UTI or urinary tract infections can be as uncomfortable for dogs as they are for humans. If your pet is consistently demanding to be let out, be patient with her. She might be having an UTI. Caused by bacteria in the bladder, dog UTI symptoms can be quite painful and, unfortunately, also keep recurring. Research has shown that nearly 14% of dogs will be affected by lower urinary tract infections at least once in their lifetime. Let us study the dog UTI causes and some effective home remedies for treating it holistically.
Dog UTI causes
Dogs often do not drink adequate water as a result of which, they do not urinate frequently. Because of this, the bacteria remain in the bladder for prolonged periods where they cling to the bladder walls causing UTI. UTIs are more common in female dogs due to the shorter distance between the anus and the urethra which makes it easier for germs to travel into the urethra. In male dogs, thanks to the extra inches of the anatomy, the chances of infection are less.
Dog UTI symptoms
Straining to urinate
Dogs with UTI are unable to pass the urine properly. They appear to strain and take longer to produce urine than usual. Most of the times, they are able to only produce 2-3 drops of urine. However, they still feel the urge of a ‘full bladder’ and might ask you to let them out frequently. Some dogs with UTI also have accidents in the house-something that they have not done before. A dog with UTI will also appear to strain and might seem in pain while urinating-often unsuccessful at producing any output.
Just like in human UTI cases, dog UTI symptoms include burning pain while urinating. Your pet might appear to be in great pain or discomfort especially while trying to void. Some dogs also whimper or show signs of distress such as hiding or running away etc.
One of the most significant tell tale dog UTI symptoms is dark or blood-like urine which might also have foul odor. If you suspect uti, make your pet urinate on paper or cloth to see if it shows red or rust color streaks. As stated before, the urine will also have a strange, strongly foul odor.
Urinating in the house
Dogs and cats with UTI tend to urinate in strange places. Cats, for example, might pee outside their litter box. House-trained dogs might ask to be let out frequently, often having an accident before reaching the yard.
Licking genital area
Female dogs with UTI tend to lick their private parts excessively. Your dog will show signs of distress and her vulva may be swollen and red. The symptoms may seem like female heat cycle.
How to know if your dog has UTI
As stated above, a dog with UTI will show above symptoms. You could take your pet to the vet or use dog UTI test kit or test strips. Many OTC UTI test strips can also detect glucose, bilirubin and other urine parameters. Test strip kits are easy to use and they help you determine dog urine ph. Below 7 ph value is acidic urine which is preferred as it prevents germs from growing in it. If you have just adopted a dog from the rescue center, you might want to keep dog UTI kits handy especially if your pet is known to have a history of UTIs.
Best over the counter products for dog UTI treatment
For severe cases, your vet might prescribe Dog Uti antibiotics. Amoxicillin is generally given. I will be talking about the dosage of the antibiotics later in this guide. In case you cannot take your pet to the vet and are wondering what you can give a dog for urinary tract infection, then the following OTC medicines can help:
Natural Cranberry extract can help dogs with active UTI and can also prevent recurrent bladder infections. Many brands of cranberry chews are available in drugstores. Some also contain kidney strengthening herbs and compounds like marshmallow root, licorice, astragalus and D-mannose which strengthen the lining of the urinary system and prevent e.coli bacteria from sticking to the bladder walls. Several of these medicines can also prevent dog incontinence.
D-mannose powder, pills or dog chews are also known to effectively prevent and treat UTIs in pets. This natural dog UTI treatment is readily available over the counter and prevents bacteria from sticking to the urethra and bladder walls.
Apple cider vinegar
Is there anything apple cider vinegar does not cure? However, we do not recommend using apple cider vinegar as one of the first home remedies for dog UTI especially if your pet’s infection is caused due to over-alkalinity. Try other remedies first. In other cases, you can add a tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar to your pet’s drinking water. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of vinegar also prevent recurrent uti.
Goldenseal is naturally antibacterial and antifungal. It is also a cooling herb that ‘takes a path through the urinary tract’ and eliminates the e.coli bacterium. The herb is available in the form of tincture and dried herbs and you can follow the dosage recommendations as given on the product label. Never give Goldenseal to young kittens, puppies or pregnant/lactating bitches and cats.
Dog UTI antibiotics
Dog UTI amoxicillin dosage is calculated based on your pet’s body weight, the concentration of amoxicillin in the drug you use as well as the recommended amoxicillin per kilogram of body weight of the patient. Accordingly, a 20 kilo dog (44 pounds) will need 2 tablets of 100 mg amoxicillin per day for at least 7 days. Your vet can give you the exact dosage based on the severity of symptoms. Even if your pet stops showing dog uti symptoms, make sure you complete the full dosage of antibiotics. Failure to do so could bring back the infection.
How to keep your dog with UTI comfortable
Antibiotics can take a few days to show results. In the meantime, use the following steps to keep your pet comfortable:
Let her out more often
It is very important to let your dog void several times a day. So increase her number of toilet breaks. If you are away for major part of the day, have a neighbor or friend do the job for you. This will keep your pet comfortable and also eliminate bacteria from her bladder. You could also explore the neighborhood while on walks as this will encourage her to empty out her bladder more frequently.
Increase her fluid intake
Dogs often do not drink water, especially in winters. You could try increasing her fluid intake by giving her broths, stews, chicken stock or soups. Buttermilk is another great option and so is unsweetened cranberry juice. Keep your pet’s water bowl accessible and filled with fresh drinking water so she can drink when she wants to. You can also add citrus juice to her water as this will keep her urine acidic and kill the infection causing germs. Adding fluids will encourage her to pee more often which, in turn, will help eliminate the germs.
Feed her urinary tract support supplements
Many effective Urinary and Kidney health supplements are available for dogs these days. They help strengthen kidney function and the bladder lining and are known to heal active infections while preventing new ones. Speak to your vet about the best UTI supplements for your dog.