Does Your Pooch Cry Out While Peeing? Learn About Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) in Dogs
Sat, April 10, 2021

Does Your Pooch Cry Out While Peeing? Learn About Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) in Dogs


Imagine your dog asking to go outside frequently. You see your pet squatting to urinate multiple times. On walks, you observe your pooch doing the same thing. At home, you see a red hue in its urine; it looks like blood! Concerned, you take your dog to the vet, who diagnoses it with UTI. You don't know how it happened.

According to Robin Downing of VCA Hospitals, an operator of animal hospitals in the US and Canada, UTIs are common in dogs and those that have this infection generally attempt to urinate frequently when they go outside. The above scenario is what prompts your vet to diagnose your canine with UTI. When dogs have UTI, they may strain to urinate or cry out in pain. UTI generally happens when bacteria move up the urethra and into the bladder.

Urine in the bladder is sterile, but as soon as bacteria end up in the bladder, they can multiply and grow, causing the dog to develop UTI. Some dogs with UTI develop bladder stones, leading to more health complications.

Fascinating Studies On UTI In Dogs

In a study titled “Antimicrobial Susceptibility Patterns In Urinary Tract Infections In Dogs (2010-2013),"  C. Wong and S.E. Epstein, and J.L. Westropp said bacterial UTIs occur in approximately 14% of dogs in their lifetime “with variable age of onset,” via online medical journal portal PMC.

Between January 1, 2010 and September 10, 2013, 1,636 aerobic bacterial isolates were identified from 1,028 canines. Of 1,028 incidents of infection, Wong and colleagues classified 363 dogs (35.3%) as uncomplicated UTIs and 665 (64.7%) as complicated UTIs. 51 dogs (7.7%) with complicated UTIs had pyelonephritis. 532 of those with complicated UTIs had a defined comorbidity and the most common ones were immune suppression (34.7%), kidney disease (30.4%), and anatomic abnormality (25.3%). Dogs with anatomic abnormalities had recurrent UTIs (52.5%).  

In 10.5% of dogs with complicated UTI cases, an underlying comorbidity was not recorded, but the canines were classified as having complicated UTI based on recurrent infections. 27.1% of canines had recurrent or persistent infections. Most infections were monomicrobial (77.1%) while 22.9% were polymicrobial.

The most common bacterial isolates were E. coli (51.7%), Enterococcus spp. (17%), Staphylococcus spp. (12.3%), Klebsiella spp. (5.1%), and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (3.0%) among the subgroup of complicated UTIs that had recurrent infections, regardless of the dogs’ underlying comorbidity. Wong and colleagues found that E. coli and Staphylococcus spp. were more common with canines with complicated (36%) than uncomplicated UTI (21%).  

77 urinalyses and 75 cultures were performed as part of Olby and colleagues’ study. Hematuria was found in 48% of dogs while hospitalized after surgery, 16% at the first re-evaluation, and 21% at the second re-evaluation. At the same time points, pyuria was documented in 8% of dogs, 12% of dogs, and 11% of dogs.In another study done by N.J. Olby and colleagues of Wiley Online Library, a collection of scientific journals, 25 dogs were treated surgically for 26 acute Intervertebral disc extrusion., and 31% of dogs showed consistent voluntary urination within 24 hours of surgery. Dogs that were not able to voluntarily urinate had clinical signs of upper motor neuron failure of micturition.

10 dogs (38%) developed 12 UTIs during the three month study period. UTI was not diagnosed in dogs within the first week of surgery, 35% had UTI at the first re-evaluation (1-6 weeks postoperatively), and 15% were diagnosed with UTI at the second re-evaluation (7-14 weeks postoperatively). The researchers also found that females were 4.7 times more likely to develop UTI than males. Daschunds were estimated to be 1.6 times more susceptible to developing UTI than other breeds.

What Are the Symptoms of UTI In Dogs?

Common symptoms of UTI include fever, licking around the urinary opening, needing to go outside more frequently, crying out during urination, fever and bloody/cloudy urine, according to Anna Burke of the American Kennel Club (AKC), a recognized and trusted expert in breed, health, and training information for canines.

Blood in the urine is an alarming sign of UTI and it could also be a symptom for stones in the urinary tract, cancer, poisoning, kidney disease and more. Difficulty urinating can rupture your dog’s bladder and it can be fatal if left untreated. But sometimes, your dog may not exhibit any signs of UTI. In this case, your vet might attempt to discover the infection while testing for other possible diseases.

What If My Vet Sent a Sample of My Dog’s Urine to a Lab for A “Culture and Sensitivity” Test?

“All UTIs are not created equal,” Downing emphasized. While E. coli is the most common organism to cause UTIs among dogs, there are also other organisms that may have caused the infection. One way to identify which bacteria caused the infection is by growing it in a laboratory and testing it against tiny samples of commonly used antibiotics.

A vet often prescribes antibiotics that are commonly used for treating UTIs to provide immediate relief to a pet dog. So once your vet receives the culture and sensitivity results, they will prescribe the appropriate antibiotic for your dog. Once the antibiotic has been taken, you can have the urinalysis rechecked to confirm that your dog’s infection is resolved.

Make sure that your dog consumes its antibiotics entirely to prevent the UTI from recurring. If its UTI is not resolved, consult your vet to investigate any additional health complications that may possibly cause a persistent UTI.

How Can I Prevent My Dog From Having UTIs?

While there’s no cure for UTIs, consider providing more water for your pooch to reduce the likelihood of this infection from developing. Change your dog’s water bowl when you see drool or food floating around. Be sure to let your dog outside more often and avoid letting it hold its pee for hours, which helps prevent accidents.

Opt to give your furry friend probiotic supplements to aid in the growth of healthy bacteria. Avoid giving it asparagus, raw carrots, spinach, tomatoes, and dairy products since these foods aggravate UTIs, reminded Dr. Loridawn Gordon of Modern Dog Magazine, a lifestyle and dog-centric magazine. Cranberry, B vitamin supplements, marshmallow root, parsley leaf are great supplements to prevent UTI. Additionally, ensure that your pet’s urinary opening is clean of any scratches, debris, and the like. You can purchase antibacterial wipes in most pet stores to clean this area.  

UTI is an uncomfortable health complication. If you notice your dog peeing frequently or blood in its urine, consult your veterinarian to have it tested for UTI. Talk to your vet about how you can prevent UTIs from recurring. If UTI is left untreated, it could be fatal for your furry companion!