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3 min read

Can Dogs Get Bladder Infections?


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When a previously potty trained dog starts urinating in the house, it can signify a medical problem. Consult the vet, because a common cause of breakdown in house training is a bladder infection. Indeed, just as people get bladder infections, so do dogs.

But how does this come about? What causes a dog to get a bladder infection? Females dogs typically are more prone to bladder infections than males are. Bacteria enter the urethra and make their way to the bladder, causing irritation to the wall of the organ, giving your dog the sensation of needing to pee more often than normal. Sometimes, there is a blockage in the urinary tract and your dog can only pass a trickle of urine. If the chemical makeup of the urine is changed during an infection, crystals and stones can form. This can quickly become dangerous, so if this is the case, don't delay the vet visit. Tumors, polyps, diabetes and certain medications can also bring on bladder trouble.

Does My Dog Have a Bladder Infection?

Inflammation of the bladder is commonly referred to as cystitis. If your pup appears to be uncomfortable when trying to pee, or appears to be attempting to urinate without success, take them to the clinic without delay. Typically, a dog with cystitis will show one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Peeing becomes urgent

  • Straining to urinate

  • Repeated squatting or leg lifting

  • Producing only a small puddle or a dribble each time

  • Breakdown in house training

  • Blood stained urine

  • Bad smelling urine

  • Increased thirst

  • Lethargy or listlessness

 Also, bear in mind that in the early stages most bladder infections are 'silent' and don't show signs. The only way to detect a problem at this point is to have your vet analyze a urine sample. This means by the time your dog does display symptoms, the infection is well established, making it even more important to get to the vet right away.

How Do I Treat My Dog's Bladder Infection?

A true bladder infection requires antibiotics to settle things down. Your vet may culture some urine to reveal exactly which antibiotic is best suited to blitz the infection. But, for a first-time affliction, the vet may decide on a course of a good antibiotic that is appropriate as a first-line attack. Getting the problem under control and determining the cause is the best course of action. In some cases, there will be a polyp that needs to be removed. A tumor is often hard to treat.

You can help your dog get through a bacterial attack on the bladder by encouraging them to drink plenty of water to flush their system. Try offering water bowls in every room or even a pet drinking fountain. Some dogs prefer the taste of mineral water over tap water, which can be a neat trick to encourage them to drink.

Speak to your vet about whether food supplements or nutraceuticals which make the urine more acidic are appropriate for your dog. These can help clear an infection by making the urine a more hostile place. However, these products are not always appropriate, especially if the dog has a history of growing bladder stones, so check with a vet first. A diet change to a food that dissolves stones, or to a moist food as a way to discourage the formation of crystals is sometimes implemented.

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