Both dogs and cats can suffer from chronic bladder infections, leading to long-term use of medication and antibiotics. Toy breeds and females are more susceptible, but all dogs and cats can suffer from infection.
There are natural methods of prevention and treatment of bladder infections for pets, but it’s important to work with your veterinarian for both diagnosis and treatment. Make sure your doctor is fully informed of any natural treatments you are administering to avoid drug interaction or other complications specific to your pet. The condition should be monitored, including urine pH levels and impact on the kidneys.
Start with a Natural Pet Diet
There are both homemade and commercial diets that are intended to increase urine acidity, which creates bladder conditions that are unfriendly to bacteria. There is some concern that this acidic environment may cause oxalate stones or crystallization, but that’s thought to be offset by the benefits.
Shawn Messonnier, DVM, reasons, “Since the crystals and stones that form in alkaline urine are much more commonly diagnosed, pets with chronic stones (and cats with chronic FLUTD) would probably benefit from acidification of the urine even with the slight risk of stones forming in acid urine.”
Your veterinarian can help you formulate a healthy diet for pets prone to bladder infections. Standard diets meant to reduce urine pH will focus on animal protein, and a raw meat diet is often recommended for cats.
Nutrients thought to aid and prevent bladder infections include:
Antioxidants – Excellent sources include fish liver oil, krill, cranberries, blueberries and other berries.
Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone) – Excellent sources include sardines, sockeye salmon, and mackerel.
Probiotics – Especially important for pets taking antibiotics. You can feed a bit of plain, active yogurt or choose one of the many supplements on the market (VetriScience Laboratories Mega Probiotic for Dogs was a winner in our Supplement Awards).
Natural Supplements for a Healthy Pet Bladder
The natural supplements recommended for pet bladder health and healing are similar to those recommended for humans. Scientific proof of their effectiveness is usually based on human studies. The guidance of a holistic veterinarian is recommended for specific information, such as dosage.
Making a tincture or tea to be ingested on an empty stomach is usually recommended to most effectively treat the bladder. It’s crucial that you use fresh or high quality, gently-dried herbs for medicinal purposes. We get many of our dried herbs and essential oils from Starwest Botanicals.
The following herbs and nutraceuticals are often recommended for the treatment or prevention of bladder infections in pets. They work in various ways to treat symptoms, from antibacterial to anti-inflammatory properties, immunostimulants, mild diuretic effects, etc. If the kidneys have been harmed, avoid strong herbs that are high in volatile oils or tannins.
- Oregon Grape
- Dandelion leaves
- Uva ursei
- Maitake Mushroom
- Parsley Juice
- Seaweed links directly to the bladder meridian in traditional Chinese medicine and is effective due to the high levels of iodine and sodium chloride (not to be confused with harmful table salt), anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Cranberry Juice Extract – Most people are familiar with cranberry juice as a treatment for bladder and urinary tract infections. Pure cranberry juice can be added to homemade diets and treats, but it’s easier to use cranberry extract. Cranberry works by making the urine more acidic and also as an antibacterial.
Does your pet suffer from bladder infections? Please share your experience in the comments below.
Divingian, Catherine, PhD. The Complete Guide to Chronic Kidney Disease in Pets.
Tilford, Gregory. Wulff, Mary. Herbs for Pets: The Natural Way to Enhance Your Pet’s Life. 2009.
Cooksley, Valerie Gennari. Seaweed: Nature’s Secret to Balancing Your Metabolism, Fighting Disease, and Revitalizing Body and Soul. 2007.
Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM. Veterinary Secrets Revealed. 2nd Edition.
Messonnier, Shawn DVM. Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats: Your A-Z Guide to Over 200 Conditions, Herbs, Vitamins, and Supplements. 2001.
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