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Not Peeing in Dogs

Written By hannah hollinger
Published: 05/03/2017Updated: 09/17/2021
Veterinary reviewed by Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS
Why is my dog not peeing?

What is Not Peeing?

You take your dog for a walk and you notice that he is straining to urinate.  Usually, he pees on every tree or branch, and now he can barely pass a small trickle.  It is a very concerning situation.  There may be several reasons that your dog is not able to urinate:

  • Urinary stones 
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Tumor on urinary tract or bladder
  • Trauma
  • Prostate Hyperplasia
  • Neurological Disease

The inability to urinate is a very serious condition.  If the dog is unable to empty his bladder, the bladder may burst.

Why Not Peeing Occurs in Dogs

Urinary problems occur more frequently in male dogs. If your dog is not urinating, there may be a serious underlying condition:

Urinary Stones

Urinary stones may be found in the kidneys, ureters (the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder), urethra (the tube from the bladder to where the urine exits the body), and the bladder (the organ that holds urine).  In canines, stones are usually found in the bladder. Bladder stones can get as big as 3 to 4 inches. Bladder stones are made up of different mineral compositions. Urate stones are more common in Bulldogs, Black Russian Terriers and Dalmatians.  Struvite bladder stones are most commonly found in Miniature Schnauzers, Bichon Frise, Cocker Spaniels, and Miniature Poodles.

Urinary Tract Infection

Canine urinary tract infections in dogs are more common in older females and diabetic dogs. The infection causes spasms in the urethra, which then narrows the opening where urine exits the body. Urinary tract infections that are left untreated can progress into the kidneys, which can cause kidney failure and/or sepsis. 

Tumor on the Urinary Tract or Bladder

A tumor is the abnormal growth of tissue creating a mass.  Tumors can be benign or malignant (cancerous). A tumor on the urinary tract or bladder can cause an obstruction, which causes the inability to urinate.

Trauma

Trauma caused by vehicular contact or a fall can cause uroabdomen.  The damage may cause the urine to leak into the abdomen. A canine may be unable to urinate because of the trauma to his abdominal area.

Prostate Hyperplasia

Older uncastrated males are prone to this condition. Symptoms can include blood in the urine, difficulty passing faces and difficulty passing urine.

Neurological Disease

Certain neurological diseases can mean it is hard (if not impossible) to pass urine. Passing urine requires both the relaxation and contraction of muscles.

What to do if your Dog is Not Peeing

If your dog is not peeing, he must be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. An examination may lead the vet to recommend a few diagnostic tests to help find the cause, such as a complete blood count, urinalysis, urine culture, abdominal ultrasound, abdominal x-rays and a CT scan. If he palpates the bladder and it is full, the veterinarian may use a urinary catheter to remove the urine and temporarily relieve the patient. 

The treatment of urinary stones will depend on the type of stone it is. Struvite and calcium oxalate uroliths are the most common stones found in dogs. The veterinarian may recommend a low-protein diet to help speed the dissolution of struvite stones. Antibiotics may also be prescribed in the treatment of bladder stones. Some bladder stones will need surgical removal.

Canine bladder infections may be treated with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications. Tumors may need to be surgically removed. Dogs with malignant tumors may also need radiation and/or chemotherapy. 

Dogs that have experienced trauma to the abdomen may require surgery to correct the damage. Owners of dogs that undergo surgery will be given postoperative instructions by the veterinary surgical team. The patient will need to restrict activity and the incision should be kept dry. He will have to wear an E-collar until his sutures are removed.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) usually repsonds well to surgical castration. There is also a medical treatment option available.

Prevention of Not Peeing

Some bladder stones can be prevented by increased water consumption, special diet and by monitoring the pH level in your pet’s urine. There are at home canine pH testing strips available for purchase. Diets lower in protein, phosphorus and magnesium may help prevent bladder stones. Additionally, studies have shown that the long-term use of diuretics and antacids can elevate the pH, phosphorus and ammonia in the urine, which can then cause bladder stones.

Urinary bladder infections may be prevented by encouraging regular bathroom breaks. It is not healthy to make your dog wait to void.  It can also be helpful to keep your dog well-groomed and cleaned around the dog’s genital area to avoid bacterial infections. It is important to provide clean filtered drinking water for your dog.  Other urinary bladder infection preventatives are cranberry capsules, vitamin C and probiotics. 

Dogs should be monitored when outside. It is imperative to check your yard to ensure that your pet is safe from harm if let outdoors unattended.

Neutering a male dog can prevent prostate overgrowth and subsequent urination trouble.

Some causes of urinary problems in dogs can be expensive to treat. To avoid high vet care expenses, secure pet health insurance today. The sooner you insure your pet, the more protection you’ll have from unexpected vet costs.

Cost of Not Peeing

The treatment costs for a dog who is not peeing can be as high as $350 for tests and medication for a urinary tract infection. If surgery for bladder stones or an injured abdomen is required, the cost may go as high as $7500.

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Not Peeing Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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shih

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10 Years

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20 found this helpful

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20 found this helpful

My pet has the following symptoms:
Not Peeing
my dog hasn't peeped all day Saturday. Not drinking water

Dec. 13, 2020

Answered by Dr. Sara O. DVM

20 Recommendations

Hello not urinating is an emergency situation that need to see a vet. If his bladder is full you can usually feel what feels like a water ballon in his abdomen. He would need to see your vet right away. This can be come deadly if left in treated.

Dec. 13, 2020

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Husky

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Five Months

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1 found this helpful

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1 found this helpful

My pet has the following symptoms:
Tarry Stool
Bloody diarrhea, no bathroom use in 6 hours

Oct. 22, 2020

Answered by Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

1 Recommendations

Hi there, you are through to Dr Linda. Thank you for choosing to use Wag! I'm sorry to hear your Husky has this issue and appreciate it must be a concern. You mention both bloody diarrhoea (which we classify as being bright red) and tarry diarrhoea (which we classify as being dark black) in your question. Bright red poo is seen with bleeding from the lower gut, such as in a colitis (inflamed colon), while darker stool tends to indicate bleeding higher up in the digestive tract, such as from a stomach ulcer for example. Certainly, a significant amount of blood in the stool is abnormal and should be looked into. There are several possible causes including: Ulcers, infections, blood clotting disorders, a toxin ingestion (such as rat bait) etc. You also mention your dog is not peeing? If this is true and there has been no pee in 12 hours or more this is especially concerning. This might make us consider acute kidney failure and would put a toxic ingestion high on the list. I would not hesitate to have your dog examined by a vet right away to determine why these signs have developed and what can be done.

Oct. 22, 2020

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