How can Dogs Get UTIs?
We all know how painful a urinary tract infection, or UTI, can be for us as humans, but it can be just as painful for your dog, too.
It’s important to know how to recognize the causes of a UTI, along with how to treat them and how best to keep your dog protected from them developing.
How Are UTIs Caused?
Any mammal can be susceptible to a UTI, whether they’re male or female. We all carry good bacteria in our bodies, and we have an immune system that fights bad bacteria. But sometimes, the bad bacteria get through all the same.
When the bacteria enter the urinary tract, it can travel up to the bladder and if left untreated, can even reach the kidneys. This is why it’s important to recognize the symptoms of a UTI in your dog so that they can be treated efficiently.
The most common bacteria that is responsible for a UTI is E. coli, and it’s often transferred via dirt or feces. This is why, if your dog is prone to UTIs, it’s a good idea to keep their urinary area extra clean with antibacterial wipes.
Females are more likely to be susceptible to UTIs than males, and this is to do with their length of their urethra. A shorter urethra in the female means the bacteria takes hold more quickly than it would in a male, where it would have further to travel before it develops into an infection.
How To Spot The Signs Of UTIs In Dogs
Your dog can’t tell you they’re in pain but you can read the signs, so look out for the following:
- Wanting to urinate more frequently, or having accidents
- More licking around the urinary area
- High temperature
- Pain when urinating
- Blood in the urine, or a strong odor
Early diagnosis is very important, so if your dog’s displaying one or more of these symptoms, take them to a vet who will be able to diagnose them and get them on a course of antibiotics if necessary.
The vet may need to put your dog on a drip to flush out their system as it’s not easy to coax a dog to drink more water. This is a method that’s used when the infection is particularly advanced.
How to Prevent a UTI in Your Dog
Your dog is more likely to be susceptible to UTIs if they’re over 7 years of age and have a weakened immune system that is struggling to fight off infections. If this is the case, then it’s important to give their health a boost with a probiotic.
A UTI can also be caused by a lack of access to clean water. Make sure their water bowl is always clean and topped up with fresh, clean water so they’ll always want to drink. Dogs don’t like to drink dirty water, but regular hydration is essential for a healthy urinary tract.
If your dog seems to suffer regularly from UTIs then there could be an underlying cause, including diabetes or some forms of cancer. In order to double check that there’s nothing sinister going on, make an appointment with their vet for a thorough check up.
It could be that their diet needs to be changed, as there are some special foods that are designed to improve urinary tract health.
Neutering and spaying your dog also reduces the chance that they’ll develop a UTI, as they’re less susceptible to the hormonal changes that can leave their urinary bacteria compromised.
The most important thing you can do is be in tune with their toilet behavior, so that you’re prepared when there are any noticeable changes in their habits.