Urinary Tract Infections in dogs and cats treatment options, recommended remedies and helpful information has been provided by certified Master Herbalist Philip Reich and certified Canine Nutritionist Maria Reich. Philip and Maria specialize in medical herbalism and nutrition for animals with conditions like UTIs. They approach this situation in a holistic manner with the main priority being the health and safety of your animal.
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is considered to be an infection in any part of your dog or cat's urinary system so it can include the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract, the bladder and the urethra, but if the infection is left untreated it can travel up into the kidneys and become a potentially serious condition. Female dogs are at a greater risk of developing UTIs primarily because their urethra is shorter and more easily contaminated by bacteria from the perianal region. Escherichia coli (E. coli) is one of the bacteria found in this region and it is no surprise that it is commonly associated with urinary tract infections.
What are the Symptoms?
Dogs with UTIs generally attempt to urinate very frequently whenever they go outside, they may strain to urinate, they may cry out or whine when urinating if it is painful. Their urine may be cloudy, indicating an infection is present, or pink/red indicating blood in their urine. The urine also often has a stronger odor than usual. A break in house training is a red flag that something is wrong because the canine is uncomfortable due to the infection. Finally, dripping urine or frequent licking of the genitals may also signal that a UTI is present.
For cats it will be very similar as they make frequent trips to the litter box. You may see them straining and find smaller amounts of urine than is usual for that particular cat. Droplets of blood may also be seen in the litter box or around the house. Like dogs a red flag is when a cat that faithfully uses the litter box has an accident in the house. This is a sign that they are uncomfortable due to the irritation in their urinary tract.
UTIs are caused by uropathogenic bacteria, like Escherichia coli, that are introduced into the urinary tract. There, they should normally be eliminated by the dog or cat's immune system or kept in check by native beneficial flora. When one or the other of these two lines of defense breakdown the animal is subject to infection. This failure in your animal's immune defenses can have several causes:
The conventional treatment for UTIs in dogs and cats is a 7 -14 day course of antibiotics. In some cases veterinarians will recommend a long-term, low-dose antibiotic treatment to prevent recurrent infections in pets susceptible to this condition. However, be aware that long-term use of any antibiotic comes with certain risks such as developing a resistance to antibiotics and weakened immune response to future infections. Veterinarians may also prescribe prescription diets or urinary acidifiers to control the pH in your dog or cat’s urine, but these carry risks of their own that many pet parents may wish to avoid when possible.
The goal of our Natural UTI Protocol is to increase the overall health of your dog or cat in a safe and natural manner. Additionally, we want to eliminate any infection that is currently present and help to prevent future infections by improving the health of the animal's urinary tract tissue, related microbiome and immune system. We use diet; organic, whole food supplementation; and organic herbs to support and strengthen the challenged organs and glands, which in this case are primarily the kidneys, bladder and other urinary tract tissue.
Core Recommendations Suggested products are included in the Core UTI Package found below.
Our "Core Recommendations" form the backbone of our Natural UTI Protocol. They consist of supplement recommendations that we feel are the most important to provide to your animal companion for this condition. They are displayed as a package and individually at the bottom of this page along with other helpful products from which you may make additional selections. Pet foods can be purchased at your finer, local pet stores. If you desire more individualized attention please feel free to use our Consultation Form to provide detailed information about your dog or cat so we can better help you.
Core Recommendation #1 - Daily Multi Plus
Our Daily Multi Plus is formulated with organic, whole foods that are extremely important to an animal's nutritional needs but are often missing from the majority of canine and feline diets. This special formula provides the enzymes, probiotics, prebiotics, glandulars, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients that are so beneficial to the body's daily maintenance and repair needs for healthy aging. In this formula you will find the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants recommended by the veterinarian community for this condition - only in an organic, whole food form!
Core Recommendation #2 - UTI Relief
This is a very effective formula against uropathogenic bacteria. It doesn't only contain antimicrobial herbs like other products. Instead, it is also formulated to strengthen the immune system and support the delicate tissue of the urinary tract itself. Trying this formula as an alternative to antibiotics can help to make your dog or cat more resistant to UTIs in the future. Using this formula one week a month or so as a preventative will also help to prevent future infections. Please be aware that it is important to catch UTIs early for best treatment with an herbal remedy. If your dog or cat has a current urinary tract infection, depending on the severity, they may need a course of antibiotics.
Core Recommendation #3 - Topical Probiotic Spray
This may be our secret weapon against urinary tract infections. This is because this spray contains live and active beneficial bacteria that can quickly rebalance the vaginal microbiome. After using antibiotics the delicate balance that exists in the urinary tract is destroyed. It is then very hard to repopulate the beneficial flora in this region of the body by having to go through the digestive tract. Instead, this spray brings the bacteria right to the area where they are needed (the urethra in female or male animals). By doing this you help good bacteria to out-compete pathogenic bacteria that cause UTIs.
Core Recommendation #4 - Cranberry Powder
Cranberry powder can help to eliminate UTIs more quickly and prevent future urinary tract infections by inhibiting uropathogenic bacteria from adhering to the lining of the urinary tract. The cranberry powder we provide for your dog or cat is organic and does not contain the chemical flow agent called silicon dioxide that is present in most other cranberry powder products.
Whole Food Nutrition
With a serious condition like urinary tract infections, in which the body needs the highest value nutrition possible, we highly recommend a raw food diet. Raw food is how carnivores, like canines and felines, have evolved to eat and they do best on a high protein, low carbohydrate diet. In addition, this type of diet is very high in moisture that is very important for dog and cat urinary tract health. This is, unfortunately, the opposite of how most pets are fed since the majority of commercial kibble diets are low protein with 50% or more carbohydrates and only 5 -10% moisture.
Further more, kibble diets are harder for an animal to digest and this is the last thing your pet needs at this point. Without the right nutrition that is easily digested, absorbed and metabolized your animal will have a more difficult time maintaining their health. If a raw food diet is not your cup of tea, the next best thing would be a cooked, whole food diet. There are now many quality premixes to choose from to which you can add your own raw or cooked meat. If you decide to make a homemade diet please research the proper way to do this and make sure to add a calcium source like our Seaweed Calcium. For a quick and easy way to add high-quality protein to your pet's diet take a look at our Whey Protein Isolate. For more information read our articles How to Feed Your Dog or How to Feed Your Cat that can be found in our Education section.
While the UTI Relief is formulated with stronger herbs to rid the urinary tract of infection and/or prevent future infections, our Kidney Tonic is formulated to support the health of the organs of the urinary tract, like the bladder and kidneys, as well as urinary tract tissue. So, to do this we use cardiovascular tonic herbs to support the heart because it is intricately connected to kidney health. We also use soothing and gentle cleansing herbs to maintain the health of urinary tract tissue. This is a safe formula to use daily and is designed to be used for the life of your animal to maintain kidney health.
Chia seed oil is our choice as an organic, environmentally sustainable omega 3 alternative to fish oil. It is the plant kingdoms highest source of the essential omega 3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Oils rich in omega 3's help to reduce inflammation and maintain the health of the tissue that lines the urinary tract.
Colostrum is the Mother's first milk that is rich in immune factors and growth factors that can be extremely beneficial to those dogs and cats that struggle with UTIs. This supplement can help to strengthen the effectiveness of the immune system while providing anti-aging growth factors that can help to improve the integrity of urinary tract tissue.
This supplement is a bioalgae concentrate that consists of a blend of four species of algae. It is grown in a controlled, organic hydroponic environment to maximize nutrient content and avoid contaminants present in other spirulina algae supplements. This is a favorite supplement of ours because it contains thousands of whole food nutrients that feed cells on a cellular level that can greatly benefit animals with urinary tract and other health issues.
This is one of our favorite adaptogenic herbs. It strengthens many functions of the immune system to prevent infections, helps to protect the liver and kidneys from damage, and may have valuable anticancer benefits.
Urinary tract infection (UTI). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/symptoms-causes/syc-20353447
Downing DVM, Robin. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) in dogs. Retrieved from https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/urinary-tract-infections-utis-in-dogs