Cat and Dog UTI Treatment

Cat and Dog UTI Treatment
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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:


Frequently Asked Questions

What medicine do vets give for UTI?

UTIs are usually diagnosed with urinalysis. There are various modes of collecting urine, such as directly as your dog pees or from a surface. But the most trusted way is to collect it from the bladder using a needle. Vets often use ultrasound to guide the process. Vets may also suggest additional tests like bloodwork, radiographs, or ultrasounds to check for chronic UTI. Vets usually prescribe broad-range antibiotics like amoxicillin or penicillin. However, if your vet detects bacteria-resistant UTI, they would prescribe an antibiotic that can find the particular bacteria. The course of medication can run between 1 and 4 weeks. In very rare cases, a dog might have to take antibiotics all through its life.

What is the best antibiotic for dog UTI?

As we said earlier, the best antibiotic for dog UTI will be determined by the results of a urinalysis and other tests. The most commonly used antibiotics are amoxicillin, ampicillin, doxycycline, cephalexin, Clavamox, and Enroflaxin.

How can I treat a UTI at home for my dog?

If your dog is suffering from a mild UTI, you can administer apple cider vinegar mixed with fresh water twice a day for 10 days. You also need to make sure that your dog drinks a lot of water throughout the day. Cranberry juice and yogurt are also useful for dogs suffering from UTIs. However, you should never use these remedies as soon as you see the signs of UTI, as you have no way of knowing how severe your dog’s UTI is. Therefore, the best course of action would be to get a test done and follow your vet’s advice. You can discuss these remedies with your vet before administering them.

Can I give my dog human amoxicillin for UTI?

You shouldn’t give your dog human amoxicillin. Even though the core composition is the same, the dosage and other inactive ingredients might differ. Plus, giving human amoxicillin may trigger side effects for your dog and aggravate the problem further. There are several brands of amoxicillin for dogs available at local or online pet stores, so it’s best to stick to them.

Can you get over-the-counter antibiotics for dogs?

Even though you might find that some topical antibiotics are available at local pet stores, you would not be able to buy antibiotics for UTIs without a prescription. Most online stores also require you to upload a prescription if you wish to purchase the drugs. If you buy an antibiotic without a prescription from a local or online store (usually penicillin), there is no guarantee that the medicine is going to work. The FDA requires that all antibiotics for pets and humans be sold against a prescription.

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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.

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