How to Tell if a Puppy Has a UTI

A puppy with a UTI may urinate inappropriately in your home.
Puppy image by Daria from

Infections of a puppy's urinary tract result from the presence of bacteria in the urethra and bladder, and lead to inflammation and pain for the puppy. The most common cause of a UTI in a puppy is the migration of bacteria from the puppy's feces into the urethra. Because a puppy's immune system is still developing, this makes the likelihood of bacteria causing an infection higher than in an adult dog. Watch your puppy for signs of a UTI. These infections can spread to other parts of the body, and they require immediate diagnosis and care from a veterinarian.

Step 1

Inspect your puppy's urine when he empties his bladder. If the urine appears dark, cloudy or bloody, he likely has a urinary tract infection. Blood in the urine indicates the presence of red blood cells, caused by irritation of the bladder.

Step 2

Smell your puppy's urine; if you notice a foul odor, bacteria are likely present in the urine, indicating a UTI.

Step 3

Observe your puppy's behavior while he urinates. If you notice that he is straining to urinate but produces little to no urine, or cries out in pain when he urinates, there may be a urinary tract infection and possibly the presence of struvite crystals in the urine. The presence of bacteria in the urinary tract can lead to the formation of these crystals, which block the urethra, preventing the puppy from urinating. The crystals further irritate the bladder, worsening the infection.

Step 4

Look around your home for urine stains. Although young puppies may not be fully housebroken, if you notice that your puppy appears to be urinating in your home more frequently than he was previously, especially in small amounts, this can indicate a urinary tract infection.

Step 5

Monitor the amount of water your puppy drinks. If you notice that the dog has begun to drink water frequently, resulting in your having to refill his water dish, the dog might have a urinary tract infection or other kidney issue.

Step 6

Weigh your puppy on a pet scale. His weight should stay steady or increase while he grows. If you see that your puppy is losing weight and acting lethargic, your pup likely has an illness. When weight loss and lethargy occur with other symptoms of a UTI, such as straining to urinate or blood in the urine, a puppy most likely has a urinary tract infection.

Step 7

Take your puppy's temperature using an ear thermometer. This type of thermometer works when you place the heat-sensitive tip into the dog's ear canal and hold it there for several seconds to register his temperature. A dog's normal temperature is usually between 99.5 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit; a puppy's temperature prior to 4 weeks of age will be lower, between 96 and 100 degrees, according to If you notice that your dog has a fever and is licking his genitals, this can be indicative of a urinary tract infection.


  • A puppy with a urinary tract infection requires veterinary care to prevent the infection from spreading to other parts of the dog's body, such as his kidneys. At the first signs of a possible UTI, bring your puppy to a veterinarian to have a urinalysis; this procedure tests a sample of the puppy's urine to evaluate it for signs of bacteria.


  • A black light can help you locate urine stains.

  • Keep your puppy in hygienic conditions, free of feces, which contain bacteria that can lead to urinary tract infection.

  • Puppies under 4 weeks old require manual stimulation to eliminate with a wash cloth or paper towel. When cleaning up after your young puppy defecates, wipe feces away from the urethral opening.

  • While usually caused by bacteria, urinary tract infections in puppies can also result from a fungus.

  • Prevent urinary tract infections in your puppy by providing him with fresh water at all times and taking him outside to urinate three to four times during the day.

Items You Will Need

  • Pet scale
  • Dog ear thermometer



About the Author

Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.

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