Many factors can contribute to a urinary tract infection developing in your pup, including underlying diseases, bladder stones and the migration of bacteria into the urinary tract. One of the ways to treat and prevent these painful infections for your pooch is to increase his water consumption. Generally, any type of water that's safe for human consumption is useful for keeping your pup well-hydrated and UTI-free.
More Water Means Fewer Urinary Tract Infections
Water helps to keep your pup's urinary tract free of bacteria and from any bladder stones. Urinary stones can form due to a urinary tract infection, which changes the pH of your pup's urine, or can form without an infection present and actually cause one by irritating the inside of the bladder. Increased consumption of water helps to wash away the bacteria in the urine and keep it at a more neutral pH, preventing the formation of stones in the bladder. Different types of stones form in acidic urine or alkaline urine, but water helps to prevent all types of stones by keeping the urine dilute and free of the minerals that can result in stone formation.
Hard, Soft and Distilled Water...Oh My!
According to the Locust Valley Veterinary Clinic, it's most important that your pup's water is clean, fresh and free from harmful contaminants. Hard water is safe for pups, but may contribute to the formation of silica stones in the urine, warns the Whole Dog Journal. Distilled or softened water may be a better option in areas with hard water. However, distilled water is free of all minerals and electrolytes, which won't hurt your pup, but may not provide him with those that he needs to stay healthy. Water softened with salt, rather than potassium chloride, may contain small amounts of sodium, which isn't desirable for pups who tend to have calcium oxalate stones, according to the Bichon Frisee Club of America.
Keeping Things Moving
Give your dog fresh water, which is available to him at all times. While bottled or filtered water isn't necessary to prevent urinary tract infections, your pooch may prefer it because it tastes good. This is true especially if you live in an area where the water contains sulfur, which can make the water smell and taste unpleasant. Our canine companions also prefer moving water, so keeping a pet fountain around may encourage Fido to drink more water. Some of these fountains even contain charcoal filters to keep the water clean. While walking your pup, carry a bottle of fresh water for him to drink from along the way.
Make Fido's Water as Appetizing as His Food
If your pooch simply refuses to drink more water, try adding some low-sodium beef or chicken broth to it. This will flavor the water and make it tastier to your pooch, tempting him to drink more. Some pups may even like their water cool and refreshing, especially in warmer weather, so add a few ice cubes to Fido's bowl. Keep your pup away from puddles, toilets or stagnant bodies of water, which could contain harmful pathogens or chemicals that can make him sick. Regularly change Fido's water one to two times each day so it's always fresh and appetizing for him.
- Locust Valley Veterinary Clinic: What Kind of Water is Best for Your Pet?
- The Whole Dog Journal: Treatment and Prevention of Kidney and Bladder Stones
- Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice -- Canine Uroliths: Frequently Asked Questions and Their Answers
- Bichon Frisee Club of America: Urinary Stones And Crystals
- The North American Veterinary Conference -- 2007: Bacterial Urinary Tract Infections
- MayoClinic.com: I'm Trying to Lower My Sodium Intake. How Much Sodium Does a Water Softener Add to Tap Water?
- U.S. Geological Survey: Water-Quality Information -- Frequently Asked Questions
- Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images