Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) in Dogs & Cats

Causes   Natural remedies   Complementary care

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Bladder infections are common in both cats and dogs. Any dog or cat can get a bladder infection, but they are most common in females. Female animals have a shorter urinary tract and a weaker sphincter muscle, which makes it easier for bacteria to work their way up the tract.

Pets with a bladder infection typically strain to urinate frequently, often passing only a small amount of cloudy or bloody urine. If your pet needs to urinate more frequently than usual or starts having accidents, these are signals to see your veterinarian for evaluation and treatment.This painful condition is often caused by a bacterial infection which blocks the urethra, making it painful and difficult to urinate.

In some bladder infections, minerals in the urine crystallize and form bladder stones, which can be as small as grains of sand or larger than marbles or small rocks. Stones can also create areas where bacteria can hide from antibiotics, leading to long-term infections that are difficult to treat.

Causes of Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs & Cats

Urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria blocking the urethra. Symptoms include:

  • Trouble urinating
  • Urinating in unusual places
  • Bloody urine
  • Your pet cries when urinating
  • Licking the urinary opening (usually due to pain)
  • Frequent accidents or urinating outside the litter box

Holistic Remedies for Urinary Tract Infections in Cats and Dogs

Conventional treatment for urinary tract infection ranges from antibiotics to surgery. While often necessary for acute attacks, they rarely address the causes and so recurrences of UTIs are common. Natural approaches can help regulate and prevent recurrences of UTIs, which include herbs and nutrients that have natural anti-biotic and anti-inflammatory properties while supporting the healing of the bladder wall and urethra. Some helpful herbs/nutrients include the following:

Uva Ursi

Uva Ursi has a history of medicinal use dating back to the 2nd century, and may be of great value in diseases of the bladder and kidneys, strengthening and imparting tone to the urinary passages. It has been widely used as a diuretic, astringent, and antiseptic. Folk medicine around the world has recommended Uva Ursi for nephritis, kidney stones, and chronic cystitis.


Berberine is a component of Goldenseal, and acts as an antibacterial agent that prevents bacteria from attaching to cell walls. Berberine also reduces inflammation and strengthens immune functioning.


Cranberry has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and helps reduce the number of bacteria that adheres to the urinary tract lining.


Ester-C makes the urine more acidic and therefore more inhospitable to bacteria.

Note: If the pet's urinary problem is due to the buildup of crystals and stones, the pet's water intake should be increased and the diet should be changed to a prescription diet that will help to maintain a low pH (acidic urine).