Talking about bladder infections can some times be uncomfortable. Even when owners are speaking about their dog, they may be hesitant or slightly displeased with the thought of UTIs. But, since you’re here, we understand that you are interested in a home remedy for dog bladder infections. Urinary tract infections are common in both humans and dogs, and shouldn’t be a taboo topic. Because UTIs are so common, there are several bladder infection home remedies for dogs.
Depending on your dog’s age and health, urinary tract infections can range from a common occurrence to a sign of much more severe medical issues. Older dogs, and female dogs, are more likely to get UTIs. A dog suffering from arthritis also has a higher chance of experiencing UTIs. Before we get into the remedies, let’s break down what dog UTIs are.
What is a Dog UTI?
Just like in humans, a UTI in a dog is an infection of the urinary tract. Bacterial urinary tract infections are the most common infectious disease in dogs, which means there’s a good chance your dog may experience the ailment at one point. According to the American Kennel Club, bacterial UTIs affect 14 percent of all dogs throughout their lifetimes. E. coli is the most prevalent bacterial cause of UTIs, but various bacteria and fungi can cause bladder infections as well.
A dog will typically get a urinary tract infection when skin and gastrointestinal tract flora bypass the urinary tract’s defenses. These bacteria group up in the urinary tract, which causes the infection. Female dogs are more likely than males to get UTIs. If your dog has other health issues, such a kidney disease, the chances of getting a UTI is much higher.
Causes of Bladder Infection in Dogs
Several different factors can cause your dog to get a urinary tract infection, but a bladder issue can’t be limited to a tract infection. The accumulation of crystals, bladder stones, debris, and kidney stones in the bladder or urethra can also cause your pet discomfort. These issues can lead to UTIs, but may also be separate issues of their own.
Bacteria is the most common cause of urinary tract infections in dogs. Typically, this bacteria enters upward through the urethra opening. Harmful bacteria often emerges if the urethra is exposed to feces, or if debris gets trapped there. A lack of nutrients in your dog’s diet can also lead to a weakened immune system, which may cause a urinary tract infection.
In select cases, kidney disease, kidney stones, cancer, bladder disease, prostate disease, diabetes, spinal cord abnormalities, and bladder inflammation or infection can also cause UTIs.
If your dog is over seven years old, a weak urinary sphincter muscle may cause urine to leak out, which will make bacteria more likely to reproduce. Older female dogs and dogs with diabetes are particularly inclined to get urinary tract infections and other bladder based ailments.
Symptoms of UTI in Dogs
Urinary tract infections are typically easy to spot in a dog. The most common symptoms for UTIs in dogs are bloody or cloudy urine, dripping or leaking urine, constant licking around the urinary opening, straining or whimpering while urinating, strong-smelling urine, urinating inside the home frequently, persistence to be let outside, and fever.
There are circumstances where UTI symptoms may not appear in your dog at all. It is not unheard of for vets to diagnose a urinary tract infection when checking for other ailments. Because blood in the urine can point to several other issues, owners may want to contact their vet before simply assuming the problem is a urinary tract infection.
Prevention of UTI in Dogs
It is relatively easy to help make sure your dog doesn’t get frequent urinary tract infections. Although there is no conclusive medical regimen to stop the issue altogether, owners can rest assured that prevention is still very simple. Making sure the acid in your dog’s urine is within the right range is essential. The pH level will determine the acidity of the urine.
Healthy dogs’ urine pH is usually in the 6.5 to 7.0 range. If the pH is acidic (below 6) or alkaline (above 7), it will create an excellent environment for bacteria to thrive and crystals to form.
The best way to get urine acid up in a good range is with a meaty diet. Meat is an excellent source of acid and will help you raise your dog’s urine acidity. If the acid levels are too high, try to scale the meat diet back a bit. Owners can test their dog’s pH levels by purchasing pH testing strips.
The Immune System
Work on strengthing your dog’s immune system. A robust immune system will allow your dog’s body a fighting chance to stave off mild infections. A healthy immune system will also be able to identify UTIs faster, and subsequently, force the dog’s body to display symptoms earlier. This will make the infection easier to catch.
Also, probiotics are wondrous for immune system health. Owners can always implement some into their dog’s diet for overall well-being. An organic dog food choice may also prove helpful since organic brands tend to avoid or limit hormones, animal by-products, pesticides, and GMOs in their meat choices.
Related article: Dog Immune System Booster [Natural Remedies]
Hydration & Walking Schedule
Keep your dog hydrated. Water helps wash away bacteria and dilute the build-up of minerals that may cause UTIs. It is also essential to keep your dog on a tight walking schedule. If you walk your dog when you wake up and get home from work, try not to break this cycle. Your dog will get used to this schedule, and it is vital that a healthy pattern is set. Owners do not want their dog to hold their urine for too long due to a chaotic schedule. Holding in urine for elongated periods can cause UTIs.
Owners should know their pet. If your furry friend has a habit of getting infections, a diet change should be your first order of business. There are special diets that can help prevent UTIs. Cranberry extract, not cranberry juice, can be a fantastic antiseptic for the bladder to help prevent infections. Please speak with your vet before changing or adding things to your pet’s diet.
Cleanliness & Grooming
Cleanliness is also vital. UTIs are often caused by build-ups near the urethra. Make sure to bathe your dog regularly and clean the private areas. Do not over scrub the area, but wash with the same amount of vigor you would use on your own private spaces. Owners should inspect their pet’s urinary region after any outings and wash or clean the area if need be.
If you have a dog with long hair you should keep the area trimmed around the private areas. This limits the fur from blocking the urethra.
Home Remedies for Dog Bladder Infection
Although owners should see a vet if they believe their dog is suffering from a UTI, there are several natural remedies to alleviate the issue. The most preached about natural remedy for UTIs in dogs is cranberries.
Cranberries are known to help clear up UTIs in humans as well. They contain A-type proanthocyanidins, which stop bacteria’s ability to latch onto the bladder wall. This will reduce the likelihood of disease and may also work to prevent the infection.
Cranberry juice is typically filled with too much sugar and other additives that aren’t great for your furry friend. Try giving your dog organic concentrated cranberries instead. Owners should contact their vet before giving their dog concentrated cranberries. Use cranberries in moderation.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is also an excellent natural remedy for UTIs in dogs. It has some antiseptic properties that can kill bacteria. Apple cider vinegar will also help lower the pH of your dog’s urine if it is too high. Owners can add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (for small dogs) or two tablespoons (for large dogs) to their dog’s food or water. This method should be repeated twice daily for a week to see results. Dog’s rarely like the taste of apple cider vinegar, so mixing it into tasty food may work better than in water.
Owners can also use Vitamin C to acidify their dog’s urine. If the urine pH is too high, Vitamin C is perfect for helping to get it lower. Please use Vitamin C in moderation since overly acidic urine can also cause the formation of crystals. Speak to your vet about the suitable dosage of vitamin C for your dog.
Lots of Water!
This is worth mentioning again, remember to keep your dog hydrated! By drinking lots of water, your dog dilutes his urine and flushes away build-up. This is more of a preventive measure than a remedy, but making sure your dog stays very hydrated while suffering from a UTI is also recommended. Provide your dog with ice cubes (which many dogs enjoy playing with) or add a hint of chicken broth to their water bowl for incentive.
Dog Bladder Infection Home Remedy List – Final Thoughts
Just like humans, dogs need special care and maintenance. UTIs typically occur because of a poor diet or inadequate cleaning procedures. Owners can avoid UTIs, for the most part, by ensuring their pet is properly cleaned and is eating healthily. If your dog has blood in the urine or is experiencing severe pain while urinating, please take your dog to the vet immediately. For more mild symptoms, there are several bladder infection home remedies for dogs.
UTIs are infections, which means if untreated bacteria can multiply and the matter may get worse. Owners should be attentive when dealing with UTIs. Cranberry concentrates and apple cider vinegar are fantastic home remedies for UTIs in dogs, but preventive measures are the best method to ensure a healthy and happy dog. Find more information here.