UTI in Dogs: Symptoms & Treatment

UTI in Dogs: Symptoms & Treatment

Author WDF Staff


Urinary tract infections are painful for dogs as well as for humans. One of the things that worry dog owners and vets alike is that UTI symptoms actually indicate a UTI in dogs. Sometimes, UTI symptoms can mean something far more sinister and potentially more dangerous. If you are a dog owner, here is what you need to know about UTI in dogs.

What is UTI in dogs?

The abbreviation “UTI” means “urinary tract infection.” This is the most common bacterial infection in canines. Around 14% of all dogs experience some form of UTI in their lifetime. It is usually resolved relatively quickly with antibiotics. There are no lasting effects in most cases, and UTI can be painful and uncomfortable but not so severe if proper steps are taken.

There are a few interesting things you should know about UTI in dogs. Female dogs are more likely to get them. UTIs happen when bacteria or fungi go through the urinary tract’s defenses and cause an infection. The most common bacteria responsible for UTI in dogs is E-coli. Some dogs are more prone to this type of infection, especially dogs with preexisting conditions like Cushing’s disease or kidney infections.

Symptoms of urinary tract infection in dogs

The best thing you can do for your dog is to learn which symptoms are connected to UTIs. The sooner you notice something is wrong with your dog, the sooner you can do something about it. Make sure you know the UTI symptoms and notify your vet as soon as you spot them. Common symptoms of the urinary tract infection in dogs include:

  • Straining during urination
  • Whimpering while urinating
  • Bloody urine
  • Cloudy urine
  • Relieving themselves in the house
  • The dog will want to go outside to urinate more often
  • Licking and pawing at the urinary tract opening
  • Fever

If you take your dog to the vet, they will probably want to test your dog for different things. Some UTI symptoms can be symptoms of various diseases, so don’t be alarmed if the vet wants to do further tests. If the dog UTI ends up being untreated, it can lead to serious health issues. Some of those issues are urinary tract dysfunction, kidney or bladder stones, prostate inflammation, blood poisoning, infertility, and kidney failure. If left untreated, UTI in dogs can be deadly.

If you want to read more about kidney problems in dogs, check out this article - Kidney infections in dogs.

How to know which symptoms mean which disease?

Unfortunately, the answer to that question is complicated. Even the best vets can misinterpret symptoms and come to a wrong conclusion. Here are some symptoms of UTI in dogs that can mean something different;

  • Bloody urine - Bloody urine can be a symptom of several health issues connected to the urinary tract. Some of these issues are trauma, poisoning, cancer, kidney disease, and stones.
  • Urination problems - Straining or inability to urinate should be considered a medical emergency. The dog’s bladder can rupture, and the consequences can be fatal. Urination problems can be a symptom of UTI, cancer, trauma, spinal cord injury or disease, obstructions, scar tissue in the urinary tract, and prostate disease.
  • Changes in relieving habits - Any change in your dog’s urination habits should be reported to your vet. Most dog owners are aware of their dog’s habits and feel free to observe their urine (we know it is not the prettiest task in the world, but it can save your dog’s life)

UTI in dogs can lead to bladder stones. Check out this article for more info - Bladder stones in dogs.

Dog UTI treatment

The best person to decide how to treat urinary tract infections in your dog is your vet. They will eliminate other potential diseases and confirm that your dog does, in fact, have a UTI. After the vet performs the urinalysis, they will decide what course of action is best for your dog. A dog UTI treatment will have two stages.

Immediate help

The vet will prescribe a broad-spectrum antibiotic for your dog. It is most likely they will start the dog UTI treatment with antibiotics and pain medications. Since UTI in dogs is painful, pain medication will ease your dog’s pain. In the meantime, the vet will have the dog’s urine tested in the lab for different cultures. The vets will see which specific bacteria caused the urinary tract infection in dogs and decide which antibiotic will be the best to eliminate it.

Targeted antibiotic

Suppose the broad-spectrum antibiotic doesn’t work or partially works. In that case, the vet will prescribe a more precise antibiotic to target the specific bacteria that infected your dog. That usually resolves the problem.

After the whole dog UTI treatment is finished, you can talk to your vet about UTI prevention. They might advise you to put your dog on supplements or perhaps adjust their diet. Make sure you talk to your vet and ask for advice. 

One of the possible broad-spectrum antibiotics vets might prescribe is doxycycline. You can read more about it here - Doxycycline for Dogs.

World Dog Finder team

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