Yes, Virginia, There Is Such A Thing As Canine Urinary Tract Infection

There several illnesses that are common in both human and canine world. The UTI is one. Keep a Look out for symptoms.


Have you ever had a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection)?

Nasty! It hurts, burns when you try to pee. You feel like you have to go every few minutes and then all you do is a few drops.

And when you are done, you hurt for quite a few minutes afterwards, which makes you really want to avoid ever having to urinate again….

Until another 5 minutes go by and your body says. “I HAVE TO PEE!!”

It’s a miserable feeling. And your dog feels the same way when they come down with canine urinary tract infection.

For dogs it’s similar to humans but they can’t tell you something is wrong, so keep an eye out for the following:

  • Needing to urinate very frequently,
  • Suddenly no longer housebroken, can’t make it outside fast enough.
  • Blood in the urine is also a sign. But you would have to actually check their urine or their hind end to see if there is any blood. Which in shelties can be a challenge with all the fur. But if you see pink urine, you definitely have a problem!

Causes of Canine Urinary Tract Infection

Bacteria travel up the urethra (the tube that connects the bladder that holds the urine to the outside of the body). The bacteria grows and causes an infection. Left untreated it can escalate to kidney infection or general sepsis.

Bitches (female dogs) are more prone to the infection because their urethra is shorter than in males so it’s easier for the bacteria to invade. Again, similar to humans. Young female puppies are the most prone to canine urinary tract infections because they have the shortest urethra of any dog until they grow.

Early spay has been found to increase the possibility of not only early urinary incontinence, but frequent UTIs. Having your pup go through at least one heat will allow her body to mature a little more and reduce the chances of chronic problems later.

Usually, a healthy dog can ward off most bacteria trying to take hold, but sometimes a few things are off kilter and allow them to multiply.

A dog’s urine pH should be slightly acidic. Sometimes, diets with too much grain can cause the pH to rise to an alkaline level which allows the bacteria to grow.

How do you know if your dog’s pH is within normal range?

Buy some test strips and either place it under a stream of urine as the dog is peeing or collect some urine and dip the strip. (A small plastic cup, a spoon for tiny puppies, or even a ladle so you don’t have to crouch down quite so much!)

Figure a pH between 6.2 and 6.5 is good. A higher number means the urine is more alkaline and bacteria like that.


Collect a urine specimen for your vet to check. Get a fresh specimen to them ASAP or you can refrigerate the specimen for a few hours until you can get there. Old urine is not a good way to test.


If your dog is growing bacteria the vet will order some antibiotic. A culture can be done to see specifically what is growing and which antibiotic it is sensitive to, but usually a broad spectrum antibiotic does the trick and saves a little money as far as extra testing.

If your sheltie gets recurring canine urinary tract infections, by all means ask for a culture and sensitivity to make sure the antibiotic given is the most effective for that particular infection.

Give ALL the antibiotic. If you only give some then it will kill off the weak bacteria and leave only the stronger bacteria alive and then they will multiply, giving your sheltie a bigger problem than before.

Encourage them to drink plenty of fluids to flush the medication through the urinary tract and wash the bacteria out of their bladder.


How do you get your sheltie to drink more? Simple. Make it delish! Give dilute chicken or beef broth, make bone broth, add other natural flavorings to the water.

Don’t forget to let your pup outside frequently so she can relieve herself.


If your sheltie tends towards getting canine urinary tract infections often, there are a few things you can do.

1. Change their diet to a food with less grains.

2. Feeding a raw food diet increases stomach acid production and may help in the overall pH. If you are local to Newark, DE, I make custom dog food for pick up only (no shipping). 

3. Try adding D-mannose to their diet. 

D-Mannose is the active ingredient in cranberries that reduces urinary tract infections. If makes the lining of the bladder too slippery for the bacteria to hold on and so they just get flushed out before they can multiply. This has been used for people as well with great success.

While most D-mannose is good, most are made from corn, so those humans or dogs that are allergic to corn could react to the supplement. I did find one company that is USA based and the D-mannose is derived from birch tree. 

Give about 150 mg daily for 20 lb. sheltie.

Olive Leaf is also a great general antibiotic that you can try. 

5. Add Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar to their food to increase the acidity of the urine.

Some folks say they put it in the dog’s water but to me that presents with three potential problems:

  1. How do you know how much vinegar they are actually consuming?
  2. If the dog doesn’t like the taste she will drink less water. Not good.
  3. Constantly washing the teeth with even a weak acid bath daily for life may wear down the enamel on the teeth.

So put it in the food and it’s down and gone in a few minutes.

Following these suggestions should keep your sheltie happy and healthy when it comes to their kidney functions!

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