uva ursi for dog uti

Safely Using Uva Ursi for Dogs

We often use Uva ursi for dogs that are battling a UTI and have blood in the urine. It’s pretty amazing herb, especially for dogs who battle frequent urinary tract infections.  It’s a natural diuretic known for its ability to cleanse the kidneys.

It’s main medicinal use include its antiseptic, astringent and diuretic properties. Uva ursi is notable because of the large amount of tannins it contains (up to 40 percent). Because of this property, it is one of nature’s finest astringents.

What makes it so good at treating your dog’s urinary tract infections is its high quantity of hydroquinones, which work as chemical compounds against a variety of pathogens.  This is an herb meant for short term use only.

Therapeutic Uses

Uva Ursi’s leaves and twigs are used to create decoctions and tinctures and can be found at most herb retailers, while nurseries that have native plants should also carry it for planting if that’s up your alley.  DO NOT COMBINE WITH CRANBERRY DUE TO CRANBERRY’S ACIDIC NATURE.

Uva Ursi works by maintaining the urine’s pH balance from becoming too acidic.  It’s a good herbal choice for general maintenance when trying to maintain a dog’s healthy pH. However, your dog’s urine should be elevated to a healthier pH state before using uva ursi as a treatment option for infections since it loses its potency from high amounts of acidic urine.

This herb is good for mild infections with not too much acid in the urine, but for stronger infections, consider using D Mannose to eliminate the infection first and then return to using Uva Ursi for general maintenance.  You can easily check your dog’s pH by using pH strips that you can buy in most pharmacies.

A dog’s normal pH is roughly 6.5 – 7.0. When your dog has a low pH level, this means he has a lot of acid in the urine which isn’t good.  A slightly higher alkaline or higher pH is good (7.1).  Again Uva Ursi works best at the first sign of infection. 

  • Uva ursi is an effective treatment for urinary tract infections. Because of its alkaline reaction, you should always pair this herb with an herb such as Echinacia which you can read more about here. Echinacia contains strong antibacterial properties.  Uva Ursi can also be combined nicely with Corn Silk which you can read more about here. Or, you can use a product such as Primalix Number 1 which contains both Uva Ursi and Echinacia as recommended. 
  • Uva Ursi is an excellent choice if your dog has blood in the urine.  It can be used to help stop bleeding due to its astringent properties. It can also reduce inflammation in the urinary tract, but it is a strong herb and can do damage to the kidney if used in large doses and long term. Uva Ursi is typically used in acute circumstances for infection when no kidney or liver disease is diagnosed.
  • MAKING YOUR OWN DECOCTION WITH FRESH OR DRIED HERBS: You can purchase dried Uva Ursi through Starwest Botanicals here if you like. They offer quality dried herbs.  Directions for using Dried Uva Ursi for UTI’s: Use one cup of dried herb for every three cups of water. The leaves are impervious to water, so you won’t be able to make a tea out of it. Please use our herbal dosage guide at the link below and use the recommendations under “tea” based upon your dog’s weight.
  • Dosage: See our complete herbal guide here on how to dose your dog using herbal remedies.

Preventative Measures

According to some sources, uva ursi can “inhibit oxygen delivery to the uterus. Because of this caution, it should not be used by nursing animals or puppies.

And again, long-term use should be avoided (like with many astringent herbs) because of potential irritation of the kidneys, bladder and urethra.  Do not use longer than 5-7 days at a time.

Uva Ursi may affect the effectiveness of certain sythetic medications used for liver disease.

In humans, it’s recommended that uva ursi be avoided for those with eye problems such as lattice degeneration which thins the retina. Uva ursi contains a chemical that can thin the retina, so avoid if this is a problem. 

Can cause nausea and digestive disturbances.

Reasons to Use

Uva usri is a solid treatment for mild urinary tract infections, as we’ve mentioned. Follow the recommendations above for stronger infections. 

Uva Ursi History

The full name of this plant is Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, but we’re going to go with the shortened form for obvious reasons. 

This plant is circumpolar and is largely found in northern latitudes and higher altitudes the further south you get. You can typically find uva ursi in forest clearings, where it is located throughout the northern third of the United States, Canada and Europe.

Uva ursi blooms from April through June and its fruits develop in the middle of summer. The fruit is a red berry that looks like a tiny apple, but its leaves and twigs are really what’s relevant here.

References: Herbs for Pets by M.L. Wulff-Tilford and G.L. Tilford, Natural Remedies for Dogs and Cats by CJ Puotinen

Article last updated 4/17/21