Dogs, be they male or female, should be able to urinate without any problem. In case you notice your dog is having difficulty urinating such as only a small amount of urine coming out, you should take them for a veterinary check-up.
Additionally, a dog trying to urinate more often than usual could be having problems passing out urine. Do not ignore the signs but instead visit your nearest veterinary clinic.
So, what could be the reason your dog keeps trying to pee but only drops come out. Below are seven common causes and the signs you should be on the lookout for.
Why your dog keeps trying to pee but only drops come out
A dog straining to urinate where only drops come out can be caused by a urinary tract infection, bladder stones, urethral stones, tumor, or spinal cord injuries. A disease of the prostate gland can also cause urinary obstructions but only in male dogs.
Let’s have a look at each of the causes one at a time.
1: Urinary tract infection
Urinary tract infection is the most common cause of urinary obstruction in dogs. A dog with an infection of the urinary tract will display a frequent need to urinate because every time they try to pee only a small amount comes out. Severe cases lead to urinary retention, which can be fatal if you do not take your dog to the vet.
Male dogs are more prone to urinary tract infections than females because they have a longer urethra that becomes narrower as it approaches the penis. The narrowing of the urethral canal can make things worse, especially if urethral stones develop.
2: Bladder stones
Urinary bladder stones can be the reason your dog keeps trying to pee but only drops come out. Small bladder stones can still pass out of the body through urine, especially in female dogs because they have a short and wider urethra.
Large bladder stones that are too big to leave the bladder through the urethra remain in the bladder. This can result in infection and potentially partial obstructions. The more bladder stones remain in the bladder, the more a dog will be in pain when trying to pee.
3: Urethral stones
Sometimes small bladder stones become lodged in the urethra after a dog urinates. The more stones remain in the urethral canal the narrower the canal becomes. Over time this makes it painful when your dog is urinating because the urethral canal is too thin to pass urine from the bladder.
4: Urinary tract obstructions
Apart from cancer tumors, bladder stones, and urethral stones, other obstructions along the urinary tract will definitely make it hard for your dog to pee. They include blood clots, urethral strictures (narrowing of the urethra), and accumulation of minerals, scar tissues, and lesions.
5: Cancer of the urinary tract
Although less common, cancers of the bladder, urethra, and ureter do occur in dogs, which can cause urinary drainage problems. Transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) is the most common cancer of the urinary tract in dogs.
Tumors and cancers anywhere along the urinary tract can cause secondary bacterial urinary tract infections that make it hard for the dog to comfortably pee. Tumors cause urinary obstructions blocking the passage of urine.
If left untreated for long, TCC can metastasize to the lungs and lymph nodes causing more health complications for your dog. That’s why it’s important to catch it as early as possible.
6: Enlargement of the prostate gland
This only applies to male dogs because female dogs do not have a prostate gland. In male dogs, the prostate gland surrounds the urethra just near the bladder opening. When the prostate gland becomes enlarged, a condition called prostatomegaly, it squeezes the urethra causing an obstruction.
Severe prostatomegaly closes off the urethra entirely as it passes through the prostate gland, which results in a partial urinary obstruction. The enlargement of the prostate can be caused by a prostate tumor. The condition is common in older unneutered dogs but older neutered dogs can still experience the same but with less frequency and severity.
7: Spinal cord injuries
Injuries to the spinal cord can lead to urinary and fecal incontinence or retention in dogs. This largely depends on how severe the injury is and its location along the dog’s nervous system.
Signs of urinary obstruction in dogs
Signs of urinary obstruction in dogs include:
- Whining or crying when urinating
- Frequent urination
- Trying to pee but only drops come out
- Trying to pee but nothing comes out
- Blood in the urine
- Frequent vomiting
- Lack of appetite
- Lethargy of disinterest in physical activities
You should seek veterinary help for your dog if they are having difficulty peeing because the inability to urinate will lead to a build-up of toxic waste in the bladder, and this can be life-threatening if it occurs for an extended period.
FAQs about urinary obstruction in dogs
Let’s now have a look at a few frequently asked questions about urinary obstruction in dogs.
a). Why does my female dog keep squatting but not peeing?
If your female dog is trying to pee but nothing is coming out, the cause could be a urinary tract infection, bladder stones, urethral stones, urinary tract obstructions, cancer of the urinary tract, spinal cord injuries, or enlargement of the prostate gland (only in male dogs).
b). Why is my dog peeing little drops?
A dog peeing little drops is a sign of urinary obstruction. This may be caused by a urinary tract infection, bladder stones, urethral stones, urinary tract obstructions, cancer of the urinary tract, or spinal cord injuries.
c). How do I stop my dog from struggling to pee?
If the cause of urinary obstruction is an infection, your veterinarian will recommend antibiotics Urinary alkalinizers or acidifiers may be administered depending on the dog’s urinary pH. The vet can also prescribe medications to relax the bladder and urethra as well as recommend more intake of water.