If your dog is suffering from frequent urination in small amounts, you are likely concerned about your dog and wondering what is happening.
If you happen to own a puppy or a young dog, you may be concerned that her potty training is regressing, and that you are back to square one.
Before getting upset and rolling up your sleeves to start polishing up your dog's potty training skills, a trip to the vet is a must.
The medical term to depict frequent urination in small amounts is pollakiuria, and affected dogs are likely to be suffering from a medical problem requiring veterinary case and treatment.
An Urge to Urinate
In a normal, healthy dog that has been successfully potty trained, urination is a conscious act that is under voluntary control.
If your dog is peeing frequently and in small amounts, there are chances that your dog has a strong urge to urinate that is difficult to keep under control.
The medical term for this is "urge incontinence." In urge incontinence, the dog develops a sensation of fullness and therefore a need to urinate more frequently, but in small amounts.
The affected dog, in other words, can no longer wait as long as before in between potty trips outside.
You may therefore see your dog asking to go out more frequently that she normally does, but if the condition developed rapidly and intensely, there may be chances that your dog may not even make it in time to inform you know that she needs to go, resulting in accidents around the house.
This should not be confused with urine marking seen in untrained dogs. When dogs urine mark they tend to pee in small amounts on vertical surfaces. This explains why dogs pee on car tires, bushes and fire hydrants.
Not Under Voluntary Control
It's important to recognize that, in urge incontinence, the dog's urination is involuntary. Why does this matter?
It matters because the affected dog is not urinating out of spite, and therefore your dog is likely not purposely urine marking or regressing in her potty training skills.
A dog with urge incontinence is simply incapable of holding the urine and may show some signs of discomfort and attempts to remain continent.
If your dog has a sudden urgency to pee and is peeing more frequently and in small amounts, you therefore want to see your vet.
A Bladder Infection
Although both male dogs and female dogs are prone to developing urinary tract infections, female dogs are more likely to develop them because of their anatomy.
Female dogs tend to have a shorter and wider urethra which makes it easier for bacteria to climb up in the urinary tract and cause a bothersome infection.
For male dogs instead, the trip up is a bit more complicated, but male dogs can get urinary tract infections too.
What causes a dog with a urinary tract infection to have frequent urination in small amounts?
In this case, the infection causes a burning and itching sensation that triggers affected dogs to try to "push" the infection out by urinating frequently, explains Dr. Steve O.
On top of urinating more frequently and in smaller amounts, affected dogs may also lick their private areas more, and, when they urinate, there may be presence of blood in the urine and the urine may have strong smell.
If your dog shows these symptoms, it's best to see the vet sooner than later as urinary tract infections are quite uncomfortable and bothersome. Left untreated, they can lead to complications.
Fortunately, a bladder infection is easily treated in dogs with a course of antibiotics.
If your dog is showing these symptoms, it may be a good idea collecting a urine sample from your dog first thing in the morning.
The sample should be placed in a clean, sterile container kept refrigerated if it's over an hour old.
Presence of Stones
At times, dogs develop an urgency to urinate because they have developed crystals or bladder stones in their urinary tract.
The bladder stones traumatize the dog's bladder and cause bleeding, explains veterinarian Dr. Altman.
On top of that, dogs may develop painful urination because the stones may obstruct and interfere with the passage of urine out of the bladder and urinary tract infections may occur secondary to bladder stones.
Bladder stones, as the name implies, are stone-like formations which form as a result of minerals found in the dog's bladder.
Dogs may have a single large stone or dozens of small ones, the size of pea gravel.
Sometimes, a large stone may cause a partial obstruction, making it difficult and painful for the dog to pass urine, and the dog may yelp in pain.
As with urinary tract infections, bladder stones need prompt treatment as they can be obviously bothersome and painful.
Other Potential Causes
While urinary tract infections and bladder stones are the most common causes of dogs peeing frequently and in small amounts, sometimes these symptoms may be due to something else going in the urinary tract or nearby.
For instance, increased frequency of urination can also be seen in dogs suffering from bladder cancer, or in male dogs suffering from prostate inflammation, prostate enlargement or prostate cancer.
Conditions that cause increased drinking can also cause a dog to have a sense of urgency to urinate more frequently considering that their bladder fills up more rapidly than normal, but in this case dogs will urinate in large amounts rather than smaller amounts.
It's therefore an important piece of information telling your vet whether your male or female dog is urinating frequently in small amounts or large amounts and whether your dog has recently shown a greater interest in drinking large amounts of water.
At the Vet's Office
Your vet will likely inquire about the symptoms you have been noticing.
When did the symptoms start? What exactly are the symptoms you are seeing?
If you were able to collect a urine sample, this sample will be used to run a urinalysis.
The vet will look at the sample under a microscope and possibly send i out to a lab to do a urine culture and sensitivity test so to determine exactly what bacteria may be present.
If you weren't able to get a sample, your vet may have a technician try to collect one (free catch), or they may obtain one through cystocentesis, a procedure where a needle is inserted directly into the bladder to obtain a sterile sample.
Blood work consisting of a complete blood count (CBC) and biochemical profile can be helpful for ruling out metabolic issues or kidney problems.
Your vet may also decide to have an x-ray done to rule out the presence of a bladder stone. If bladder stones are found, it's important to find out what type they are.
In male dogs prone to prostate issues, the vet may request an ultrasound. In the case of an enlarged prostate, the vet may have a sample of fluid from the prostate taken so to detect any low-grade infections.
Treatment for dog frequent urination in small amounts varies based on the vet's findings.
Urinary tract infections require antibiotics. Bladder stones, depending on the type, can try to be dissolved with dietary changes/medications, but in some cases, they need to be surgically removed.
Inflammatory disorders may require anti-inflammatory drugs while surgical intervention may be needed if there are any tumors present.