Anyone who’s had a urinary tract infection knows it really is a pain. Between the painful urination, the constant urge to pee and, many times, the recurrence of infections, it’s a very uncomfortable cycle to get caught in. The discomfort is not much different for our pets.
Symptoms Of UTI In Dogs
Symptoms of urinary tract infections in dogs can include:
- frequent urination
- accidents in the house
- straining or crying out while urinating
- blood in the urine
Conventional medicine typically immediately takes the antibiotic route for treating urinary tract infections. But holistic veterinarians are more of the mindset that the “i” in UTI is actually inflammation.
Because of the potential pitfalls of antibiotic use – including antibiotic resistance and recurrence of infections – you might want to consider a more holistic approach to UTIs if antibiotic use can be avoided. This doesn’t mean not doing anything. Left untreated, the condition may worsen and spread to the kidneys, which can be life-threatening.
There are homeopathic remedies, herbs and dietary changes that may help in cases of UTI. But remember to always consult with a holistic or homeopathic veterinarian no matter what you do.
(It’s important to provide your dog with pre- and probiotics especially after using antibiotics. Here’s how to get them … )
How Do Dogs Get UTIs?
Diet and pH
It should be of no surprise that what your dog is eating can have a big impact on urinary health. Dogs’ urine is normally within the slightly acidic pH level range of 6 to 6.5. And if the urine turns more alkaline, there’s a greater chance for things to go wrong – like bacterial overgrowth.
The high meat content of a dog’s natural diet keeps that urine slightly more acidic. But grain-based, starchy, processed commercial pet food helps turn the urine more alkaline.
(Thinking about switching your dog to a raw diet? )
Natural Remedies For UTI In Dogs
If recurring UTIs are tied to an underlying condition, a homeopathic veterinarian will definitely be required to treat the underlying issue. But for more simple UTIs, there are a couple remedies you can try:
- Nux vomica’s main indication for use is recent exposure to some kind of toxin – did she just get a dose of flea prevention medication? Other indicators include a dog who is not affectionate, one who has gastrointestinal problems, she might strain while urinating and have cramping. Your dog may curl up to rest rather than lying flat, and may be generally sensitive to anything around her.
- Mercurius comes in two forms (Mercurius vivus and Mercurius solubilis), but either should work for this treatment. Key indicators for this remedy are frequent urination – particularly during the night – and extreme straining upon urination or even of diarrhea. Other indicators include blood in the urine, nighttime restlessness, urgency to go, urine that smells very strong and a dog that is thirsty for cold water.
There are also a few herbs you can try to help soothe UTIs.
- Couch grass is actually a common weed in North America, according to Herbs for Pets by Gregory L Tilford and Mary L Wulff. It also happens to be a go-to for urinary tract problems and can be used as an anti-inflammatory, mild antimicrobial and pain soother. It is also a diuretic, which means it can help encourage waste elimination. Couch grass can be administered as a cooled decoction, according to Herbs for Pets. The decoction can be made by simmering a heaping teaspoon of the chopped dried root in 8 oz of water for 20 minutes. Once cooled, it can be squirted into your pet’s mouth (1/2 teaspoon per 20 pounds of body weight twice daily). It can also be added to your pet’s drinking water. Make sure to find the herb in pesticide-free or organic form.
- Parsley leaf is a diuretic that can be beneficial for UTIs because of its antiseptic properties. Herbs for Pets recommends juicing parsley leaf in a vegetable juicer. Feed the juice at 1 teaspoon per 20 pounds of your pet’s body weight directly by mouth on an empty stomach, added to her drinking water if the first doesn’t work, or lastly, added to food.
- Cranberry and the amino acid methionine have been used by veterinarian Nancy Scanlan to treat bladder infections in dogs (The Veterinarians’ Guide to Natural Remedies for Dogs by Martin Zucker). She states that the combination of the amino acid and cranberry extract have served as an effective antibiotic alternative. Her dosing suggestion for methionine is 100 milligrams twice daily for small and medium dogs and 200 milligrams twice daily for larger dogs. She recommends testing your pet’s urine with litmus paper strips to make sure it is slightly acidic (6 to 6.5). The dosing can be increased to three times daily if that acidity level hasn’t been reached. Cranberry extract can be given to small dogs at a dose of 100 milligrams, medium dogs at 200 milligrams, large dogs at 300 milligrams and giant breeds at 400 milligrams, three times daily.