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This blog post was originally published in 2013. It has been updated with new information and republished in 2019.
A friend of mine invited me over to play with a litter of puppies she was fostering. One of the puppies, Lilly, was having trouble (it seemed) peeing. She would squat (like little girl puppies do) and either nothing would come out or very little. Her brothers were doing just fine in this area.
My friend mentioned that she could have a urinary tract infection that she picked up at the shelter. This happens to some of the female puppies and dogs in shelters because they’re peeing so close to a floor that may not be clean.
This is just a theory she shared, but it did remind me that dogs do get urinary tract infections, so I hopped over to Google to learn more…
- Urinary tract infections are common in pets.
- Urinary tract infections are often caused by bacteria that enter the urethra and grows in the bladder.
- Urinary tract infections may lead to dogs needing to pee more often, being more urgent about going outside to pee, and blood in the urine.
Dogs Most at Risk for Urinary Tract Infections
I've had dogs for years and none of them have had urinary tract infections. Are they just lucky or are there certain dogs that are more at risk? Back to Google…
- Overweight pets are more at risk due to the extra skin folds around the vulva.
- Dogs with weaker immune systems may be more prone to get urinary tract infections.
- Chronic diseases such as diabetes, Cushing's Disease, and cancer may lead to urinary infections as well.
- Dogs with a history of incontinence should be evaluated for urinary tract infections.
While our dogs don't have a history of urinary tract infections, I'm glad to know what to look for so that I can act quickly, take them to the vet and get them on a round of antibiotics, offset by increased probiotics to protect their gut. Dogs will recover quickly when a UTI is caught early and treated appropriately. If your dog has a history of urinary tract infections, or you suspect that your dog has an infection it's important to see your veterinarian. You can monitor your dog between vet visits with a testing kit. I've used the CheckUp At Home Wellness Test with my dogs and I found it easy and educational. This kit tests for high glucose, kidney conditions (protein), urinary tract infections (pH), and blood in the urine.
Preventing Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs
Cranberry Supplements for Dogs
Searching online, I found that “Cranberry juice lowers the pH of the urine, making it more acidic. This action makes it a hostile environment for pH-sensitive bacteria. Secondly, cranberries contain at least two agents that act as bacterial inhibitors. Consequently, many medications for urinary tract infections work in the same manner.” ~ RaisingHealthyDogs.com
Cranberries aren’t meant to replace a veterinarian’s care, but they can complement that care and are a great topic of discussion the next time you visit the vet. “The addition of cranberries to your dog’s diet also has several other benefits. Cranberries are rich in vitamins including A, B1, B2, C, and many nutrients. They are full of minerals and antioxidants. Cranberries are an excellent supplement to your dog’s diet for the promotion of urinary tract health and they are good for the owner as well.” ~ RaisingHealthyDogs.com
When my girls were puppies, I added Wholistic Pet Wholecran Intense Organic Supplement to their diet daily as a treat; today, I like to make treats with whole cranberries for my dogs.
Supplements that Support a Healthy Urinary Tract
- Urinary Tract Infection Meal Topper for Dogs and Cats by Natura Petz
- Break it Up Stone Eliminator Meal Topper for Dogs and Cats by Natura Petz
- Stix & Stones – Kidney (Renal) + Stone & Urinary Tract Infection Support by Natura Petz
Now that my dogs are on a raw food diet, which is higher in moisture content that a diet of kibble, their risk of urinary tract infections has decreased, but that doesn't mean that they are completely safe. It's important to pay attention to our dogs, understand the signs, and contact our veterinarian if we suspect a problem.