UTIs are most common in female dogs and cats.

Believe it or not, our furry friends get UTI’s too.  And the reasons that they get them, how they are diagnosed and the treatment options are pretty much identical to those of humans.  The one big difference is that they can’t tell you that they aren’t feeling well, and they can’t describe their problem to the vet.

Pets Most at Risk

UTIs are most common in female dogs and cats.  They also occur more often in dogs than in cats, but older cats (10 years+) have a higher risk of developing one. Pets that are overweight, have weak immune systems or dental disease can easily develop urinary tract infections.
Symptoms That Let You Know They Are Suffering
It’s a good idea to know how to recognize the common symptoms of pet UTIs so that you can catch an infection in the early stages. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Frequency and urgency of urination
  • Bloody or cloudy urine
  • Accidents in the house
  • Dribbling urine
  • Straining or whimpering during urination
  • Licking around the urinary opening
  • Drinking a lot more water than usual
  • Fever

How Pets Get UTIs

Pets develop UTIs the same way we do. The bacteria (typically E Coli) migrate from their intestines through the urethra and into the bladder.  And if the UTI goes untreated, the infection could move up into the kidneys and cause permanent damage or cause a life-threatening situation.


Learn About Goodbye UTI

How the UTIs are Diagnosed in Animals

The first step in analyzing the problem is to get a urine sample and test it for the presence of bacteria.  While this can sometimes be done at home using UTI test strips that are available at drugstores, it’s smarter to have the vet do this so that they get a “clean-catch” and can conduct a thorough urine culture to find out what bacteria is causing the infection.
If an infection is confirmed, the vet will prescribe an antibiotic that will be administered over the course of a week or so.  The antibiotics which are prescribed are the same ones that we take for a UTI.
If the pet displays all the symptoms of a UTI but no bacteria are present, the vet will conduct a thorough examination, including a blood test, to look for other problems such as kidney or bladder stones, diabetes mellitus, Cushing’s disease, or kidney failure.

Chronic UTI’s in Pets

Most pets (and humans) are diagnosed with an “uncomplicated” UTI which goes away after one course of antibiotics.

However, more frequently, vets are seeing their patients coming back within a few weeks with symptoms that have either returned or never went away.

These are referred to as “complicated” UTIs and there are two types:
1) Bacterial relapses or reinfections: this means that bacteria are seen in the new urine culture despite the treatment with antibiotics.

2) Other medical conditions: Diseases such as kidney and bladder stones, as well as abnormal external anatomy (hooded vulva, prior urinary tract surgery), make UTIs harder to treat.  Some pets are born with bladder abnormalities that lead to urine pooling which also increases risk.

As is evident, a cycle of continuous antibiotics seems to be the only course of action.  This means that other side effects and illnesses may start to appear as the antibiotics destroy the good bacteria along with the bad.

Alternative, Natural UTI Treatments for Pets

The human and pet medical communities are struggling to come up with ways to help their patients who are suffering from recurring UTIs due to antibiotic resistance.  There are no immediate solutions in sight, and that’s particularly concerning for pet owners. Not only is it incredibly difficult to administer medications to a dog or cat for weeks, or months, on end, but it’s also upsetting to know that their “babies” may be suffering in silence.

Fortunately, there are natural supplements on the market today which can be easily administered to pets.  There are a number of cranberry products on the market for pets.  Medical science has proven that cranberry will not clear up an existing UTI in pets; it may have some effect as a preventative, but that has not been proven.

Most vets are now recommending D-Mannose because it has been clinically tested in animals and has been proven to be as effective as antibiotics in relieving symptoms and protecting against future infections.  It’s a powder that completely dissolves in their water or can be sprinkled on their food and has no taste.

The powder is extracted from fruits and contains molecules which are attractive to the E Coli bacteria which are causing the infection.  The bacteria bind to the molecules in the pet’s bladder and are safely washed out with their urine.  Symptom relief is fast, usually within a few hours.

The recommended dosage is shown below.

For Immediate Support:

  • Medium size dog (11-25 lbs.): 1 scoop three times a day with water, sprinkled over wet food or mixed with a treat
  • Cat: 1/2 scoop three times a day with water, sprinkled over wet food

For Ongoing Support:

  • Medium size dog (11-25 lbs.): 1 scoop once or twice a day with water, sprinkled over wet food or mixed with a treat
  • Cat: 1/2 scoop once or twice a day with water, sprinkled over wet food