Does your dog suffer from urinary tract infections every now and then? Are you looking for natural remedies or preventive measures for urinary tract infections in dogs? Well, a urinary tract infection is caused due to the growth of pathogens in any part of the urinary tract.
More often than not, certain strains of bacteria emerge as most common causal pathogens for such infections. No wonder antibiotic therapy is most commonly used for treating such infections. Pet owners, must, however, look for ways to prevent such infections.
Well, cranberry juice has long been used for preventing urinary tract infections in humans, and many dog owners seem to believe that the use of cranberry pills for dogs suffering from recurring urinary tract infections may help in lowering the incidence of this infection. Given below is some information on how cranberry pills may help in preventing urinary tract infections in dogs.
Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs
A urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when disease-causing agents find a way into any part of the dog's urinary tract. Though the urinary tract comprises kidneys, ureters, bladder and the urethra, it is the bladder that is commonly affected by the bacterial growth. Such bladder infections are medically referred to as cystitis.
Dogs with a compromised immune system are definitely more likely to suffer from UTI. UTIs are more common in female dogs, but can affect the male dogs as well. Escherichia coli, Enterococcus, Klebsiella, Streptococcus, Staphylococcus and Enterobacter are some of the bacteria that commonly cause UTI in dogs.
When bacteria enter the urethral opening and move up into the other parts of urinary tract and start multiplying within, the environment of the bladder can no longer stay sterile. Dogs affected by bacterial overgrowth in the bladder are most likely to experience pain and discomfort while passing urine. Loss of appetite, fever, foul urine odor or pus/blood in urine are some of the common symptoms of UTI in dogs.
Can Cranberry Pills Help in Treating Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs?
Since UTI is mainly caused due to proliferation of bacteria in the urinary tract, anything that may prevent the growth of bacteria will definitely lower the incidence of UTI. Cranberry juice has long been used for preventing UTI in humans.
Research has revealed the effectiveness of cranberry juice for the treatment of urinary tract infections. While humans can drink cranberry juice, it would be best to give chewable cranberry tablets to pets. However, do remember to consult a veterinarian about the right cranberry pills dosage for dogs.
Though the dosage mainly depends on the weight of the pet, and a 400 mg tablet can be given daily for a dog that weighs about 20 pounds, only the veterinarian understands the condition of the pet, and can inform you about the right dose.
These days, dietary supplements that contain cranberry extract along with other herbs that curb bacterial growth in the urinary tract are easily available in the markets. So, you can buy a cranberry supplement that has received good reviews.
Various studies have been conducted to understand how cranberry may prevent one from contracting a UTI. Well, it is believed that cranberry contains many organic acids that alter the pH of the urine. It creates an acidic environment, which curbs the growth of bacteria, thereby lowering the risk of UTI.
Some studies have revealed that cranberry is rich in proanthocyanidins, which are tannins, that prevent bacteria from latching onto the lining of the bladder or any part of the urinary tract. At times, UTI may occur if bladder stones block the flow of urine, thereby encouraging bacterial growth. It is believed that the acids present in cranberry prevent the minerals present in the urine to crystallize into stone-like deposits.
Thus, use of cranberry supplements for dogs can also help in preventing bladder stones. Cranberry pills are not a substitute for antibiotic therapy, and cannot help in treating such infections. However, giving cranberry pills will surely make them less susceptible to such infections in future.
Though there is no harm in giving cranberry pills to dogs with UTI, you must remember that cranberry pills alone cannot help in treating UTIs. Excess of anything is bad, and that holds true for cranberry pills as well.
An overdose can make your pet susceptible to diarrhea or bleeding, so, adhere to the dosage given on the label or consult a veterinarian. Recurring UTIs could also be indicative of certain diseases, and if your dear pet often suffers from bladder infections, it would be best to get your dog examined.