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Uva Ursi useOur ongoing series on herbs for dogs continues with this look at uva ursi.

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.

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. It also aids in treating urinary tract infections because of its high quantity of hydroquinones, which work as chemical compounds against a variety of pathogens.

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Therapeutic Uses

Uva ursi’s leaves and twigs are used to create decoctions and tinctures.

It 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.

  • As mentioned, uva ursi is an effective treatment for urinary tract infections.

Using it requires an alkaline reaction, which means that it should be paired with other antibacterial herbs to do the job. In lieu of combining it with other herbs, urine should be elevated to a healthier pH state before using uva ursi as a treatment option for infections  Avoid using with high acid supplements such as cranberry which will have a negative effect how well this herb works.

  • In any case, uva ursi can still 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 using uva ursi for dogsto the kidney if used in large doses.
  • To use to fight urinary tract infections, make a decoction from fresh or dried leaves and/or stems. You can purchase quality dried uva ursi through Starwest Botanicals. I use them a lot. Click here to  see what they offer.  Directions using dried herbs for dogs with 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. Dosage: dosage should be one teaspoon of decoction daily for a maximum of three days. That should prevent any kidney problems from arising.
  • Capsule dosage: I don’t have any actual dosage of capsules. If you want to use capsules, you will most likely have to adjust the human dosage. One vet (Dr. Marie over on just answers) suggested giving one and half or two times the human dose.  Or, you can try this tablet form made for dogs and crush it if necessary. Here’s a link to a company on Amazon.

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.

Reasons to Use

Uva usri is a solid treatment for urinary tract infections, as we’ve mentioned, and it’s generally safe to use within the dosage recommendations listed above.

*Note: Avoidance of long-term use is a must, but over the short-term this is a quality herb for dogs.


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

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  • Heather

    I have a year dog female boxer and I think she might have a UTI. I have Uva Ursi capsules and wanted to know the dosage I could give her

    • janie knetzer

      Hi Heather:
      So sorry for the delay. I was out of town. Anyway, I think you’re best bet is to purchase a formula already formulated for dogs so that you get the correct dosage. Here’s a tablet form you may be interested in. You may be able to crush it if necessary.


  • Alan Husic

    I have a nearly 11yr old staffy with repetitive UTIs & thickening of the bladder wall,i have found uva ursi in tea form/tea bags & was wondering if it would be benificial & safe to give her for her disorder? Any advice or assistance would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

    • yourolddog

      Hi Alan:

      Can I ask if your girl has been checked for any kind of obstruction such as a tumor? Typical factors for bladder wall thickening are fungal and bacterial infections, bladder & urinary stones, polyps and tumors.

      Also, what type and brand of food do you feed? Do you include any supplements for your old girl? Do you use chemical flea and tick products on her? Do you vaccinate often?


  • doro schinella

    Hi Janie, I just found your website! Great. I have a 106 lb., 10 1/2 spayed Newfoundland who was dx’d with Cushing’s disease in July of 2015. I am managing this pretty successfully with herbs from Pet Alive (Cushex Drops-S). She has always been prone to UTI’s and recently this is becoming a big issue for her. She has an “outie” for a vulva and currently it is swollen and red. I keep her hair short around that and use baby wipes and Desitin daily; she also gets 1-2 tsp of D-Mannose powder daily. I also use MalAcetic HC wipes on her. She just finished a round (successfully) of Baytril (Feb. 13, 2016 start date) but I am fearful she may need to do more. I hate to keep her on antibiotics but will probably need to take in a urine sample in the a.m. (March 14, 2016). Do you have any suggestions that might help? (Additionally she has L1-7 Spondylosis with neuro compromise so is on Neurontin (Gabapentin 300 mg. 2x a day and Ultram (Tramadol 50 mg. 2 tabs 2x a day. Thank you, doro schinella

    • yourolddog

      Hi Doro:

      I’m glad you found us and I’m glad you like our site too! I’m sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I’m sharing my ideas for naturally treating a Cushings disease in dogs.

      Can you tell me what kind of diet your old girl eats? Are you giving her any vitamins, supplements, probiotics, etc. Doro? Dogs with Cushings are unfortunately predisposed to calcium oxalate bladder stones. I would definitely avoid a dry food diet, if you aren’t already doing so and consider raw or partially raw anyway along with some home cooked or The Honest Kitchen. This is highly recommended for dogs with Cushings. Include lots of meats and lots of well cooked steamed veggies.

      I’m wondering if she has some allergy issues? I wouldn’t be surprised Doro. The diet should help along with the supplements. I would use Rehmannia 14 if you can find it for kidney function and Cushings. I offer Rehmannia 8 here on my site Doro. I would also look into using Lignans which can be very helpful for dogs with Cushings. You can also include Melatonn. I would keep her on the Pet Alive or consider the products that I recommend here on my site for managing Cushings: Bio Preparation F3, Daily Multi and Adrenal Calm.

      You can also consider Acupuncture which I love.

      I hope this helps Doro. If you decide to use my ideas, would you mind stopping back and letting me know how things go with your big old girl. 🙂


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