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Why Does My Dog’s Pee Stink? 4 Vet-Reviewed Causes

Written by: Genevieve Dugal

Last Updated on April 16, 2024 by Dogster Team

Dog peed on the carpet

Why Does My Dog’s Pee Stink? 4 Vet-Reviewed Causes


Dr. Nia Perkins  Photo


Dr. Nia Perkins

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Dogs urinate several times throughout the day, but most of the time, we don’t notice the odor unless the urinating takes place indoors. Other dogs can easily track your dog’s urine outdoors for the next few days, but you likely can’t smell it a short time after it has been deposited. At least, that’s the way that it should be. A healthy dog’s pee will not stink or be potent. You might smell it a little immediately after your dog urinates near you, but the smell should not linger.

If your dog’s urine smells strong or bad, there is a reason for it that should be addressed. Here are four potential causes of stinky dog urine to be aware of.

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The 4 Reasons Why Your Dog’s Pee Stinks

1. Kidney Disease

Kidney disease and failure can cause a dog to urinate more and to release more protein than they should when they do urinate. Therefore, the urine can smell bad and potent when it is dispelled. This is just one sign that your dog is dealing with kidney disease. Other signs of kidney disease include:

  • A change in water drinking habits
  • Loss of interest in exploring and playing
  • Diarrhea and/or vomiting
  • Significant weight loss
  • Dental problems

If any signs of kidney disease are displayed by your pooch, it is important to schedule a checkup appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. They will be able to complete tests to determine whether kidney disease is present, so treatments can commence before the disease progresses.

female veterinarian checking up a dog
Image Credit: Zivica Kerkez, Shutterstock

2. Urinary Tract Infection

A urinary tract infection can cause your dog’s urine to stink. The urine of a dog that is suffering from a urinary tract infection is typically cloudy and is sometimes bloody, both of which can cause extra odor. If this is the cause of your dog’s bad-smelling urine, veterinarian treatment should get rid of the infection and the smell quickly. There are other signs that could indicate that your pooch is dealing with a urinary tract infection, such as:

  • Urination inside the house
  • Whimpering or straining while trying to urinate
  • Uncontrolled urine discharge
  • Excessive licking of the urinary opening

Just because your dog shows one or more of these signs does not mean that a urinary tract infection is at fault, however. It is important to have your pup checked out by your veterinarian to rule out any other problems before trying to treat your pet for a UTI.

dog and vet
Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

3. Dehydration

Another reason your dog’s pee might stink is due to dehydration. When a dog is dehydrated, their urine becomes concentrated. Therefore, the waste from their body gets deposited into their urine. The smell can become overpowering and can be noticed after excretion. Dehydration typically results in less urine overall, so your pooch may not pee as much throughout the day. When they do, the stream might be less than usual.

To correct the problem, it’s just a matter of getting your dog to drink more water. Try changing the water bowl more often, aiming for two or three times a day. If your dog still will not drink water, try changing the water source. If that doesn’t work, contact your veterinarian for guidance and advice.

beagle dog drinking water from a bowl
Image Credit; Przemek Iciak, Shutterstock

4. Improper Diet

If your dog is not eating a diet that is conducive to their health, it can affect many aspects of their life, including the smell of their urine. If your pooch eats too much of a snack or gets into a bunch of food that you left out on the counter, their pee might smell bad (and their poop too). After a while, you should notice that your dog’s urine starts to smell like normal again.

If your dog is eating an improper diet regularly, they will likely continue to have smelly urine. A change in diet would be necessary to change the smell of their urine. If there are no other apparent reasons for your dog’s stinky pee, it could be their diet. Work with your veterinarian to see what changes are necessary.

dog eating from bowl in kitchen
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

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Dogs can have smelly urine for various reasons. Therefore, figuring out the reason dog pee smells bad can take time and patience. You will need to eliminate the reasons as best you can and work with your veterinarian to figure out why your pooch is excreting stinky urine so you can address the problem.

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Featured Image Credit: Olimpik, Shutterstock

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