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Does Your Dog Have a UTI? Signs and Causes of Bladder Issues in Dogs

Few things are more annoying than a bladder infection. No, they’re not usually life-threatening. But could they be any more irritating? Forget it.

While their causes vary in seriousness from mild irritation, to life-threatening-tumor levels, bladder issues in dogs are pretty common. That’s why pawTree has a dog and cat chew that’s just for bladder health.

But how do you know if your dog has a UTI?

It’s not like you can check your dog’s medicine cabinet for incriminating evidence.

But as a proactive pet parent, you can learn the signs and causes of bladder issues. So you can treat your pup back to health and comfort. Or better yet, help prevent pesky infections entirely.

Bladder issues in dogs can range from mild to severe and have a wide range of causes. We’ll go into some of the causes further down in this post.

Some of the most common symptoms of bladder issues in dogs include

  • Urinating more than normal

  • Relieving themselves where they normally wouldn’t

  • Difficulty urinating

  • Blood in the urine.

Read on for more exciting details about the symptoms and causes of bladder issues in dogs.

Signs of Bladder Issues in Dogs

Frequent Urination

One of the most common signs of bladder issues in dogs is frequent urination. If your dog wanting to go out more often or if they are unable to hold it for a normal period of time, this could be a sign of a bladder issue.

Difficulty Urinating

Another common symptom of bladder issues in dogs is difficulty urinating. This can take the form of straining to urinate, whimpering or crying while trying to urinate, or being unable to urinate at all.

Blood in the Urine

Bloody urine can also be a symptom of bladder issues in dogs. This can indicate an infection or inflammation of the bladder, and should be addressed by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

If you’re worried that your pet’s bladder issues are a sign of something more serious, be on the lookout for this (literal) red flag.

Abdominal Pain

Dogs with a bladder issue may also be experiencing abdominal pain. This one can be tricky to catch, as abdominal pain can also be a symptom of a million other issues.

This symptom may be caused by a blockage or infection in the urinary tract, as well as bladder stones. Look out for a combination of abdominal discomfort (pupper doesn’t want to be touched or is showing signs of being in pain) combined with abnormal urination (urinating more or less often than normal, blood, etc.).

Causes of Bladder Issues in Dogs

Most bladder issues in dogs aren’t connected with something life-threatening. But sometimes they can indicate something more serious, like an allergy to medication or even a tumor.

Don’t feel sure of the severity of the issue? Don’t worry. “My dog won’t pee” or “my dog won’t stop peeing” is always a valid reasons to take your dog in to see the vet.

Here are some things your vet may mention or diagnose as a the cause of your pet’s bladder troubles:

Infection (UTI— Urinary Tract Infection)

One of the most common causes of bladder issues in dogs is infection. This can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms, and can lead to inflammation and irritation of the bladder. If your dog has a UTI, they’ll probably have a lot of discomfort when they go, so look out for that.

Bladder Stones

Another common cause of bladder issues in dogs is the formation of bladder stones. These small stones can form in the bladder or urinary tract and can cause irritation, inflammation, and even blockages.

If your dog has bladder stones, they may also experience pain when pressure is applied to their side or tummy.


Tumors in the bladder or urinary tract can also lead to bladder issues in dogs. This can include cancerous or benign tumors, and can cause a variety of symptoms, depending on the size and location of the tumor. This

Physical Abnormalities

Some dogs may have physical abnormalities in their urinary tract which can cause bladder issues. This can include strictures, blockages, and other abnormalities that can make it difficult for the dog to urinate normally.

Kidney problems

Your pet’s kidneys are responsible for filtering and removing excess phosphorous and magnesium out of the body. If the kidneys aren’t spinning on all cylinders, so to speak, these materials can build up and cause urinary problems.


In some cases, trauma to the urinary tract or bladder can lead to bladder issues in dogs. This can include injuries caused by accidents, falls, or other types of physical trauma.


Some medications can cause side effects that lead to bladder issues in dogs. These medications include diuretics, pain medications, and more.


A poor diet can lead to bladder issues in dogs. High levels of minerals, phosphorus, and magnesium in food can lead to the formation of bladder stones.

Treatment for Bladder Issues in Dogs

Treatment for bladder issues in dogs will vary depending on the underlying cause of the problem. Some common treatment options include:


If the bladder issue is caused by an infection, your dog will likely be prescribed antibiotics to clear up the infection.

Dietary Changes

For bladder issues caused by diet, veterinarians may recommend a different diet.


In some cases, surgery may be required to remove bladder stones or tumors. Your vet will be able to tell you if your pet has such a blockage or foreign object or growth.


Medications can be used to help with inflammation, pain and other symptoms.

Urinary catheterization

We know— yuck. But if your dog has a blockage or is unable to urinate because of a trauma response, they may need a urinary catheter to relieve built up pressure in the bladder. How long your dog needs this treatment will depend on the situation and your vet’s prognosis.

As with most health issues where you’re not 100% sure of the cause, symptoms of bladder issues should be evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Unfortunately, some bladder problems can become severe and even life-threatening if left untreated.

What to expect at the vet

In order to diagnose bladder issues in dogs, a veterinarian will typically perform a physical exam and take a thorough medical history of your dog. It’s possible they’ll also recommend additional diagnostic tests like a urinalysis, blood tests, and imaging tests such as x-rays or ultrasound.

These tests can help to identify any underlying causes of the bladder issue, such as infection, tumors, or stones.

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