Many pet dogs (most of them of advanced years) tend to suffer from recurrent Urine infections. Typical signs and symptoms of UTIs in dogs include frequent urination accompanied by a foul smell. In majority of these cases, pet owners procrastinate taking their dog to the vet immediately, despite seeing these symptoms. However, it is vital to get such UTIs treated quickly since failure to do so could lead to serious complications. Let us study UTIs in dogs in greater detail and also study some tips for UTI prevention in dogs.
What causes UTIs in dogs?
As in case of humans, urine infections in dogs can also be broadly categorized as lower and upper urinary tract infections. The typical causes of lower urinary tract infections include:
- Foreign body in the urethra- stones, debris etc
- Infection or inflammation of the bladder
- Hormonal issues in female dogs
- Urine incontinence
- Trauma and stress
- Prostate disease in elderly male dogs
- Congenital issues
- Problems of the spinal cord
- In females, excess vulvar folds can also lead to frequent UTIs. Corrective surgery to reduce these may be the only way of UTI prevention in such dogs.
- Weakened urinary sphincter after spaying/neutering.
All these are the common causes of UTIs in dogs. In older dogs, the sphincter muscles also get weaker leading to incontinence. Certain issues with the endocrine system as well as diabetes etc can lead to dog UTIs. Male dogs with prostate issues or those having diseases such as diabetes are also prone to suffer from regular UTIs.
Symptoms of Dog UTIs
Following are common symptoms of Dog UTIs:
- Difficulty in urinating. Dog might appear distressed or in pain when urinating. It might produce only a few drops of urine at a time which might take some straining to do.
- Blood in urine.
- No control over bladder, or urine incontinence. As a result the pet may soil its bed or other inappropriate places.
- Pet might constantly lick its private areas.
- Weight loss resulting from lack of appetite.
- Fever, body aches and pains.
- Urine may be cloudy and might have strong foul odor.
Top tips for UTI prevention in Dogs
If you notice the aforementioned symptoms in your pet, seek the help of a veterinarian immediately. The only way of treating UTIs in dogs is by using antibiotics. These medicines must be given as prescribed, and in their complete dose. Do not stop the medicine even if your pet shows signs of improvement. UTIs have a tendency to recur and it is essential to maintain the dosage of medicine in the animal’s body to help it fight the bacteria that is responsible for causing the infection. There are also other precautions and UTI prevention in dogs;tips owners can use to keep their beloved pet healthy:
- Add cranberry to your dog’s diet. Many research reports are suggesting that doing so can help maintain the health of your pets’ urinary system. You can talk to your vet about pet-safe cranberry supplements, or even sugar-free cranberry juices.
- Ensure that the dog drinks plenty of water. This is one of the main ways of UTI prevention in dogs. If your dog is a fussy drinker, get it to drink more water by adding some chicken broth or low sodium stock as well as saltine crackers to its diet.
- For dogs with chronic urine infections (dogs that get more than 3 UTIs in a year) the vet might prescribe low dose antibiotics for regular/daily intake. These will prevent the bacteria from adhering to the walls of the bladder to prevent them from causing the infection.
- Some pet owners have seen good results by using antibacterial wipes for the pet’s urinary opening and anus. This can help prevent bacterial concentration and also minimize the bacteria travelling from the anal region into the urethra.
- Feed the dog a healthy home cooked diet rich in B-vitamins as well as probiotics. Probiotic foods contain live cultures of good bacteria and these can help reduce concentration of the harmful bacteria that give rise to the infections.
- If struvite stones are the cause of UTIs, make sure you feed the pet a low carb, high protein and low magnesium diet. Avoid foods rich in magnesium such as spinach, beans etc.
Apart from such UTI prevention in dogs methods, make sure you regularly monitor your pet’s health. Even if the pet appears fine, get routine urine cultures done every 3 months.This will help your vet monitor the pet’s urinary system and this small step can go a long way in preventing complicated UTIs in your best friend.