Common Bacterial Infections in Dogs

Tuesday, August 9, 2022 10:41:36 AM America/Los_Angeles

Being outdoors exposes our fur babies to plenty of health risks, and bacterial infections just happen to be one that our canine companions experience frequently. While some bacterial infections are easily treatable, others can be persistent or even fatal if left untreated. Read on to find out more about the kinds of bacterial infections that dogs frequently encounter and the symptoms of each. 

Photo by Conner Baker

Urinary Tract Infections

UTIs, or bacterial cystitis, is commonly experienced by canines and humans alike. This painful condition is caused by bacteria in the urethra. Dog pawrents may notice increased urination, leaking, and resistance to peeing in pups with UTIs. Treatment typically involves antibiotics and a follow-up at the vet to make sure that the antibiotics have done their job successfully. 

Ear Infections 

Ear infections are no short supply when it comes to our furry companions. They’re especially common in floppy eared-canines, whose ear canals tend to breed bacteria more quickly. Luckily, dog pawrents who groom their pets regularly are likely to catch these types of infections early on as they’re easily visible during routine cleaning. In addition, behaviors such as excessive scratching and head shaking or discharge and odor are clear cues that there’s something amiss in a dog’s ears. 

Skin Infections

Pyoderma is the name of the most common bacterial skin infection encountered by dogs. Pyoderma can affect either the surface of the skin or deeper layers of the skin. In either case, hair loss, redness, and pus-like discharge can be seen. Speak with your vet to see which grooming products shouldn’t be used and to find out if there are any products that can help soothe itchy, irritated skin. 

Kennel Cough

Kennel cough–named after the location where canines commonly get this infection–is caused by the bordetella bacteria. Kennel cough comes with many of the symptoms of a common cold such as a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, low fever, and lethargy. While bordetella is unlikely to cause serious health problems, dogs that frequent kennels or doggie daycare should take necessary precautions to minimize getting this pesky infection. 


This scary sounding condition is a blood infection that is the result of coming in contact with the Leptospira bacteria. Typically, animals get infected via certain bodies of water (e.g. ponds, sewers, swamps) or by being in contact with the urine of an infected animal. Fever, diarrhea, and jaundice are some of the more visible symptoms, but leptospirosis can lead to death if untreated, as it can cause kidney failure or liver damage. Dogs suspected of having lepto should be given medical attention immediately and kept away from other pets and humans until a vet has made a diagnosis. 

Is your fur baby recovering from a bacterial infection? Use an indoor pet potty while your dog recovers! A pee pad like Bark Potty is just what your pooch needs–real bark offers a taste of nature while they heal up indoors.