Pollakiuria in Dogs: What Owners Need To Know

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A small dog looks up at its owner after peeing on a tile floor in its house

Dr. Erica Irish author of Pollakiuria in Dogs

Urination is one of the primary means by which dogs can excrete toxins and waste products from their body. Most dogs fall into a routine when they go out for walks to go to the bathroom, and they are apt to stick to a routine. But if your dog suddenly needs to go outside to urinate more often, this may indicate that there is a problem! 


What is pollakiuria in dogs?

Pollakiuria is a term that refers to an increased frequency of urination. This is different from polyuria which is an increase in urine volume. Dogs with pollakiuria may ask to go outside more, or it may be so severe that they end up having urinary accidents inside of the house!


Causes of pollakiuria in dogs

Pollakiuria is more of a symptom than a diagnosis itself, and it can be caused by many different things. One of the most common causes is cystitis or inflammation of the lining inside of the bladder. Infection, crystals, and bladder stones can cause this kind of inflammation. In severe cases, the inflamed bladder wall can start to bleed and you might start to see redness or blood in your dog’s urine. Inflammation can also make your dog very uncomfortable, and he may constantly feel the need to urinate. This is why dogs who urinate frequently seem like they are straining even when no urine is coming out.

Tumors and polyps can also form in the bladder or in the urethra, the tube that connects the bladder to the outside of the body. These may not cause discomfort unless they are quite large, and they can definitely bleed which causes red-colored urine. The presence of tumors and polyps can also increase the risk of urinary tract infections, as can hormonal disorders such as Cushing’s disease and diabetes mellitus. Kidney disease, liver disease, and the use of certain medications can also contribute to pollakiuria.


Signs of pollakiuria in dogs

When looking for signs of pollakiuria, you may notice your dog indicating to go outside and use the bathroom more. He may also have accidents in the house because he is unable to control his bladder. He may posture to urinate for a very long time and you may not see any urine coming out. If he does urinate, it may appear to be dribbling in small drops. 

It is difficult to distinguish pollakiuria from a urinary obstruction. When there is a bladder stone or a tumor or polyp present in the urethra, it can plug it up and cause a physical obstruction. When dogs are not able to urinate, this can cause toxins to build up in the kidneys and the bloodstream, both of which can be life-threatening. For these and other reasons, you will need to make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible to rule out a urinary obstruction, which is a medical emergency. 


Treatment

Treatment will be based on findings from various diagnostics. Your vet will recommend collecting a urine sample to look for signs of bacteria, crystals, and blood cells. In cases with lots of bacteria or with dogs who frequently have urinary tract infections, a urine culture is necessary to determine exactly what kind of bacteria is present. X-rays are also useful because they can help rule out certain kinds of bladder stones. In cases with very large bladder stones, your vet may be able to feel them when palpating your dog’s bladder. Blood work is also recommended to make sure that your pup doesn’t have kidney problems. And if a tumor or polyp is suspected, abdominal ultrasound or contrast studies can help to find them. 

If your dog has a urinary tract infection, antibiotics can help with treatment. Certain medications can contribute to cystitis, and so these may need to be decreased or discontinued completely in some cases. Very small bladder stones like struvites may be able to be dissolved by certain therapeutic or prescription diets, but large bladder stones or stones that are not struvites cannot be dissolved with diets. Thus, surgery is necessary to remove them. This is especially true for male dogs because they have longer urethras than females and are therefore more likely to have a urinary obstruction from small stones. 


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Mitigating the issue at home

There are numerous studies that discuss the benefits of glycosaminoglycans like glucosamine and chondroitin. These ingredients are common in joint supplements and can provide a mild anti-inflammatory effect. Best of all, they can form a protective layer on the inside of the small intestines and the urinary bladder. This is particularly useful for dogs (and cats) with recurring cystitis and pollakiuria.

There are few studies that discuss the benefits of turmeric or CBD oil in dogs, and most focus on their anti-inflammatory properties for dogs with arthritis. But anecdotal evidence suggests that they may help doggy patients with bladder inflammation as well.

While your pup is dealing with pollakiuria, it is best to try increasing his walking frequency. Not only will this help to mitigate accidents, but it will also satisfy your dog’s urge to go to the bathroom. Also, it will prevent bacteria and crystals from sitting inside the bladder for too long.

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Pollakiuria can be very uncomfortable for your dog, and it can strain your relationship with him if he is having accidents inside the house. It is best to get him tested for a urinary tract infection as soon as you notice the signs, especially since there may be a different underlying cause than you initially imagined!


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Meet The Author 

Dr. Erica Irish - Author of Pollakiuria in Dogs

Dr. Erica Irish

Erica has worked in the veterinary field since 2006, starting out as a veterinary technician before graduating from the UF College of Veterinary Medicine in 2013. As a general practitioner in an animal hospital, she has many interests and is especially interested in dermatology, cardiology, internal and integrative medicine