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Dysuria (Trouble Urinating) in Dogs

By: Dr. Mary Anna Labato

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Dysuria is defined as difficult or painful urination. It is characterized by straining to urinate, frequent attempts at urination, and evidence of discomfort when urinating. Discomfort may be demonstrated by crying out during urination, excessive licking at the urogenital region or turning and looking at the area.

What to Watch For

  • Straining to urinate
  • Frequent attempts at urination
  • Blood in the urine (hematuria)
  • Excessive licking at the urogenital area
  • Passage of only small amounts of urine
  • Vocalization when attempting to urinate
  • Inappropriately urinating (in the house)
  • Unproductive urination (no urine passed)


    Causes of dysuria include a number of different conditions including:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • A stone in the urethra
  • Bladder stones
  • Urethritis (inflammation of the urethra)
  • Masses (tumors) in the bladder or urethra
  • Stricture (narrowed area within the urogenital tract)
  • A neurologic problem resulting in increased urethral tone or decreased bladder tone


    Treatment will depend upon the underlying cause of the problem. It may require:

  • Antibiotics to treat infections
  • Surgery to treat stones or a stricture
  • An anti-inflammatory dose of steroids to treat inflammation

    Home Care

    Administer as directed any medications prescribed by your veterinarian. Observe your dog's urination patterns. Make sure urine is being passed in adequate amounts. Observe your dog's general activity level, appetite and attitude.

    Make sure your dog has plenty of water and has frequent opportunities to urinate. Follow dietary recommendations of your veterinarian.

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