Bladder Infection in Dogs


Authored by Brandy Burgess in Dogs
Published on 10-30-2009

Every responsible pet owner wants the best for their dog, but natural occurrences may sometimes interfere with a dogs’ health. One of the most common conditions that many dogs go through is bladder infections. Bladder infections in dogs can occur because of underlying medical problems or due to old age. The infection begins when bacterium enters the bladder and the body is not able to completely fight off the infection.

Risk Factors

Previous medical conditions that interfere with the way that the body fights off infections can contribute to the start of a bladder infection. Conditions such as diabetes can cause excess sugar in the urine which increases bacteria build-up. Other conditions, such as Cushing’s syndrome, can dramatically lower the body’s defense system causing the dog to contract infections much easier. Other risk causes include kidney diseases, bladder stones, incontinence and sometimes even neurologic problems. Middle and older aged dogs are more likely to getting bladder infections, with female dogs more common than males because of a shorter urethra found in females.

Signs and Symptoms

While your dog may not be able to communicate how they are feeling, you may be able to tell if your dog is in pain through crying, whimpering or through their behavior. Much like when a human contracts a bladder infection, painful or burning urination occurs as well as an urgent need to urinate even through there may be little or no urine in the bladder. Other more visible signs of a bladder infection in dogs may be house soiling, straining to urinate or the inability to pass urine, frequent licking of the genital area, or bloody, foul-smelling or cloudy urine. You may see your dog in pain, have a fever, vomit or have a lack or appetite and energy.


If you see the signs and symptoms listed above and think that your dog may have a bladder infection, it’s important to bring it to a veterinarian immediately. The vet will begin by feeling the bladder for stones, tenderness or firmness. A urine sample from the dog will then by collected to test for bacteria, blood, protein, white blood cells, sugars, and any other type of abnormality. The vet will also check the pH level and concentration of the dogs’ urine. Urine samples can be collected three different ways. The first way is by free catching while urinating, the second is by catheterization and the third is by cystocentesis. Reoccurring bladder infections may need additional testing.


Treatment for a bladder infection in dogs is simple and very similar to bladder infections in humans. Treatment usually involves 14 days of antibiotics and a urine culture to discover which type of bacteria is involved in the infection. For dogs with diabetes, insulin may be required to treat the diabetes and the infection. For reoccurring bladder infections, your vet may prescribe a long-term, lose-dose antibiotic therapy to help the dog urinate properly for a longer period of time. Always have your dog checked for underlying diseases to rule out other causes of the bladder infections to keep your dogs life happy and long.


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