Urine Odor in Dogs

By Lisa McQuerrey

Your dog’s strong-smelling urine could be the result of something simple, such as a food she ate, or something more serious, such as an infection or disease. If you notice your pup “dribbling,” straining, urinating in small amounts or experiencing an ongoing strong odor, make an appointment to see your vet. Fast intervention can eliminate pain and discomfort and prevent the risk of an infection traveling to other parts of the body.

Types of Urinary Problems

Canine urinary tract problems include bacterial infections, obstruction, incontinence, hormonal imbalances or even an underlying condition such as diabetes or cancer. Older females are more prone to urinary issues. The things your dog consumes can lead to changes in urine smell and color. Some medications and over-the-counter supplements also can impact the way urine smells.

Urinary Tract Infection

In addition to strong odor, other signs of a urinary problem include blood-tinged or cloudy urine, pain or difficulty when voiding, licking the urinary opening and going to the bathroom in inappropriate spots. Your dog may be lethargic, run a fever or develop gastrointestinal distress. Left untreated, a urinary tract infection can turn into an infection of the renal pelvis, called pyelonephritis of the kidneys, Seek immediate medical attention to diagnose and treat the problem.

Canine Diabetes

Dogs older than 7 have a higher incidence of diabetes, which has a symptom of urine leakage. This can lead to frequent bladder infections and incontinence, which in turn, change the odor of your dog’s urine. Other signs of diabetes include increased water consumption, weight loss and sweet-smelling breath. Obesity can exacerbate the condition.

Urinary Diagnosis

Your vet likely will take a medical history, ask about the foods your dog eats as well as the medications and supplements she’s on. He’ll conduct a urinalysis to test for infection and possibly order blood tests. A sonogram or X-ray of the bladder may be used to look for blockage, bladder crystals or tumors that could be inhibiting normal urination and causing urine odor.

Treatment Options

Treatment will depend on the cause of the odor. Your vet may prescribe an antibiotic for infection or give your dog a medicine to help decrease the acidity of her urine. If food choice is the suspected culprit, your vet may recommend a dietary change. Anti-inflammatories will be used to reduce pain and swelling. You’ll probably be advised to increase your dog’s water intake. In the case of obstruction or tumor, surgery may be indicated.

Odor Removal

Removing the smell from your dog’s urine means treating her health condition. Removing the smell from your rugs, furniture or other places she may have accidentally “gone” is important to prevent against her re-using the spot again for a future bathroom. For best results, use an enzymatic cleaner to break down and eliminate the urine altogether.