Symptoms and Treatment of a Canine Urinary Tract Infection


"Canine urinary tract infections are a common problem and are caused by bacteria which enters the body through the urethra in the urinary tract. Female dogs are particularly susceptible to the condition. A dog UTI can trigger symptoms symptoms such as discomfort and complications if it is not treated. In rare cases, bacteria can move from the urinary tract to the kidneys via the ureters.

Signs of urinary infections in dogs includes dog blood in urine, straining to urinate, urination in the home, an increase in frequency of urination in smaller amounts. It may go away on its own, but probably needs a little help from antibiotics which will take several days to heal the condition. After the course of antibiotics are completed, a veterinarian will retest the dog to confirm that the infection has been cured.

If your dog frequently gets infections, you may want to provide some fruit juice in the morning, a homeopathic supplement and provide more opportunities for outdoor urination."


Urinary tract infections occur in 2% to 3% of all dogs. They are usually caused by a bacterial infection that has entered the body through the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body. If the infection is able to take hold, it colonizes in the urinary tract, eventually making its way to the bladder causing bladder infection.

Infection in the urinary tract causes inflammation which reduces the size of the urethra and makes the tube narrower, making it more difficult to urinate. Since less urine passes through the body, other problems can set in such as urinary or bladder stones. The urine contains crystals which form into stones. As these crystals attach to one another forming stones, additional blockages and urination problems can occur.

The urine itself is nature's way of keeping the urinary tract infection free. If your dog isn't urinating enough, or there are other problems in the body that changed the PH balance or composition of the urine, it reduces the urine's bacteria killing effectiveness.  Female dogs are more likely to be infected since there is  a wider opening through the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the body.

Ask a Vet for Free 24/7

Canine UTI Symptoms

As indicated above, symptoms of urinary tract infection are usually related to problems with urination due to inflammation of the urinary tract. These include:

  • Difficulty Urinating
  • Pain when urinating
  • Frequent urination
  • Urine leaking
  • Urination in unacceptable places
  • Urine odor
  • Licking of the area where your dog urinate
  • Blood in urine

A dog UTI can cause discomfort or pain as the bladder fills with urine, which explains the dog's desire to urinate more frequently than normal.

Diagnosis of Canine Urinary Tract Infection

Your veterinarian will do a urinalysis to test the composition and PH and of the urine. Testing will be done to look for the presence of blood in the urine as well as crystals that could form stones. Bacteria levels will be tested as well.

If your veterinarian suspects the formation of stones, she will try to determine the type (struvite or oxalate). Each type has a different treatment protocol. Tests will be repeated after UTI treatment to confirm that the disease has been eliminated.

Dog UTI Treatment

Antibiotics are used to treat the bacterial infection for a period of 10 to 14 days. There are different types of antibiotics that are selected based on the sensitivity of the bacteria and the extent of the problem. Your dog should start to feel better within 48 hours. These are highly effective. In rare cases, a stubborn infection takes hold which requires a treatment span of 4 to 6 weeks. Your dog will be tested again after the treatment period to ensure that the infection is gone.

To keep the canine urinary tract infection from returning there are several steps you can take:

1. Fresh Water: The more your dog drinks, the more he or she will urinate. As mentioned urine is natures way of keeping the tract clean.

2. Fruit Juices: Even during treatment, fruit juice can help improve the acidity or PH of the urine. While not liked by all dogs, if your dog will drink some cranberry juice, give it a try. You can mix it with their food or provide in a bowl.

3. Homeopathic Remedies: Several natural products have a long history of helping to support the urinary tract and the PH of urine. One product for additional research that is made specifically for this purpose is PetAlive UTI-Free Formula for pet urinary tract infections.

4. Frequent Walks: Dogs will naturally urinate more when walked. If they only are walked 2x per day, urine remains in the bladder where bacteria can take hold. Urinating outdoors flushed the urine.

It is possible for a canine urinary tract infection to resolve itself on its own by taking the steps indicated above. However, if you don't see it getting better, a trip to the veterinarian is called for.

Ask a Question or Share Your Story

Have a Dog Urinary System Question for our Vet? We'll Answer It For Free

Do you have a Dog urinary system question for our Veterinarian or a Helpful Story to Share? Please include information such as medical history (describe visits to vet and any diagnosis/test results), age, sex, breed, medications your dog is taking, recent changes in behavior (lethargy, appetite), etc. Includes details such as problems urinating and blood in the urine.

We will do our best to get back to you quickly (depends on how many questions we receive each day). If you do require an immediate response we suggest using this online dog veterinary service that is available now to answer questions over the internet.

[ ? ]

Upload 1-4 Pictures or Graphics (optional)[ ? ]


Click here to upload more images (optional)

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

  •  submission guidelines.

(You can preview and edit on the next page)


Lulich JP, Osborne CA, Bartges JW, et al.
Canine lower urinary tract disorders In
Ettinger SJ,Feldman EC, eds.
Textbook of veterinary internal medicine.
5th ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders