Dog UTI Symptoms: 8 Signs You Should Look Out For

If you have suffered from UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) before, you probably know how uncomfortable it can be. But, unlike human beings, dogs with UTI can't tell you how they feel. This is the reason why you should always be on the lookout for UTI symptoms in dogs.

UTI in dogs is an infection that makes them uncomfortable to pass urine. More often than not, urinary tract infection is commonly due to bacteria, like E coli. However, other fungi can also cause infections. UTI may also be due to bladder stones as well as incontinence in older dogs. 

Surprisingly, UTI in dogs is common. In fact, it's one of the common infectious diseases in dogs that 14 percent of dogs may suffer from this infection at some point in time.

UTI in Dogs and The Causes

As mentioned above, UTI is caused by bacteria known as E coli, which migrate from the outside through your dog's urethra to the bladder. Once your dog's bladder is inflamed, it's referred to as cystitis.

Dogs that don't urinate often are more prone to bacterial UTI as such bacteria have more time migrating and developing in the bladder. That's the reason it's essential to give frequent wee breaks for dogs. There are also dogs that are more susceptible to UTI and may have them repeatedly.

Diets also play a crucial role because they influence the urine's pH. Slightly acidic pH is often preferred since bacteria can easily develop in an environment with alkaline pH. Some dog UTI symptoms may be associated with urinary crystals and tumors.

Signs To Watch Out For When Your Dog Has UTI

Below are the signs that indicate UTI in your dog:

1. Unusual Urination Habits
The majority of dog owners know the urination habits of their pets. For instance, owners know how often dogs need to go out as well as how much they have to pee. 

If a dog is suffering from a urinary tract infection, they may urinate more often than their usual habits. Once it happens, never ignore this sign.

Paying attention to your dog's urination habits is not excessive caring. It's one way to keep your dog healthy and can actually help your vet diagnose a medical condition before it becomes out of control.

Changes in the urination habits of your dog always require a visit to the vet. While accidents in your home can be a behavioral issue, it may also be a sign of serious health condition. Increased frequency of urination can be symptoms of other health problems, such as hypothyroidism, diabetes, cancer, trauma, and son. So, it's important to get more information from your vet before the situation worsens.

2. Painful Urination
Another known symptom of UTI in dogs is painful urination. The accompanying symptoms may include whining or yelping while urinating. This symptom may typically be attributed to your dog's inflamed urinary tract, which can make it hard for them to comfortably use the restroom.

Inability to urinate or difficulty urinating is actually a medical emergency. It may result in a rupture in the bladder of your dog. Once left untreated, it can be fatal. That's why you have to call your vet immediately as soon as you notice this symptom.

There are various possible causes of painful or difficult urination. These may include prostate disease, cancer, trauma, obstructions, urinary tract infection, spinal cord disease or scar tissues in the urinary tract.

Your vet is the one who's equipped with the knowledge to deal with this kind of situation. With bloody urine, obstructions and trauma can be dangerous once it's not treated. Scar tissues in the urinary tract can be the result of chronic UTI or some diseases.

On the other hand, spinal cord conditions or injuries may affect the nerves that control the bladder of your dog. Degenerative diseases or trauma would require immediate treatment to ensure that your dog is comfortable. Particular breeds of dogs, like German Shepherds, have an increased risk for such diseases

Male dogs are affected by prostate disease, particularly intact males and may be the result of cancer, trauma, infection or abscesses.

3. Strong Odor of Your Dog's Urine
More often than not, dog pee doesn't really smell that strong. Even if you've noticed an odor whenever your dog pees, it doesn't normally produce an unusual smell. 

If the smell of your dog's urine is strangely strong, it's a sign of a urinary tract infection.

4. Cloudy or Bloody Urine
Another alarming UTI symptom in dogs is blood. If your dog's urine has blood, contact the vet as soon as possible. While it may be a sign of a urinary tract infection, it can also be a sign of other health conditions, including urinary tract stones, cancer, trauma, kidney disease, and poisoning.

Particular kinds of rodent poison may result in platelet breakdown, which is dangerous. Once you bring your dog to the vet immediately, expect to get a better prognosis. Moreover, it's important to check your dog for some symptoms of anemia, like bloody stools and pale gums.

Once you see blood in your dog's urine, it can be a sign of trauma. More often than not, slight injuries, vehicle accidents, and dog fights might cause internal damage to the body organs of your dogs even if they don't usually leave some obvious signs.

Kidney stones or stones in other parts of the urinary tract and bladder can be painful for dogs. These can also result in scarring and obstruction in the urethra of your dog, which requires the immediate attention of a veterinarian.

5. Changes in Appetite
If dogs have UTI, it can affect their daily behaviors. One of these is that they might not eat much compared to what they normally do. Because of this, it may result in unwanted weight loss. 

Although changes in appetite may be due to other causes, it's still wise to take your dog to the vet if you've noticed such changes.

6. Licking of Genitals
Licking is normal for dogs, especially in their genitals. However, if your dog licks their genitals constantly, they might be trying to soothe their pain. 

The real pain from UTI is internal, but your dog does not know that. Basically, they just want to feel better. So, if you've seen your dog licking their genitals often, bring them to the vet to know if it's UTI or other health problems that you should be aware of.

7. Insatiable Thirst
Sometimes, it's tough to tell whether your dog drinks more than usual, especially during hot weather. However, once you notice that they're gulping water more often, particularly if they're not urinating properly, your dog might be suffering from UTI.

8. Lethargy, Vomiting, and Fever
Some signs of UTI in dogs include fever, vomiting, and lethargy. If your dog vomits without any apparent reason, it's important to keep an eye on them. This will help you ensure that your dog is not suffering from something serious. 

Other than that, once you've noticed these signs, don't hesitate to visit the vet immediately.

How To Treat UTI In Dogs?

Once your vet confirms that it's a UTI, they'll prescribe some antibiotics to clear the infection, but only if bacteria is the one responsible for causing the infection. Once antibiotics are administered, the UTI symptoms will quickly clear up. 

To make sure that your dog will get back to their optimal health condition, you have to keep up with the recommended prescription for the allotted time your vet told you.

If you stop the treatment too early, the infection may reoccur. If the urine infection of your dog seems to be hanging around for a long time, discuss this with your vet and ask for another alternative treatment for your dog.

Should You Consider Home Remedies for Treating UTI in Dogs?

There are times that some dog owners try to treat their dog's urinary tract infection by using home remedies because they don't want to pay veterinary fees. 

Although these may be effective for others, it's still recommended to visit the vet as soon as you've noticed the symptoms to avoid other health problems in the long run.

How To Prevent UTI in Dogs

As a dog owner, there are various ways on how you can prevent your dog from getting UTI. One of these is to ensure that your dog is drinking the right amount of water. It's also essential that your dog is well-groomed, particularly around their genital area. 

In addition to that, encourage potty breaks. Once your dog's urine sits in the bladder, it provides bacteria the opportunity to multiply more.


There are lots of reasons why your dog may suffer from a bladder problem, like urinary tract infection (UTI). However, as a dog owner, you should know that not all UTI in dogs are the same, and may sometimes require particular treatments, especially if a dog has another underlying health condition. So, once you've noticed those signs, make sure to bring your dog to the nearest vet clinic to know the right treatment for them and to ensure that the UTI symptoms will subside.

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