September 12, 2020 4 min read

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Is your dog urinating in the house, or have you notice a horrible smell to their urine? This could all be a sign of a urinary tract infection. Dogs can commonly get bladder infections that can cause it to be very painful when they urinate.  

Many times, your dog will need to see your vet for antibiotics to help clear this infection. There are also many different things that you can do to help prevent your dog from getting bladder infections, or at least decrease the severity of these infections.

What Are Bladder Infections in Dogs?

A bladder infection is when your dog has an overgrowth of bacteria in their bladder.  These bacteria can cause damage to the lining of the bladder wall, causing it to become inflamed and infected.  This can be a very painful condition for your dog.

Symptoms of Bladder Infections in Dogs

There are many signs that would indicate that your dog may have a bladder infection. These are some of the most common signs seen:

  • Difficulty Urinating
  • Urinating More Often Than Usually
  • Accidents Inside the House
  • Blood in Urine
  • Licking
  • Bad Smells
  • Drinking More Water Than Usual
  • Tiredness
  • Loss of Appetite

If you notice any of these signs in your dog, it would be best to take your dog to the vet. They can take a sample of your dog’s urine and look for bacteria using a special stain and a microscope. If your dog does have an infection, they can prescribe your dog medication to help quickly clear the infection

Causes of Bladder Infections in Dogs

The main cause of a urinary tract infection is bacteria present in your dog’s urine, but there are many other causes such as:

  • Bladder Stones: If your dog continues to have a urinary tract infection despite being on medication, they may have bladder stones. These stones will rub up against the wall of your dog’s bladder, causing inflammation. This is a great place for bacteria to set up to grow in your dog’s bladder.
  • Diabetes: Dogs who are diabetic will have excess sugar excreted from their body in their urine.
  • Poor Hygiene: If your dog is constantly dirty, they can easily have a bladder infection. The bacteria can enter your dog’s bladder via their ureter. This is the structure responsible for bringing urine from the bladder to the outside.
  • Hooded Vulva: Some female dogs will have what is called a hooded vulva. This is where there is an extra skin roll over their vulva trapping urine inside. This can easily lead to an infection
  • Staying inside too much: If your dog is not allowed to go outside and urinate frequently, they can also get a bladder infection. Holding their urine for a long time can cause bacteria to build up in the bladder. When your dog urinates, these bacteria should be excreted from their body.

Treatment for Bladder Infections in Dogs

If you think that your dog has a bladder infection, there are many things that you can try at home, but usually, your dog will need to see a vet.

Your vet can take a sample of your dog’s urine and look for bacteria. If there are bacteria present in your dog’s urine, your vet will prescribe your dog antibiotics to help clear the infection. Your dog will take this medication for about 10 to 14 days, depending on the severity of the infection.

Many times, a urinary tract infection may cause your dog some pain and discomfort. Your vet can prescribe your dog pain medication to help decrease the pain and inflammation in their bladder.

If your dog does have bladder stones, the most common way for these to be removed is with surgery. Many vets can do this surgery. There are specialists that can break these stones up via a scope inserted into your dog’s bladder. While these do not require surgery, they can be very expensive and may not work for every dog.

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Preventing Bladder Infections in Your Dog

While about 50% of dogs will end up getting a bladder infection in their lifetime, there are many things that you can do to help prevent them or decrease the number of infections that your dog may have.  If your dog is prone to bladder infections, you should be doing some type of preventative measures to help keep them from developing infections. These are some common things that you can do.

Fresh and Clean Water

For dogs with a bladder infection, they will need to drink a lot more water.  It is best to make sure that your dog has unlimited access to fresh, clean water.  Make sure that their bowl is refilled and cleaned every day.

Look at Special Diets

There are special diets that are designed to help with urinary tract infections and decrease stone production. If your dog has a history of bladder stones or urinary tract infection, they should eat this specialized diet to help.

Look into Bladder Supplements

There are many bladder supplements that can help your dog with a bladder infection.  Many of these contain cranberries. They are excellent at helping prevent urinary tract infections in dogs and can be given to your dog every day. If your dog continues to have a urinary tract infection, make sure that the treats that you are feeding them will help prevent these infections.

If your dog is suffering from a urinary tract infection, there are many things that you can do at home to help your dog with the pain and inflammation. If you notice that your dog is urinating more or seems painful when they are urinating, take your dog to your vet to see if they have a urinary tract infection. Your vet can easily treat this infection with antibiotics. After a few weeks, your dog will be back to their normal happy self.

Meet The Author

Dr. Sara Ochoa author of bladder infections in dogs

Dr. Sara Ochoa DVM

Since she was a little girl, she knew that her dream was to become a veterinarian. With a tremendous passion and love for animals that makes her a great source of knowledge for others. She lives happily with her husband Greg and her babies Ruby the Schnoodle, and Bam-Bam the bunny.