Lower Urinary Tract Problems and Infections in Dogs (cont.)

What Should I Do If I Think My Dog Has Lower Urinary Tract Problems?

Please see your veterinarian for immediate medical attention, especially if your dog is straining to urinate or crying out in pain. This could be a medical emergency!

How Are Lower Urinary Tract Problems Diagnosed?

A veterinary visit for lower urinary tract issues will start with a physical examination and usually will include examination of the kidneys and bladder, a urinalysis and possibly urine culture, blood work, radiographs or ultrasound.

How Are Lower Urinary Tract Problems Treated?

Because canine urinary problems are so varied and potentially serious in nature, your first step is to get immediate veterinary care for your pet. Depending on your dog's diagnosis, one of the following may be recommended:

  • Antibiotics
  • Medications or supplements
  • Dietary changes
  • Increase in water intake
  • Urinary acidifiers or alkalinizers
  • Intravenous or subcutaneous fluid therapy
  • Surgery or other procedures to remove bladder stones or tumor
  • Surgery to correct congenital abnormality
  • Treatment of underlying condition that is contributing to urinary problem (e.g. diabetes mellitus)

What Can Happen If a Dog's Lower Urinary Tract Problems Go Untreated?

Untreated lower urinary problems can lead to serious medical problems in addition to causing discomfort for your pet. Bladder infections can move to the kidneys and cause life-threatening infections. Stones can cause partial or complete obstruction of the urethra, preventing a dog from urinating. This medical emergency can lead to kidney failure and/or rupture of the bladder, and can prove fatal if the obstruction is not relieved right away.

The ASPCA Virtual Pet Behaviorist specializes in the resolution and management of pet behavior problems only. Please do not submit questions about medical problems here. Only licensed veterinarians can diagnose medical conditions. If you think that your pet is sick, injured or experiencing any kind of physical distress, please contact his veterinarian immediately. A delay in seeking proper veterinary care may worsen your pet's condition and put his life at risk.

If you are concerned about the cost of veterinary care, please read our resources on finding financial help.