What to do when your dog is straining to urinate
When healthy dogs urinate, that urination is normally effortless, with a strong, steady flow of urine. However, if you’re noticing that your dog is straining to pass urine or taking frequent, unproductive trips to the toilet, it could be a sign that they’ve got a urinary issue and should be taken to see the vet.
If no urine is coming out at all, your dog may be experiencing a blocked bladder.
This is a medical emergency. Call your vet straight away, tell them what is happening and arrange immediate treatment.
What causes urinary problems in dogs?
The most likely cause of urinary problems in dogs is a bacterial infection. The other common cause is the formation of crystals in the bladder which can sometimes lead to bladder or kidney stones. Of course, there are other, more serious causes such as polyps, tumours and even anatomical disorders, but these occur much less frequently.
Symptoms of urinary problems in dogs
If your dog has a urinary problem, the signs you’re most likely to see are frequent, unsuccessful attempts to urinate or straining to urinate. Urine that appears to trickle instead of flow can also be a sign your dog can’t properly empty their bladder. Of course, sometimes healthy dogs exhibit this behaviour too. For example, a healthy male dog marking his territory may be straining as his bladder is completely empty or a female in heat may appear to strain due to hormone changes.
If you do start to notice any of these more obvious signs, keep an eye out for other, less apparent potential symptoms including a tender abdominal area, loss of appetite and blood in their urine.
How urinary problems are treated
If your dog does have a urinary problem, it can quickly develop into something very serious if left untreated. That’s why if you’re seeing any of the above symptoms it’s a good idea to book in to see your vet. Most urinary issues are easily treated, as long as you get to them early enough.
If your dog is diagnosed as having a bacterial urinary infection by way of a bacterial culture, then they will generally be treated with antibiotics. In some cases, certain bladder stones can be dissolved with the introduction of a special diet. Surgery may be the only option to remove stones or polyps, but this is usually only required in very serious cases or instances where the problem has been left untreated for too long.
How to prevent urinary problems in dogs
It is not always possible to stop dogs developing a urinary problem, but there are things you can do to minimise the risk. The simplest of these is to make sure your dog always has access to plenty of fresh, clean water. Another option to consider is mixing some canned food into their diets. This added hydration helps to dilute their urine and flush out things such as bacteria or dissolved crystals.
If your dog is currently suffering from a urinary tract issue such as a Urinary Tract Infection or urinary crystals or has had issues with them in the past, then your vet may also talk to you about a change of diet. A specialised diet such as ROYAL CANIN®’s Urinary S/O formula helps decrease the urinary concentration of urinary crystals and also ensures regular bladder washout.