Today I decided to write about UTI’s in dogs because my dog Riley was just diagnosed with having one.
I am going to make this personal, not overly medical, because I am not a veterinarian. I am just going to tell you how this came about with Riley.
What is a UTI?
UTI means urinary tract infection. These don’t just happen to people and they are definitely not fun for any of us. They can be painful for your dog and serious if not taken care of.
With Riley, I let her outside today and because it was cold and raining, I decided to stand by the door to wait for her to come in. Thankfully I did because I noticed her urine had a lot of red in it, a lot of red. I knew immediately it was blood so after freaking out for a couple minutes, I called the vet and took her in.
Symptoms of UTI’s in Dogs
There are 2 different types of UTI’s in dogs, lower urinary tract infections and upper urinary tract infections.
Lower UTI’s- affect the bladder
- Blood in the urine- this can be a bright red color or just tinged with orange
- Difficulty urinating- squatting for a long time with nothing coming out or straining to go
- Frequent urination attempts- Riley is going out a few times an hour right now which is definitely not normal
- Accidents in the house- they can happen and in fact, Riley just had one. Remember, this is NOT their fault. Do not yell or punish your dog if this happens. He can’t verbally tell you he has to go out so if you’re not paying attention, this is on you.
- Licking around the area- I didn’t notice her doing this when it was happening but once I thought back, I realized Riley had been doing it for the last couple of days.
- Increased water intake
- Back pain
Upper UTI’s affect the kidneys
- Weight loss
- No interest in food
If you see any of these symptoms, it is important to get your dog into the vet immediately. UTI’s can be fatal, especially with male dogs. UTI’s can also be easily treatable- so take your buddy in.
What did I learn today? I learned that dogs can have UTI’s without showing any symptoms at all so it is really important that you get regular check ups.
What Causes UTI’s in Dogs?
- Stones or crystals that accumulate in the bladder or urethra.
- Bacteria that collects around the urethral opening and moves into the urinary tract and bladder.
- UTI’s can also happen because of a much more severe underlying disease, like cancer.
Most of the time, UTI’s are easily treatable however you won’t know for sure until you see the vet.
What your dog eats and his water intake also play a role. Always make sure to have clean water easily accessible and be mindful of what you feed him. In Riley’s case, I have been handing out way too many treats lately so that will be changing today.
UTI’s can be treated very well with medications or a change in diet. If the infection is more serious, or if there is an underlying condition that is causing the UTI, like diabetes or cancer, your vet will decide the best course of action.
Today my vet did a physical exam and felt Riley’s abdomen for any tenderness, bumps, anything abnormal. He didn’t find anything, thankfully, so he prescribed antibiotics twice a day for a week. (Clavamox) After a week I am to call him, give him a report on how she is doing, and we will go from there.
Your vet may do a urine culture, blood work, or an ultrasound. It all depends on the severity of the symptoms and what he thinks is best.
My Final Thoughts
If you see anything that looks odd or if your dog is acting different, it is always best to take him to the vet. Even if he’s perfectly fine, regular wellness checks are always a good idea because you never know. Just like with people, dogs can have issues that we are not aware of. Like I said above, I had no idea dogs could have a UTI without any sort of symptoms.
So get regular check ups and take time to actually watch your buddy. He can’t tell you if something is wrong but he will show you if he can. Make sure you’re paying attention.