We think my puppy has a UTI; she's house-trained but she keeps having accidents, keeps signaling to go out but not going, and last night she peed in bed with my partner. Do we go to the emergency vet? The regular vet can't see us for a week, but I'm worried about COVID obviously. Is this a call-off-work-and-go-NOW emergency like a broken bone would be? A go-when-you-get-time emergency vet thing? Or wait-a-week-it's-fine regular vet thing?

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A UTI should be treated in a timely manner, but as with everything else, there are differences in severity.

Low severity

Your dog keeps having accidents and you're not sure why. You assume it might be a UTI and want a vet to confirm this assumption. In this case it would be acceptable to wait a week until the vet can see you.

Medium severity

Your dog shows signs of discomfort or pain while urinating or the urine looks cloudy or pink, but the dog acts normally otherwise. These are strong signs that the dog does have a mild UTI, which should be treated with medications.

In addition to the physical stress any infection causes, this is also a high risk for your dog to adapt unwanted behavior. Since urinating causes her pain, she might not want to pee in her usual spot anymore - because this spot is now connected to pain. She might soil the house more often or develop other unpredictable behaviors as a reaction to the pain she feels while peeing.

You want to start treatment very soon (preferably today or tomorrow), but you don't need to rush to the vet withing the hour.

High severity

Your dog has a fever and acts lethargic or depressed or pants even when resting. This should be treated as soon as possible to avoid the infection spreading to other organs and causing even more damage.

There's blood in the urine (pink, red or brown color), she refuses to drink or you notice that she is unable to pee all day, even after trying several times.

This is an emergency and you need to see a vet as soon as possible. A stone might be blocking the urinary tract, causing extreme pain and in the worst case kidney failure.

If the vet prescribes antibiotics, please keep in mind that your dog must finish the entire course, even if she doesn't show any symptoms anymore.

If it's possible at all, try to catch some of the urine on a plastic surface (like a transparent trash bag) and look at it. This can tell you a lot about her health. If you find any signs of a problem, collect some of the urine in a small container (like an empty glass of jam) and bring it with you when you see the vet.

Healthy urine is transparent and has either no color or a pale yellow color. If the urine is cloudy, milky, foamy or has any amount of pink or red in it, you should see your vet very soon. Here's a urine color chart for comparison. Basically anything besides yellow means "go see your vet".

Regardless of what you decide to do, I suggest you establish a ritual of letting her out to pee right before bedtime every night. She might not want to go and sometimes she might go out without peeing, but at least she got the chance. With time she'll probably get used to it and just the action of letting her out in the evening will prompt her to pee.

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    Thank you, this is very handy! We went to the emergency vet in the evening when someone could take her without dropping commitments or calling off work to do so, and she's already feeling better a few days later. Peeing more readily as well as in the right spot. Commented May 10, 2021 at 23:17

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