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Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs, Cats – Natural Remedies


In this article…
  1. Symptoms, Signs That Your Dog, Cat May Have a UTI;
  2. Causes of UTI;
  3. Natural, Herbal, Nutraceutical Treatments for UTIs 
    1. Step 1 – Topical Treatment
    2. Step 2 – Ingested Treatment
    3. Step 3 – Add Herbs to the Diet
    4. Step 4 – Improve Your Dog’s, Cat’s Daily Diet 
If you catch the infection early you can treat your dog’s, cat’s urinary tract infection (UTI) – also known as bladder infection, using natural, fresh food, herbal and homeopathic remedies. 
1.0 Symptoms, Signs of a UTI
While not all dogs will show outward signs of UTI, many dogs, cats will exhibit one or more of the following indicators…
  • Sudden onset of frequent urination…every 5, 10, 15, 30 minutes and/or the ongoing need to frequently urinate;
  • Urination in inappropriate and not-in-character/non-typical places, i.e. your bed, his/her bed, the couch, the stairs, etc.
  • Drinking more water than usual;
  • Fever
  • Lethargy;
  • Traces of blood in the urine
  • Painful urination – dog, cat is crying or straining when attempting to urinate.
2.0 Causes of UTI
2.1 Overgrowth of Bacteria

An overgrowth of bacteria in the urinary tract is the most common cause of UTI…

  • Bacteria thrive in an alkaline environment;
  • The urine passed by a healthy dog normally has a slightly pH level;
  • A healthy pH level for most dogs is pH 6 to 6.5 if the dog is on a well-balanced species appropriate diet;
  • Dog’s and cat’s are evolved to eat real meat – not processed dry dog food. Unprocessed real meat makes urine slightly acidic thus creating an environment that is not friendly for  overgrowth of bacteria.
2.2 Species Inappropriate DietSpecies inappropriate diets are a very common cause of UTI…

    • Commercially manufactured dry dog and cat food is not a species appropriate food for multiple reasons…
      • Dogs and cats are not evolved to eat and thrive on:
        • Dry processed food that: 
          • Lacks moisture;
          • Has been processed…
            • Heated at very high temperatures and double cooked;
            • Has lost most its beneficial amino acids, enzymes, micro-organisms etc.
            • That contains multiple toxic ingredients such as chemical based preservatives and food colouring
            • Inflammatory ingredients – gains, sugar, chemical preservatives, etc.,
            • Genetically modified foods (high in pesticide residue etc.); 
            • and other inappropriate ingredients such as powdered cellulose which is wood pulp;
            • In-fact and most shocking the bulk of veterinary prescribed dry dog and cat foods are a perfect example of foods that cause UTIs – you can see why here.

 

  • A vegan diet that is not supplemented with enough vitamin C.
2.3 A Predisposition for UTI can be Further Enabled by…
  • An acquired habit of holding urine – i.e. dog, cat does not get enough and regular opportunities to urinate;
  • Insufficient access to fresh, clean drinking water;
  • Some medications, prolonged use of specific medications;
  • Transfer of bacteria from the anus to the urethra;
  • Transfer of bacteria from lying down on a contaminated surface, and;
  • UTIs are often caused when bacteria, fungi or parasites find their way into the bladder or uretha. As female dogs and cats have shorter urethras they are more vulnerable to infection via surface contaminates.
  • A toxic load.
When a dog’s or cat’s urine becomes more alkaline the following conditions may occur…
  • Bacteria overgrowth;
  • Cystitus (inflammation of the bladder due to bacteria overgrowth);
  • Urinary Crystals and Stones:
  • Alkalinity can cause minerals that should be flushed out of the bladder to instead settle in the bladder;
    • The mineral molecules may then form crystals;
    • The mineral-based crystals are sharp particles that move around in the bladder scrapping the bladder lining which may result in inflammation of the bladder;
    • In addition the crystals can bond together to form bladder stones.
UTIs can occur…
  • In the lower urinary tract;
  • In the bladder, or;
  • In the kidneys.
Left untreated UTI can be a very serious condition which can cause serious and life threatening problems. Your veterinarian can perform a urinary analysis test, x-ray etc. to verify the issue is UTI and not bladder stones.
The conventional allopathic treatment for UTI is antibiotics or antimicrobial drugs. 
  • Overuse of antibiotics is a huge health risk for your dog and cat;
    • When your dog or cat is on antibiotics his/her immune system is suppressed leaving your dog and cat vulnerable to a host of other issues;
    • As well, the more times a dog and cat is on antibiotic the greater chance of the dog’s, cat’s system acquiring an immunity to antibiotics – a potentially life-threatening situation.
If you catch the UTI in its early stages and/or the infection is not extremely severe you can use natural DIY remedies to treat the infection…
3.0 Natural, Herbal, Nutraceutical
Treatments for UTIs

To treat the symptoms, remedy the condition and prevent re-occurance the best approach is a holistic one comprised of several strategic steps which work together to remedy the situation without conventional drugs that will further suppress the immune system and cause adverse side effects. 

These four steps should be implemented together…

Step 1 – Topical Treatment to Stop the outward and inward Spread of Bacteria;
Step 2 – Ingested Treatment to Reduce Inflammation and Kill Bad Bacteria;
Step 3 – Add Herbs to Food at Meal Time;
Step 4 – Improve Your Dog’s, Cat’s Daily Diet

Step 1 – Topical Treatment
 
Bath your dog using the following rinse – this will help to flush out bacteria that might otherwise invade your dog’s urinary tract.
Lemon can be used in combination with greet tea and organic apple cider vinegar as a highly effective cleansing and disinfecting rinse. An excellent alternative to commercially made pet shampoos which can be full of toxins and carcinogens. Just as you would with commercially made shampoos – make sure you avoid getting the lemon juice cleansing rinse in your dog’s, cat’s eyes. Do not use undiluted ACV on broken skin as it will sting.
To make the rinse:
  • Steep two or three bags of green tea;
    • Allow the tea to cool to room temperature;
  • Add the juice of a fresh lemon to the cooled tea;
  • Add the lemon-tea mixture to 4 litres/1 gallon of room temperature water;
  • Add 2 tbs of organic, unfiltered, apple cider vinegar;
  • Use the resulting liquid to bath your dog. You can choose to just cleanse your dog’s underside and under his/her tail, or bath your dog’s, cat’s entire body;
Step 2 – Ingested Treatment, Choose One
of The Following Options
Option One – Lemon, Cranberry, Orange and ACV

 


Mix the following together in a bowl:
  • Fresh lemon juice from the juice of 1 lemon (you can also add some minced lemon pulp from the lemon if desired);
  • Warm water to equal the amount of lemon juice;
  • Add the following to the lemon juice/warm water mixture:
  • 1 tbs of frozen or fresh crushed cranberries;
  • A few slices of orange (cut into small pieces or minced, don’t use whole uncut sections);
  • 1 tsp of organic unfiltered, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar;
  • 1 tsp of raw, unpasteurized honey drizzled over top of the other ingredients;
  • If your dog will not eat the mixture as is, you can mix-in a piece of fatty fish, chicken or meat.
  • If your dog does not have kidney or gall bladder stones, liver problems and/or is not pregnant or lactating you can also add:
    •  1 tbs of finely chopped fresh parsley, or:
    •  Parsley water (recipe and dosage as described in this article).
Give this treatment to your dog twice a day until the infection clears. If the infection does not clear-up in the space of a day or two get your dog to a veterinarian.
Option Two – Grapefruit Seed Extract
 
The benefits of Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) were first noted in 1972 by physicist Dr. Jacob Harich who observed its broad spectrum use as an antibacterial and antiviral remedy. You can read more about Dr. Jacob Harich and the history of GSE here.
  • Grapefruit seeds contain active ingredients that are:
    • Anti-microbial;
    • Anti-fungal;
    • Anti-bacterial;
    • Anti-inflammatory and more. 
  • Grapefruit seed extract is known to be excellent for treating internal diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, it is used topically to treat and remedy skin diseases, external injuries and fungal infections. 
University of Georgia researchers found that GSE is an effective antiviral, antifungal and anti-parasitic agent for fighting many viral and bacterial infections, including E. coli.
Additional findings have proven that GSE is a highly effective treatment for:
  • 800 bacterial and viral strains;
  • 100 strains of fungi, and;
  • A multitude of single and multi-celled parasites. 
  • GSE is also an immune system booster. It contains:
    • Hesperidin (a bioflavonoid), well known for its potent immune system benefits;
    • Vitamin C, Citric  Acid, sterols and multiple additional antioxidants that aid the immune system’s ability to battle infections.
Grapefruit Seed Can be Administered Two Ways
  • Pulverized seeds can be used as an ingested treatment sprinkled on top of food;
  • Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) drops can be mixed into the food.
Dosage:

Liquid GSE:
  • Minimum dosage – 0.5 drops per every kg (per every 2.2 lbs) of body weight;
  • Maximum dosage – 10 to 15 drops per every 10 lbs of body weight 3 times a day;
Pulverized GSE:
  • 8 mg per every kg (per every 2.2 lbs) of body weight.
Give this treatment to your dog, cat twice a day until the infection clears. If the infection does not clear-up in the space of a day or two get your dog, cat to a veterinarian.

Interactions…

  • Immunosuppresent drugs;
  • Cholesterol lowering drugs;
  • Antihistamines.
Option Three – Juniper Berries

Can be used in combination with option two or three above

Juniper berries are harvested from the coniferous juniper which grows as a bush or medium height tree – a member of the pine family. Juniper berries are safe for most dogs and cats when used in moderation as directed below.  My German shepherd x Siberian Husky ‘Sarah’ likes juniper berries so much that she picks them herself – I keep an eye on her to ensure she does not consume too many!

  • Dry crushed powder;
  • Tea – infusion;
  • Tincture – use alcohol-free only;
  • Supplement – capsule;
  • you can also make your own concoction of uva-ursa… 
To make your own Juniper Berry Tea

  • Steep 20 berries for every cup of water;
  • Use a tea pot or pot with a lid to preserve the volatile oils;
  • Only steep for 5 to 8 minutes to preserve the volatile oils;
  • Use the tea sparingly…
    • Daily Dosage –
      • Small dogs and cats should have no more than 1 tbs a day;
      • Medium size dogs should have no more than 1/8 cup a day;
      • Large dogs should have no more than 1/3 cup a day.
  • Only use until the issues clears and do not use for more than 4 weeks at a time.
Read this article for more information including cautions, side effects and drug interactions.
Option Four – Uva Ursi

Can be used in combination with option two or three above

Also known by the name: Arberry, Bearberry, Beargrape, Hogberry, Mountatin Cranberry, Rockberry, etc. Uva Ursa is a very effective herb for fighting off urinary tract infections. It can be used as a tincture, tea or concoction.

Uva-Ursa is available in the following forms:
  • Dry herb;
  • Tea – infusion;
  • Tincture – use alcohol-free only;
  • Supplement – capsule;
  • you can also make your own concoction of uva-ursa… 
Uva-ursi Concoction Recipe
  • You will need – 
    • The dried herb (leaves of the uva-ursa);
    • Distilled water.
  • To make the Concoction:
    • Steep 1 part dry herb to 3 parts water,
    • Allow to cool to room temperature before giving it to your dog.
  • Dosage: 
    • 1 tsp of the concoction daily for a maximum of 3 days.
Cautions
Do not give uva-ursi to:

  • Puppies;
  • Pregnant or lactating dogs or cats;
  • Dogs or cats with a condition of thin or thinning retinas.


Interactions

  • Lithium

STEP 3 – Add Herbs

While your dog or cat has a UTI supplement their daily diet with a one or two herbs (from the list below) to help fight the infection and boost the immune system. Below the following list of herbs you will find a herbal dosage chart -based on your dog’s or cat’s weight. You can also purchase holistic pre-blended tintcures of these and other herbs specifically for treatment of UTIs.

Cats Claw

Safe to use daily as a dietary supplement for most dogs and cats.

    • Health Benefits

The list of health benefits for Cat’s Claw is extensive – you can read about it here.

  • Can be used in dry herb, dry powder, pill/capsule, tea and tincture.
  • Cautions…
    • If your dog or cat as lupus or leukemina do not use cat’s claw;
    • If your dog or cat has low blood pressure using cat’s claw may further lower blood pressure.
  • Drug Interactions…
    • Medications changed by the liver;
    • Medications that are moved by pumps into cells;
    • Medications that decrease the immune system – i.e. corticosteriods medicines such as cyclosporine, prednisone.

 Golden Seal

 

Safe to use daily as a dietary supplement for most dogs and cats.

  • Health Benefits – partial list…
    • Golden seal is an herbal plant that contains the chemical berberine;
    • Berberine is:
      • Antibacterial;
      • Antifungal.
  • Can be used in dry herb form or tincture.
  • Cautions…
    • If your dog or cat is pregnant or lactating don’t use golden seal as an ingested supplement;
    • Don’t use golden seal as an ingested treatment for new-born puppies or kittens.
  • Drug Interactions…
    • Cyclosporine;
    • Medications changed by the liver;
    • Medications that are moved by pumps into cells.

Licorice

Safe to use as a dietary supplement for most dogs and cats.
  • Licorice has been used for centuries as a medicinal herb to treat a wide variety of issues. The medicinal properties are derived from the root of the licorice plant. Licorice is an effective, fast acting anti-inflammatory which can completely replace or greatly reduce the need for corticosteroids.
  • The chemical glycyrrhizin is the active anti-inflammatory agent in licorice. Glycyrrhzin is and anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. 
  • The anti-arthritic actions of licorice is comparable to that of hydrocortisone – the difference is that licorice does not suppress the immune system – hydrocortisone does. 
    • Licorice does not interfere with corticosteroid drugs therefore licorice can be used as a supportive adjunct as it has a strengthening effect which allows for lower doses of corticosteroids. This is important for dogs in long-term therapies as the serious debilitating side effects of steroid drugs may be mitigated by taking lower doses. Licorice can also be used to wean the dog off of steroids safely.
Preparation and Dosage
  • Licorice is naturally sweet and has a flavour that most dogs enjoy;
  • You can use licorice to mask the less favoured taste of other herbs that your dog may need to ingest but not like the taste of;
  • Use a low-alcohol licorice root extract (alcohol should represent 5% to 10% of the total volume of the tincture); 
  • Dosage
    • Tincture – 12 to 20 drops per every 20 lbs of body weight two times daily.
    • Tea – 24 to 40 drops per every 20 lbs of body weight two times daily.
    • Don’t use for more than 2 weeks at a time – unless your veterinarian has instructed otherwise.
    • If you must use for more than two weeks make sure that you add dandelion to the diet so that increased potassium requirement is met and elimination of excess sodium is enabled.
  • Cautions
    • Do not give to a pregnant or lactating dog.
  • Side effects…
    • As noted further above.
  • Drug Interactions…
    • Licorice may interfere with blood thinning drugs;
    • Medications changed by the liver;
    • Medications for high blood pressure;
    • Diuretic drugs.
Slippery Elm Bark
 
  • Safe to use daily as a dietary supplement for most dogs and cats.
  • Use dry powder or supplement form.
  • The powdered bark has a very agreeable scent.
  • Slippery elm contains astringent tannins that sooth and reduce inflammation, reduce swelling and heal tissue. Helps to heal internal and mucosal tissues;
  • When added to water the powdered bark creates a soothing mucilage (a thick water-based solution) which can be used to moisten and sooth. The powder can be mixed into your dog`s or cat`s food with some added moisture – I use homemade stock or puree – chicken or meat based, and/or fruit or vegetable based.

 

  • Cautions…
    • Use moderation when giving slippery elm to a pregnant or lactating dog or cat
  • Side Effects…
    • None
  • Interactions…
    • Slippery elm contains a soft fibre called mucilage which can decrease how much medicine the body absorbs. Ingesting slippery elm at the same time that an oral mendicant is taken can decrease the efficacy of the medication;
    • To prevent this interaction administer the slippery elm at last one hour after giving ingested medications.
Milk Thistle

Also known by the name: Carduus marianus, Silybum mariamum, Silybum, Silybin, Silymarin, Silymarine, St. Mary’s Thistle, Marianus, Marianum, Our Lady’s Thistle, etc.
Milk thistle is an herbal plant that is thought to have originated in the Mediterranean regions – today it can be found growing wild in many places around the world including North America.  .
Milk thistle has been used in traditional herbal medicine for thousands of years – its recorded use dates back to the 1st century. Over the centuries milk thistle was used for many ailments including disorders of the liver, kidney, spleen.
Medicinal Properties of Milk Thistle
The healing properties of milk thistle come primarily from:
  • The seed (the fruit) of the milk thistle that contains silymarin;
    • Silymarin:
      • Is a flavonol (antioxidant) that protects the liver from oxidation;
      • Blocks hepatotixic substances from crossing cell membranes – acting to protect the liver from toxic substances;
      • Stimulates cell regeneration. 
      • Silymarin:
        • Is stored in the liver where it contributes to regeneration and protection of the liver;
        • Which also in-turn works to protect the immune system and metabolism. 
Milk Thistle can be used in various forms:
  • Dry powder;
  • Liqued;
  • Tea – infusion;
  • Tincture – use alcohol-free only;
  • Supplement – capsule, pill;
  • Or as part of a silymarin phosphatidylcholine complex,
  • (Also sold in combination with dandelion and other herbs)
For more information on milk thistle including dosage, cautions, interactions – read here.


General Guideline…
Daily Herbal Intake Based on Dog’s or Cat’s Weight
 

Dog’s, Cat’s Weight
Dry Powder
Tea or Infusion
Capsule,
Tablet, Pill
Tincture
pounds (lbs)
tsp
tbs
amount
times/day
amount
times/day
drops
times/day
1-10 lbs
1/16 –
1/8 tsp
1/8 cup
1x to 3x
1/2
1x to 3x
1 –
3
1x to 3x
10-20 lbs
1/8 tsp –
1/4 tsp
1/4 cup
1x to 3x
1/2 –
1
1x to 3x
3 –
5
1x to 3x
20-50 lbs
1/4 tsp –
1 tsp
1/4 cup –
1/2 cup
1x to 3x
1 –
2
1x to 3x
5 –
10
1x to 3x
50-100 lbs
1 tsp –
2 tsp
1/2 cup –
1 cup
1x to 3x
1 –
2
1x to 3x
20
1x to 3x
+100 lbs
2 tsp –
1 tbs
1 cup
1x to 3x
adult
human
dose
1x to 3x
adult
human
dose
1x to 3x
 

 

STEP 4 – Improve Your Dog’s Cat’s Diet
If your dog or cat suffers from chronic UTI you need to change your dog’s or cat’s diet…
  • Remove all grain from the diet;
  • Use only good source protein – organic is best: meat, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, etc.
  • Use carbohydrates from nutritionally dense foods such as sweet potatoes, squash.
  • Add nutrient rich whole foods such as steamed or frozen/thawed veggies (i.e. carrots, broccoli, cauliflower) and fresh fruit high in vitamin C as discussed in this article;
  • The best diet is a well balanced, grain-free, toxin-free:
    • Raw-food diet, or;
    • Homemade cooked (recipe here) supplemented with fresh food diet;
      • This homemade food recipe also provides you with a run down of the essential immune system supporting supplements that you will need to add to the daily diet – including digestive enzymes, probiotics and omega fatty acids;
    • If you must feed commercial processed dry or wet food make sure you know how to select a better product – don’t assume you know – must people, even those that think they know – do not!

About Karen Rosenfeld

My name is Karen Rosenfeld. I am an holistic diet nutrition health and wellness practitioner for dogs and cats. I am an holistic behaviorist for dogs. I offer a wealth of real-time, real-life experience. 30 years working and living with dogs and cats. Companion animals are my life, my work, my passion. Maintenance of Health Health Issues and Conditions Custom designed whole food diets, raw and cooked. Recommendations for commercial whole food diets. Consultations available worldwide via FaceTime, FaceBook video and voice, Skype, Phone and email Recommendation and specification of... Species Appropriate: Whole foods Treats Herbs Alternative medicines Supplemental foods Treatment and Remedy Holistic Behaviorist Services for Dogs Include: Obedience Training Behavior Modification Psychological Rehabilitation In-person Sessions Sessions available worldwide via FaceTime, FaceBook video and voice, Skype, Phone Affiliations to Companies None. I don’t sell food or supplements. I am NOT aligned with any companies. I prefer to select best solutions for my individual clients’ situation. My client services are available around the world. 🇺🇸USA 🇨🇦Canada 🇬🇧UK 🇦🇺Australia 🇪🇺Europe 🇨🇷Costa Rica and other Central American Countries 🇦🇪United Arab Emirates 🇸🇪Sweden and other Scandinavian Countries 🇸🇬Singapore and other Countries in Asia etc. Consultations and Sessions 📧Email: karen@ottawavalleydogwhispererer.ca 📞Phone: 1-613-293-3707 📱FaceTime 📱FaceBook video or voice 💻Skype 📖Holistic Wellness eBooks custom designed to suit 🚶In-person Sessions only available in Ontario, Canada.

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7 comments

  1. Hi Karen! My dog has an UTI, I gave her your treatment for about a week and it helped but, it was not totally clear. She is 13 yrs old so I took her to the vet and they put her on Clavamox. I give her a probiotic, which they said she didn’t need (yeah right)! This is my question, can I still give her Sovereign Silver and leaf of oregano oil while takinf the antibiotic?

    I really enjoy your website, thank you for all of the useful information that you share.

  2. Hi,
    I have a boxer prone to UTI’s and yeast infections. We have tried many medications from the vet, and starving the yeast with a protein diet. Which of the above would you recommend to be the most effective? Are there any preventative measures we can take once it clears? She’s on Pet Kelp Probiotic now too. Thanks

  3. It’s me again, Jackie. I also bought licorice in capsules. They are 450mg. How much should I give my two dogs, 8 lbs and 12 lbs? Thanks again.
    Jackie :)

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