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Home Remedies for Dog UTI: What Works [Vet Advice]

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A urinary tract infection (UTI) doesn’t often go unnoticed. From accidents in the house, to constant requests from your pup to go potty, and sometimes even abnormal looking urine, your dog’s body will start communicating a problem pretty early. These infections occur when bacteria enter and multiply in the urinary tract, causing discomfort and other potential health issues. Though troublesome at first, urinary tract infections can resolve with proper care and treatment.

If your dog gets a UTI, you’re not alone! Especially if you have a female dog. UTIs are very common in pups, so common that I see one on nearly a weekly basis. Fortunately, they can be treated very successfully with proper care.

dog after peeing on the floor

Signs of UTIs in dogs

There are a few hallmark signs of a brewing urinary tract infection you can keep an eye out for:

  • Frequent urination: Dogs with UTIs may need to urinate more frequently than usual, this is most often because of reactive inflammation in the urethra and bladder that makes it constantly feel like it’s time to urinate. Your dog may only actually pee very small amounts, but the urge is still present until the inflammation subsides.
  • Urinary accidents: In an otherwise healthy dog who is well housetrained, urinary accidents are a clear indication something’s wrong in the bladder and urethra. Sometimes the urge to go overrides housetraining habits and a dog with a UTI just can’t help it.
  • Straining to urinate: The same inflammation that stimulates frequent urination can also cause the bladder and urethra to swell and impede flow. This leads to straining, often characterized by an interrupted urine stream, or attempts to urinate that produce little to no liquid. Dogs may also so discomfort when urinating marked by crying out or whining.
  • Blood in urine: Bladder and urethral inflammation can mean irritated blood vessels too, so small amounts of blood may be present in the urine. Sometimes it’s undetectable without laboratory tests, other times the urine may be tinged orange, pink, or even red, or you may see frank blood or blood clots.
  • Foul-smelling urine: Because UTIs can be caused by a variety of bacteria, there may or may not be odor present or the odor may vary from one UTI to another. If odor is present, common descriptors include ammonia-like, “fishy”, musty, or even sweet.
  • Lethargy and decreased appetite: Bladder and urethral inflammation from a UTI is uncomfortable and can even cause abdominal pain or fever. All of these add up to a dog that feels unwell overall, and you may notice changes in behavior and appetite/ thirst habits.

When can you treat your dog at home (vs going to the vet)?

While veterinary care is important for diagnosing and treating UTIs properly, there may be some home care options to try in the early stages. With mild symptoms in an otherwise healthy dog, a short attempt to treat with a home remedy may be a reasonable first step, however you should always consult with a veterinarian when you notice an issue and before starting any treatment.

Basic early home care steps include providing adequate water, accommodating your dog’s needs for extra bathroom breaks, certain supplements, and a clean living environment.

What you can do at home to help your dog (Home Remedies)

Dog-specific cranberry supplements: Cranberry extract can help inhibit the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract. It’s important to choose a product that is specifically formulated for dogs. These formulas are better for prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections, so they may not be powerful enough to combat an existing infection.

Nutramax Crananidin Cranberry Extract Urinary...
  • Urinary Tract Support for Dogs: Scientifically formulated cranberry extract supplement for dogs

Apple cider vinegar: Some believe that ingesting apple cider vinegar may help change urine pH and create an inhospitable environment for bacteria. There is little formal proven evidence for this remedy and apple cider vinegar should only be administered in moderation, and only if the dog tolerates it. It has an unpleasant flavor and should not be force fed to dogs.

Methionine: This is an amino acid that can help acidify urine which may help prevent bacterial growth. Be sure to pick a supplement that’s formulated for dogs. Acidifying the urine may hinder bacterial growth but urinary acidification can be dangerous for dogs with some health conditions so it should only be used under veterinary guidance.

VetriScience Laboratories - UT Strength STAT...
  • A chew to support urinary tract health in dogs

Probiotics: Dog specific probiotic formulas can promote a healthy balance of bacteria throughout the body, possibly including the urinary tract. Probiotics are generally recognized as safe and unlikely to cause other issues, but it’s important to note they won’t likely successfully treat an existing urinary tract infection.

VetriScience Vetri Probiotic Bowel Defense...
  • Supports G. I. tract in dogs whose digestive and bowel functions are affected by food sensitivities or infiltration of unwanted bacteria

What to do when you notice signs of a UTI in your dog

1) Observe and monitor: Keep an eye on your dog’s behavior, urinary habits, and overall well-being. Note any abnormal signs you see so you can communicate them effectively (taking notes helps!)

2) Contact a veterinarian: Discuss any abnormal signs you’ve seen with your vet. Catching a urine sample in a clean container may help as well if you can do it.

3) Implement supportive care: Offer plenty of fresh water, maintain a clean environment, and consider appropriate home remedies if advised by your vet.

4) Follow the vet’s recommendations: If your veterinarian thinks it’s safe to implement home care measures, proceed as suggested. They will more than likely recommend bringing your dog in for a visit though, and if that’s their recommendation it’s important to follow it!

When you should NOT try home remedies and see the vet directly

Home remedies for UTIs are appealing for cost and convenience but they’re rarely in your dog’s best interest. It’s crucial to get professional veterinary care if you see any of these concerning signs:

  • Your dog is exhibiting severe symptoms or they worsen rapidly.
  • Blood or blood clots are present in urine.
  • At any point it appears your dog cannot pass urine.
  • Your dog is a puppy, senior, or has pre-existing health conditions.
  • Your dog is also feeling lethargic, not eating, or has a fever.

Veterinary treatments and costs of UTIs

Your vet is going to want to start with an exam and history. They’ll want to know what you’ve been seeing and for how long. From there, a urine sample is needed to check for a UTI. Depending on the findings, there may be additional blood tests or even imaging. Expect starting costs around $100 – $200. It will be really helpful if you can bring a fresh urine sample in a clean container with you to the vet so it can be tested. Additional costs may include:

  • Urine sample analysis: Typically around $50-$100. A veterinarian will ask you to provide a urine sample, otherwise they may collect a sample themselves. They’ll look for bacteria or other abnormalities present in the urine – things that can only be detected with specialized equipment.
  • Antibiotics: Typically between $50 – $100. Appropriate antibiotics will be prescribed based on the specific bacteria involved.
  • Additional treatments: $100 or more. Depending on the severity of infection and other signs, your veterinarian may recommend fluids, pain medications, anti-inflammatory medications, or further diagnostics.
  • Follow-up care: Potentially $200 or more. Many veterinarians will request another urine sample at the end of (or after) the course of antibiotics to confirm the treatment was successful.

Veterinary costs for UTI diagnosis and treatment can vary depending on factors such as location, clinic, and specific treatments required. It’s best to consult with your veterinarian regarding the estimated costs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it typically take for home remedies to work?

Home remedies may offer some relief in the short term (2 – 3 days), but complete resolution of an established urinary tract infection most often requires professional veterinary care and won’t resolve with home remedies alone.

What are the signs that my dog’s UTI is getting worse?

If your dog is in pain, is unable to urinate, or displays fever, lethargy, or a decreased appetite, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Disclaimer: This content is not a substitute for veterinary care. Always consult with your vet for health decisions. Learn more.

Should I change my dog’s diet during a UTI?

Discuss dietary changes with your veterinarian first, as changing your dog’s food won’t likely have any immediate positive effect on a UTI and may cause other issues with their digestive system.

What should I do if my dog’s UTI does not improve with home remedies?

If home remedies do not lead to improvement within 48 hours, it’s in your dog’s best interest to reach out to your veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.


  • Dr Chyrle Bonk, Veterinarian

    Dr. Chyrle Bonk received her Master in Animal Science from the University of Idaho and her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from Oregon State University in 2010. She has over 10 years of experience in small animal veterinary practice, working for a veterinary clinic in Idaho.

  • Kate Howard, Vet Tech

    Kate Howard lives in Upstate New York, and received her degree in Veterinary Technology from Alfred State College of Technology in 2010. She has been a veterinary technician for 13+ years, and spent her career working primarily in general practice and veterinary emergency care. Kate has 3 dogs, a cat, and keeps a small flock of backyard poultry.

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