6 tips on how to treat dog UTI at home are increasing daily water intake, encouraging frequent urination, implementing dietary changes, ensuring proper hygiene, providing a comfortable environment, and using UTI health supplements and nutraceuticals.

A dog UTI home treatment must be combined with a mainstream treatment and approved by a veterinarian. 

Dog UTIs are painful infections affecting certain parts of the urinary tract, such as the urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys. Frequent urination (pollakiuria), straining when urinating (stranguria), and painful urination (dysuria) are the telltale signs of urinary tract infections in dogs. 

The most common cause of dog urinary tract infections is bacteria; however, some dogs with UTIs have serious underlying conditions that require prompt treatment. Antibiotics are the go-to treatment for dog urinary tract infections. 

A dog UTI home remedy as part of a urinary tract infection treatment plan helps ease the symptoms and promotes a faster recovery. Natural, at-home remedies, alone, are not a UTI treatment: they are part of the management and must be vet-approved. 

The best supplements and nutraceuticals for urinary tract infections in dogs are cranberries, D-mannose, vitamin C, fish oil, probiotics, and CBD oil. 

6 tips on how to treat dog UTI at home are listed below. 

1. Increase Water Intake

Increase water intake for dogs with a UTI. Increasing water intake means supporting a healthy water appetite and drinking. Water is vital for hydration and helps with urinary tract infections. 

Dogs with UTIs urinate frequently, and water reduces the risk of dehydration. Water flushes the bladder and removes harmful bacteria.  

Ensure the dog has constant and easy access to fresh drinking water. Add a few drops of fish or tuna oil to the water to stimulate appetite. Consider a water fountain if the dog prefers a running water source. 

Increasing water intake is a viable answer for pet owners asking how to treat dog UTI at home. Drinking is the best option, but adding wet food to the dietary regimen helps if dogs avoid drinking water from a bowl or fountain. Wet food has a high moisture content and aids hydration. 

2. Frequent Urination

Frequent urination means offering the dog plenty of opportunities to pee and void the bladder. Retaining urine for extended periods increases the risk of UTIs because the bacteria are in the bladder longer and are likely to attach to the urinary tract lining. 

Regular urination flushes the bladder and eliminates the bacteria before they adhere and cause infections. 

Create a schedule to ensure the dog has frequent potty breaks. The exact frequency depends on several factors, including the dog’s age and water appetite. Puppies and seniors must urinate frequently, while adult dogs hold it longer. Adult dogs require at least three to five potty breaks a day. 

Pet owners wondering how to treat dog UTI at home are able to start by going out frequently and providing the dog with plenty of peeing opportunities. 

3. Dietary Changes

Dietary changes are alterations in the dog’s feeding regimen to prevent the formation of urinary stones. Urinary stones increase the risk of UTIs and create a favorable environment for bacteria. 

The ideal food depends on the type of stones the dog is susceptible to developing.  The pet market offers a variety of diets for dogs with urinary tract problems. 

Dog parents who wonder how to treat dog UTIs at home using diet changes must consult a veterinarian who advises on the ideal diet changes. 

Diets formulated for urinary health in dogs modify the urine pH (making the urine more alkaline or acidic) and contain specific amounts of proteins, certain amino acids, and minerals, such as sodium and calcium. 

4. Proper Hygiene

Proper hygiene involves keeping the dog’s genital area clean and free from feces and urine droplets. Dogs are not very diligent about cleaning themselves after defecating and urinating. 

Soiled skin and fur are excellent breeding grounds for bacteria, which then enter the urethra and cause UTIs. Maintaining proper hygiene is the best way to reduce the risk of recurring urinary tract infections. 

Pet owners investigating how to treat dog UTI at home through proper hygiene are able to follow these tips. Trim the coat around the dog’s genital area, especially in long-haired breeds, such as Shih Tzu Old English Sheepdogs and Afgan Hounds, as long hair traps more dirt. Use pet-specific wipes to clean the dog’s genital area after urinating or defecating. Cleaning is essential in dogs with urinary or fecal incontinence. Dog or pet wipes are readily available, gentle on the dog’s skin, and simple to use. 

5. Comfortable Environment

A comfortable environment is a stress-free environment where the dog does not encounter anxiety triggers. Stress is a significant risk factor for UTIs in dogs, and minimizing anxiety helps prevent urinary tract infections. 

Stress contributes to UTI development, and urinary tract infections aggravate anxiety. Dog UTIs are uncomfortable and painful, making the stressed dog even more anxious. 

Monitor the dog carefully and learn to understand its body language to detect early signs of stress and anxiety. Finding the anxiety cause is challenging in some cases, but it is possible. 

Pet parents investigating how to treat dog UTI at home by providing a comfortable environment must minimize stress exposure, provide environmental enrichment, and, in severe cases, use calming aids and supplements, such as CBD oils or pheromones. 

6. Supplements and Nutraceuticals

Urinary health supplements and nutraceuticals are products explicitly formulated to promote urinary tract health in dogs and reduce the risk of UTIs. The most popular products include CBD oil, cranberries, D-mannose, vitamin C, fish oil, and probiotics. 

CBD oil boosts immunity, reduces inflammation, eases anxiety, and relieves pain. Cranberries prevent bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall. D-mannose inhibits E. coli from attaching to the inner lining of the urinary tract. Vitamin C boosts the immune system. Fish oil promotes general urinary tract health. Probiotics support the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut and ensure a strong immune system. 

Dog owners asking “How to treat dog UTI at home” must know that urinary health supplements and nutraceuticals alone do not cure urinary tract infections but help the treatment. 

What is UTI in Dogs?

A UTI in dogs is a common urinary tract infection usually caused by bacteria from the dog’s skin or rectum entering the urinary tract through the urethra. A dog with a UTI urinates frequently, attempts to urinate frequently, and whines or cries in pain when urinating. Dogs with UTIs have blood in the urine in some cases. 

“Bacterial UTI is the most common infectious disease of dogs,” and around 14% of all canines experience a bacterial urinary tract infection at least once in their lifetime, according to Patricia M. Dowling, DVM for MSD Vet Manual.

UTIs account for 5% and 10% of canine veterinary visits, according to the “Urinary Tract Infections in Small Animals: Pathophysiology and Diagnosis,” published in the In Practice Journal in 2002.

Dog UTIs affect the kidneys (pyelonephritis), lower urinary tract (bladder or cystitis and urethra or urethritis), and prostate (prostatitis) in male dogs, depending on the inflammation location.

Dog UTIs were traditionally categorized as simple (uncomplicated) and complicated. The International Society for Companion Animal Infectious Diseases revised the classification of UTIs in 2019 and decided to include three types: subclinical bacteriuria, sporadic cystitis, and recurrent urinary tract infections.  

Subclinical bacteriuria describes dogs with bacteria in the urine culture but show no signs or symptoms and generally do not need treatment. Sporadic cystitis, previously known as simple or uncomplicated, is the most common type of UTI, causes symptoms, and requires treatment. Recurrent UTI is when the dog develops three or more infections within a 12-month interval. 

Urinary tract infections develop in all dogs but are particularly common among older females, dogs with compromised immune systems, and dogs with certain underlying conditions such as diabetes or Cushing’s disease. 

Many pet owners ask “how to treat dog UTI at home” when dealing with urinary tract infections. The answer is that dogs with UTIs require prompt veterinary attention, and if the vet approves, home remedies are safe to use in combination with the mainstream treatment. 

What are the Causes of UTI in Dogs?

The causes of UTI in dogs are listed below. 

  • Bacteria: Bacteria are the top cause of dog UTIs and usually come from the skin or digestive tract. Veterinary World published a paper, “Pathogens Isolated from Clinical Cases of Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs and their Antibiogram,” in 2018. The paper’s authors explain that the two most common bacterial causes of dog UTIs are Escherichia coli and Streptococcus spp. A 2021 Folia Veterinaria paper, “Infections of the Urinary Tract of Bacterial Origin in Dogs and Cats,” says that UTIs in “dogs and cats are caused by both Gram-negative (e.g. Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella spp., Proteus spp.) and Gram-positive (e.g. Staphylococcus spp., Streptococcus spp., and Enterococcus spp.) bacteria.” Sometimes, urinary tract infections are caused by atypical bacteria, like Moellerella wisconsensis, Brevundimonas vesicularis, or  Corynebacterium urealyticum.  
  • Yeasts: Yeasts cause urinary tract infections in dogs but less frequently as bacteria. “Fungal urinary tract infections in dogs and cats are common.” with most common fungus causing UTIs being Candida albicans, according to the paper by  Y. Jin and D. Lin “Fungal Urinary Tract Infections in the Dog and Cat: A Retrospective Study (2001-2004),” published in the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association in 2005. 
  • Bladder Stones: Calculi-induced UTIs are secondary and linked to bladder stones damaging the inside lining and making the dog withhold urine for a long time. Breeds prone to bladder stones are Dalmatians, Pugs, Miniature Schnauzers, Standard Schnauzers, Miniature Poodles, French Bulldogs, Bichon Frises, Shih Tzus, and Yorkshire Terriers. The International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences published a paper, “Therapeutic Management of Cystic Calculi Induced Cystitis in a Dog,” in 2018. The paper explains that “urate and struvite calculi in dogs can cause suppurative cystitis.” 
  • Structural/Functional Abnormalities: A recessed (hypoplastic) vulva is a common genetic abnormality in overweight female dogs. It increases the risk of urinary tract infections because urine accumulates in the vulvar structures, creating a perfect environment for excess bacteria growth. A similar concept occurs in dogs with neurological deficits, who are unable to void the bladder completely or are prone to urine dripping due to spine and nerve disorders.  
  • Indwelling Catheters: An indwelling catheter is a catheter left inside for some time and is used in dogs unable to urinate properly. The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association published an observational study, “Incidence of Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection among Dogs in a Small Animal Intensive Care Unit,” in 2004. The study showed that “placement of an indwelling urinary catheter in dogs is associated with a low risk of catheter-associated UTI during the first three days after catheter placement.”
  • Chronic Kidney Disease: Chronic kidney disease in dogs compromises the immune system, increasing the risk of infections. Kidney disease changes certain urine features like concentration and acidity, magnifying the chances the UTI development. 
  • Hormonal Disorders: Endocrine conditions increase the risk of UTIs in dogs. The most common hormonal disorders causing urinary tract infections in dogs are diabetes mellitus and Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism). Diabetic dogs have high sugar levels in their urine, an excellent food source for bacteria. Dogs with hyperadrenocorticism produce too much cortisol, which is associated with low immunity and elevated infection risk. 
  • Compromised Immunity: The immune system is vital for fighting off pathogens, and when weakened, the risk of infections is greater. The dog’s immune system is compromised due to certain diseases or prolonged use of medications like steroids. The  Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association conducted an observational study, “Frequency of urinary tract infection among dogs with pruritic disorders receiving long-term glucocorticoid treatment,” in 2005. The results concluded that “dogs receiving long-term glucocorticoid treatment have an increased risk of developing a UTI.” Similar results were obtained in an earlier study, “Urinary Tract Infection Associated with Long-Term Corticosteroid Administration in Dogs with Chronic Skin Diseases,” from 1985. The study showed that “long-term corticosteroid therapy in dogs with chronic skin diseases is associated with a 39.9% urinary tract infection rate.”
  • Urinary Tract Tumors: Tumors within the urinary tract increase the risk of UTIs. The most common urinary tract tumor in dogs is urinary bladder transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). The Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine issued an observational study titled “Bacterial Urinary Tract Infections Associated with Transitional Cell Carcinoma in Dogs” in 2015. The study found that “urinary tract infections (UTI) are believed to be common in dogs with transitional cell carcinoma (TCC).”
  • Stress: Stress does not directly cause UTIs but lowers the dog’s immune defenses, increasing the risk of infections. Stress triggers the production of cortisol hormone, which affects the immune system and provokes muscle tension, which impacts the bladder muscles. Pet owners who ask how to treat dog UTIs at home are surprised when vets explain the importance of reducing stress in the dog’s environment. 

What are the Signs that your Dog has UTI?

The signs that your dog has UTI are listed below. 

  • Pollakiuria: Pollakiuria refers to increased urination frequency without an increase in pee volume. A dog with pollakiuria pees very often but passes small amounts of urine. 
  • Stranguria: Stranguria indicates slow and painful urination or straining to pass urine. Dogs with stranguria squat for an extended period but produce only a small amount of urine and are in pain while peeing. 
  • Dysuria: Dysuria is painful urination, a telltale sign of urinary tract infections in dogs. It is associated with lower UTIs affecting the dog’s bladder or urethra. 
  • Hematuria: Hematuria is the presence of blood in the urine. Blood tainted with blood appears pinkish to red and is clouded. Blood clots are seen in some rare cases of dog hematuria. 
  • Foul-Smelling Urine: The urine of dogs with UTIs has an unusually strong or even foul odor. A pungent urine smell is a common sign of urinary tract infections. 
  • Accidents in the House: Urinary tract infections are painful, and dogs with UTIs are unable to hold their urine, causing accidents around the house. 
  • Urinary Incontinence: Urinary tract infections do not cause urinary dripping but worsen the leaking in dogs with pre-existing incontinence. Urinary incontinence is a condition in which the dog leaks urine unintentionally.  
  • Licking the Genital Area: Dogs with UTIs lick their genital areas to ease the irritation and discomfort. Incontinent dogs experiencing a worsening of the condition lick their genitals to clean the retained urine droplets. 
  • Fever: Upper urinary tract infections affecting the ureters or bladder cause increased body temperature or fever. Feverish dogs are lethargic and depressed and refuse to eat or eat less than usual. Vomiting is possible in some cases. 
  • Abdominal Pain: UTIs are excruciating and cause generalized abdominal pain in dogs. Crouching and stiff gait are common signs of abdominal pain in dogs. 

When to See Your Vet Regarding Dog’s UTI?

See your vet regarding a dog’s UTI as soon as possible. Dogs that lick the genital area frequently, want to urinate frequently, have foul-smelling urine, are lethargic, urinate in the house, or have blood in the urine must see the vet immediately. Dogs experiencing pain when urinating require immediate care. Urinary tract infections, in some cases, are a sign of serious underlying conditions. Left untreated, dog UTIs progress quickly, causing severe kidney infections in one or both kidneys. 

Contact the nearest emergency clinic if the regular veterinarian is unavailable. Do not treat dog UTI at home and ensure the dog receives adequate vet care. 

The veterinarian diagnoses the problem, prescribes medications, are is able to discuss dog UTI home remedies and whether it is a good idea to combine them with mainstream treatment to ease the symptoms and speed up recovery. 

How Long Does UTI in Dogs Last?

A UTI in dogs typically lasts for seven to 14 days. The go-to treatment for dog UTIs is a course of antibiotics, and most dogs start feeling better 48 hours after starting the antibiotic treatment. 

The course of antibiotics must be completed regardless of the apparent improvement in the dog’s condition. The exact length of the treatment depends on the infection location and type and is determined by the vet. 

Adding a natural remedy for dog UTI treatment to the strategy helps speed the recovery and eases the symptoms in some cases. Always consult the veterinarian regarding at-home natural remedies. 

Pet owners wondering “how to treat dog UTI at home” and attempting to do so alone delay proper treatment, which worsens the situation and prolongs the duration of the urinary tract infection. 

Is Dog UTI Treatment at Home Possible?

No, dog UTI treatment at home is not possible. Pet owners asking how to treat dog UTI at home must know that natural remedies work only when combined with mainstream treatments and when approved by a veterinarian. 

Always consult the vet before trying an at-home urinary tract treatment. Home remedies benefit some cases of dog UTI but not others. For example, cranberry supplements and vitamin C are excellent for dogs with recurring urinary tract infections due to high urine pH. The same supplements make the infection worse if calcium oxalate crystals cause the UTI. 

Used correctly and combined with traditional treatment options, dog UTI home remedies help ease the symptoms, support recovery, and prevent recurring urinary tract infections. 

Can Dog Food Be a Cause for UTI?

No, dog food cannot be the cause of UTI. Certain foods and dog food formulas alter the urine pH, increasing the risk of specific urinary crystals and bladder stones forming. 

Urinary crystals and bladder stones (uroliths) contribute to urinary tract infections. They damage the urinary tract lining, compromising the defense barrier and making the bladder more susceptible to bacteria. Crystals and stones are very painful and prevent dogs from regularly voiding. Frequent and long urine retention exposes dogs to urinary tract infections. 

Dog food, therefore, does not cause but indirectly increases the risk of UTIs. Veterinarians often recommend dietary changes as an important dog UTI home remedy.

What are Treatments for Dogs with Severe UTI?

The treatments for dogs with severe UTIs are listed below. 

  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics treat dogs with UTIs. Antibiotics are the gold standard for treatments for dogs with severe UTIs. The type of antibiotic and treatment duration are based on the type of bacteria causing the infection, the infection type, and the infection location. Amoxicillin and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole treat sporadic cystitis and are administered. Dogs with pyelonephritis are treated with fluoroquinolone for around two weeks, and dogs with prostatitis are treated with fluoroquinolone, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, or clindamycin for four to six weeks. 
  • Probiotics: Probiotics are recommended when using antibiotics. Antibiotics destroy bacteria and affect some beneficial bacteria in the dog’s gut. Probiotics restore the destroyed healthy gut bacteria. Separate the probiotic and antibiotic administration for at least two hours to prevent the antibiotic from killing the live bacteria in the probiotic.   
  • Pain Medications: UTIs are painful, and vets prescribe pain medication in severe cases to ease the discomfort. Commonly used pain medications for dog urinary tract infections include non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications (carprofen or Rimadyl), which help with inflammation simultaneously, as well as trazodone or muscle relaxants. Never give dogs over-the-counter human pain medications because many are dangerous or even toxic. Use a prescribed pain medication in accordance with the vet’s instructions. 
  • Surgery: Surgery is not a direct treatment for dog UTIs but helps with underlying issues that increase the risk of urinary tract infections. For example, surgical correction is the ideal solution for dogs with vulvar conformation abnormalities or ectopic ureters. Surgery is recommended in other UTI cases, like removing urinary crystals, bladder stones, and urinary tract tumors predisposing the dog to urinary tract infections.  

How to Prevent UTI in Dogs?

To prevent UTI in dogs, follow the steps below.

  1. Make Diet Changes. Choose dog food formulas that alter the pH of the urine creating an environment that is less favorable for bacteria growth. Maintaining the urine pH within normal levels is vital for preventing the formation of urinary stones and crystals, which increase the risk of dog UTIs. 
  2. Promote Healthy Water Intake. Ensure the dog drinks enough water to dilute the urine and flush bacteria from the urinary tract. Place water bowls in various easily accessible locations around the house, keep the bowls clean and change the water often.
  3. Practice Frequent Potty Breaks. Create a potty schedule and stick to the routine. Provide the dog with plenty of opportunities to urinate and flush bacteria from the urinary tract. Infrequent urination and urine holding increase the risk of UTIs as the bacteria have more time to invade the bladder’s inner lining. 
  4. Use Supplements and Nutraceuticals. The modern pet market offers a plethora of supplements and nutraceuticals formulated specifically to promote urinary tract health in dogs. CBD oil, probiotics, and cranberry-based supplements are the best products for UT health in dogs. Consult the vet regarding the ideal match for the dog’s needs. 
  5. Manage Underlying Conditions. Many underlying conditions, such as diabetes, Cushing’s disease, bladder stones, anxiety, and urinary tract tumors, predispose the dog to UTIs. Managing the issues and controlling them reduces the chances of urinary tract infections. 
  6. Schedule Routine Vet Check-Ups. Practice routine wellness check-ups with the veterinarian. Routine vet exams are the perfect time to diagnose health issues early on before they progress into more severe conditions and increase the risk of UTIs. 

Is it Possible for Dogs to Aquire UTI Externally?

Yes, it is possible for dogs to acquire UTI externally. Most urinary tract infections come from the outside environment when harmful bacteria from the dog’s skin or digestive tract enter the urethra and travel to the bladder. 

Dogs have various defense mechanisms for preventing UTIs. For example, the urinary tract environment is naturally hostile to germs thanks to complete and regular voiding and the urine’s properties like high osmolality, pH, and antimicrobial solutes. 

The anatomic barriers and mucosal defenses prevent bacteria from attaching to the urothelium’s inner lining (the urinary tract’s inner lining). 

Urinary tract infections occur when the bacteria is too strong, or the dog’s defense mechanisms are weakened due to underlying conditions. 

How can CBD Oil be Used to Treat Dogs UTI?

To use CBD Oil to treat dogs’ UTI, follow the steps below.

  1. Consult the Vet About CBD. Speak to a veterinarian about how to treat dog UTI at home using CBD. CBD is a novel treatment approach, and it is vital to have the vet’s approval before supplementing the dog with cannabinoids. Dog CBD is a natural remedy that is safe to combine with traditional medications. 
  2. Buy a High-Quality Pet CBD Oil. Many brands offer pet CBD products, and it is essential to find the right one. Research the CBD brand or ask the vet to recommend a specific product. Read reviews from other customers to assess the brand’s reliability and check the Certificates of Analysis to confirm the CBD’s safety and efficacy. 
  3. Pick a CBD Strength and Flavor. CBD oils are available in many strengths and flavors. Picking the correct strength for the dog’s body weight simplifies dosing while getting the right flavor, which is important for easy CBD administration. Dogs enjoy flavors like chicken, beef, and peanut butter. 
  4. Start with a Low CBD Oil Dose. Always start with the lowest CBD dose recommended for the dog’s size. Read the manufacturer’s guidelines, consult the vet, or use an online CBD dosage calculator to determine the correct CBD amount. Starting with a small CBD dose reduces the risk of side effects and allows the dog’s body to adjust to the product. 
  5. Find the Best CBD Administration Method. CBD oil works fastest when given directly into the dog’s mouth, preferably sublingually or under the tongue. Mix the CBD oil with dog food or pour the liquid on a porous dog treat as an alternative. Giving the oil with food slows down the absorption of cannabinoids but is easier, especially in dogs with picky appetites.
  6. Try a Pet CBD Oil Alternative. Dogs reluctant to accept CBD oil due to the product’s naturally bitter taste and earthy scent require an alternative, like CBD-infused treats or CBD-enriched peanut butter. There are many pet CBD edibles. Try several options to determine which is the dog’s favorite. 
  7. Be Consistent with the CBD Use. Give CBD oil daily, and note that CBD is not a miracle cure for dog UTIs. CBD helps prevent or manage certain underlying issues that increase the risk of urinary tract infections when used regularly. CBD helps ease the pain and other symptoms in dogs with already-developed UTIs. 

How Much CBD Oil Can I Administer to my Dog with UTI?

You can administer between 1 and 5 mg of CBD oil per 10 pounds of body weight to your dog with a UTI. Always start with the lowest recommended dose when using CBD as part of a veterinary-approved treatment plan. 

Start with 0.1 or 0.2 mg of CBD per pound and gradually increase the dose to give the dog time to adjust to the new supplement and reduce the risk of side effects. Consult the vet or use a CBD dosage calculator to determine the best CBD oil amount for the dog’s size. 

CBD is an excellent dog UTI home treatment when approved by a veterinarian and combined with mainstream urinary tract infection treatments. CBD does not treat or prevent UTIs in dogs when used alone.  

Is CBD Oil Safe for Dogs?

Yes, CBD oil is safe for dogs. CBD for dogs is sourced from hemp and is THC-free, non-psychoactive, and non-addictive. Pet CBD is safe to give daily when approved by a veterinarian and used under the manufacturer’s guidelines. 

Annual Reviews of Animal Biosciences published a paper, “Scientific Validation of Cannabidiol for Management of Dog and Cat Diseases,” in 2023. The paper concludes that CBD for dogs has “good bioavailability and safety profile with few side effects.”

Similar results were found in an earlier study titled “Long-term daily feeding of cannabidiol is well-tolerated by healthy dogs” by Frontiers in Veterinary Science published in 2022. The study concluded that CBD is “well tolerated in clinically healthy dogs for 6 months.”

author avatar
Ivana Crnec, DVM OneVet
Ivana Crnec got her veterinary degree at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Bitola. She then continued her education at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Zagreb, Croatia, where she specialized in domestic carnivores.