dog pee smells bad
Pet Health Questions and Answers

What is a Normal Urine Color for Dogs?

There’s a universal language among dog owners; a secret code if you will. We all seem to spend a disproportionate amount of time discussing our pet’s pee and poop. We talk about textures, colors, frequency, and scent. That’s all information that shouldn’t be volunteered in polite society, but we can’t seem to help ourselves.

In our defense, this isn’t necessarily just idle chitchat. Pooch parents can tell a great deal about the state of their dog’s health by their lavatorial functions, as our insights into what to do when a dog has diarrhea but is acting normally will be able to testify.

It’s not just a number two that tells us all about a dog’s condition either, though – an educated pee-watcher will also be able to gain a variety of insights every time your dog empties their bladder. This guide will talk you through the many and varied ways in which your dog’s pee can tell you how they’re feeling.

What Color Should My Dog’s Pee Be?

The first question that you should perhaps be asking is what color a healthy dog’s pee would be. The optimum shade of urine for humans is a pale straw or translucent yellow, and the same goes for canines.

If your dog is emptying their bladder in this shade, you have nothing to worry about. Keep up whatever lifestyle your dog is living – it’s working out well for them.

How about the many and varied other shades that could leave your dog’s bladder, though? We can tell a lot about a dog by the color of their water, and there are many visible signs that can be picked up by reviewing the shade.

Dog urine color chart

dog urine color chart
Dog urine color chart

  • Clear and Odorless Dog Urine means that your dog has been drinking too much water, and they are at the risk of overhydrating. Alternatively, it could mean that your pooch is experiencing problems with his or her kidneys, and are struggling to concentrate their pee. Try limiting your pet’s water intake in these instances (half-filling a bowl and topping it up regularly may help with this), and if nothing changes, capture a water sample and take it to your vet for review.
  • Bright Yellow Dog Urine or Very Dark Yellow Dog Urine suggests the opposite problem – pee of this shade is a warning sign that your dog is close to dehydration. Keep an eye on whether your dog is drinking sufficiently, and if that doesn’t seem to be the problem, make an appointment with the vet.
  • Red or Pink Dog Urine, suggesting that your dog has blood in their pee, will also need tests. At best, it will be a urinary tract infection that can be treated by a course of antibiotics prescribed by your vet, but it could be something more alarming that requires more attention – including bruising, inflammation or blood clots. Your dog could also be suffering from an infection inflicted upon them by a tick, flea or another parasite. Either way, seek the advice of a professional and purchase any appropriate medications if your spot blood in your dog’s pee.
  • Green Dog Urine is a warning sign that you need to make an appointment with a vet. If your pet’s pee is green, it’s possible that they are having trouble with their kidneys. It may just be a result of munching on too much wild grass, but there is no way that you’ll want to take a chance.
  • Orange Dog Urine is a severe situation and suggests that you should make an appointment with a vet ASAP. Pee of this color warns of a wide array of potential internal organ failures, and many further tests will have to be run.
  • Brown Dog Urine is a genuine 911 – get your dog to the vet straight away, do not pass Go and do not collect $200. Brown urine suggests that your dog has internal bleeding or is suffering from a toxic reaction to something they have ingested.
  • Milky Dog Urine also suggests that your dog is struggling with an infection of some kind. It could be a urinary tract infection, or it may be a health problem that stems from a male dog’s prostate and bladder stones. Can you guess what advice we’re going to offer in the event of milky dog pee? That’s right – speak to a vet and offer a sample for further examination.

my dog's urine is dark yellow and smells

Are you getting the picture as to just how important dog pee can be? It may not be anybody’s favorite activity to inspect their pet’s pee, and there’s every chance that Fido gives you a bashful look while doing his business as though saying, “don’t watch me doing this” but knowing the signs can be vital to keeping your dog happy and healthy.

My Dog’s Pee Smells Funny

If your dog’s urine is dark yellow and smells strong, this is potentially another sign of a urinary tract infection. Smells are subjective, so you’ll have to be somewhat vigilant about anything that’s out of the ordinary. Usually, the smell will be very sour, and fairly impossible to ignore.

It’s not just UTIs, though. Some of the other health concerns associated with strongly scented urine are:

  • Canine Diabetes
  • Kidney Disease
  • Cancer

Thankfully, there are other explanations for strong-smelling urine outside of ill health. A bitch that is about to come into heat will leave very pungent pee as a symbol for male dogs that they are in season (let’s face it, men have never been good at reading subtle signals from women), while an older dog that is starting to struggle with incontinence may also have stronger smelling urine. If in doubt, speak to a professional.

My Dog’s Urine Smells Like Chicken Broth!

This might sound crazy if you haven’t experienced it, but it is possible for a dog’s pee to smell like chicken broth. What does it mean? Often, it’s a sign of a urinary tract infection.

A sudden change in urine odor is a common sign of a UTI: it can smell sour, like rotten fish, or even that weird chicken smell. In any case, a sudden strong smell is your cue to head to the vet. An antibiotic should clear up the infection, and banish the smell.

My Dog is Peeing Blood but Acting Normal

If your dog doesn’t seem perturbed by the blood in their urine (and the color isn’t too dark, as per our guidance above), there is no need to fly into an immediate panic. In fact, it’s always advisable to stay calm in the face of a worrying sign! However, that doesn’t mean that you should ignore the symptom and hope it rights itself.

The first thing that you should so when discovering blood in your dog’s pee is to call your vet and make an appointment – you won’t want to take any chances. If possible, take a sample of your dog’s urine before you go in too. The chances are your vet will also seek their sample to run tests on, but if you can convince your pooch to pee into a Tupperware container before you get there it could save some valuable time! To be on the safe side, don’t let your dog pee before heading to the vet for their appointment or you could be spending a great deal of time in the waiting room with an anxious pooch on your hands.

Blood in the urine doesn’t necessarily mean a terrible fate has befallen your dog, but it shouldn’t be ignored. It could be anything from a minor ailment that can be treated with oral antibiotics to a significant health scare that requires surgery. No matter what the reason is, the earlier your dog is seen as, the more likely they are to make a full recovery.

My Dog’s Urine is Dark Yellow, and They’re Not Eating or Drinking

As we have previously established, dark yellow urine suggests that your dog is dehydrated – and if they’re also not eating and drinking, that’s a worrying sign.

If this behavior has continued for over 24 hours, make an appointment with the vet. If they also have diarrhea and are vomiting, check our guide as to what to do if your dog can’t keep food or water down for intermediate advice and first aid.

Some of the reasons why your dog could be reluctant to eat or drink include:

  • Your dog has a sore throat.
  • Your dog has a gastric or stomach problem.
  • Your dog has pulled a muscle in their chest or stomach.
  • Your dog has tooth or gum disease or is in some other kind of oral distress.
  • Your dog is anxious or stressed.
  • Your dog is unwell and is trying to tell you something.

Do whatever you can to make your dog comfortable and encourage them to get stuck into their dinner bowl again, and more importantly to take a drink. While a dog can last around three days without food, not drinking for 24 hours could be game over so this is something to take very seriously. Don’t procrastinate in calling the vet!

How Can I Get My Dog to Drink More Water?

You’ve heard the old saying, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink,” but how about a dog? There are a handful of ways that you can convince your pet to sip on clear fluids and purge their urine.

  • Exercise your dog, so they work up a thirst.
  • Provide ice cubes to suck on instead of a bowl of water to lap at.
  • Try a different water bowl – and make sure that your dog isn’t allergic to the material their current bowl is made from.
  • Drop some dog-friendly fruit (small berries are ideal) into their water bowl.
  • Add water or something else moist to your dog’s kibble.
  • Switch out your dog’s water for another liquid with a more tempting scent or taste, such as chicken broth or even Gatorade.
  • If all else fails, pick up a syringe from your vet and squirt water directly into your dog’s mouth.

dog unable to concentrate urine

If you none of these techniques work, make an urgent appointment with a specialist. A dog will struggle without water after a short period of time. You can also find further advice in our guide to what you must do if your dog is dehydrated.

Conclusion

Urine is a critical part of a dog’s life, and we can sometimes be guilty of disregarding its importance. Pee is how dogs communicate with each other, it’s how they mark their territory, and as we now know, it’s how they tell us if they are feeling under the weather.

Don’t just think of dog pee as a bodily function that you need to tolerate on behalf of your pooch, and don’t feel sad if you look at the rain outside and bemoan the fact that it’s time for walkies. Dog pee can be the difference between a healthy, happy pooch and a sickly canine, so learn to love those insistent stops at lampposts and fire hydrants. Every one of them is hugely important in their own way.