Our pets don’t deserve the pain and discomfort urinary tract infections (UTIs) can give them. Peeing becomes painful, and that’s before the vet visits, antibiotics, and potty problems. Let’s find out more about some natural ways to support urinary tract health and prevent urinary tract infections in dogs and cats before they start.
Causes of Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections in dogs and cats are most often caused by bacteria, either environmental or from a pet’s fecal matter, which colonize the urethra and lead to an infection. This can be triggered by urinary stones, bladder infections, incontinence, stress, or other factors.
While any dog or cat can catch a urinary tract infection, those with existing conditions like cancer, diabetes, bladder and kidney stones, and congenital abnormalities are at higher risk.
Unfortunately, pets can’t speak to us, so we have to be alert for UTI symptoms in our dogs and cats. Unusual potty accident? Don’t get mad! Check for a UTI. Some other common symptoms include:
- Difficulty urinating
- Bloody urine
- Strange smelling urine
- Frequent urination but in small amounts
- Frequent licking of genitals
The two ways to know for sure are to use a pet UTI test kit, or go to a vet.
Natural Prevention of UTIs
UTI free? Great. Let’s keep it that way! There are a number of preventative measures you can take at home.
- Peeing more frequently: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Make sure your pets get plenty of water, since urinating regularly will help flush out bacteria in the urinary tract. Cranberries also help increase the frequency of peeing, which in turn lowers the risk of UTIs.
- Vitamin C: According to Dr. Roger Welton, President of Maybeck Animal Hospital, Vitamin C is a proven, powerful immune system-boosting nutrient that can maintain urinary tract health. Experts provide widely different suggested dosages, which can be affected by your pet’s weight, diet, and health status. So start with a lower dosage and be sure to consult with your veterinarian if you are interested in higher doses.
- Pro-anthocyanidins: Say what? Forget the name, just remember that cranberries and blueberries have it. In medical speak, this inhibits attachment of bacterial fimbriae to the uroepithelium. Said simply: no bacteria, no infection.
Treatment of UTIs
If your dog or cat already has a urinary tract infection, it’s best to go seek remedies from a vet. Veterinarians generally conduct a urine culture test, identify the cause, and prescribe the right treatment. Uncomplicated UTIs are usually treated with antimicrobial drugs for 10-14 days. While we always look first for natural solutions, we highly recommend heading to a vet if your pet is showing UTI symptoms. Prevention can’t cure existing infections!
Unfortunately, antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria, which is where probiotics come in. Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. rhamnosus, and Bifidobacterium lactis are an excellent way to boost gut health, particularly for pets on a course of antibiotics. We recommend Fidobiotics as an excellent option.
Bye Bye UTI
So remember: water, natural nutrition, and supplements will keep your pets healthy and happy. If they are already suffering, get them to a vet and try some probiotics to get back to health. Happy peeing!
Interested in other ways that natural foods can give your pets a health boost? Check out our blog posts on:
- Why Coconut? Meet the Good Fat
- Natural Multivitamins for Pets: Real Food for Real Nutrition
- Achy Joints? Natural Pain Relief and Prevention for Dogs and Cats