Urinary problems occur in many dogs. They are a common ailment and are easily treatable. Some breeds are more prone to urinary problems than others and older dogs are more prone to them as well.
Urinary issues in dogs can not only lead your dog to cause “accidents” in an indoor environment but it can also be highly painful for your pet. A lot of pet parents mistake these as behavioral issues and waste valuable time trying to train their dogs. Urine leakage is not something that can be solved by an animal behaviorist, you need to take your dog to vet for a thorough examination.
While every dog displays different sets of symptoms, it’s important to be on the lookout for the signs to detect urinary issues early and begin treating them.
Are Urinary Issues and UTI the same?
Urinary problems are of many types. It’s also important to remember that UTI itself is a condition that results from other underlying issues. It can be a bacterial infection due to contamination or a sign of a prostate gland disease. UTI or urinary tract infection is one of the types of issues that dogs can develop. Some others are:
● Bladder Stones
● Kidney Failure
● Prostate Gland Disease
Urinary Tract Infections are the most common urinary issues that dogs face. It is a bacterial infection of the urinary tract and is caused by stress, incompatible diet, and immune deficiencies. If your dog’s urine smells very strong and she looks like she is uncomfortable when passing urine, she might have a UTI.
The formation of stones in the dog’s bladder or sometimes even in the urinary tract is called urolithiasis. The scientific community pin the cause of bladder stones on the Precipitation-Crystallization theory, which says that the dog’s urine contains high levels of stone-forming crystalline compounds. The high levels of these chemicals can be because of an earlier bacterial infection, issues with metabolism, or because of his diet. Blood in the urine, problems urinating and inability to hold urine, and licking around the genitals are some symptoms of bladder stones.
Squealing when urinating is also a very strong sign that your dog may have urolithiasis. While bladder stones are a problem that can affect any dogs, certain breeds and types of dogs are at more risk than others.
It’s observed that small dog breeds such as Dachshunds, Miniature Schnauzer, Yorkshire Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Pekingese, Shih Tzu, Pugs, Maltese, and others are more prone to develop bladder stones than others.
The cause of these breeds to develop bladders stones is often genetic. Some breeds are predisposed genetically to form calcium oxalate stones. In a lot of other cases, bladder stones are a result of a disease called Liver Shunt that elevates urine and blood ammonia levels which leads to stone formation.
If your dog experiences frequent issues with urinary issues, your vet might recommend a dog food that specifically addresses these issues like Royal Canin Urinary SO dry dog food. Solving something like bladder stone by changing dog food may seem farfetched, but there is some real science behind why it works. For instance, Royal Canin Urinary SO increases the volume of the urine while reducing ions that cause crystalization. Preventing crystalization thereby slows down or prevents the formation of bladder stones. If your dog experiences frequent issues with urinary issues, your vet might recommend a dog food that specifically addresses these issues like Royal Canin Urinary SO dry dog food.
Functionally, a dog’s kidneys do exactly what human kidneys do for humans. It filters out toxins from the blood and helps the body excrete them out through urine formation. In other words, it maintains a balance of minerals and salt in the blood by expelling the excess. It’s to see what would happen if there is kidney failure.
This is most common in senior dogs as the body starts to break down. Here, the kidneys start to lose the ability to filter out toxins in the blood, leading to a buildup of toxins in the blood. There is an increase in urine production as the body increases blood flow to try and filter the toxins out. Symptoms include increased thirstiness and increased urine output.
Identifying kidney failure can be a bit of a challenge unless medically detected by the vet. However, there are primarily two types of kidney failures, chronic kidney failure and acute kidney failure.
Chronic Kidney Failure: As the name suggests, this is a gradual process and happens over a long period of time. Kidney functions naturally deteriorate with age. However, for some people and dogs, this rate of deterioration is faster than usual. There is no way to treat chronic kidney failure. It can only be managed through diet and medication.
Acute Kidney Failure: Acute kidney failure usually occurs as a reaction to a sudden event. Ingestion of toxic substances and bacterial infection are often the causes for acute kidney failure. As you have guessed it already, this is a much faster process and can happen in a matter of days. Acute kidney failure is treatable if the dog is brought to the vet’s clinic on time. Timely and aggressive treatment can reverse the damage and the dog can back to leading a normal life.
Incontinence is the inability to hold urine. The dogs can’t hold on to the urine and have accidents frequently. They leak urine through the day and night and have red and irritated skin around the urinary opening. It can be caused by various causes, like urinary stones, hormone disorders, diabetes, bladder infections, and UTIs. Vets can conduct a urinalysis to determine if there are any underlying medical conditions that need to be treated.
Incontinence in elderly dogs is pretty common. In older female dogs the most common cause of urinary incontinence is USMI (Urethral Sphincter Mechanism Incontinence), especially if the dog has been spayed. This is caused by the weakening of the muscles in the urethra and the sphincter which prevents dogs from holding the urine in the bladder. This causes leakage. The leakage often happens when the dog is lying down or when coughing or when playing. Mainly because these activities put surplus pressure on the bladder.
Prostate Gland Disease
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia is the most common prostate issue that crops up for dogs. It is an age-related illness. It causes enlargement of the prostate, which compresses the urethra which passes through it. Neutering your dogs is the easiest way to both treat and prevent prostate issues, as testosterone is linked to the inflammation. Chronic UTI can be a sign of prostatic disease in dogs. Your dog may also feel pain when urinating with pus and blood getting discharged during urination.
Natural Prevention And Treatment Options
Your vet will discuss treatment options for the specific medical condition your dog is suffering from with you. Along with that, you can also ask your vet about preventative measures you can implement to catch the issues before they manifest. Supplements and natural diet changes are a route many people take with successful results. It is important to discuss these with your doctor.
If you are giving your dog cheap dry dog food, you can shift to either high-quality dry food or wet food for more severe issues. Natural food is another direction you can go in, but only if you are willing to put in the time and effort it takes to research which foods are safe for dogs, balance all the nutrients your dog needs on a weekly basis, and have it approved by your doctor.
You can also look into adding some fruits high in vitamin C to your dog’s diet. Blueberries and cranberries are a tasty, natural, and is a great home remedy. You can occasionally add apple cider vinegar to your dog’s water bowl to help with pH issues in the urine. If you know your dog has frequent urinary issues, you can add parsley to her diet occasionally, as it is a diuretic that helps detoxify the body. If you already have marshmallow root at home, you can ask your vet how to add it to your dog’s diet because it is an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent.
However, these are not a substitute for scientific medical care that your vet provides. Natural remedies can be used as supportive care and can be used to prevent issues. You should also ensure that your dog has plenty of access to freshwater all the time. Encourage your dog to take frequent bathroom breaks as holding the urine increases the risk of infections. Read this article to inform yourself and better understand the signs. However, never try to diagnose yourself or give your dog medications without the recommendation of the vet. Urine leakage can be caused by a number of issues and allowing a full medical investigation will help you detect the disease that’s causing the problem.