Symptoms and Treatment of a
Canine Urinary Tract Infection

" Canine urinary tract infection is a common problem in dogs. It may go away on tis own ,but probably needs a little help from antibiotics. If your dog frequently gets infections, you may want to provide some fruit juice in the monring, a homeopathic supplement and provide more opportunities for outdoor urination. "

Urinary tract infection in dog occurs in 2% to 3% of all dogs. It is usually caused by a bacterial infection that has entered the body through the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body. If the infection is able to take hold, it colonizes in the urinary tract, eventually making its way to the bladder causing bladder infection.

Infection in the urinary tract causes inflammation which reduces the size of the urethra and makes the tube narrorwer, making it more difficult to urinate. Since less urine passes through the body, other problems can set in such as urinary or bladder stones. The urine contains crystals which form into stones. As these crystals attach to one another forming stones, addtional blockages and urination problems can occur.

The urine itself is natures way of keeping the urinary tract infection free. If your dog isn't urinating enough, or there are other problems in the body that changed the PH balance or composition of the urine, it reduces the urine's bacteria killing effectiveness.

Signs and Symptoms

As indicated above, symptoms of a urinary tract infection in dog are usually related to problems with urination due to inflammation of the urinary tract. These include:

  • Difficulty Urinating
  • Pain when urinating
  • Frequent urination
  • Urine leaking
  • Urination in unacceptable places
  • Urine odor
  • Licking of the area where your dog urinate

Tests and Diagnosis

Your veterinarian will do a urinalysis to test the composition and PH and of the urine. Testing will be done to look for the presence of blood in the urine as well as crystals that could form stones.Bbacteria levels will be tested as well.

If your veterianrian suspects the formation of stones, she will try to determine the type (struvite or oxalate). Each type has a different treatment protocol.


Antibiotics are used to treat the bacterial infection for a period of 10 to 14 days. Your dog should start to feel better within 48 hours. These are highly effective. In rare cases, a stubbon infection takes hold which requires a treatment span of 4 to 6 weeks. Your dog will be tested again after the treatment period to ensure that the infection is gone.

To keep the canine urinary tract infection from returning there are several steps you can take:

1. Fresh Water: The more your dog drinks, the more he or she will urinate. As mentioned urine is natures way of keeping the tract clean.

2. Fruit Juices: Even during treatment, fruit juice can help improve the acidity or PH of the urine. While not liked by all dogs, if your dog will drink some cranberry juice, give it a try. You can mix it with their food or provide in a bowl.

3. Homeopathic Remedies: Several natural products have a long history of helping to support the urinary tract and the PH of urine. One product for additional research that is made specifically for this purpose is PetAlive UTI-Free Formula for pet urinary tract infections.

4. Frequent Walks: Dogs will naturally urinate more when walked. If they only are walked 2x per day, urine remains in the bladder where bacteria can take hold. Urinating outdoors flushed the urine.

It is possible for a canine urinary tract infection to resolve itself on its own by taking the steps indicated above. However, if you don't see it getting better, a trip to the veterinarian is called for. If you find that the infection is causing the formation of urinary stones, you might want to switch your dog to a prescription urinary tract dog food.

Bacteria isn't the only cause of a dog urinary infection. If your dog is taking antibiotics, steriods or has diabetes, then fungus can be passed from the kidneys into the urinary tract. Usually this type of infection will disappear as the issues that caused it stop. If it doesn't, there are prescription anti-fungal medications that will help.

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Bacterial Urinary Tract Infections
J.W. Bartges
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA.

Canine lower urinary tract disorders
Lulich JP, Osborne CA, Bartges JW, et al. In: Ettinger SJ,Feldman EC, eds. Textbook of veterinary internal medicine
5th ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1999;17471783.

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