refrigerator. If you’re squeamish about placing urine in the refrigerator, keep it cool by making a makeshift cooler. Place a plastic trash bag inside a box and fill the bag with ice and a bit of water. Place the sample in the makeshift cooler to preserve it until your appointment. The urine sample should be less than 6 hours old and it should be kept cool to avoid bacteria growth.
If you cannot collect a sample, the veterinarian will manually express the dog’s bladder. This can be uncomfortable and frightening for the dog, so it’s best to collect a sample during a bathroom trip.
In dogs, urinary tract infections are relatively common but they can turn into a potentially deadly infection if left untreated, so it’s important to seek out prompt veterinary attention.