Bladder infections are very common in dogs. Breeds like Bulldogs, Yorkies, Shih Tzus, and Rottweilers are known to be prone to bladder issues. However, if your dog keeps getting some kind of infection, there might be another problem that you have to address. But for you to do so, we first have to answer this question: why does my dog keep getting bladder infections?
In this post, I will answer this question to help you address your dog’s health problem. Take note that the points below are based on my experience as a pet owner. If your pet is experiencing repetitive bladder issues, the veterinarian is the best person to consult.
Why does my dog keep getting bladder infections?
There are many possible reasons behind your dog’s recurring bladder infections. This is why you should consult your pet’s veterinarian if you suspect that your dog has any of the following:
🐾Your dog has a history of urinary problems.
Canines with a history of urinary tract issues and kidney failure are at risk of developing recurring infections. It can be a relapse of a previous infection that wasn’t fully cured.
Most of the time, dogs with lingering UTIs will have up to four bouts of infections in a short span of time. These may appear as different infections, but it’s actually the original problem that went on and off in terms of clinical symptoms.
Take note that urinary tract infection relapse can take up to a month to show up. Therefore, it’s important to get your dog checked to ensure that its urinary infections have fully cleared up.
🐾You’re forcing your dog to hold its bladder for too long.
Another possible reason for your dog’s recurring bladder infection is holding its pee for too long. As with humans, holding its urine for extended periods will take a toll on your dog’s health.
This will allow urine crystals to form inside your dog’s bladder. If done repeatedly, the crystals will clump and turn into kidney stones. This will cause not just infections but also excruciating pain on the part of your dog.
Just because your dog isn’t having accidents at home doesn’t mean you should push its bladder to the limits. It’s important to take your pet to multiple potty breaks a day.
Around four potty trips are ideal for most canines, though smaller breeds may need more. You should also consider your dog’s health problems, which may affect its frequency of urination.
🐾Your dog has an underlying illness.
An underlying illness can also trigger unending bladder issues in your dog.
For example, canine diabetes mellitus can trigger UTI-like symptoms in dogs. This includes increased urination, increased thirst, and smelly urine.
Aside from that, Cushing’s disease can also lead to regular urinary problems. Other endocrine issues will also trigger the same dilemma in your dog.
However, you should know that certain types of cancers can also lead to chronic urinary infections. With this, you should get your dog checked as soon as possible if it’s experiencing frequent urinary problems.
🐾Your dog is a breed with skinfolds.
Dog breeds like English Bulldogs, Pugs, French Bulldogs, and Shar-Peis are prone to urinary infections. This is because their skinfolds can trap dirt and bacteria. Such bacteria can reach the urethra and ultimately trigger a full-fledged urinary infection.
Take note that this problem primarily stems from poor grooming. So even if your wrinkly doggo looks clean, its skinfolds will reveal a different story.
With this, you should focus more on proper grooming. And since most wrinkly dog breeds have sensitive skins, it’s best to bring them to a professional groomer from time to time.
🐾Your dog has a problematic diet.
You should also consider the possibility that your dog is eating a diet that’s not suitable for its health.
For example, dogs with unhealthy kidneys should never be fed a high-protein diet. Otherwise, the canine will suffer from kidney failure, which will initially manifest as UTI-like symptoms.
Also, a few ingredients are known to aggravate a canine’s urinary infection. The likes of raw carrots, dairy products, asparagus, and tomatoes could make UTIs worse for your dog. In some cases, increased consumption of these food items will delay or lengthen your dog’s recovery from the infection.
🐾Your dog has dermatitis.
Dermatitis doesn’t seem connected to urinary infections, but experts beg to differ.
Canine dermatitis around the urethra will introduce bacteria into the dog’s urinary system. If not cleaned or treated right away, your pet’s skin infection can also trigger bladder infections.
This is why if anything’s amiss on your dog’s skin, you should consult a veterinarian for immediate treatments.
🐾You’re not expressing your dog’s anal sacs.
Many pet owners are guilty of not expressing their dogs’ anal glands. After all, it’s a messy and stinky grooming task, which is often entrusted to professional groomers.
However, failure to express or clean your dog’s anal sacs will cause bacterial build-up. And since the anal glands are located near the urethra, urinary infections can easily occur, much so for female canines.
Anal sac cleaning should be a regular part of your dog’s grooming. Besides, cleaning it periodically will save you from the nasty odor.
Common bladder problems in dogs and their causes
Canines could experience a variety of bladder problems. These conditions are due to a variety of factors, so each infection requires a different treatment.
🐶Urinary tract infection (UTI)
Urinary tract infection or UTI is the most common bladder issue among dogs, even for humans actually. This is considerably common and easy to treat if caught on early.
Dogs suffering from UTI will strain to urinate and will also have accidents all over the house despite being fully housebroken. In some canines, UTI can lead to drippy urine or incontinence. But, most of the time, it’s also accompanied by a foul smell.
While all dogs can contract urinary tract infections, females are more prone to the condition. Also, canines with bladder stones or diabetes are at high risk of having this infection.
Most of the time, canine UTI is due to bacteria entering the urethral opening. This bacteria can come from the dog’s feces or other contaminants to which its rear is exposed to.
A weakened immune system can also make your dog prone to bladder infections.
Prostatitis is the inflammation of a male canine’s prostate gland. It can be mild to chronic, so immediate veterinary attention is necessary.
This condition causes lethargy, fever, and pain among affected dogs. Chronic prostatitis can lead to sepsis, a life-threatening condition if not treated right away.
Prostatitis is caused by bacterial infection. The most common culprits are E. coli, Streptococcus, and Mycoplasma spp. Staphylococcus infection is also possible.
On the other hand, prostatitis can also be a secondary condition to a health problem called benign prostatic hyperplasia. This commonly occurs among intact dogs, though clinical signs may not be readily present at an early age.
If your dog’s prostatitis is due to prostatic hyperplasia, neutering is the best solution. However, if it’s due to a bacterial infection, your pet needs to undergo a series of treatments involving strong antibiotics.
Pyelonephritis is a type of upper urinary tract infection. It affects the ureter and the kidneys, which makes it extremely painful for dogs.
Canines with pyelonephritis will often suffer from painful urination, incontinence, increased thirst, and fever. As with most urinary infections, pyelonephritis is caused by bacteria.
This occurs when E. coli, Streptococcus, Enterobacter, Staphylococcus, and more manage to climb up your dog’s urinary tract. Also, if your pet is suffering from renal dysplasia or ectopic ureters, its risk of pyelonephritis is much higher.
While not an infection itself, bladder stones are rampant among canines. This often happens when a dog is habitually forced to hold its pee for longer periods than normal. For example, the pet owner will not bring the dog outside, or the canine will be held inside a crate past its potty break schedule.
With this, your dog’s kidneys will have a high concentration of urine crystals. These crystals will soon clump and turn into hard bladder stones.
Take note that kidney stones are catalysts to recurring bladder infections, renal obstruction, and even tissue damage. On top of that, this condition is extremely painful to canines, especially when they are urinating.
Kidney failure occurs when a dog experiences severe bouts of urinary infections. Exposure to toxic substances as well as a problematic diet can also lead to organ failure.
Overall, kidney failure is the ultimate complication your dog may get from repetitive urinary infections. As with humans, kidney failure is life-threatening and requires a series of treatments. If not, your dog’s condition will worsen.
Is it a urinary infection or something else?
The problem with urinary infections is it can also resemble a more serious health problem. Straining to urinate, smelly pee, and blood in urine can be easily seen as UTI. But in some cases, it might be something worse.
One example here is trauma. For example, a dog hit by a car or has fallen from an elevated surface could sustain kidney trauma, which can trigger UTI-like symptoms.
Moreover, physical trauma can cause bloody urine or straining to pee. These are hallmark signs of urinary infections, so it’s easy for pet owners to miss the real problem in their dogs’ bodies. Until the trauma is treated, your pet will appear to have a recurring bladder infection.
Overall, it’s best to rule out poisoning, cancer, urinary obstruction, and spinal injuries. While some of these are wildly rare, they can still occur in some dogs.
How can I protect my dog from bladder infections?
Your dog will likely experience a urinary infection at least once in its lifetime. Still, you can reduce your pet’s risk by following this advice:
✔️Observe proper hygiene
Prevention of infection starts by keeping your dog clean at all times. However, it doesn’t mean you’re going to bathe your pooch every day. You just have to make sure that its urethral opening isn’t exposed to dirt and possible bacterial growth.
You can do this by trimming your dog’s bum fur short so that it won’t catch feces or urine. Aside from that, you should express the dog’s anal sacs.
Moreover, you should always wash and wipe your dog’s private regions regularly. You can do this even if you’re not giving your dog a full bath. Wiping your dog’s bottom with a clean cloth and warm water would help a lot in curbing urinary infections.
✔️Provide plenty of potty breaks
It’s important to take your dog to regular potty breaks throughout the day. This way, the canine won’t have to hold its pee for too long.
Most dogs will need 3 to 4 potty breaks a day. However, if you have a small or toy breed, you should increase this to 5 to 6 trips.
Aside from that, you should always take your dog outside first thing in the morning. This is so the doggo can relieve itself and prevent bacteria from proliferating in its bladder.
Another way to combat urinary infections is by keeping your dog hydrated. Increased water intake will help flush out crystal deposits in your dog’s bladder. Also, water intake helps clean the bladder, so it becomes less appealing for bacterial growth.
Aside from keeping the kidneys healthy, ample hydration will also save your dog from overheating.
✔️Choose the right food.
With the assistance of your dog’s veterinarian, you should select a dog food that matches the canine’s overall health. This is extremely crucial if your pet has lingering kidney issues.
In general, canines with kidney problems should tone down their protein consumption. This is to reduce the kidneys’ workload. Still, the diet should remain complete and balanced.
✔️Boost your dog’s immune system
The best way to safeguard your dog’s kidneys is to boost its immune system. This way, your pet’s body will be more efficient in fighting infections before it takes hold.
Boosting your dog’s immunity starts by feeding a healthy diet. You should also pair it with exercise and regular visits to the vet.
✔️Treat infections as it occurs.
It’s important to treat urinary infections the moment your dog shows potential symptoms. This way, your pooch will unlikely experience recurring bouts of infection.
I suggest that you consult the vet for the best treatment for your dog’s UTI. Take note that you should never administer antibiotics to your dog without a veterinarian’s prescription. As with humans, improper ingestion of antibiotics will do more harm than good.
✔️Keep good bacteria thriving.
Not all bacteria are bad. When it comes to your dog’s kidney health, good bacteria is your friend.
Probiotics are a great source of good bacteria that will improve your dog’s digestion. It will also boost your pet’s immunity, which has a domino effect on your dog’s kidneys.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are UTIs common in dogs?
A: Urinary tract infection or UTI is common among dogs. Still, it doesn’t mean that it’s totally safe or fine to dismiss the infection. Your pet still needs proper treatment to cure the condition. This way, your dog’s UTI will not progress into a more serious health problem.
Q: How long does a dog bladder infection last?
A: A dog bladder infection could last for 14 days if treated. However, if your pet doesn’t receive any form of treatment, the bladder infection will go on until it becomes a life-threatening problem. Also, take note that bladder infections rarely go away on their own. Most of the time, it will get worse by the day.
Q: Are bladder infections painful for dogs?
A: Yes, bladder infections are painful for dogs. Also, the discomfort and pain become worse if you don’t get your pet treated. The good thing is that most bladder infections will clear up fast if addressed as early as possible.
Q: Can a dog have a UTI for months?
A: Urinary tract infections are relatively short if controlled early. However, if your dog seems to be having recurring infections, it’s best to consult the vet. Your pet might be suffering from a more serious bladder problem that needs veterinary attention.
Q: Can dogs get a bladder infection from holding their pee for so long?
A: Forcing your dog to hold its pee for an extended period can lead to urinary tract infections. This is because failure to urinate will allow urinary crystals to form. In the long run, it will be a full-on kidney stone. This is why you should never skip your dog’s potty schedule.
Why does my dog keep getting bladder infections? If you’re facing this dilemma, it’s best to bring your pet to the vet’s clinic. This way, your dog will receive proper examination and treatment.
Take note that home remedies don’t always work for urinary problems. In some cases, it could even make the situation worse. When it comes to your pet’s health, you should never compromise. Besides, it will give you peace of mind if you let a professional diagnose your pet correctly.