August 19, 2013

By Susan Blake Davis, Pet Nutritionist,

Urinary Tract Problems in Cats and Dogs

Signs of Urinary Tract Problems in Pets

  • Straining to urinate
  • Waking up in the night to urinate
  • Mucous or blood with urination
  • Excessive licking at the genital area
  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive water drinking
  • Accidents in the house
  • Painful urination
  • Unusual behavior; pet not acting like him or herself

Pets can display a variety of symptoms when a urinary tract problem is present. Symptoms can be obvious such as blood in the urine but they can also be much more subtle such as the pet just not acting like him or herself. Urinary tract and bladder problems comprise a variety of conditions such as urinary tract infections, urinary crystals, bladder stones, incontinence, interstitial cystitis or bladder cancer.

Conventional treatments involve the use of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories (more aggressive treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation when cancer is diagnosed). However, urinary tract issues can become a chronic problem where the infection and inflammation return as soon as the medications wear off. Natural holistic care can be used along with conventional treatments to give your pet the best long-term results.

Natural, Holistic Tips To Help Pets With Urinary Tract Problems

Tip #1: Change the diet - Certain foods can trigger UTIs and inflammation in some pets. Not all pets will respond the same to these foods which is why you may have multiple pets eating the same food and only one is having chronic urinary tract infections. Grains such as oats, wheat and corn can be a trigger for UTIs. Diets high in carbohydrates or treats with sugar can be problematic. Proteins such as poultry (if the pet is allergic) can also trigger inflammation and allergic response in some pets too. Pets with chronic urinary problems can benefit most from a high moisture, reduced carbohydrate diet.


Tip #2: Add Essential Nutritional Supplements - Once a pet has had multiple urinary tract infections or been diagnosed with a chronic urinary problem such as interstitial cystitis, just changing the diet alone may not be sufficient to prevent reinfection. Nutritional supplements can help heal and repair the urinary tract, reducing the likelihood of reinfection. Using a quality probiotic is essential since antibiotics can destroy the “good bacteria” needed to strengthen your pet’s immune system. Some herbs and nutrients can have an antiseptic effect and provide support to the urinary tract. Cranberry, blueberry, uva ursi, D-Mannose and dandelion are just a few examples. Using a blended formula of herbs is ideal.

Tip #3: Watch Your Pet's Communication Signals - Pets may have "accidents" in the house as a way to make you aware of their discomfort. Watch the signs and be aware that accidents may have a medical not just behavioral cause. Sometimes the pet can have incontinence or straining as a result of a slight irritation (not a raging infection) which can be hard to diagnose. Using the supplements to maintain a healthy urinary pH will reduce this discomfort. Over time, you will be able to detect the subtle signs and reduce the likelihood of repeat infections.

Tip #4: Calm Stressed Pets - For cats especially, stress can be a trigger that contributes to chronic urinary tract infections and/or feline interstitial cystitis. It is hard to know exactly what might be contributing to your kitty’s stress and it might be factors beyond your control such as the neighbor’s barking dog or having guests in your home. But, it could be another cat in your household or feeding issues so try to identify any sources of stress that you can control. For example, you may find that feeding your cats separately may help.