Urinary Tract Infections in Canines | Causes and Treatments

by Nancy Boland

Urinary Tract Infections in Canines. There are many problems that can affect a dog’s urinary system. Incontinence, bladder stones or crystals in the urine, bacterial infections, cancer, trauma or even obstruction of the urethra, can occur leaving your dog very uncomfortable.


  • Stones, crystals or debris accumulation in the bladder or urethra
  • Bladder inflammation or infection
  • Incontinence
  • Trauma
  • Cancer
  • Stress
  • Spinal cord abnormalities
  • Prostate disease

Health Conditions

The most common lower urinary tract disease in dogs over seven years of age is incontinence related to a weak urinary sphincter muscle, allowing urine to “leak” out. Bacterial infections are also common.


Older female dogs and dogs with diabetes are especially prone to urinary tract problems. There are different types of bladder stones that have a tendency to form under different conditions-some in older dogs, some in either males or females, and some in specific breeds under certain circumstances.


  • Inability to urinate or only passing a small amount of urine
  • Bloody or cloudy urine
  • Fever
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Soiling in inappropriate places
  • Constant licking of urinary opening
  • Strong odor to the urine
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Changes in appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Increased water consumption


A veterinary visit for lower urinary tract issues will start with a physical examination and usually will include examination of the kidneys and bladder, a urinalysis and possibly urine culture, blood work, radiographs or ultrasound if the aforementioned prove unhelpful.


Because canine urinary problems are so varied and potentially serious in nature, your first step is to get immediate veterinary care for your pet. Each dog is different so each diagnosis will be slightly different, but could include one of the following:

  • Antibiotics
  • Medications or supplements
  • Dietary changes
  • Increase in water intake
  • Intravenous or subcutaneous fluid therapy
  • Surgery or other procedures to remove bladder stones or tumor
  • Treatment of underlying condition that is contributing to urinary problem (e.g. diabetes)

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