Best Foods to Feed a Dog with UTI

Can dogs eat it

The Can Dogs Eat It Team

Best Foods to Feed a Dog with UTI
Reading Time: 8 minutes

joana garridoReviewed By Joana Garrido DVM

Urinary tract infection is a prominent urinary issue in dogs; over 27% of dogs develop this health problem in their lifetime. Managing and treating this canine ailment in its early stages is critical in preventing the development of serious health complications such as recurrent and complicated UTI with antimicrobial resistance, bladder stones, and kidney failure.

In this article, we will go through the causes, classifications, and risk factors of UTI in dogs as well as the role of diet in managing this medical condition.

What Is Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs?

UTI in dogs symptomsUrinary tract infection (UTI) in dogs commonly occurs when a dog’s external genitalia comes into contact with bad bacteria found in the external environment.

These harmful pathogens travel up to the urethra and invade the bladder wall. Once they reproduce and multiply in number, infection is underway.

While viruses and fungi can cause dog UTI, this health condition is usually brought on by bacteria. In a 2015 study, E. coli, Staphylococcus spp., and Enterococcus spp. are reported to be the most common bacterial strains found in dogs with UTIs.

Another research also found that gram-positive cocci and other bacteria, particularly Proteus, Klebsiella, Pasteurella, Pseudomonas, and Corynebacterium are responsible for several UTI cases in dogs.

2 Classifications of UTI in Dogs

Food for dogs with UTI

1. Simple Uncomplicated UTI

It refers to bacterial infections in the bladder that cause inflammation and clinical signs of UTI. Short-term broad-spectrum antibiotic treatment is enough to resolve this medical condition.

2. Complicated UTI

This term is used to describe cases of dog urinary tract infections that reoccur twice in 6 months or thrice in a year. Canines experiencing this urinary problem often require longer antibiotic treatments always based on urine cultures and antibiograms.

Recurrent UTI in dogs is typically classified into 3 types:

  • Reinfection: It is a type of recurrent UTI caused by a different pathogen than the last one.
  • Relapse: Relapsing UTI is the result of an infection caused by the same species and serologic strain of microorganisms.
  • Refractory Infection: This type of recurrent UTI, akin to relapse, is characterized by persistent positive culture results throughout treatment, without any period of bacteria elimination, despite the pathogen’s in vitro susceptibility to the antibiotics.

UTI, especially recurrent types, require immediate and thorough medical care. Otherwise, they can evolve into pyelonephritis or persistent infections.

Superinfections refer to infections with highly drug-resistant organisms that do not respond well to regular antibiotics. On the other hand, persistent infections happen when the infectious organism is always present in the body even after treatment.

Risk Factors of UTI in Dogs

Any dog can develop UTI in their lifetime. However, some canines are more susceptible to this urinary disease than others. Here are certain factors that increase the risk of UTI:

  • Gender

The incidence of UTI is more common in female dogs than males because they have shorter urethras. This makes it easier for harmful microorganisms to infect their bladder.

  • Preexisting health issues and anatomical abnormalities

Certain medical conditions such as kidney disease, Cushing’s disease, and diabetes can interfere with the urinary functions of dogs.

Conformational issues like inverted vulva also pose the same risk. These ailments thereby increase dogs’ chances of developing UTI.

  • Breed

Some dog breeds are predisposed to bladder stone formation such as:

  • Bichon Frise
  • Dalmatian
  • French Bulldog
  • Miniature Poodle
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Pug
  • Shih Tzu
  • Standard Schnauzer
  • Yorkshire Terrier

Bladder stones tend to rub against the urinary tract lining, which causes inflammation and bleeding. It becomes the ideal breeding ground for dangerous pathogens.

Most Common Symptoms of UTI in Dogs

dogs free from UTICanines that developed UTI tend to exhibit the following clinical signs:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Inappetence
  • Bloody urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Straining to urinate
  • Low urine output

If your dog is showing several of these symptoms, take him to the veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. Remember that many of these clinical signs are also present in other urinary tract problems.

By ruling out these ailments, it will be easier to find the most suitable treatment for your dog. Antibiotic therapy is the most prevalent form of treatment for UTI in canines.

What Is the Role of Food and Diet in Dogs with UTI?

As of now, there is no solid evidence that certain foods or diets can cause or contribute to the occurrence of UTIs in dogs.

However, facilitating small yet beneficial adjustments in your dog’s diet can help improve his urinary tract health and manage UTI symptoms. In short, it can aid in speeding up your furry pal’s healing process.

What to Feed a Dog with UTI?: 3 Handy Food Tips

1. Offer Your Dog Hydrating Fruits and Vegetables

10 hydrating fruits and veggies for dogs infographicOne of the most common clinical signs of UTI in dogs is an increased frequency of urination but with a low output. Ensuring sufficient water intake is crucial to prevent the risk of dehydration.

Keeping your dog well-hydrated is also essential for his renal health. It helps flush out harmful bacteria accumulating in his urinary tract.

If you are wondering what to feed a dog with UTI, think of fruits and veggies with high water content. You can add them to his meals or use them as substitutes for regular dog treats.

Here are several food options you can choose from:

Fruits and VegetablesWater Content Percentage
Iceberg Lettuce96
Green Cabbage93
Red Cabbage92

2. Feed Your Dog Fruits with Antimicrobial Properties

Berries for dogs with UTIA 2022 study shows that numerous fruits naturally produce compounds that can hinder the growth of certain bacterial strains, many of which are commonly seen in dogs with UTI infections.

Here are some of the interesting findings in the research:

  • The anthocyanins in some berries, including blueberries and blackberries, are effective against coli.
  • The malic acid produced by apricots, cherries, mangoes, peaches, and plums also prevented Coli growth.
  • Certain berries with ellagitannins, such as strawberries, raspberries, and lingonberries, show growth-inhibitory effects against Staphylococcus.
  • Other fruits such as apples, prunes, and pears contain lignans that exhibited antimicrobial activity against several bacterial strains namely Staphylococcus epidermidis, Proteus spp., and Klebsiella spp.

Aside from antimicrobial agents, the antioxidants stored within many of these fruits, especially berries, are beneficial to dogs with UTIs too.

Antioxidants have anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve the pain and discomfort that often come with this urinary problem.

3. Mix in Prebiotic and Probiotic Foods to Your Dog’s Meals

Antibiotic therapy is the most common treatment option for dogs with UTI. Although antibiotics eliminate bad bacteria in your dog’s system, it also kills off good bacteria, which are essential in maintaining strong immune health.

Including probiotic-rich foods in your dog’s meals helps counteract this side effect of the antibiotic treatment. Here are some of them:

  • Honey Made by Honeybees

Honey for Dogs with UTI

Research shows that honeybees produce honey that is enriched with different lactic acid bacteria including  L. plantarum and L. casei, which are both good probiotics for dogs.

Kefir for Dogs with UTI

Kefir is another good natural source of probiotics for dogs. According to a study, 80% of its lactic acid bacteria is comprised of L. kefiri. The remaining 20% includes the strain L. acidophilus and  L. plantarum.

  • Aged Cheese

Cheese for Dogs with UTI

Some types of soft and hard cheese such as Gouda, provolone, and Swiss cheese naturally contain probiotics. That is because live bacteria is used during the cheesemaking process to convert lactose into lactic acid.

Supplement your dog’s intake of probiotic-rich food with prebiotics. Prebiotics serve as food for the good bacteria in your dog’s digestive system. Some good examples of natural prebiotics are bananas, flaxseeds, and barley.

Does Cranberry Supplements Work on Dogs with UTI?

Cranberry supplements are one of the most popular nontraditional remedies for UTIs in dogs. Let us take a quick look at the few studies conducted about its efficacy.

Chou et al. (2016) Study

In Vivo Experiment

12 dogs with a history of recurrent UTI participated in the study’s in vivo experiment. During the time of the study, they were not experiencing active UTIs.

Half of the group was given cephalexin for 2 weeks while the other half had to take cranberry supplements every day for 4 months.

Results show that none of the participating canines developed UTIs during the study. It should be noted that there is a lack of evidence about whether or not the cranberry supplement prevented UTI recurrence.

In Vitro Experiment

Cranberries exhibited the ability to significantly reduce the adhesion of E coli. to the canine kidney cells. However, no suppression of bacterial growth was observed.

Olby et al. (2017) Study

The research is conducted to observe the effectiveness of cranberry supplements in preventing UTI in dogs with newly acquired intervertebral disk lesions.

94 canines that participated were randomly picked to receive a placebo or a commercial cranberry supplement. Every 2 weeks for 6 weeks, urine cultures were taken to check for the presence of bacteria.

Upon inspection, researchers noted that canines on cranberry supplements had a higher incidence of UTIs compared to the control group. Additionally, no difference between the groups in the proportion of infections caused by E. coli was observed.

Carvajal-Campos et al. (2023) Study

4 male and 4 female dogs were fed a diet without cranberry extracts and then given a second diet containing cranberry extracts.

According to the results, there was a significant bacterial adherence reduction from the canine kidney cells of the 4 female dogs. On the other hand, these changes were not seen in males.

Due to the inconsistent results of each study, it remains unclear if cranberry supplements can truly help treat UTIs in dogs. We recommend consulting the veterinarian before administering them to your dog.

FAQs About UTI in Dogs

dog with UTI

1. Can UTI in Dogs Heal on Its Own?

Yes, dog UTI can heal on its own if affected dogs have a strong immune system. That being said, avoid leaving this urinary issue untreated as it can cause life-threatening health complications to crop up such as kidney failure.

2. What Can You Give a Dog for Urinary Tract Infection?

Foods with high water content like cucumbers and iceberg lettuce can be given to a dog with a urinary tract infection. They help prevent dehydration while promoting the elimination of bacteria through urination.

We also suggest feeding him fruits with antimicrobial agents such as berries, apples, and apricots. Their ability to suppress certain strains found in dogs with UTI can potentially hinder the progression of the ailment.

Lastly, giving your dog probiotic and prebiotic foods is also advised, especially if he is taking antibiotics. They aid in stabilizing the gut microbiome of dogs, which is often negatively affected during antibiotic treatment.

3. Are Bananas Good for Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs?

Yes, bananas are good for dogs with urinary tract infections. They act as prebiotics, which feed the good bacteria in your dog’s system.

By keeping these beneficial microorganisms alive and well, bananas help support strong immune system function.

4. What Foods Can Worsen UTI Symptoms in Dogs?

Foods that are said to worsen UTI symptoms in dogs include:

However, there is no conclusive research that proves these anecdotal claims.


Urinary tract infections in dogs require proper attention. Untreated or improperly managed, they can lead to recurrent infections, severe health issues, and a cascade of problems including persistent infection, the economic burden of extended treatment, antimicrobial resistance, and regulatory concerns related to antibiotic use.

In conjunction with providing proper medical treatment, making beneficial changes to your dog’s diet such as feeding him hydrating food, fruits with antimicrobial properties, and probiotics and prebiotics can help hasten his recovery.

Know how to remedy various canine health problems through dietary improvements by checking our Diet & Recipes section.