This is a painful symptom for your pet and can signal a dangerous underlying condition.
If your dogs urine is reduced to a trickle he may be straining to urinate. Many conditions can cause urinary tract problems and most are serious.
Bacterial bladder infections, which are most common in females, can make urination difficult for dogs. Bladder stones also are common, and older dogs are prone to tumors and polyps.
Infection or enlargement of the prostate gland can squeeze an unneutered male dogs urethra, preventing adequate urine flow. Bloody urine can occur with all of these conditions.
What You Can Do at Home
Monitor your pets urination habits. These serious conditions can be difficult to treat, so schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if you suspect a problem.
Offer your pet plenty of fresh water, and try feeding him canned foods they have high water content. Diluting your pets urine with this extra water may help reduce crystal and bladder stone formation. And ask your veterinarian about special diets that help prevent bladder stones and urinary tract disease.
When to Call the Veterinarian
Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if you notice your pet struggling to urinate or if he seems constipated (straining to urinate is sometimes mistaken for constipation). If your pet cant pass urine or if he experiences pain, lethargy, or vomiting, take him to the veterinarian immediately. Stones can block the urinary tract and cause bladder rupture and death. Infection in the blood from an untreated prostate infection is also a life-threatening condition. Most cases, however, clear up with prompt veterinary care.
What Your Veterinarian Will Do
The doctor will perform a thorough physical examination, concentrating on the abdomen and the urinary and genital tracts. The doctor will examine a urine sample for crystals, bacteria, blood, or white blood cells. Pets with a bladder infection and no obstruction may need a diet change or antibiotics. Your veterinarian also may recommend blood tests, urine cultures, X-rays, or an ultrasound.
Pets with urinary blockage need hospitalization and intensive care to relieve the blockage and treat the symptoms. If the doctor cant remove the obstruction by passing a catheter into the urethra, your pet may undergo emergency surgery. The veterinarian also will remove any tumors or polyps that might be causing your pets distress.
In pets not used for breeding, neutering is the preferred treatment for most prostate disorders. Neutering removes testosterone, shrinks the enlarged prostate, and resolves the straining problem. Dogs with serious prostate infections may need hospitalization to stabilize their condition before theyre neutered.
Once the doctor identifies and treats the underlying problem, your pets elimination routine will go back to normal, and hell be a happier and healthier pet.