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Urinary Problems in Dogs

Knowing what to watch for and providing early treatment are essential


Urinary problems in dogs are common. Signs can range from barely noticeable to unable to urinate (this is an emergency). Some urinary problems are the result of other diseases, such as diabetes with increased urination as the most common first sign. Other problems may be the result of stones or tumors in the bladder; causing abnormal urination habits, blood in the urine and urinary tract infections. If your pet has changes in urinary habits, please see your veterinarian as soon as possible.

1. What are the signs seen with a urinary tract infection?

Dog and Fire Hydrant by sibtigre2 on Flickr
by sibtigre2 on Flickr
Urinary problems are commonly seen in dogs and cats. Symptoms can range from "obviously sick" to very few signs seen, depending on the length and severity of infection. Being familiar with possible warning signs could help save your pet's life. Learn more in this FAQ entry.

2. Kidney Disease in Dogs

In a healthy animal, the kidneys filter waste products that are produced by the body. In kidney failure, these waste products are not filtered properly and start to build up in the blood stream. This is when clinical signs of kidney failure are often noticed. Learn about the sometimes subtle changes seen with kidney disease to know when a visit to the vet is warranted, how diagnosis is made, what treatment options are available, and how to manage kidney patient pets.

3. Glossary Term: Pyelonephritis

In simple terms, the medical term pyelonephritis means kidney infection. Urinary tract infections are classified as "upper" or "lower". An infection of the kidneys is an upper urinary tract infection, an infection of the bladder and urethra is a lower urinary tract infection.

4. Why (and what) is my senior dog "leaking"?

A viewer asks:
"My 11 year old female, spayed dog was laying peacefully on the floor. When I bent down to pet her, I discovered a puddle of liquid on the floor under her hindquarters. It did not smell of urine, but there was a very mild odor and it was clear. I lifted her tail to see where it could have come from and it seemed to come from her vagina. The opening seemed very expanded, but not dilated. Her appetite is good and her bowel functions are fine. Is this an age-related issue or something requiring immediate medical attention?"

5. My senior dog is drinking lots of water. Is it just old age?

No matter what age your pet is, a noticeable increase in water intake (drinking) and subsequent increased urination often means there is an underlying medical problem, if your animal is not on a medication such as prednisone. Also, a change in urinary habits, such as urinating in the house or where the pet sleeps, increased urge to urinate, or very dilute urine needs to be evaluated as soon as possible.

6. Senior Dog Health - When it is time to see the vet

As a dog ages, signs of potentially serious health problems are commonly overlooked by pet owners as "normal for an old dog." Some changes are to be expected with old age, some are not. Learn to watch for, and differentiate between, normal and possible medical problems for your senior dog.

7. Readers Respond: Has your dog or cat had a urinary tract infection?

Urinary tract infections in pets are common. Many of the signs of urinary problems for dogs and cats are similar. While both dogs and cats have the potential to become obstructed ("blocked"), this potentially life-threatening situation is more common in male cats. Prompt veterinary care is essential, as blocked animals may die within hours.

In some cases, the signs are mild. In any case, a trip to the vet is in order. Has your pet had a urinary tract infection, blockage or stones? Please share your story.

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