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Dog Urinary Tract Infection: Signs & Treatment

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are very common in dogs, with an estimated one in four dogs experiencing at least one in their lifetime. Our veterinarians in Pittsboro will discuss the causes, signs, and treatment options for dogs with UTIs.

Causes of Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) in Dogs

Approximately 27% of dogs will develop a urinary tract infection (UTI) at some point in their life, with a large percentage of those being caused by a bacterial infection. However, there are a number of other reasons why your dog may be suffering from the uncomfortable symptoms of a UTI, including:

  • Viral infection
  • Urinary stones
  • Crystals
  • bladder inflammation
  • Weak bladder
  • Fungal infection
  • Kidney disease
  • Spinal cord disease
  • Prostrate disease
  • Cancer

Signs That Your Dog May Have a UTI

Symptoms of a UTI in dogs can be distressing for pet parents as well as uncomfortable for your pet. If your canine companion has a UTI, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Accidents in the house
  • Dribbling urine
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Blood in urine
  • Signs of pain while urinating 
  • Licking excessively following urination

Treating UTI in Dogs

If your dog has a UTI, it is essential to bring it to the vet for an examination and diagnostic tests so that the cause of your dog's symptoms can be diagnosed. 

The treatment recommended to clear up your pup's UTI will depend on the underlying cause of its symptoms.

Pain Management

  • A UTI can be a very painful condition for your pup. To help relieve the pain caused by UTIs, your vet may prescribe anti-inflammatories for your pet. In severe cases, more potent painkillers may be administered by injection.


  • If your dog has a UTI caused by a bacterial infection, your vet may prescribe antibiotics. If your vet prescribes antibiotics for your dog's UTI, you can expect to see an improvement within a couple of days. However, continuing antibiotic treatment is important until the full prescription has been used. Ending treatment early can lead to reinfection, which may be harder to fight.

Treatment for Underlying Conditions

  • Certain underlying conditions, such as diabetes or Cushing's disease, can lead to recurring urinary tract infections in dogs. If your dog has an underlying health condition, the treatment may primarily address the underlying condition to prevent future infections. Prostate disease in some dogs can be managed with chemical or surgical castration, while medications can help slow the growth of bladder tumors.

Dietary Modifications

  • For some dogs, a diet specially formulated to alter urine acidity and prevent stone formation can help reduce the inflammation that can lead to UTIs. Supplements may also help encourage your dog to drink more to dilute the urine. 


  • Large urinary stones that persist in spite of dietary modifications may need to be surgically removed. Dogs typically handle this surgery well and see an improvement in one to two weeks. In some cases, stones may be analyzed to determine the most appropriate ongoing treatment for your pup.

Urethral Sphincter Medication

  • Your vet may prescribe medication to help 'tighten' your dog's urethra to control urine release. This treatment is typically used in dogs experiencing incontinence with no detectable underlying cause.

Bladder Support Medications & Supplements

  • Your dog may benefit from ongoing treatment with antioxidant, probiotic, and prebiotic supplements, which aim to support the gut 'good bacteria' and improve the overall condition of your pup's gut lining. If you'd like to give your dog supplements, be sure to speak to your veterinarian first to prevent problematic drug interactions from occurring. 

100% Pure Cranberry Juice

  • Cranberry juice is often used to combat urinary tract infections in humans and can also be beneficial in treating UTIs in dogs. Pure cranberry juice is thought to help prevent harmful bacteria from sticking to the wall of your dog's bladder, allowing it to be flushed out of your pup's system more quickly. However, it's important to consult your vet before giving your dog cranberry juice or other natural treatments.

The Bottom Line

If your dog displays symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UIT), it is essential to seek veterinary care. UITs can be a symptom of a severe underlying condition, and untreated, a UTI could cause more serious conditions, such as kidney disease.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet. 

If your dog suffers from the painful symptoms of a urinary tract infection, contact our vets in Pittsboro immediately to book an examination. 

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