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September 2nd

Save Yourself a Trip to the Emergency Vet with This Dog UTI Guide

Save Yourself a Trip to the Emergency Vet with This Dog UTI Guide

Urinary tract infections are no fun for anyone. They make it painful to pee, and can also cause your dog to have accidents around the house. If left untreated, they can spread to other parts of the body, which can put your dog’s life at risk.

Urinary tract infections are caused by a buildup of bacteria, leading to inflammation along the walls of the urinary tract.

Urinary tract infections can cause a wide range of symptoms, making life difficult for your dog. They cause painful urination and back pain, as well as increase the risk for bladder and kidney infections.

Although some urinary tract infections will heal on their own given enough time, they can spread to other parts of the body.

The bacteria can travel from the urinary tract to the bladder, and then on to the kidneys. Kidney infections cause severe pain, and can be life threatening if left untreated.

Here, we’ll show you how to quickly spot a urinary tract infection and your dog, as well as how you can get them the treatment they need.

Causes Of Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections can be caused by a wide range of bacteria. These bacteria build up on the walls of the urinary tract, causing inflammation and painful urination.

There are a number of factors that increase the risk of your dog getting a urinary tract infection. Here are some of the most common:

  • Tumors or cancer in the urinary tract
  • Bladder or kidney infections
  • Diabetes
  • Bladder or kidney stones
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Prostate disease

In general, older dogs are much more likely to develop urinary tract infections.

Diagnosing Urinary Tract Infections In Dogs

If you think that your dog may have a UTI, take them to the vet to get checked out. The vet can perform a number of tests to see if they have an infection, and give them the treatment they need.

The most common way to check for a UTI is to look for bacteria in urine. They’ll usually do this with a method called cystocentesis, where urine is taken from the bladder directly with a small needle.

Once your vet has a urine sample, they’ll make a bacteria culture to check for anything that could be causing an infection.

Your vet will also check your dog’s bladder, genitalia, kidneys, and rectum to make sure that everything is in working order. If your dog is a male, the vet will also examine their prostate.

The vet may also conduct a number of additional tests to make sure that your dog is healthy. Here are some tests they may perform:

  • Blood tests
  • Biopsies of infected tissue
  • X-rays
  • Rectal exams

Not all vet offices will be able to perform the tests needed to detect serious health conditions. They may refer you to another vet who can make sure that your dog is healthy.

Symptoms Of Urinary Tract Infections

It can be difficult to tell if your dog has a UTI, especially with infections that aren’t severe. Here are the most common UTI symptoms:

  • Frequent urination, but in small amounts
  • Signs of pain during urination
  • Blood in urine
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Smelly or discolored urine
  • Excess licking
  • Lack of energy
  • Weight loss

With mild or early stage UTIs, you may not be able to detect any symptoms. Since dogs can’t tell you how they feel, you’ll often only spot the infection once it’s gotten serious.

If you notice any symptoms of a UTI, it’s important to get your dog to the vet as soon as possible. Infections are fairly easy to treat, as long as you catch them early.

Treating Urinary Tract Infections

If your dog is diagnosed with a UTI, then the vet will likely prescribe an oral antibiotic. This will kill the bacteria responsible for the infection and prevent the infection from coming back.

Antibiotics vary in terms of treatment length. Many will require daily pills for at least two weeks. Speak to your vet about the antibiotics they prescribe and follow their instructions.

Make sure you give your dog the full course of antibiotic treatment. If you stop the treatment early, the bacteria could return, causing another infection.

Some dogs will have multiple urinary tract infections within a short period of time, even with a course of antibiotics. In these cases, your vet may give your dog low dose antimicrobial medication to fight the infection.

If your dog is symptom free after a few months, speak to your vet and ask if it’s safe to discontinue antimicrobial therapy. If you stop therapy too soon, the bacteria will start to grow again, and may not respond to antibiotics.

Other Remedies For Urinary Tract Infections

Antibiotics are by far the most effective way of treating UTIs. However, there are additional treatments and supplements that can help treat infections and relieve pain.

CBD Oil For Urinary Tract Infections

Although CBD oil won’t be able to cure a UTI, it may be effective for relieving pain and reducing inflammation.

CBD oil alone may not do enough to treat pain from a severe infection. Speak to your vet about other medications that you can add to help manage pain.

Also make sure to check the potency and dose of individual CBD products, as they can vary widely. If they have a more severe infection, ask your vet about a CBD product that is more potent.

Cranberry Pills

Cranberry pills are one of the most commonly used treatment options for UTIs. They can help fight off bacteria and prevent them from building up in the urinary tract.

Cranberries have a significant amount of antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation and fight infections. They also prevent bacteria from attaching to the wall of the urinary tract, which helps infections heal more quickly.

Choose a cranberry supplement that is designed for dogs. Many of these come in tablet or chewable form.

You can also give your dog cranberry juice, although you should make sure it has no added sugar, as this can cause digestive problems.

Although cranberry pills are an effective way of fighting off UTIs, they are not a substitute for antibiotics. Make sure you consult your vet about the best treatment options for your dog’s infection.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is often added to cranberry pills for dogs to speed up recovery time. It can work within just a few hours, helping to kill bacteria and prevent them from growing back.

You can also give your dog apple cider vinegar by itself. They may not love the taste, so mix it in with their water, with yoghurt, or with peanut butter.

Although effective in some cases, apple cider vinegar will not cure UTIs by itself. It should be used in combination with other therapies recommended by your vet.

Citrus Juice

Citrus acts as an antiseptic, helping to kill bacteria and prevent infections. Small amounts of fresh citrus juice may help dogs with UTIs by boosting their immune system and killing infection causing bacteria.

If you give your dog citrus juice, try to choose one that doesn’t have too much sugar. These can be bad for your dog’s teeth, as well as cause digestive issues.

Fresh lemon juice is one of the best options, as it has little sugar and is an effective antiseptic. Most dogs won’t tolerate lemon juice on its own, so mix it in with their water, with yoghurt, or with blueberries.

Water

Water alone won’t cure an infection. However, it’s important to give your dog plenty of fresh water after they get a UTI to help fight bacteria.

The added water helps flush out the bacteria that are trapped in their urinary tract. Make sure you continue to give your dog added water even after symptoms start to go away.

Clean out your dog’s water bowl regularly to prevent bacteria from building up. Don’t let water sit for more than a day.

Get Your Dog Treated As Soon As Possible

Urinary tract infections can cause a lot of pain and discomfort for your dog. Fortunately, they are pretty easy to treat, provided that you get your dog to the vet as soon as possible.

UTIs can be dangerous if left untreated, spreading up the urinary tract to the bladder. They can also reach the kidneys, which can cause severe pain and be life threatening if left untreated.

When Should You Go To The Vet?

Dog owners often wonder when they should go to the vet. Although many urinary tract infections will heal on their own with time, you should take your dog to the vet right away if you notice any symptoms of an infection.

Finish Antibiotic Therapy

If your vet prescribes antibiotics for your dog, follow their instructions and complete the full course of therapy.

Discontinuing antibiotics before you’ve finished therapy increases the risk that bacteria will return. When they come back, the bacteria may be resistant to antibiotics, making the infection much more difficult to treat..

Preventing Urinary Tract Infections

Although there’s nothing you can do to guarantee that your dog won’t get a UTI, there are a few easy steps you can take to lower the risk of infection.

Make sure that your dog is getting plenty of clean, fresh water throughout the day. This helps flush out their urinary tract and prevent the growth of bacteria.

You should also take your dog out frequently throughout the day. Putting extra pressure on their bladder and urinary tract increases the risk of infection, and can also lead to quite a mess around the house.

There are a few supplements that you can give your dog that will help maintain a healthy immune system and prevent UTIs. Cranberry pills are a safe addition to your dog’s diet, helping prevent bacteria from clinging to the walls of the urinary tract.

If your dog frequently gets UTIs, you should consider using sanitary wipes whenever they go to the bathroom. Wipe off their urinary opening with a mild antiseptic. This kills bacteria and can prevent them from getting into the urinary tract.

Probiotics To Prevent Infections

Probiotics encourage the growth of healthy bacteria, which can lower the risk of infections. They aren’t a guarantee that your dog won’t get an infection, but they can be useful for dogs that have chronic issues with UTIs.

Speak to your vet about the best probiotics for your dog, as well as any other supplements they recommend.

Regularly Groom Your Dog

Keeping your dog clean is one of the best ways of preventing infections. Make sure you are regularly grooming them and cleaning off their fur to keep dirt and bacteria from building up.

You should also clean their bedding and crate frequently. Change their water bowl often so that they always have fresh water.

Recurring Urinary Tract Infections

If your dog continues to get urinary tract infections, this could be a sign that they have a more serious health condition that requires immediate attention.

UTIs can point to a number of different medical problems, including diabetes and cancer. Dogs that continue to get infections after taking antibiotics may have canine bladder cancer, where tumors form along the urinary tract.

If your dog has had multiple UTIs over the course of a few months, you should speak to your vet and ask for further testing. They can screen for cancer, as well as check to make sure your dog doesn’t have a bladder or kidney infection.

Dogs That Are Most Likely To Get Urinary Tract Infections

In general, dogs are more likely to get UTIs as they get older. Their immune system may not work as well, or they could have issues with their bladder.

Dogs that have diabetes are also much more likely to develop urinary tract infections. They have more sugar in their urine, which allows bacteria to grow quickly.

Females are much more likely to get UTIs, as they have short urinary tracts that make it easy for bacteria to grow. With males, the bacteria have to travel a long way up the urethra, lowering the risk of infection.

If your male dog has a UTI, this could be a sign of a more serious medical condition, such as a bladder or kidney infection. Ask the vet to run some more tests to make sure that your dog is healthy.

Breeds That Get Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections are a common medical problem across all dog breeds. However, there are a few breeds that are a bit more susceptible to infections.

Shih Tzus and Yorkshire Terriers are more likely to develop urinary tract stones, which are closely linked to UTIs. Pay more attention to hygiene with these dogs, and clean off their urinary opening with antiseptic wipes to prevent infections.

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