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A dog urinary tract infection (dog UTI) is one of the most common health issues dogs face. It occurs when bacteria get into the urethra and work their way up to the bladder. Approximately 14% of dogs develop one at some point in their lives.
While a dog UTI can affect all dogs, some dogs are more susceptible than others. For instance, female dogs are more at risk than males. Older dogs also typically have a greater risk, but younger ones can develop a UTI, too. Fortunately, there are dog UTI prevention steps that pet parents can take to reduce their dog’s risk and help them keep their dogs happy and healthy.
An untreated dog UTI can cause serious complications. The longer it goes untreated, the greater the health risks become. Along with being uncomfortable and causing painful urination, the bacteria that work their way into the bladder can trigger inflammation. That inflammation can then lead to bladder stones.
Eventually, the bacteria can even work their way into the kidneys. Once in the kidneys, a dog is at risk for a kidney infection and even kidney failure. Pet parents should contact their primary vet at the first sign of a UTI. Early treatment is key to preventing more significant complications and ensuring the dog’s health and comfort.
There are typically some dog UTI symptoms that can let pet parents know there’s a problem. These symptoms include:
Drinking more water than usual
Asking for more frequent trips outdoors
Passing only small amounts of urine
Exhibiting discomfort when urinating
Cloudy or bloody urine
Loss of appetite
Excessive licking around the genitals
A vet can run a urinalysis to determine the presence of a dog UTI and answer any dog health questions the pet parent might have.
In the presence of a UTI, a course of antibiotics can help clear up the issue. Pet parents will need to complete the medication as directed to ensure the infection goes away completely.
While UTIs are treatable, pet parents help to keep them from developing in the first place. Here are a few dog UTI prevention tips:
Increase water intake. Drinking water helps to flush bacteria out of the urinary tract.
Offer a balanced diet. A well-balanced diet that contains protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, and minerals can help maintain a healthy internal pH, reducing a dog’s UTI risk.
Provide plenty of opportunities to go outside. Holding urine for long periods increases the risk of developing a UTI. Pet parents should provide plenty of bathroom breaks for their dogs.
Boost hygiene. The space around the genitals gets exposed to bacteria from urine and feces. Dirt and debris from outside can also collect there. Pet parents should clean the area frequently, especially if they have a female dog. Regular baths and routine grooming can also help.
Try a prescription diet. For dogs prone to UTIs, vets may recommend a prescription diet to maintain optimal urinary health. Pet parents can also offer specially formulated treats to ensure a healthy urinary tract.
Schedule regular vet visits. Routine vet visits can help detect issues in their early stages. Vets can also help pet parents learn the best dog health advice to keep their dogs happy and healthy.
Urinary tract infections may be a common issue for dogs, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing a pet parent can do. By offering plenty of clean, fresh water, a well-balanced diet, and ample time outside, pet parents can reduce the risk for a dog UTI and ensure their dog’s optimal health.