Can Puppies Get UTIs?

Like all living creatures, puppies sometimes get sick and need medical attention. As a pet parent, you need to be prepared for the possibility that your pup will probably get sick from something, if only occasionally. 

Your puppy might eat something that causes a gastrointestinal blockage, for example, such as part of a plastic bag. Protecting pups from the perils of plastic is a daily job for most puppy parents.

Your pupper can also become sick from other dogs when they come in contact with them or their feces and urine. That’s why vets recommend vaccinating your puppy before they meet other dogs.

I was thinking about puppies and their health after I visited my local big-box pet store. A woman was there with her sick puppy, and I overheard a common acronym that told me exactly what the problem was; UTI. That reminded me of a question I hear from many new puppy parents, can puppies get UTIs?

Unfortunately, puppies can get UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections), especially since their immune system is still young and weak. 

The exact cause of a UTI is bacteria entering the urethra. The bacteria then causes an infection that can spread from the urinary tract to the bladder and then the kidneys. 

Where the bacteria comes from can be difficult to determine, especially if you have other dogs, cats or you let your puppy roam freely in your backyard.

A puppy with a strong immune system can often get past some nasty bacteria without contracting a UTI. However, some situations make pups and dogs more susceptible to UTIs, including:

  • A weak immune system
  • Being an older dog
  • An abnormality of some sort in the urinary tract and its structure.
  • Bladder or urinary tract tumors
  • Other diseases, especially diabetes

UTIs caused by bacteria, thankfully, are easy to treat and rarely deadly. They are common for puppies and something that, while concerning, isn’t cause for significant alarm in most cases.

Now that you know puppies can get UTIs, I’m sure you have other questions. How do I know if my puppy has a UTI, for example, or what do I do if my puppy has a UTI?

I’ll answer those questions below and several more as well. It’s important information all new puppy parents should know and could help you ease their pain and get them past their UTI faster.

Why is my Puppy Peeing so Much?

One thing you need to remember about puppies is that it’s normal for them to pee often. The reasons why are they can’t hold their urine as well as adult dogs, and their bladders are much smaller.

If your puppy seems to pee quite a bit but doesn’t have any other signs or symptoms of sickness, more than likely, their frequent peeing is perfectly normal. However, if you suddenly see a change for the worse in your puppy, with more urine and accidents, that could signal something is wrong.

We’ve already discussed one problem that can cause excessive peeing, urinary tract infections, or UTIs. Another cause of excessive peeing in puppies is diabetes.

Your puppy might also have something called an ectopic ureter. This condition occurs when the ureters, the tubes that drain urine from a puppy’s kidneys to their bladder, don’t attach correctly. Puppies with ectopic ureters typically have incontinence and cannot hold their urine.

Because a puppy’s immune system is weak, they are also prone to bladder infections. If any type of bacteria makes it to your dog’s bladder, the ensuing infection can be painful for your puppy and cause incontinence. A puppy with a bladder infection will have painful urination, and there will sometimes be blood in their urine.

Kidney infections are similar to bladder infections because bacteria cause them both. The signs that your puppy has a kidney infection are increased urination, excessive thirst, vomiting, pain, and fever.

Another cause of excessive urination in puppies is high anxiety or stress levels. This fear can come from being in a traumatic or abusive situation, having just been adopted, and other stress-inducing situations.

Lastly, there are kidney stones and bladder stones, both of which will cause your puppy to pee more frequently. Seeing blood in your puppy’s urine or stool is also common if they have bladder or kidney stones.

How Do I Know if my Puppy has a UTI? 

One of the most common signs that a dog has a UTI is when it urinates frequently and starts to urinate in the house even after being housebroken.

 A puppy with a UTI will also whine or cry when urinating because, frankly, it’s really painful. If it’s bad enough, you might also see blood in their urine, and they might walk around dripping urine.

A puppy or dog with a UTI licks their genitals frequently to reduce pain and discomfort. Another sign that your puppy has a UTI is a very strong odor from their urine, typically much stronger than normal.

Are UTIs Common in Puppies?

Few statistics show how many puppies get UTIs, but it is common and happens often. Thankfully, UTIs are also highly treatable and, in most cases, nothing to freak out about.

One situation that can increase the chances of your pup getting a UTI is if they have easy contact with other dogs, cats, and their feces. Malnourished puppies also have a higher incidence of UTIs because their immune systems are weaker.

A puppy’s immune system is naturally weak, as they haven’t been around long enough to strengthen it. All of these facts and situations mean that, for many puppies, UTIs are a rite of passage.

How Do You Treat UTIs in Puppies?

There are a few methods you can use to reduce your puppy’s pain and suffering at home, but, in most cases, you need to seek the help of your local veterinarian to take care of their UTI.

One important note before I go further is that if you see blood in your pup’s urine, seek medical help as soon as possible. If blood isn’t an issue, the home treatments below can be helpful:

  • Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil. Extremely high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, wild Alaskan salmon oil can significantly reduce the inflammation causing your cat’s pain when they pee.
  • 200 mg of D-Mannose. This simple sugar can be very effective when a puppy has a UTI caused by E. Coli. It helps flush the bacteria out of their urinary tract. 
  • For a female puppy, trim the hair around its vulva to ensure it can’t soak up bacteria from the ground (and any feces or urine from other animals). For a male, do the same to the tip of their penis. (Do both very gently and carefully.)
  • One or two times a day, wipe your female puppy’s vulva or the tip of your male puppy’s penis after they urinate. Do this with an antibacterial wipe for even better UTI prevention. 

It’s important to note that if any remedies you try don’t seem to be working in 24 to 48 hours, a visit to your veterinarian is your best choice. In many cases, the vet will treat your puppy with antibiotics. Your vet will first perform a urine culture to see what specific bacteria is causing their UTI.

Final Thoughts

As we’ve seen today, puppies can get UTIs frequently. The good news is that these UTIs are easily treatable in most cases and will leave no lasting effects on your puppy.

Some symptoms of a UTI include excessive urination, blood in your puppy’s stool, vomiting, and several others. Veterinarians highly recommend bringing your puppy in if they have blood in their urine or stool.

I hope that you found today’s blog to be informational and helpful. If you have other questions or want to learn more about being a puppy parent, please look at my other blogs. You’ll find real-world tips, help, and advice in all of them.

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