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Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

What does dog urine say about the health of the four-legged friend? What colour should it be? How often does a dog need to urinate? What is the pH value of the urine? Does dog urine damage the lawn? To keep track of your dog’s health, enter the urine values in the pet profile. All questions about urine in dogs are answered here. 

What does dog urine consist of?

Urine is produced in the kidneys, which filter toxic substances that the body cannot use. Urine consists of about 95% water. The rest contains electrolytes (potassium, sodium, etc.), urea (breakdown product of proteins), uric acid, but also foreign substances, for example from medication.

The pH value of dog urine is 5.5 -7.5.

What should you look for in urine?

  • Frequency and quantity
  • Colour
  • Clarity
  • Odour

How often does a dog have to pee?

A dog produces 20-40ml/kg of urine daily. An adult healthy dog should be allowed to relieve itself at least 4 times a day. Puppies cannot hold their urine yet and need to go outside about every two hours. As a rule of thumb, after every time the dog plays, eats or sleeps. Seniors, sick dogs and dogs on medication (cortisone or drainage) also need to pee more often.

Male dogs usually start to lift one leg when they reach sexual maturity, while female dogs remain in a squatting position. In some cases it is the other way round.

Tip: If a male dog suddenly stops lifting his leg when urinating, this may indicate pain in the joints.

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What colour should dog urine be?

A healthy urine is light yellow.

If it is almost transparent, the dog could be drinking too much water.

Dark yellow urine could indicate that too little fluid is being absorbed.

Reddish can occur after eating red beetroot, blueberries, etc. If this has not been eaten, there may be blood in the urine and it should be examined urgently. Causes could be, for example, a bladder infection or urinary stones.

Brown urine occurs with severe dehydration and can indicate liver disease. Reddish to dark brown urine also occurs with the tick-borne disease babesiosis.

“Neon yellow” urine is produced after vitamin B administration.

Greenish urine is rather rare. The cause may be the administration of certain medicines or an infection with bacteria.

When does dog urine become cloudy?

A healthy urine should be clear. If the urine is cloudy, this indicates an infection. Likewise, cloudiness occurs with urinary stones. For struvite stones, a diet that acidifies the urine can help.

What does dog urine smell like?

Urine has a certain odour of its own, but if it smells unusually or strongly of ammonia, this can also indicate an infection.

When is a urine test necessary for a dog?

If you notice anything unusual, it is a good idea to take the urine to the vet for examination. It is best to collect the morning urine in a clean (boiled or sterile) container.

If your dog is sceptical and stops peeing when you hold the container, you can use a previously boiled ladle. Then you don’t have to get so close to your pet and he can urinate in peace. A few (3-8) millilitres are enough, so you don’t need a lot.

The urine should be given to the vet as fresh as possible, if you can’t bring it for a few hours, keep it in the fridge.

What is done during a urine examination?

In a urine test, the urine is dripped onto a urine strip to detect substances.

The specific gravity can be assessed in the refractometer. This tells us whether the kidneys are concentrating the urine sufficiently or whether the kidney’s performance is limited (renal insufficiency, renal weakness, renal failure).

Part of the dog’s urine is centrifuged and examined under the microscope for urinary sediments.

In some cases, a bacteriogram is also performed to determine the number of bacteria. The subsequent antibiogram is used to find out which antibiotic is the most effective for these germs.

What can be detected in the dog’s urine?

Bladder infections can be detected and often also their cause, such as bladder stones/bladder gravel. Also diabetes, kidney disease, prostate disease, babesiosis and much more. Enter all values in the pet profile to be aware of diseases.

If your dog wants to urinate but nothing comes out, this is an emergency and must be treated as soon as possible.

Marking behaviour – Why do dogs pee on other dog’s urine?

Urine is used in olfactory communication to leave the individual scent. Both sexes mark, sometimes more sometimes less pronounced. Often, after urinating, the hind legs are scratched to spread the scent. Fellow species can sniff out a lot of information (age, sex, time, state of health, etc.) from the scent. Urine also serves as an attractant for possible sexual partners.

Male dogs often lick up the urine and smack or rattle their teeth. This is how the scents are transported to Jacobson’s organ and analysed.

Peeing over other dogs’ urine can also be a sign of togetherness. For example, dogs that know each other often urinate in the same place without showing impersonation.

Does dog urine ruin the lawn?

When heavily diluted, the urine can even be a fertiliser. But frequent urination in the same place ruins the lawn. The salt in the urine removes the moisture from the grass, it turns yellow and dries out. If the dog urinates in the garden, it is advisable to rinse it immediately with water.



Even though it is commonplace and we usually do not give much importance to the dog’s peeing, it is important to keep an eye on the dog’s urine. This way, diseases can be detected in time.