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Health & Wellness

Urinary tract infections in dogs: symptoms and treatments

Is your dog peeing in the house?

Yes, dogs can get urinary tract infections — aka UTIs. And, as you can imagine, they’re no fun for pets.

How do you know if your dog is struggling with a UTI? You may notice them straining while going to the bathroom, frequently urinating or going "number one" in the house. Those are just a few signs that something is up. Here’s what else you should know.

How do dogs get UTIs?

Bacteria (or sometimes, but less commonly, fungus) move from a dog’s genitalia, rectum and urethra into their bladder where it multiples and can sustain itself, Dr. McCullough, Fetch’s on-staff veterinarian, explains to The Dig. As a result, a UTI can cause a dog’s bladder to become inflamed or swollen and lead to painful (or even bloody) urination. 

If you live in a house full of pets, though, don’t worry about keeping your sick pup away from other animals, as UTIs aren’t contagious.

Symptoms of a UTI in dogs

If your dog is unable to control their bladder (or is going to the bathroom in the house), showing signs of pain, discomfort or straining while peeing, is thirsty or has been excessively licking their genitals, they’re possibly experiencing symptoms of a UTI, Dr. McCullough says. 

“If a pet parent notices signs of a UTI in their dog, they should contact their veterinarian right away,” she adds. “The veterinarian will typically want to obtain a urine sample and may ask that pet parents collect a fresh urine sample in a clean plastic container to bring to the appointment or may want to collect the urine sample in a sterile manner at the appointment.”

UTI symptoms sometimes mimic more severe conditions like diabetes, cancer, bladder stones, kidney disease or urinary blockages. So, your vet may recommend blood work, X-rays or an abdominal ultrasound to ensure your pup isn’t struggling with any underlying conditions, Dr. McCullough says.

It’s worth noting that UTIs are more common in female dogs because they have larger urethras, making it easier for bacteria to enter and travel to the bladder. 

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Dog UTI treatment

Your veterinarian may recommend antibiotics as a cure for your pet’s UTI. However, if the UTI is a symptom of an underlying cause, Dr. McCullough says that therapy for that condition could be necessary. 

Typically, it takes uncomplicated UTIs to resolve in 3 to 5 days, but Dr. McCullough says that recovery time is based on a case-by-case basis. 

How to prevent UTI in dogs

Preventing sporadic UTIs isn’t an easy task. “Dogs with underlying conditions that make them more susceptible to UTIs, such as diabetes, Cushing’s disease, kidney disease, bladder stones, incontinence and recessed vulva, should be treated and monitored for these conditions to prevent UTIs,” she suggests. 

UTIs cause dogs discomfort and sometimes pain — so if you see your dog shows signs of a UTI, finding a solution should be the top priority. Our tips will help you spot UTIs in dogs and find the proper treatment for your pup.

The Dig, Fetch Pet Insurance's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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