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Help! My Dog is Not Peeing Much

Dog leaning on persons hip with paw in their hand

Inappropriate urination is often a problem for many dog owners. We have various techniques to train our pups to eliminate at the right spot, but what can you do if your dog is finding it hard to urinate? Urinary retention is an extremely uncomfortable condition for canines and can lead to a serious medical emergency. Read on to know about the causes and possible treatments if your dog is not peeing much.

Why is My Dog Not Peeing Much?

Many reasons can make it difficult for your dog to pee. All of them are equally dangerous and must be managed immediately. According to AKC, the causes of urinary retention can be divided into two basic categories.

  • Functional Urinary Retention – An organ of the body is affected, like in urinary tract infections
  • Mechanical Obstruction – Something is blocking the path of the urine, such as bladder stones

Some of the most common reasons that can lead to difficulty urinating are as follows.

Urinary Tract Infections

Border Collie with head and paws resting on a green fence board

Although these infections are more common in females canines, male dogs can also be affected. Urinary tract infections narrow the opening of the urethra by causing spasms. As a result, your dog is unable to excrete the urine out of his/her body. If these infections are not treated appropriately, they can lead to serious medical complications, like kidney failure.

Bladder Stones

Stones in the bladder and other parts of the urinary tract are very common in dogs. They are formed by the accumulation of crystals of the natural minerals that are found in the urine. Several different factors, such as genetics and decreased intake of water, can lead to these stones.

Bladder (or urinary) stones make it difficult for your pooch to pee by blocking the passage of the urine. Sometimes, these crystals can also lead to abdominal or kidney pain.  


Tan dog with graying face laying on its side

An injury to the abdominal area of your dog can also be responsible if he/she is not peeing much. Wag Walking explains that this happens because the trauma to your pup’s belly can cause uroabdomen. In this condition, the urine starts to leak into the abdomen from the urinary tract.

Other than that, the injuries affecting the spinal cord can also lead to urinary retention. This is because they can result in kidney failure, which is detrimental for your furry friend.

Enlarged Prostate

This problem is quite common in dogs that are not neutered. There are many reasons, including infections, cysts, and sex hormones, due to which the prostrate of your pooch becomes enlarged. If the underlying cause of this problem is an infection, your dog will also experience increased thirst.  

Tumors or Cancer

A tumor (abnormal growth of tissue) in the urinary tract of your dog can also block the urine’s path. Whether the tumor is cancerous or not, it can be quite serious for the overall health of your pup. If the tumor is malignant, it will lead to secondary infections that will worsen the situation even more. The most common type of urinary tract cancers (in dogs) is called Transitional Cell Carcinoma (TCC).

What to Do if My Dog is Not Peeing Much?

Jack Russell Terrier laying in the grass with its head on its paws

Once you have noticed that your dog is struggling to pee, you should visit your vet immediately. This is because you need to identify the exact reason (that is causing the problem) to start the treatment. It’s highly recommended to brief the veterinarian about the symptoms to assist him/her.

Diagnosing the Cause of Urinary Retention

The vet will start the diagnosis by performing a physical examination to see if there are any abnormalities. After that, he/she will perform a series of diagnostic tests according to his/her findings and the information you provided. The most common of these tests are listed below.

  • Blood tests
  • Urinalysis
  • X-rays
  • Ultrasounds
  • Cystoscopy
  • CT-scans

How to Treat a Dog Who is Not Peeing Much?

Husky being examined by vet on a metal exam table

If your dog is not peeing at all, the vet will sedate him/her and use a urinary catheter to empty the bladder. Maddie’s Fund explains that this will relieve the dog temporarily. It will also give the vet some time to decide the most appropriate treatment. The following are some useful methods to treat your dog if he/she is not peeing much.  

Treating Urinary Tract Infections

Normally, vets recommend a course of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicines to cure these infections. The primary purpose of anti-inflammatory medications is to make your pooch comfortable.

Treating Urinary Stones

The treatment of stones or crystals in the urinary tract depends upon their location. Web MD mentions that your vet may suggest medications, changes in diet, or surgery to remove these stones. If the stones were formed due to an infection, antibiotic medicine may also be prescribed. In some cases, the vet may also recommend a specialized diet to discourage the formation of stones in the future.

Treating Abdominal Trauma

Person administering meds by syringe  into a dogs IV

If your dog is not peeing much due to an injury, a surgery is required to address the damage. The veterinary surgeon will also give the owner a set of instructions to follow while the canine is recovering. For example, the wound must be kept dry and clean. The movement of the pooch is also restricted and he/she has to wear an E-collar until the sutures are removed.

Treating Enlarged Prostate

If your dog is not neutered, this should be the priority of the owner. Once your dog is spayed, the veterinarian may also prescribe an antibiotic to counter potential infections.  

Treating Urinary Tract Cancers

If your pup is suffering from cancer, your veterinarian will have three different treatment options, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. He/she will analyze all the factors to decide the best possible alternative. He may also require all of these treatments to cure the malignant tumors in your dog’s urinary tract. In the case of a non-cancerous tumor, surgery is the most commonly used method.

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