Can Dogs Get Urinary Tract Infections?

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Many of us, through no fault of our own, assume that many medical conditions, as uncomfortable as they may be, are specific to humans. But, which conditions can dogs suffer from too and which ones should you be concerned about? Urinary tract infections (UTIs) in humans, are uncomfortable at best and incredibly painful at worst.

 

In humans, UTIs are an infection of the bladder, urethra, or kidneys. You’ll to need to pee more than usual and suffer severe pain when you do pee. Fortunately, with humans, you can treat UTIs with antibiotics. If you are suspecting your dog is suffering with a UTI, as a precautionary measure, you need to ensure you seek medical attention as early as possible in case your dog is suffering from something more serious. But, should you be concerned your dog has developed a UTI? Are they even possible in dogs?

Can Dogs Get Urinary Tract Infections?

YES!

Dogs can definitely develop the same painful and uncomfortable UTIs their owners can. As highlighted in an article on UTIs from Medical News Today, owners may well think dogs can’t suffer from UTIs, because in humans, they are often brought on by too much caffeine, alcohol, and frequent sexual intercourse. Despite this, it is 100% technically possible for your dog to develop a UTI.

Does My Dog Have a Urinary Tract Infection?

Look out for the following symptoms in your dog. Is your dog breaking housetraining? Does it have blood in it’s urine? Or is it peeing more frequently than usual? Is it in obvious pain when it is going to the toilet and is it obsessively licking the genital area? If you see any of these symptoms, your dog may have a UTI.

But what causes UTIs in dogs? Often dogs develop struvite stones, which can then bring on bladder infections. Small breeds such as Yorkshire terriers are particularly prone to developing these. Similarly, bigger dogs like Dalmatians are susceptible to developing urate stones. Stones block the passages, preventing dogs from urinating. Bacteria then build up and infection occurs. But dogs can also get UTIs from cancer, trauma, and stress.

 

To diagnose a UTI, your dog will need to be taken to the vet. Urinalysis, blood work, and radiographs may be needed. This allows your vet to identify the particular strain of the infection, as well as ruling out any more serious conditions. Learn more about the condition at Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs.

How Do I Treat My Dog’s Urinary Tract Infection?

Fortunately, treating your dog’s UTI is often a relatively straightforward process. Typically, antibiotics are prescribed destroy the growth of microorganisms causing infection. In some cases, a special diet may also be recommended to help dissolve urinary stones. The treatment will usually take just 10 to 14 days. Whilst the antibiotics are normally taken orally, they can also be injected. In complicated cases, antimicrobial therapy will be prescribed for 4 to 6 weeks, with a urine culture taking place after one week, to ensure it is working. If the infection is because of something more serious, such as a tumor, surgery may well be needed.

 

Because UTIs in dogs are usually straightforward, dogs will often be fully recovered and back to health in just a couple of weeks. You can expect to see signs of improvement within a few days of your dog starting the treatment. However, in complicated cases, antimicrobials will need to be re-administered and dogs may need more than a couple of weeks before they are fully healed.

 

For further information, or for stories from other owners and answers from in-house vets, check out some of our related condition guides at Urinary Conditions in Dogs. There you will find more detailed information and guidance available.

How Are Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs Similar to Those in Humans?

In many ways, UTIs in dogs have a lot of similarities to UTIs in humans.

  • UTIs in both will see its victims pee more frequently than usual.

  • Both humans and dogs can experience serious pain and discomfort when peeing.

  • Both could have blood in their urine as a result of the infection.

  • Both can suffer UTIs because of a lack of hygiene in the genital area.

  • Both can develop UTIs when not enough water is consumed.

  • Both can suffer UTIs from the formation of stones and inflammation in the bladder, that then causes blockages and the buildup of microorganisms.

How Are Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs Different from Those in Humans?

Whilst there are many similarities in the way UTIs manifest themselves in both humans and dogs, there are also some serious differences in symptoms and causes. Some of these differences are as follows:

  • Older people can feel confusion and agitation.

  • Humans can develop UTIs from too much caffeine and alcohol.

  • UTIs in humans can be brought on by frequent sex.

  • Humans can feel a painful burn after sex.

  • Dogs can soil themselves in inappropriate places as a result of the infection.

Case study

A study was done in 1989 -1999 at the College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University. Here they looked at 100 dogs to examine the symptoms of urinary tract infections in dogs, but also the most effective way to treat them. This was a significant study because it proved that low dose, long-term antibiotics were the most effective way to treat dogs with urinary tract infections. It is those low dose courses that dogs will now be prescribed today!