A change in your dog's potty habits is usually a sign that's something's not right. If your dog asks to go out frequently or visits the piddle pad over and over, squatting only to return in a few minutes to squat again, she has urinary problems. The recurring squatting behavior could be a symptom of more than one issue, making it important to get medical attention to ensure the condition is treated correctly.
The usual reason a dog will squat repeatedly is that she has a urinary tract infection. Inflammation from the infection makes her feel like she has to go potty, whether there's anything in her bladder or not. Older female dogs are the ones who tend to get UTIs. The infection could be caused from excessive bacteria in your dog's urinary tract or it could be a secondary condition brought on by other problems like a spinal cord injury, prostate or kidney disease, diabetes or cancer. In addition to frequent squatting, symptoms of a UTI include straining to pass urine, increased water drinking, frequent licking at the urinary opening, blood in the urine, vomiting, fever and urinating in unusual and inappropriate places.
Bladder stones can be the cause of a urinary tract infection or even the result of one, but they are disruptive enough on their own and can be the reason your dog is squatting often. Stones start out as crystals in your dog's urine that build up to form little obstructions. The stones can block your dog's urinary tract, making it painful and sometimes impossible for her to relieve herself. She'll squat repeatedly in an effort to empty a bladder that is constantly full.
Pinpointing the Problem
When you notice that your pooch is having problems peeing, don't wait it out to see if it will get better. Immediate treatment will bring quicker relief to your dog. Her vet can determine whether she has bladder stones or an infection, and if the infection is secondary to another condition. Infections are treated with antibiotics; if there's an underlying condition, it will have to be treated separately. When treating bladder stones, your vet will have to test your dog to find out what type of stones she has. "Dogs: The Ultimate Care Guide: Good Health, Loving Care, Maximum Longevity," published in 2000, indicates that bladder stones are treated several ways, depending on the type. Some stones will dissolve more readily in acidic urine while others respond better to alkaline urine. Your vet may prescribe something to dissolve your dog's bladder stones, or he might have to remove them surgically or treat your pooch with shock waves to break up the stones so your dog can pass them.
How Can You Help?
If your dog experiences urinary problems, the most important thing you can do is to get her medical attention. Once the vet has treated her, you can help alleviate your dog's discomfort by giving her plenty of fresh water to help flush the infection or crystals from her system. Also make sure your pup has easy access to approved potty areas, or be available to let her in and out as she needs. When stones are the problem, your vet may also recommend a prescription diet formulated for dogs who are prone to developing bladder stones. These foods contain ingredients and additives that alter the pH in your dog's system so that stones are less likely to form.
By Elle Di Jensen
The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats; Editors of Prevention Health Books
Web MD: Lower Urinary Tract Problems and Infections in Dogs
College of Veterinary Medicine: Clinical Trials
Dogs: The Ultimate Care Guide: Good Health, Loving Care, Maximum Longevity; Edited by Matthew Hoffman
Dr. Carol's Naturally Healthy Dogs; Carol Osborne
Small Dogs, Big Hearts: A Guide to Caring for Your Little Dog; Darlene Arden
About the Author
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.