A dog bladder infection may not seem like an urgent problem but left untreated it can develop into a serious health issue affecting your dog's vital internal organs. That's why it's important to identify signs of a dog urinary tract infection or bladder infection and get the right treatment as quickly as possible before the problem develops to the point of being very painful for your dog (and your wallet, when you get the vet's bill).
You might naturally assume that a bladder problem would be indicated by a lack of urination, but the opposite is actually true. One of the telltale signs of bladder infection is excessive and frequent urination. If your dog is also showing signs of being in pain when urinating, this may also indicate an infection. (Excessive urination is not always a sign of a health problem – it may simply be a behavior problem. Still, it's better to assume that the problem is medical and seek a vet's advice, as opposed to trying to train your dog out of a urination problem which is really being caused by an infection).
The urine itself is also an indicator of an infection. Urine from an infected bladder will often be cloudy rather than clear and may smell unusually bad. In short, if your dog has suddenly started leaving particularly smelly puddles lying around the house multiple times a day, you're probably dealing with a dog urinary tract infection or bladder problem.
Left untreated for too long, the bacteria infecting the dog's bladder will usually spread to the kidneys – making the problem much more serious, much harder to fix, and potentially life-threatening.
A bladder infection can become a serious problem if not treated.
This photo of Merlin was sent in by reader Millie Springer and was taken by Leah Springer.
Once your vet has diagnosed the problem as a dog bladder infection after running a few tests, they'll usually prescribe some antibiotics. Typically these will come in pill form and the cycle will be two or three weeks long. You might have to get a little creative to get your dog to swallow the pills – putting them in her food is best, but crushing them up into a powder may not work well as it will taint the taste of the food. Instead, you want to break the pills into a few small pieces and bury them in some meat, so your dog swallows them without tasting the medicine. In any case, you should prepare the food out of your dog's sight – if she figures out you're putting pills in her food, she may refuse to eat the meal.
With luck, one round of antibiotics will be enough to cure a dog bladder infection. If the problem recurs again, it may indicate a more serious problem, like the development of bladder stones. Return to the vet and discuss the problem further – the likely outcome will be another round of antibiotics, or possibly surgery if your vet thinks there may be an internal physical problem which can't be treated effectively with medication.
The important thing to remember is that if you suspect a dog urinary tract infection don't hesitate in seeing your vet. Urinary tract infection in dogs can be easily treated if it is diagnosed in time.