Dog Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are rather common in dogs and are just as uncomfortable for dogs as they are for us. Female dogs are more prone to this disease. This page looks at the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and how natural alternative remedies such as herbs, homeopathy, and natural supplements can be effective treatments for dog UTIs.

Puppy in Bed Urinary tract infections in dogs can occur in three different places of the urinary tract - the lower urinary tract (below the bladder), in the bladder, or above the bladder (in the kidneys).

Dog UTIs are often caused by different forms of bacteria, fungi, or parasites that somehow have gained access to the bladder or urethra. It is not easy to ascertain exactly where the dog gets the infection from - sometimes it can be from the skin, or it can be from the dog lying on a contaminated environment.

If the infections that occur in the lower urinary tract are not properly treated in time, they can spread upward to the kidneys, causing serious life-threatening problems.

Female dogs are especially susceptible to urinary tract infections because of their short urethra. To protect your female dog from urinary tract infections, therefore, keep her clean - wipe her bottom with a baby wipe after urination to get rid of the bacteria.

Information on Dog Urinary Tract Infections

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Symptoms of Dog Urinary Tract Infections

Signs and symptoms are varied - Some dogs may not show any outward signs, while other dogs with UTIs may show some of the following symptoms:

  • Urinating more frequently
  • Urinating in inappropriate places, such as on the couch, on his own bed, etc.
  • Painful urination (the dog may strain or even cry out when trying to urinate)
  • There may be traces of blood in the dog's urine
  • The dog may be drinking more water
  • The dog may become lethargic
  • The dog may be feverish

To properly diagnose dog urinary tract infections, take your dog to a veterinarian for a urinalysis and possibly other tests, such as X-ray (to rule out the possibility of bladder stones).

Possible Causes of UTIs in Dogs

Dog UTIs are mostly caused by a proliferation of bacteria in the urinary tract. Bacteria thrive in an alkaline environment. The urine of a healthy dog normally has a slightly acidic pH level (6 to 6.5) because dogs consume meat, which makes the urine slightly acidic - an environment that is hard for bacteria to survive. However, when a dog is fed a grain-based diet, his urinary pH will become more alkaline, making it much easier for bacteria to grow and multiply.

Thus, an improper diet is often the cause of dog urinary tract infections. If your dog suffers from chronic urinary tract infections, be sure to take a look at his diet. Feeding your dog a low-carbohydrate, grain-free diet may create an optimal urinary pH level (6 to 6.5) that bacteria find it hard to thrive.

There are other factors that can contribute to an overgrowth of bacteria, such as:

  • A lack of fresh, clean water
  • Prolonged use of certain medications
  • Insufficient bathroom time resulting in the dog holding urine

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Urine pH and Bladder Health

The urine of healthy dogs normally is slightly acidic (pH 6 to 6.5).

When a dog's urine becomes more alkaline, three problems may arise:

  1. Bacteria overgrowth: An overpopulation of bacteria in the urinary tract can result in an infection.
  2. Inflammation of the bladder (cystitis): A bladder inflammation predisposes the dog to a bladder infection.
  3. Urinary Crystals and Stones: Chronically acidic urine often results in urinary crystals, sometimes stones. When the urine becomes alkaline, minerals can settle out of the urine to form crystals which are sharp particles that roll around in the lining of the bladder. This can lead to irritation and inflammation of the bladder. Crystals can cohese together to form stones.

Maintaining a healthy urinary pH is therefore important - not only to avoid urinary tract infections but also inflammation and formation of crystals and stones.

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Herbal Remedies for Dogs Urinary Tract Infections

Conventional treatment is the use of antibiotics to kill off the bacteria.

Natural remedies such as herbs are equally effective (and better for your dog's health).

Herbal remedies can be used to address the problem of urinary tract infections in dogs from three approaches:

1. To get rid of the actual infection

For this purpose, use herbs that are antibacterial such as Oregon grape, echinacea, goldenseal, or garlic can be used due to their antibiotic properties.

2. To stimulate urine flow

To this end, use herbs that are diuretic, such as dandelion root. It is a strong diuretic and it stimulates the urinary organs.

Other effective herbs are nettle, parsley, and juniper berry. These herbs are diuretic and at the same time antiseptic.

3. To coat and soothe the bladder

Marshmallow root is the herb of choice for this purpose. It is safe and contains mucilage that coats internal mucous membranes. In addition, it is antimicrobial and immune-stimulating as well.

Effective Herbal Remedies for Dog UTIs


This natural herbal formula uses herbs such as marshmallow, dandelion, echinacea, and more, to effectively eliminate the infection, stimulate urine flow, and soothe the bladder.

This natural herbal formula contains herbs effective for treating urinary tract infections, such as juniper berry, parsley, marshmallow root, ginger root, and goldenseal. It is designed to protect, soothe, strengthen and rebuild the entire urinary tract.

Natural Supplements for UTIs in Dogs

Some natural supplements that are beneficial to dogs with urinary tract infections include:

  • Cod-liver oil: The vitamin A in the oil will keep the lining of the bladder and urinary tract in good condition.
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C can acidify the urine which in turn helps control bacterial infection. Vitamin C is also great for the lining of the bladder because it is a natural anti-inflammatory.
  • Cranberry juice or powder: Cranberry is shown to be effective in preventing cystitis in animals (and people). Cranberry helps keep bacteria from adhering to the lining of the bladder and the urethra. If you want to feed cranberry juice to your dog as a preventive measure against urinary tract infections, remember to use the non-sweetened juice (about half an ounce for dogs). You may find it easier to get some cranberry powder (in capsules) and mix 1/4 of a teaspoon of the powder with your dog's food.

    A Good Natural Cranberry Product


  • Colloidal Silver: Some dog parents have had good results using colloidal silver. Here is one of the numerous emails I have received from a dog parent attesting to the effectiveness of colloidal silver:

    "I have found that colloidal silver is excellent for clearing up urinary tract infections. One of our dogs, a Staffy, had an ongoing UTI that kept coming back after antibiotic courses. I gave 10 mls of colloidal silver twice daily for a week and the UTI cleared and never came back. I have since treated another of our dogs in the same way and so far UTI is clear." (~Toni, S. Australia)

  • Clean Water: Yes - clean filtered water is essential in battling urinary tract infections in dogs. If your dog does not drink enough water, she will not urinate a lot. This allows the bacteria to fester in the bladder and the urinary tract. If your dog does not drink enough water, try adding some water to her food.

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Preventing Dog Urinary Tract Infections

Here are some of the things that you can do to prevent your dog from developing UTIs:

  • Always make sure your dog has access to fresh, clean water. Giving your dog filtered water is preferable because it helps flush out impurities and toxins and does not contain chemicals like tap water.
  • Feed your dog a natural, healthy meat-based diet. Stay away from cheap kibbles which are usually packed with cheap, grain-based carbohydrates which can alter the pH of your dog's urine, creating an environment that encourages the development of dog UTI and other urinary issues.
  • Give your dog plenty of regular exercise and play-time. It has been shown that daily exercise reduces stress which in turn reduces infection, inflammation and disease. Walk your dog at least twice a day.
  • Make sure your dog has access to the "toilet" (wherever it may be) so he can urinate as needed. If his toilet is the yard, consider installing a doggie door if you are not always home to let your dog outside. If your dog goes to the toilet indoor, make sure that the "pee wee pad" is clean before you leave home for work.

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