Why Does My Dog’s Urine Smell Strong?

Reviewed By Tom •  Updated: 11/17/21 •  6 min read
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Why Does My Dog's Urine Smell Strong

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When your dog urinates, it’s good. But when the urine starts to smell strong, then, you may raise brows out of concern.

Pet parents are urged to be attentive to their dogs to notice changes and abnormalities quickly. A change in poo is easier to detect than urine since it disappears fast, especially when outdoors. However, when you notice a difference, pay attention to see if it’s just a one-time thing or it occurs again. If the smell is strong when your dog urinates, then something could possibly be wrong.

Several things could be wrong when your dog’s urine smells strong. Before you start to panic (which is not necessary), familiarizing yourself with details about your dog is essential. Let’s look at some characteristics of a dog’s pee. Knowing what some things mean will put your mind at rest. We will look at color, clarity, smell, frequency of urination, and quantity.

What the color of your dog’s urine means

The color of a dog’s urine could mean a number of things and also result due to several reasons.

Note: Nothing explained below replaces the need to visit a veterinary doctor. A vet doctor is in the best position to diagnose any type of health problem related to urine color and smell.

Bright color

Bright colored urine is a good indication of a good diet and proper hydration. When a strong smell does not accompany this brightly colored urine, then your dog is just about fine.

Yellow color

Yellow-colored urine doesn’t mean anything dangerous. It may be just an indication that your dog needs to hydrate appropriately. Ensure your dog drinks more water each day. In fact, personally see to it.

Some dogs prefer drinking out of one container to another. Pay attention to this to help your pet drink more water.

Red or Orange color

There is nothing normal about red or orange-colored urine. It may be a sign of blood present in the urine. And this may result due to kidney disease or an infection. Should you spot this color of urine in your dog, please visit a vet.

What the smell of dog’s urine means

When you notice a change in the smell of your dog’s urine, see a veterinarian. Foul-smelling urine or a pungent smell should be reported in time for analysis.

What the clarity of my dog’s urine means

Dog experts urge pet owners always to pay attention to their lovelies to ensure their healthiness. By paying attention to a dog’s urine, it will be very easy to spot when it becomes cloudy. Cloudy urine may result from an infection or bladder stones.

What the quantity of my dog’s urine means

If you notice your dog starts to urinate for long periods and frequently, then pay closer attention. If this persists, visit a vet. Frequent urination and in large quantities may be as a result of kidney disease.

My dogs do not urinate at all

There is nothing smart or neat when your dog is not urinating. Instead, it’s alarming. A dog must urinate and as well defecate. If your dog doesn’t urinate in more than a day, then it could be harmful. A blockage might have occurred. In this situation, it’s imperative to see a veterinarian fast, to prevent further damage or severe health problems.

Causes of dog’s strong urine smell

As pointed out earlier, there are some characteristics of dog urine that pet owners must be familiar with to help detect changes fast. But mainly about the smell, you may still ask-: Why does my dog’s urine smell strong?” Let’s take a look at three possible reasons.


UTI is also known as urinary tract infection. UTI affects dogs, and when that happens, the urine smells like rotten fish. The strong fishy smell can be accompanied by cloudy urine and frequent urination.

A dog may start to have complications and find it hard to urinate. A veterinarian can best treat UTI. The urine sample is analyzed for full and detailed diagnosis. While it may take longer than a day to complete analysis on the urine, an antibiotic can be prescribed to relieve pain and reduce the strong fishy smell. UTI should never be left untreated. It can be dangerous to your dog. Most dogs tend to lick their genitals when this occurs.

Anal glands secretion

You could confuse an anal gland smell with urine smell. When dogs are unable to release their anal glands when pooping, the accumulation gives off a strong metallic smell. Dogs have anal glands in their rectum, which gives off smell. While this is not an indicator of any serious illness, the pungent smell may persist and even intensify.

The solution to this is to see a veterinarian help rid your dog of this smell. Alternatively, you can also clean your dog up.

Kidney disease

Just like in humans, the kidneys in your dog have the same function. The job of the kidney is to rid the body of toxins such that they don’t accumulate. Accumulation of toxins in the system can lead to health problems. For dogs, kidney problems cause a strong smell in their urine. When the kidney doesn’t work correctly, the dog may start to have cloudy urine of blood with a pungent smell.

This kind of health condition may affect older dogs more. The best way to deal with it is to visit a veterinary for prompt medical attention. Sometimes, depending on the level of intensity, surgery may be necessary.

Final words

The strong smell of your dog’s urine may result from serious health problems like UTI and kidney disease. Also, it can result from not taking enough water. The best way to notice these changes is by being attentive and taking note of the details about your pet.

So, overall, always ensure your dog is well hydrated at all times. More importantly, it’s vital to always visit a veterinarian when you notice a strong urine smell. The earlier you see a medical professional, the faster your dog recovers.

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Tom has always loved to write since he was little - he wanted to be either a writer or a veterinary doctor, but he ended up being a professional writer while most of his works are based on animals. He was born in San Francisco but later moved to Texas to continue his job as a writer. He graduated from the University of San Francisco where he studied biotechnology. He is happily married and a soon to be father!