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.
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.
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:
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).
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:
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:
Maintaining a healthy urinary pH is therefore important - not only to avoid urinary tract infections but also inflammation and formation of crystals and stones.
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:
For this purpose, use herbs that are antibacterial such as Oregon grape, echinacea, goldenseal, or garlic can be used due to their antibiotic properties.
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.
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.
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.
Some natural supplements that are beneficial to dogs with urinary tract infections include:
"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)
Here are some of the things that you can do to prevent your dog from developing UTIs: