Natural Cures for Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs

By Maura Wolf

For dog owners reluctant to use antibiotics to treat urinary tract infections, some mild cases may be treated using a variety of homeopathic and home remedies. Before treating a UTI at home, a veterinarian should diagnose your dog's condition to confirm that he does not have something more serious like urinary stones, obstructions or even diabetes. Be cautious when substituting home remedies for the medications prescribed by your veterinarian.

Symptoms

Dogs suffering from a urinary tract infection (UTI) may whine more, persistently ask to go out, and urinate more frequently. Other symptoms are drinking more than usual, straining, pain or difficulty urinating, strong-smelling or bloody urine, abdominal tenderness near the bladder, fever, lethargy, licking genitals, and urinating in inappropriate places like her crate or on carpets and furniture.

Treatment

Mainstream veterinarians usually treat UTI in dogs with antibiotics (ampicillin, amoxicillin, tetracycline) given for 14 to 30 days. According to Dr. Holly Nash, DVM, MS, "Even if the symptoms resolve, it is important to give the entire course of prescribed antibiotics."

Herbal & Homeopathic Remedies

Holistic veterinarians may recommend natural herbs and remedies. PetAlive UTI-Free Formula and other products formulated to help dogs with urinary problems include CranVet for Dogs & Cats, NaturVet Cranberry Relief Healthy Urinary Tract Support For Dogs and Cats, and Natural UTI-Free.

Herbs that help support the urinary system include: cantharis, which helps urine flow; berberis vulgaris, a bladder restorative; and arctostaphylos uva ursi for pH balance. These ingredients have anti-inflammatory properties which help soothe and ultimately strengthen the bladder.

According to Michele Carelse of Native Remedies, "Some homoeopathic remedies traditionally used for treating humans are effective for pets too. Garlic is a natural antibiotic; echinacea effectively removes residual products of infections; rosehips are a source of iron and Vitamin C; alfalfa and uva ursi reduce acidity in urine and irritation in mucosal linings; and buchu is a blood cleanser and a specific remedy for UTI."

Home Treatment

Give your dog citrus juices and cranberry juice, which help boost acidity in the urine. The theory is that when the urine becomes more acidic, it is harder for bacteria to attach to the wall of the dog's bladder where they would normally multiply.

Some people use apple cider vinegar because the acetic acid in this vinegar neutralizes harmful, infection-causing bacteria. One tbsp. to 2 tbsp. (depending on size of dog) can be added to yogurt or mixed in with the dog's food.

Check with your veterinarian before adding any supplements, even something as safe as cranberry juice. Ongoing over-acidification of urine may lead to bladder stones.

Preventive Measures

According to Vet Info, the best treatment is prevention, and one way to prevent urinary tract infections is to: "Keep your dog clean, so that bacteria from his urine won't travel to his urethra and create an infection."

Help your dog urinate more by providing fresh, clean water wherever she spends time or sleeps. Water helps flush out harmful bacteria. Take your dog for at least two walks a day so the urine will not stay in the bladder for a long time.

Diet plays an important role in adjusting urinary pH levels so be sure your dog's diet has the proper levels of magnesium, phosphate and aluminum. Canned dog food and fresh foods are recommended because they contain more water than kibbles and dry food.