When it comes to objectively pleasant odors, dog pee doesn't exactly make the list for most people. Urine definitely has a distinct smell, and while few would consider it to smell "good," healthy urine isn't necessarily "bad" smelling. If you notice that your canine's urine is smelling foul or stronger than usual, it could be an indicator of a health issue that isn't so easy to spot by comparison. A strong urine smell in dogs can often be attributed to infections of the bladder or kidneys, and should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
Strong urine smell in dogs
One of the most common causes of bad or strong-smelling urine in dogs is a urinary tract infection, which is a fairly common bacterial infection that is easy to treat once it's been diagnosed, says VCA Hospitals. Other common symptoms of urinary tract infections in dogs is straining to urinate, crying or whining while peeing, peeing only a very small amount despite a frequent urge to use the bathroom and, in some cases, blood in the urine. Diabetes in dogs can also be a reason why your dog pee smells bad, thanks to the bacterial content found in the urine, says The Veterinary Health Center at the University of Missouri.
An untreated urinary tract or bladder infection can lead to problems with the kidneys, which may also result in dog pee that smells bad. An infection of this sort is known as pyelonephritis of the kidneys, which is a bacterial infection that can lead to pain, fever, and vomiting when left untreated, according to Merck Veterinary Manual. Finally, dehydration can lead to dark colored or foul-smelling urine in dogs, so be sure to keep plenty of fresh water available for your dog, and contact your veterinarian right away if your canine is no longer interested in drinking water.
Side effects of medication
While health issues are often the reason why a dog's pee smells extra strong, sometimes, medication your dog is taking to treat a medical problem, be it urinary tract related or not, may be why her pee smells like that. According to Unity Point Health, sulfonamide antibiotics, like Bactrim, can cause a strong odor in urine, as can sulfa drugs used to treat conditions like diabetes and arthritis, which aren't uncommonly prescribed to many older dogs. Additionally, certain vitamins and supplements can also lead to a strong pee smell or brightly colored pee, as can pregnancy among female canines.
Reducing urine odor
If your dog has frequent urinary tract infections, urinary crystals, or bladder stones, you may need to adjust their diet. A diet that can help with reducing urine odor and lead to better health is one that is low in purine, which can help reduce hyperuricosuria in dogs, a condition that often leads to bladder or kidney stones, according to a 2017 study by BMC Veterinary Research. Less protein and calcium, and more B vitamins can also help.
Providing plenty of fresh, clean water may help kidney or bladder stones pass, as well as flush out the urethra, and ideally, any bacteria along with it. If your dog's urine is staining your fabrics, furniture, carpet, or even your yard, treating indoor areas with an enzyme cleaner can reduce or eliminate odors. For outdoor spaces, soaking the affected area with water, white vinegar, and baking soda may reduce smells.
- VCA Hospitals: Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs
- Veterinary Health Center: Diabetes
- Merck Veterinary Manual: Pyelonephritis in small animals
- Unity Point Health: What causes urine to smell bad?
- NBCI: Evaluation of dogs with genetic hyperuricosuria and crate urolithiasis consuming a purine restricted diet