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Tips To Care For Urinary Tract Issues In Dogs
If you have noticed an increase in frequency that your dog needs to go out or if he is suddenly having accidents then more than likely he is dealing with a Urinary Tract Infection. A Urinary Tract Infection or (UTI) is an infection of the urethra or the bladder. A UTI can make it painful and/or difficult for your dog to pee therefore, increasing the amount of bathroom breaks but decreasing the amount of urine when he does go. It is normal for a puppy to have accidents but, when a well trained older dog begins to urinate when he isn’t supposed to then there is almost always a problem.
What Causes A Urinary Tract Infection?
The most common cause of a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) in dogs is not being allowed the opportunity to go to the bathroom often enough. Some dog owners believe that once their dog is potty trained then they should be able to hold it until you let them out whenever that may be. At first your dog probably will hold it as long as he can but, after awhile this type of care can lead to a UTI or other urination problems. A normal healthy dog should be allowed to relieve himself at least 4 to 5 times a day. Occasionally less is fine however, if not allowed to go often enough for long periods of time your dog can develop urinary tract problems.
Although, not being allowed to go often enough is the leading cause of urinary tract problems there are several other causes that can lead to problems with the Urinary System and all of it’s components:
- Stress- Stressful situations can lead to urinary issues. Introducing a new family member whether it is a new baby or puppy into the family can cause many dogs to be overwhelmed and therefore weaken their immune system and often increase their likelihood of accidents.
- Old Age- Aging dogs may unfortunately be plagued with prostate issues, congenital abnormalities, weak bladder disorders and issues relating to incontinence.
- Inflammation- Inflammation caused by infection or stones and other debris that can accumulate in the bladder will cause your dog to develop issues that can lead to problems with the entire urinary tract but, may begin as a UTI.
- Hormonal Issues- Dogs that have not been fixed can have tremendous hormonal issues that lead to urinary problems.
- Mental Or Physical Trauma- If your dog has been in an accident or has had his spine hurt by rough play or jumping, he has an increased chance of developing frequent UTI’s.
- Cancer- Unfortunately one of the causes of urinary tract problems can be cancer. Have your dog tested early to ruled this out if he has UTI’s often.
Tips To Prevent Urinary Tract Problems:
There are a few ways to prevent urinary problems and help keep your dog’s entire Urinary System flowing properly. The most important preventative is to always allow your dog plenty of bathroom breaks. The longer his urine stays in his bladder the greater chance that bacteria will be able to grow and increase so walking your dog often to encourage him to pee is the number one preventative. The second preventative is to always have fresh clean water available for your dog. Clean water helps to flush out any potential debris hanging out in the bladder. If your dog has had to go longer between bathroom breaks than normal due to a car ride or vacation or situation, then you can add a little cranberry juice to his water in order to decrease his chances of developing issues.
When To See Your Veterinarian
Even though some UTI’s will clear up on their own more often than not the bacteria will get ahead of your dog’s immune system and your dog will need antibiotics to prevent the infection from growing into more severe problems such as a kidney infection or pyelonephritis. So it is best to have your dog seen by a veterinarian if you suspect he has a urinary issue. Of course, if you see blood in your dog's’ urine it is important to get him to the vet immediately.
ResourcesPetMD - Lower Urinary Tract Problems and Infections in Dogs
AKC.ORG - Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) in Dogs