How to Tell if Your Pet Has a Urinary Tract Infection

Published: May 12, 2019

Academy Animal Hospital Greenwood Franklin

As a pet owner, you’ve probably spent a lot of time helping your pet understand when and where they should do their business when nature calls. You develop routines with them that keep everyone comfortable, clean and healthy, and they’re happy to do their part in following these routines. So when your pet suddenly begins struggling with urination and bladder control, you know something is wrong.

One likely culprit is a urinary tract infection. Just like in people, UTIs are common in pets and just as uncomfortable. Only problem? They can’t really tell you when they’re suffering and what their symptoms are. Instead they rely on their favorite human to recognize that something is wrong.

This means paying a little more attention to potty behaviors when you first notice a change in your pet’s habits so you know exactly what’s going on. To help you help your uncomfortable furry loved one, here are the signs to look for that indicate your pet is suffering from a urinary tract infection.

Frequent Urination

If you’re the one responsible for letting your dog outside to pee, you have a good idea of how often he usually needs to go. If he’s begging to be let out more frequently, however, that’s a sign something is up--especially if these frequent trips outside are producing less urine than usual.

It might be more difficult to monitor a cat’s bathroom habits, but if it seems like your cat suddenly lives in the litter box or needs the litter changed more frequently, it might be a sign of frequent urination due to a UTI.

Pain while Urinating

Urinary tract infections are usually painful. Animals will often whine or yelp while urinating if they’re experiencing pain. Also watch for signs of straining when they’re going. Painful urination is always a sign that something is wrong.

Surprise Accidents

If your pet has been house trained for a long time but is suddenly having accidents, something is up. Urinary tract infections can disrupt the signals to your animal that it needs to pee, meaning he has a surprise accident and you get a surprise mess.

Sudden accidents can be indicative of many health issues in pets, but one of the most likely is a urinary tract infection. If your furry friend is suddenly a puddle-y friend, note if he’s having other symptoms of a UTI.

Discolored Urine

If you suspect your pet has an infection, you might need to get a little more familiar with their bodily fluids. Of course, if they’re suddenly peeing on the floor, you probably already are. But if your pet’s urine has blood in it or appears cloudy, it’s time for a visit to the vet. These are obvious indications of an infection.

Unusual Thirst

Again, you might need to watch your pet a little more closely than usual for this, but try to pay attention to how much your pet is drinking. If your pet is constantly at his water dish and empties it more frequently than before, that’s behavior worth noting. Combined with struggling to pee when he goes, this is a sure sign of a UTI.

Licking of Genitals

This might not be unusual behavior for your animal, but if your pet is licking his genitals constantly, it’s probably a sign the poor guy is in pain and trying everything he can to relieve the discomfort, and it’s time to see the vet.

All the Signs Are There

As a pet owner, the last thing you want is for your furry family member to be uncomfortable or get sicker. Untreated UTIs can lead to serious medical conditions and life-threatening infections, not to mention make your pet absolutely miserable.

If diligent attention to your pet’s behaviors has revealed any of these signs of a urinary tract infection, make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. The vet can make a true diagnosis and prescribe treatment to relieve your pet’s symptoms and fight the infection before it gets worse.

You’d do anything for your pet’s health and well-being, but you’ll both be relieved once his UTI clears up, and you can go back to focusing on enjoying each other’s company rather than his potty habits.

Think your cat or dog has a urinary tract infection? Not to worry. Call Academy Animal Hospital today and let our team of experts help get your family’s pet feeling better in no time!