Frequent Urination In Dogs: What’s Behind It?
Are you worried because you've noticed that your dog urinates more than usual? What could be behind it and is it something you should be alarmed about? Let's explore this a bit deeper in today's article!
Have your dog been waiting at the door constantly lately, wanting to go out as soon as possible?
Urination problems are very common when it comes to dogs, one of them being frequent urination.
You’re not the only dog owner facing this, believe us!
Frequent urination can indicate many things, all from various conditions to changes in the diet. If your dog is house-trained but has recently started to urinate more often you should monitor for changes in its routines, as well as other physical issues. We’ll explore these later in this text.
But first of all, we have to answer the following question:
How Often Should A Dog Pee?
In order to know if your dog is urinating more than what’s normal, you have to know how much normal is, right?
So, a dog needs to go every four to six hours in average, even though some can even endure 12 hours without having to go. The amount depends on factors such as diet, activity, water intake and whether it can urinate alone (if it has a yard to go to) or if you have to take him out.
Size and breed don’t affect the frequency of urination. Age, however, does. Puppies need to urinate more often, usually every two hours. Older dogs, like older people, have to urinate more frequently as well. That goes for dogs on medications too.
The second thing we need to clarify are the following terms:
Polyuria And Polydipsia
When you read about frequent urination in dogs, these two words often pop up. If your dog shows higher levels of thirst it’s called polydipsia. As a result, the urine production will be high as well and that’s referred to as polyuria.
These medical terms usually go hand in hand. Because urination draws water out of the system, too much urination can leave the dog dehydrated and it will drink more water than usual to make up for it.
Both of these conditions can be a result of various factors and problems. We’re taking a look at the most common reasons behind frequent urination further below.
Why Is My Dog Urinating Often?
If your dog is urinating more than usual, there could be various reasons behind it. Unfortunately, frequent urination usually indicates that something is wrong. The most common causes are urinary tract infections, bladder stones and kidney problems.
However, frequent urination doesn’t have to indicate some illness. It can simply mean that your dog has drunk more water than usual, due to heat, exercise or change in diet.
Don’t assume at once that your dog has an illness, but observe and ask yourself if your dog has gone through some changes in its daily routine lately. If your dog hasn’t changed anything in his everyday life, try to find the reason elsewhere.
Possible Reasons Behind Frequent Urination
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon that frequent urination is associated with some kind of physical problems. These are the most common problems that can cause frequent urination:
Urinary Tract Infection
This is a rather common problem, especially with female dogs who are more prone to urinary tract infections. Other symptoms of this infection include blood in urine and straining to urinate. Lethargy and fever may be present as well.
Bladder infections can be very painful and make it difficult to contain the urine. If your vet determines bladder infection exists, he or she will probably prescribe an oral antibiotic to clear the infection and prevent it from becoming a kidney infection. Adding blackberry or cranberry supplements can help as well.
The symptoms of bladder stones are similar to the ones that occur due to urinary tract infections, such as frequent urination and blood in urine. They can cause a lot of pain and make draining the bladder difficult.
The growth of bladder stones can be a consequence of genetic dispositions, the concentration of minerals present in the blood or the presence of bacterial infections. They are detected by X-Ray or through the palpitation of the abdomen area.
The treatment of bladder stones depend on the cause and the size. The two most common options are surgery and urohydropropulsion. Surgery is the easiest way but very invasive.
The other option is less invasive. A catheter is inserted and saline solution fills the bladder in order to get the the bladder stone out. However, this can be used for small stones only.
If your dog is urinating frequently and straining to urinate it’s possible that some prostate problems are behind it. Prostate problems include prostate enlargement and bacterial infection causing inflammation.
Prostate enlargement is especially common in older, intact dogs. Treatment can last for a long time and be very expensive, so it’s usually recommended to neuter the dog.
As this eliminates the testosterone flow this condition will be much easier to treat. In general, neutering your dog before he turns one will decrease chances of various prostate problems.
Is your dog’s urine pale in color and is the urination more frequent than usual? This could be due to hormonal imbalance which is causing kidney problems or chronic kidney failure.
Other symptoms to look out for are loss in appetite, vomiting and lethargy. Kidney problems are more likely to occur at later stages in life.
Treatment of kidney problems consist of re-hydration and reduces protein in the diet. This reduces the work kidneys have to do and allow them to repair themselves.
Dialysis is another possibility, especially for dogs whose kidney problems are caused by toxins or have to be repaired after an emergency surgery. Kidney transplantation can be done in the most severe cases.
Even though an actual cause of diabetes is unknown, some factor such as obesity, genetics or some medications can contribute. If you suspect that your dog might be diabetic, take him to the vet in order to get a diagnose and establish a treatment plan.
Treatment depends on how serious the condition is. It can go all from hospital care to adding more fibers to the diet. In most cases, however, are insulin injections a part of the treatment.
The liver is responsible for filtering the blood, thus included urine. Dogs with liver problems drink more water than other dogs and, naturally, urinate more often as well.
Inflammation of the liver and liver shunt are the two most common reasons behind polyuria and polydipsia. Other symptoms of liver problems are lack of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting and lethargy.
Cushing’s disease is in most cases a result of a benign tumor in the pituitary gland, which controls the secretion of hormones in your dog’s body. Other symptoms, apart from frequent urination, are weak muscle tone, sagging pot belly, hair loss and panting. It’s usually older dogs that are affected.
In order to determine the level of cortisone in your dog, blood and urine samples have to be examined. Medications can be prescribed to help with this conditions, however, treatments will continue for life.
Vaginal tumors are most common with older female dogs and they can cause frequent urination. Other symptoms are vaginal discharge or bleeding, a mass protruding through the vulva lips and frequent licking at the vulva.
Other Possibilities Behind Frequent Urination
It’s not only medical problems that are causing frequent urination. Apart from logical reasons, such as drinking more water than usual, these reasons could be behind it as well.
If you have an intact female dog who is urinating more than usual she might be pregnant. The growing fetuses take up a lot of space in her stomach and leave very little space for urinary bladder filling. As you can guess this leads to frequent urination.
The alternative is that she’s entering the breeding session. Namely, the estrous cycle and hormone levels can lead to increase urination.
This is applicable on intact male dogs who urinate frequently. He might be marking his territory as a response to a female dog entering in the breeding season. Other reasons could be behind it as well, such as other animals in the yard.
This is a natural dog behavior and isn’t something that indicates physical problems.
This is most likely a psychological problems causing the dog to compulsively drink a lot and urinate frequently as a result. Even though the exact reason behind this ”habit drinking” is unknown it’s believed that stress or boredom are causing it. Providing a lot of exercise and games could help.
If your dog has eaten something toxic to dogs, for instance chocolate, it can cause frequent urination. Other signs of poisoning are drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and hyperexcitability.
After having read about the various reasons that could be behind the urination problem, naturally you ask yourself how to determine which one is your dog’s case.
Determining The Cause
First of all, when you notice that your dog is urinating more than before, try to establish if something has changed in it’s daily routine. If you can’t think of anything different, like changes in diet, it’s time to explore other options.
In order to establish a diagnosis behind the frequent urination you have to take your dog to the vet as soon as you notice that something is wrong. By measuring water intake and urination output your vet will determine the true levels of the two.
Standard tests include a complete blood count, a urinalysis and X-Ray in order to rule out or confirm the diagnosis behind polyuria. Other symptoms, besides urination, will be taken into consideration.
Collecting a urine sample by yourself can save you both time and money. Here’s how you do that:
How To Collect A Dog Urine Sample
- Wear rubber gloves in order to avoid getting urine on yourself
- Slide a clean aluminium plate beneath your female dog
- Use a clean glass container to collect urine if you have a male dog
- Take the urine sample to the vet as soon as possible, not later than two hours after, as urine changes with time and temperature
Frequent urination is not an uncommon problem and can happen due to many different reasons. Unfortunately, it can be a sign that something is wrong as well. If you’ve noticed that your dog has to go more than before, you have to try to determine the cause behind it.
Sometimes it can be something harmless, like marking the territory or due to heat and a lot of water intake. However, if you notice more symptoms beside the urination you should take your dog to the vet in order to diagnose the cause and to prescribe the proper treatment.
This is not pleasant for you or for your dog, we know, but don’t despair – this is something most dog owners go through at some point. The important thing is to determine the cause and proper treatment will help!
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