Why Is My Dog Unable To Urinate?

James Glover
by James Glover
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QuestionMy 8 year old female Weimaraner is squatting to urinate for the last day and nothing is coming out the majority of time she is squatting. Should I be concerned? Is this a sign of something serious? (will mac - California)


Dogs can sometimes go some time without needing to urinate, and owners should be familiar with this as nothing to worry about. However, your dog is behaving as if she needs to urinate but is unable to - which is a completely different and often dangerous, and sometimes fatal, situation. When a dog is unable to urinate, your dog needs to be taken to your veterinarian without delay.

In serious cases, the dog's urethra is actually physically blocked, inducing a great deal of comfort and pain, and creating a medical emergency. A dog's urethra can be blocked by a Bladder Stone, which is a tiny crystalline particle that forms in the urinary system. Difficulty in urinating due to a Bladder Stone may be accompanied by blood in the urine, and excessive licking of the genital area. In dogs where a Bladder Stone is blocking the urethra, immediate surgical intervention is required. Although rare, a dog's urine flow can also be disrupted by a tumor in the urinary tract or it's vicinity. Only a thorough veterinary examination can determine the exact cause of the blockage.

Other reasons why your female dog might have difficulty urinating include a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), in which the muscles of the urinary tract spasm and prevent the flow of urine (see the Related Links below for more information), and weakened bladder muscles. Generally weakened bladder muscles affect young dogs with a congenital condition, and old dogs that have lost strength from their bladder muscles. In these cases, urine flow will have gradually decreased over time and should not prevent itself as a sudden onset symptom.

The most common reason that non-neutered male dogs have difficulty urinating comes in old age, when the prostate gland enlarges around the urethra and slows the urine flow. In younger dogs, infection of the prostate can have the same effect.

In summary, if your dog has a gradual decrease in urine flow, or is finding it gradually more difficult to urinate, then she is probably suffering from an infection or the symptoms of old age. However, if your dog suddenly stops being able to urinate, you must take your dog to your veterinarian immediately.

Disclaimer: This service is meant to provide advice only and is not meant to replace an appointment with a registered veterinarian. Users should always seek a second opinion. Unfortunately we are only able to answer several questions per week so not everyone gets a published answer. And, unfortunately we can't answer by email.
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