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Nothing is more stressful to dog parents than seeing their dog in pain while using the bathroom. Unexpected red or brown tint in their dog’s urine, whining while urinating, and bathroom accidents while sleeping or awake are all dog symptoms to run UTI testing.
Every responsible dog parent knows that these warning signs are nothing to brush off. They're distressing. Left untreated, these signs cause further pain. Until now, dog parents knew their best and safest option was rushing to the vet. New information and research on testing and treatment could help dog parents have peace of mind and avoid unnecessary costs and anguish.
UTIs — short for urinary tract infections — are common in dogs. About 14 to 27 percent of all dogs get a UTI during their lifetime, and most of these are caused by bacteria. These bacteria journey from the urethra into the bladder of a dog and then grow and reproduce. Ultimately, the dog starts showing the symptoms of a UTI.
Female dogs are more prone to getting a UTI than male dogs are. Especially older female dogs and dogs with sugar diabetes more commonly get UTIs. Although UTIs are a serious disorder in dogs, they easily resolve with treatment in most cases. So, staying informed about UTI symptoms and treatment in dogs is important for all dog parents.
Regardless of the gender, a dog with a UTI may show these five common symptoms:
Urinating more frequently. The dog may stray from their normal routine and head outside more often to urinate.
Discolored or bloody urine. The dog may show changes in the color of their urine. The urine could be very dark in color or have a red or brown tint — may indicate the presence of blood.
Straining to urinate and/or whimpering during urination. The dog may feel a frequent urge to urinate but pass a small amount each time. They may also whine and whimper when urinating — indicating distress.
Accidents at home. The dog may inadvertently urinate while they're sleeping or awake — indicating the loss of bladder control.
Changes in behavior. The dog may show signs of being unwell — including lethargy, loss of appetite, increased water consumption, restlessness, and excessive licking around their urinary openings after urination.
In several cases, inflammation may be a cause of some bladder problems in dogs. So, some holistic vets consider that UTI stands for "urinary tract inflammation" rather than "urinary tract infection."
These symptoms can be distressing and uncomfortable for a dog. If the dog shows mild UTI symptoms, a simple, reliable at-home urine test may be used — such a kit will detect common UTI symptoms like blood in the urine. However, if the dog has severe symptoms, a vet should be consulted right away.
The parents of a dog with a UTI will have two options when it comes to UTI treatment.
When their dogs exhibit UTI symptoms, a dog parent should first call their vet for reassurance and comfort. The vet will prescribe an antibiotic — and in some cases, pain medication — for immediate relief.
The antibiotics prescribed by the vet may not only kill the UTI-causing bacteria but also destroy the healthy bacteria and affect other parts of the body. Here are five home remedies that may be given to a dog showing UTI symptoms, but under their vet's guidance:
Couch grass — which is a common North American weed and is sometimes called "quack grass."
Parsley leaf — which is a diuretic that has antiseptic properties.
Marshmallow root — which reduces inflammation and creates a barrier between the urinary tract lining and harmful bacteria.
Horsetail — which fights off infection and is helpful if the dog has a UTI with minor bleeding.
Cranberry — which is considered a natural remedy for UTIs.
Probiotics for dogs can also help maintain urinary tract health and rejuvenate the healthy bacteria in the gut. They are available in the form of supplements or tasty treats, which are completely safe for dogs.