Cat and Dog UTI Treatment

Cat and Dog UTI Treatment
expert or vet photo
vet verified PetCareRx Staff Veterinarian DVM

Thumbnail of Pro Plan Extra Care Urinary Tract Health for Cats

Pro Plan Extra Care Urinary Tract Health for Cats

Dry Food
{{petcare_price|currency}} Price in Cart w/PetPlus {{petplus_price|currency}} See PetPlus Price in Cart

Early detection is key when it comes to treating UTIs in dogs and cats. If caught early, they can be treated easily. Find out your options here.

Your veterinarian will perform a full examination and run tests to determine if your pet has a urinary tract infection. These tests include a urinalysis to detect the infection and a urine culture to confirm the infection and identify the infecting bacteria. Once the UTI has been diagnosed, your veterinarian will decide on the appropriate course of treatment for your pet. If detected early, most UTIs are completely treatable, and the dog or cat medications or treatments are easily administered. In more serious cases, however, surgery or catheterization may be required.


Most UTIs can be successfully treated with a course of antibiotics that lasts between 7 and 14 days. Antibiotics for dogs and cats, like Cephalexin or Clavamox, are the most common treatment for UTIs due to their ability to destroy and inhibit the growth of bacteria. Some veterinarians recommend a follow-up urine culture after antibiotic treatment is complete to confirm that the infection has been eradicated.

In some cases, pets with predisposed conditions may need to be on a long-term low-dose antibiotic treatment to prevent recurrent infection. Long-term use of any antibiotic comes with certain risks, such as developing a resistance to antibiotics, so carefully discuss this option with your veterinarian. Make sure to get all of the information and discuss side effects with your veterinarian before administering any medication.

Other Treatments

Some UTIs can be treated by making dietary changes to improve your pet’s immunity and/or stop the administration of contaminated food. Your veterinarian may suggest food with a higher moisture content that will increase your pet’s water intake to encourage urination, or they may suggest eliminating foods with preservatives, additives, and colorants that can lower immunity.

Water intake can also be increased by making sure that your pet’s water dish is always full and always available. The more your pet drinks, the more they will urinate, thus flushing harmful bacteria from the urinary tract. Keep in mind, however, that you cannot force your pet to drink or urinate.

A veterinarian may also prescribe urinary acidifiers to control the pH in your pet’s urine and prevent the formation of bladder stones which can block the urinary tract and cause or exacerbate an infection.

Herbal Remedies

In some cases, UTIs can be successfully treated with herbal remedies such as Goldenrod Horsetail, Uva Ursi, Cranberry, Ester-C, and Berberine. These herbs safely and naturally treat painful and irritating symptoms while reducing inflammation of the infection site. Talk to your veterinarian to see if an herbal remedy is appropriate for your pet’s particular infection.

Surgery and Catheterization

Surgery to remove stones, and tumors or to correct inborn abnormalities may be required in cases of more serious or persistent infections. A UTI in a male cat can result in an obstruction, which is life-threatening: not being able to urinate means a deadly buildup of potassium in the system. Urinary catheterization is another option when the infection cannot be cleared out by other means. During catheterization, a catheter is inserted into your pet’s bladder through the urethra, allowing urine to drain out freely.

Untreated Infections

It’s important to note that in both dogs and cats, untreated UTIs can lead to serious health problems. Infections in the bladder can move into the kidneys, causing fatal infections. If an obstruction, such as a stone at the root of your pet’s UTI, can keep your pet from urinating and can lead to rupture of the bladder or kidney failure, both of which are life-threatening conditions.


Luckily, you can take steps to prevent your pet from getting UTIs in the future. A healthy diet, cleanliness, exercise, and regular veterinary care are important factors in maintaining your pet’s overall health and can also help to reduce the chance that your pet will get a UTI. Here are some quick prevention tips:

  • Provide plenty of clean water for your pet to drink. When pets drink more, they urinate more, allowing bacteria living within the urinary tract to be flushed out. Remember, however, that you can not force your pet to drink or to urinate.

  • Ask your veterinarian for recommendations of foods that support the overall health and immunity of your pet. No matter what food you choose, always be sure to keep it properly stored to prevent the formation or spread of bacteria that may lead to infection.

  • Keep your pet groomed and their sleeping and feeding areas clean. In the case of cats, make sure that the litter box is clean and easily accessible.

  • Walk your pet! Play with your pet! When pets are out and about or active, it encourages drinking and urination, which may help clean out the bladder and keep bacteria at bay.

  • If your pet has a predisposed condition that may be causing UTIs, talk to your veterinarian about preventative measures you can take, such as long-term antibiotic treatment or supplements.

Foods that help with UTIs in cats and dogs

Here are some foods that can help with UTIs in your pets:

  • Cranberries - Cranberries contain a compound called proanthocyanidin, which has been shown to block the bacteria that cause UTIs. They're also full of antioxidants, which help fight off infection. You can get cranberries in juice form or make your own homemade cranberry sauce using berries and water or orange juice as the base.
  • Watercress - Watercress contains several nutrients that help fight off infections, like vitamin C and beta-carotene, as well as sulfur compounds that help reduce inflammation and pain associated with UTIs. It's also a good source of magnesium, which can help relieve pain from UTIs naturally without any side effects like those caused by pharmaceuticals used for treating symptoms such as bloating or constipation due to taking antibiotics too long without changing your diet!
  • Yogurt - A study published in the Journal of Urology found that drinking yogurt can help prevent and treat UTIs naturally. Yogurt contains probiotics, which are good bacteria present in your gut that help balance out the bad bacteria causing UTIs.
  • Bananas - Bananas are a good source of potassium, which helps restore electrolyte balance after a bout of dehydration caused by an infection like UTIs in cats and dogs.

You can also consider the following medicines and foods that help with UTIs in pets:


More on Pet Health

Diets for Dog and Cat Urinary Stones

10 Symptoms in Older Dogs You Shouldn't Ignore

Kidney Failure

When to Take Your Cat to the Vet

Treatment for Incontinence in Dogs

More Top Stories

Big Dogs vs. Small Dogs: A Face Off Between Dog Breeds by Size

What’s Wrong Here? 6 Common Pet Safety Hazards

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

Was this article helpful?
Limited Ingredient Kidney Disease Urinary Tract Infection Urethral Blockage

You May Also Like

Image for Doxepin HCL: Pet Depression Treatment Guide
Doxepin HCL: Pet Depression Treatment Guide

How this Capsule Treats Anxiety and OCD in Dogs and Cats

Read More
Image for Using Glipizide 5 mg to Treat Diabetic Cats
Using Glipizide 5 mg to Treat Diabetic Cats

Glipizide 5 mg Normalizes Blood Sugar Levels in Cats with Type II Diabetes

Read More
Image for Food to Treat Kidney Disease in Cats and Dogs
Food to Treat Kidney Disease in Cats and Dogs

The 4 Principles of Nutrition for Pets with Kidney Trouble

Read More