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In this lesson, we'll be going over some common urinary problems you might experience with your pets and what you should do if you notice the signs and symptoms.

Your pet's urinary habits are another thing you should be monitoring at home. And why are these habits important? Yes, that's right; because getting to know what's normal for your dog or cat is important for understanding when something is not normal and when swift action should be taken.

When Your Pet is Having Trouble Urinating

In situations where your pet is straining to urinate, you may notice some discoloration – red or browned colored urine. This is often combined with frequent trips outside or to the litter box.

This could indicate a lower urinary tract problem, such as a urinary tract infection or stones.

Warning: In situations where your pet is straining to urinate but cannot seem to produce any urine, this could indicate a potential life-threatening emergency and veterinary care should be sought immediately.

If you notice that your cat is in and out of the litter box frequently or is yowling while trying to urinate, this could be a sign of a problem.

Pro Tip #1: Male cats have an increased risk for developing lower urinary tract obstructions. If you have a male cat, consider monitoring him more closely for any signs and symptoms of a urinary tract problem.

Signs of a urinary problem can come on quickly and seemingly out of the blue. These include, in addition to those obvious signs we've outlined above:

  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Abdominal pain

That last sign is something you may feel rather than see, depending on how much fur your pet has. It will usually feel like a firm swollen area around your pet's midsection.

If you notice any of those signs and symptoms, especially when accompanied with the obvious signs of a urinary problem, you should seek veterinary care immediately.

When Your Pet is Urinating too Frequently

On the other hand, difficulty urinating may not be your pet's problem. However, urinating too frequently can also be a problem.

When we say urinating too frequently, this includes frequent trips outside or to the litter box or a normal number of trips but combined with producing a larger than normal volume of urine.

Urinating more than normal can indicate a serious illness like diabetes or Cushing syndrome, also known as hyperadrenocorticism. Cushing syndrome is an extremely complex condition that involves many areas of the body. It results from an excess of cortisol and its effects on the body. Cortisol is the body's main stress hormone.

Pro Tip #2: It might not always be easy to monitor your pet's urinary habits, so also look for signs that your pet is drinking more than usual. Animals with frequent urination will also have an increased thirst.

If you notice that your pet is drinking more, it's really important that you don't attempt to limit access to drinking water. This could lead to dehydration and more problems.

Alternatively, if you notice your pet is urinating more frequently – asking to go outside more or more trips to the litter box – pay attention to how much water your dog or cat is drinking. This information may be helpful for your veterinarian should you need to bring your cat or dog in for an evaluation.

While increased urination is not usually life threatening, always remember to check your pet's vital signs for any other abnormalities. And always remember to ask yourself how your pet is otherwise doing, feeling, and behaving, and if any of that is out of the ordinary. If you do notice other abnormalities, this is a good sign of trouble and you should see your veterinarian as soon as possible.

However, if you do not notice any other abnormalities – meaning your pet is doing otherwise fine – consider making an appointment to see your vet so your pet can be evaluated at a later time. And continue to monitor the situation.

Have you ever wondered why your dog lifts his leg to pee or why your dog will sometimes pee a little when she gets excited. Well, we have the answers to those two questions if you click on the links above.