Dogs and their bathroom habits: sometimes it’s difficult to tell what’s normal and what’s not. An average adult dog goes to the bathroom two to four times a day. Side effects of medications can sometimes increase this, so talk to your vet if your pooch is exceeding the norm.
A UTI (urinary tract infection) is caused by bacteria in the lower urinary tract, or urethra. E. coli, Staphylococcus, and Proteus are the most common bugs at fault. Dehydration can also lead to contracting a UTI; urinating flushes out toxins in the urinary tract and bladder, and a dehydrated pet will urinate less frequently than normal. When your dog is forced to “hold it” or is not let out enough, there is also a greater chance of bacterial infection. Female dogs have shorter urinary tracts and are so more prone to UTIs.
The first sign that your pet could have a urinary tract infection is more frequent urination. In adult dogs, this is typically classified as more than four times a day. Your dog may also experience urinary incontinence and have “accidents” in the house. Bloody, cloudy, or foul-smelling urine are also signs of a UTI.
If your pet is straining to urinate, this could also be a symptom of a urinary tract obstruction. Your dog may hunch over while urinating. Crying out, refusing to eat, and vomiting may be caused by the pain from an obstruction or infection of the urethra.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Giving your veterinarian a complete history of your pet’s symptoms is the first step to diagnosing the condition. A physical exam, plus a urinalysis, and a blood count, will be performed.
Tests typically can determine the type of bacteria that caused the UTI, and corresponding antibiotics will be prescribed to treat the infection. Your vet may want an x-ray or ultrasonography to be performed to rule out the presence of stones – minerals accumulated in the urethra – or lesions. Don’t forget to submit your claim for these tests, if you have Healthy Paws Pet Insurance for your dog.
UTIs can become serious, traveling to and infecting other organs. Letting your dog out two to four times every day, as well as providing them with plenty of water, can help prevent infection. Bathe your dog every month to prevent bacterial infections.
Urinary tract infections are a very common occurrence in dogs and are easily treatable if diagnosed early. Give your pet plenty of water and regular bathroom breaks, and keep an eye out for unusual bathroom habits. With prevention and a watchful eye, a loving pet parent can keep their canine safe and infection-free. For more common ailments in dogs, check out our Cost of Pet Care report, and here’s to good puppy health!