Bladder Infection (Cystitis) or Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) describes the condition that harmful bacteria found their way from outside the urinary opening into the bladder (and soon thereafter to the kidneys).
Other sources of Bladder Infection are ingesting stale food or infested water, or stones or a tumor in the bladder.
Who Suffers Bladder Infections
All dogs can get several Bladder Infections during their lifetime if you don't make use of the avoidance measures below.
Therefore the seemingly many reported cases of German Shepherd Bladder Infection or German Shepherd UTI seem simply be due to the fact that there are so many German Shepherds, compared to other breeds.
Typical warning signs of a Bladder Infection are:
- Sudden excessive water consumption (same weather and exercise level)
- Strain when urinating and/or urinating only small amounts at a time
- Urinating at unusual times or with unusual frequency (more often or less often)
- Urinating in inappropriate places
- Loss of appetite
- Fatigue, listlessness, and lethargy
- Foul smelling urine
- Blood in the urine
- Tender lower stomach area
While if your dog seems to lose the ability to relieve, you must make an emergency visit to the vet, or the dog could die within hours!
Preventing Bladder Infections
The following measures can help to prevent Bladder Infections:
- Make sure that your dog is drinking ample amounts of fresh water each day, in hot or cold weather!
- Ideally, take your dog out to urinate after a maximum of three hours (a puppy until 6 months of age after 60 minutes) to prevent the build-up of bacteria in the bladder.
- At night, when the metabolism is down, after a maximum of six hours can be sufficient
- Allow for sufficient varied exercise. For a German Shepherd at least 2 to 3 hours varied outdoor exercise each day - this will also help to stimulate the bladder
- Avoid that your dog is wading through or even swimming in standing waters that may be infested with bacteria - even a slow-flowing river is safer than a pond
- Take your dog under an outdoor shower after exercise, play, or walk in the countryside, after swimming, etc: As a rule, if any fluid or substance reached the lowest body opening, a more intensive shower is required
- Use a pH-neutral natural dog shampoo, and carefully apply this in circular movements, sparing all body openings incl. the eyes and ears
- At the end, clean the bladder exit (and also the anal area, but with a separate washcloth), and finally apply a strong antiseptic spray around both body exits, using a new piece of washcloth each time
- Don't bathe your dog too often, a quick weekly shower is much better, time-wise too.
Note that even IF you go to that length(?) and adhere to all these avoidance measures, there is no 100% guarantee to prevent Bladder Infections altogether: read again above, the "Other sources of Bladder Infection" you cannot prevent.
However, number 1 and 2 alone seem to avoid over 90% of all conditions of Bladder Infections. So ensuring that the dog always gets to drink a lot and relieve frequently to flush out bacteria and toxins goes a long way to prevent UTI.
Do I myself do all the above with My German Shepherd?
Of course I don't, no. Personally I am not concerned about UTI for My German Shepherd because:
- the dog is unlikely to get (m)any infections of any kind in life: the immune system is in top form because
- Miguel is a male dog - though with females I've had no issues either
- and the dog got neutered as a puppy, as is healthiest despite what you read on all those modern for-the-money "blogs".
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