How are urinary problems in dogs treated?
Why do urinary issues cause problems for dogs?
As with humans, a dog’s urinary tract is responsible for processing, storing and getting rid of urine, which contains waste products left over from the body’s essential functions. Any problems in the urinary tract, such as infection, organ failure or blockages, can prevent these waste products from leaving the body, which can cause further health problems and even fatalities. Even mild urinary issues can also be very painful or uncomfortable for dogs and affect their behaviour.
For these reasons it’s crucial you see a vet at the first signs of any urinary problems your dog may be experiencing.
Symptoms of urinary problems in dogs
There are some common symptoms to look for which can help tell you if your dog is suffering from a urinary issue:
In cases of chronic renal failure – where your dog’s kidneys stop working properly – you may also notice symptoms of dehydration, a dull or dry coat, and ulcers around their mouth.
Your vet will conduct a thorough examination of your dog, including talking to you about its behaviour to do with drinking and urinating. The vet may ask you how often your dog urinates, or what it does when it urinates; this will help the vet establish what some of the causes could be. Your vet may ask for a sample of your dog’s urine to examine. This may also be accompanied by x-rays and blood work to help establish the cause of the issue.
After your pet has been diagnosed, your vet will explain to you what course of treatment they recommend. Some severe urinary conditions, such as ‘stones’ blocking the flow of urine, may require a surgical operation or the use of a catheter to relieve your dog’s discomfort. Other problems may mean your dog has to take antibiotics or eat certain types of food.
Looking after your dog’s urinary problems at home
It’s likely your vet will suggest you adapt your dog’s lifestyle and diet to help support and improve their urinary health.
Making sure your dog has access to plenty of fresh, clean water, and encouraging them to drink frequently, is very important; this can help dilute their urine and prevent stones from forming, as well as getting them to urinate more often and ‘flush out’ their system.
Their food can also be specifically selected to help improve the healthy function of their urinary system. In particular, there are veterinary diets dedicated to improving urinary tract health by dissolving certain types of stones and by preventing their reoccurrence. These formulas make it possible to dilute urine, and influence the mineral composition and pH of the dog's urine.
Urinary problems can result in discomfort for your dog, as well as potentially long-term health repercussions. Make sure to visit your vet at the first sign of a problem, and they’ll be able to advise you on the best course of action.