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Treatment of Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs

Urinary tract infection (UTI) in dogs is a condition that affects the bladder, upper urethra, or both. Symptoms of UTI in dogs are especially visible during urination and often include feeling the need to urinate frequently even though little to no urine is released.

The most common cause of a UTI in dogs is bacteria that enter the urethral opening and travels up the urethra and into the bladder, where it then multiplies and causes infection. This bacteria can come from feces or debris that enters the area. Bacteria is also more likely to develop if your dog has a weakened immune system.

If your dog is displaying symptoms suggestive of a UTI, please make arrangements to have him or her seen right away. Delaying treatment not only leads to unnecessary discomfort and accidents in your home, but can also lead to pyelonephritis–a great risk to your pet’s health and a more complicated, costly problem to treat.

Treating Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs


Antibiotics are prescribed to treat bacterial UTIs. The duration of treatment depends on many factors, the animal’s age, whether this is a first time UTI or a recurrence, the bacterial organism, what antibiotics the bacteria are sensitive to, and if there are complicating factors.

A simple (or uncomplicated UTI) occurs primarily in spayed female dogs and is not associated with systemic illness or complicating diseases. In this case, antibiotics are typically given for 7 to 14 days.

Special diet or food additives

Often these are used to alter the urine acidity, reduce the presence of factors needed for stone formation or to encourage drinking to help dilute the urine. This will discourage the formation of urinary stones or dissolve small ones already present. The diet required will depend on the kind of stones found in your dog and your veterinary surgeon can talk through options and make recommendations. 


It’s likely that you’ll be instructed to increase your dog’s water intake with fresh water. Some vets might even recommend a water fountain for dogs so that they have a constant source of hydration. This can help prevent future UTIs, as well.

Herbal Remedies

There are several safe herbs to give your dog during the painful time of experiencing a urinary tract infection. There are several anti-inflammatory herbs readily available in your local health food store. Juniper berry helps to filter impurities in the kidneys causing the dog to urinate more and ridding the body of toxins which may cause the UTI or inflammation. Urva ursi is a natural astringent helping with any minor bleeding or inflammation. Parsley leaf is a diuretic which can also increase the production of urine. This helps the dog rid the body of toxins causing pain and inflammation. Marshmallow root is a herb which may help reduce the level of bacteria and minimize inflammation.

Please be aware that herbal remedies can be toxic if provided in the wrong dose. It is important to consult your vet before considering them, as they may not be appropriate for your pet. I’m


For removal of large urinary stones or those which don’t respond well to dietary treatment, cystotomy surgery may be required. Often animals will recover within 1-2 weeks. Some blood may be seen in the urine for the first week following surgery. The stones will be sent away for analysis so a longer-term plan can be made for your dog’s treatment. 


Cranberry is a well known natural remedy for UTIs in humans, and it turns out it can work for your dog too. But there’s a misunderstanding about how cranberries help with UTIs.

It’s believed that cranberries change the pH of your dog’s urine, which affects the types of bacteria that can survive in the urinary tract. But it’s actually a sugar in cranberries, called D-mannose, that helps with UTIs.

Recurrent and resistant infections

Recurrent UTIs can be defined as either a relapse, indicating a failure of treatment or a reinfection. This indicates an underlying deficit in the host defence mechanism.

A relapse of infection usually occurs within several days of cessation of treatment and involves the same bacterial species. Relapses may be due to inappropriate antibiotic selection, dose or duration, antibiotic resistance, lack of owner compliance or a nidus of infection (e.g. prostatitis, pyelonephritis, urolithiasis). Reinfection is a subsequent independent infection with another bacterium after the previous infection was cleared. Reinfection often indicates failure to eliminate the predisposing condition altering normal host defence mechanisms


While you may not be able to prevent your best friend from getting a urinary tract infection the first time, you can help prevent a recurrence by providing proper care. It is very important to follow all instructions including giving all medications and coming in for follow-up visits and tests


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