My Dog Cries Out When He Tries to Urinate
All normal healthy dogs should urinate in comfort. The production of urine and its subsequent elimination is an essential means of ridding the body of waste products that would otherwise remain in the bloodstream, acting as toxins. If your dog shows even the least amount of distress while attempting to urinate, you need to figure out why. A dog that goes for an extended period of time without urinating will get very sick and could die.
Males are more likely to become obstructed than females due to the increased length and narrower diameter of the male urethra. An obstruction may be the case if a male dog repeatedly attempts to urinate without success. Remember that some dogs will do this after they have successfully urinated, just trying to mark their perceived territory. Pay attention to what has immediately preceded these attempts! If your dog is struggling to urinate and cannot due so, get him to a veterinary clinic right away because this is a medical emergency.
The reasons a dog would feel discomfort while urinating range from simple, treatable issues like urinary tract infections (UTI) to more complex problems, such as urinary bladder crystals and kidney or bladder stones. On rare occasions, pain while attempting to urinate may be due to a fractured penis. Yes, male dogs have a bone in theirs, and it can get fractured!
What to Look For
Observe your dog's penis as he tries to go to the bathroom. Note whether any urine is actually coming out.
If he will allow it, get a good look at his genitals to see whether there is any unusual swelling or redness associated with his penis or his scrotal area (and his testicles if he is intact).
If your female will allow it, check her for swelling, redness, or any increase in pigmentation that would indicate excessive licking of the area.
Collect a urine sample to examine and possibly take to your veterinarian. This can be tricky, but the most successful technique for females is to use a clean pie plate slid beneath her as she squats. For males, a clean glass jar can be used to catch urine midstream or a few drops as they leak out. Always wear rubber gloves to avoid getting any urine on yourself in the process. Once you have the sample, drop it off with your vet as soon as possible, since time and temperature can alter the sample significantly.
What to Do
So how do you figure out why your dog is having trouble? Ask yourself the following questions:
When to Get the Vet
If your dog is complaining and incapable of producing anything more than a few drops of bloody urine, it is an emergency!
Text © 2007 by Robert D. "Jake" Tedaldi, D.V.M.
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