Understanding the meaning of dogs’ urine color is an advantage for dog owners to act quickly on possible conditions their pets may have. Urination can actually be deemed a dog’s natural way of communicating what it feels.
A dog urine color chart is a handy and effective tool to assess your dog’s health by examining its urine color. Each color provides an indication of an underlying illness and lets you prepare an early remedy for it.
This article should give you an upper hand in maintaining the well-being of your dog through insights on each urine color, what to do when you encounter these, and even how to properly collect and examine your dog’s urine.
What Is a Normal Urine Color for Dogs?
The normal urine of a healthy dog has a pale or transparent yellow color. It should also be a clear liquid or without any particles in it. If it turns out to be of any other color or is cloudy, that is an indication that something is wrong, and you should seek veterinary advice immediately.
This transparent yellow color in a dog’s pee is brought about by a pigmented substance produced by the dog’s kidneys, called urochrome. The hydration level of your dog determines the concentration of this substance.
If your dog drinks enough water, the volume of the dog pee increases and dilutes the substance more, leading to a pale yellow color.
Consequently, less water intake gives more concentrated or dark yellow urine, which is unhealthy.
Hence, a light yellow color of your dog’s pee should make you confident that your dog is healthy and void of any illnesses. However, it is a good practice to keep monitoring your pet’s urine for any changes.
Dog Urine Color Chart: Urine Colors, Causes & What to Do
A dog’s urine color may range from transparent to dark yellow and, in some instances, even red, orange, blue, and black. Each of these colors is an indication of your dog’s overall health status.
The table below gives an overview of each dog urine color and what causes it:
|Dog Urine Color||Possible Causes|
|Transparent or Clear||– Overhydration|
– Kidney or liver issues
|Pale Yellow||– Normal dog urine color|
|Dark Yellow||– Dehydration|
– Kidney issues
– Liver failure
– Liver issues
– Pancreas and gallbladder issues
– Severe dehydration
|Brown or Black||– Toxin exposure|
– Hemolytic anemia
– Internal bleeding
– Muscle damage
– Muscle inflammation
– Urinary tract infection
– Severe dehydration
|Red or Pink||– Urinary tract infection|
– Kidney and liver issues
– Parasite infections
– Bruising and blood clots
|Blue or Green||– Kidney and liver issues|
– Gall bladder issues
– Hemolytic anemia
Transparent or Clear
A transparent dog urine color is an indication that your dog has been drinking a lot or also known as polydipsia. As an effect, it may cause frequent urination or polyuria.
This overhydration may result in dilute urine and blood consistency. In dilute urine, the urine volume is doubled, and this causes the urochrome to dissolve almost totally, giving your dog’s pee a colorless appearance.
When blood is diluted, it can impact how electrolytes and other chemical compounds are distributed all over the body.
If this condition persists, it may further lead to chemical imbalance and blood pressure problems.
Even worse, when the dog’s red blood cells become overhydrated, it can trigger high blood volume, leading to kidney problems.
Reducing your dog’s water intake should bring your dog’s pee back to a healthy color. If no change happens upon monitoring, the clear urine may be due to a kidney or liver disease.
If these organs are unable to filter toxins out of the dog’s body properly, this is already fatal, and taking your dog to the veterinarian immediately should be the next course of action.
If your dog pees a clear pale or light yellow color, you can be confident that you have a healthy dog! This also means that you are doing a good job in giving your dog proper hydration.
It is also important to note that the normal color of urine may change throughout the day, which may not necessarily mean something is wrong. Urine in dogs may be affected by the dog’s diet, hydration, and exercise.
Keep monitoring your dog’s urine color, and so long as it goes back to a healthy dog’s pee color, then no need to be alarmed.
However, if your dog’s urine does not normalize after a couple of days, you should already check with your vet.
When dogs urinate a dark yellow color, that is a warning sign that your pet is dehydrated. The dark or bright yellow color is a manifestation of concentrated urine, and you need to give your dog more water.
If the dark urine turns to a clear yellow or a straw yellow color after proper hydration, then you don’t need to worry too much.
However, if it doesn’t return to a normal color, watch out for the possibility of liver or kidney diseases.
If you also notice that the dog’s urine smells bad on top of its bright yellow or dark color, this signifies the presence of urea produced by the liver.
This means that the chance of your dog having liver or kidney disease is strong, and you need to bring your dog to the vet immediately.
An orange urine color is a cause of concern since this indicates a severe health issue with your dog that needs to be addressed immediately.
One such illness that causes orange urine is jaundice. This gives your dog a yellow discoloration in certain areas of its body due to a high concentration of bilirubin caused by the breakdown of hemoglobin in red blood cells.
Orange urine is also seen in dogs with chronic medical conditions, such as liver disease, pancreas disorders, and gall bladder issues.
Further, a dog’s urine color will turn orange too when suffering from severe dehydration. This is due to the very high level of concentrated urine in the dog’s bladder.
Given the severity of the medical conditions associated with the orange urine color, there is no other approach but to involve your veterinarian the soonest for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Brown or Black
If you see your dog pee black or brown urine, do not think twice about bringing it to the vet immediately.
This is a clear hint of critical medical conditions that need to be diagnosed through blood and urine tests and require immediate treatment.
Damaged red blood cells are one of the main culprits of the brown color of dog urine. This brown urine is due to the hemoglobin released in the breakdown of red blood cells.
Exposure to toxic substances will also cause your dog to pee in brown or black urine. Keep poisons or toxins out of reach from your dogs, such as onions and garlic, zinc, and acetaminophen.
If your dog’s urine is dark brown to dark red, that may also be a sign of muscle inflammation or muscle damage. The dog’s urine will contain myoglobin from the damaged muscles responsible for its brown color.
Other acute factors that may cause urine in dogs to be black or brown are urinary tract infection (UTI), internal organ damage, and severe dehydration.
Further, old blood can cause your dog’s pee to turn brown. This may be due to previous conditions like bladder stones, bladder infections, kidney infections, and tumors.
Red or Pink
A red or pink color of urine means that blood is present in the dog’s urine and is called hematuria. This condition should be urgently treated since some conditions leading to blood in dog pee are life-threatening.
Some critical illnesses that lead to red or pink urine in dogs are acute urinary tract infections, liver diseases, kidney stones, parasite infections, tumors, bruising, and blood clots.
A less serious cause of red urine in dogs would be because of what they eat. Certain foods like beetroots will give your dog’s urine a reddish tint or a pinkish tint. This discolored urine should go back to normal after at least 24 hours.
Blue or Green
A blue or green dog urine is a sign of a serious condition in your pet, like chronic liver or kidney diseases, gall bladder issues, and urinary tract infections. These conditions require immediate attention from your vet.
Further, a common cause of green urine in a dog’s pee is hemolytic anemia. The process of hemolysis produces a green pigment, giving your dog that green pee color.
Diet also plays a part in why your dog urinates a green hue. If your dog eats too much wild grass, or a plant-based diet rich in chlorophyll, expect a greenish tint in its urine, which should reverse to normal after some time.
How to Increase Water Intake in Your Dog
Dehydration in dogs is a serious health condition, which could lead to organ failure, loss of consciousness, and even death.
This health condition should be detected early, and you can do it just by looking at your dog’s urine color. When your dog’s urine is dark yellow, orange, or brown, it is time to increase your dog’s water intake.
Here are effective ways to encourage your dog to drink more water:
- Exercise your dog to build up its thirst.
- Give it ice cubes to gnaw on. This should keep it busy while being hydrated.
- Give it a dedicated water bowl for familiarity and to encourage discipline in drinking.
- Add water to your dog’s kibble or mix it with canned food to add moisture to your dog’s diet.
- Include non-toxic fruits in your dog’s water bowl to motivate them to drink.
- Occasionally switch your dog’s water with meat broth or any safe and flavored alternative to add variety to its drink. However, avoid giving drinks that have excessive sugar to avoid health complications.
- If your dog is hard-headed, use a syringe to give it water.
As your dog drinks more water, expect it to have clear urine that has a light or pale yellow color.
How to Collect and Assess Your Dog’s Urine
Assessing your dog’s health status through its urine should be done properly to achieve the most accurate diagnosis. This begins with the proper collection of your dog’s urine sample.
When taking urine samples, it is best to get the first sample of the day before all the bacteria and chemicals in your dog’s urine are flushed out.
The most convenient approach to collecting a dog’s urine sample at home is through the ‘free catch’ method.
Using a clean container, simply catch the urine as the dog pees, then transfer it to a urine tube or glass container.
You can then quickly check the urine’s color by holding it against a plain white background. However, note that this is not the most sterile way of obtaining a sample.
This method has a high risk of contamination since the collected urine passes through the urethra, then the genital skin before it can be obtained.
Hence, the urine sample obtained through this method may be contaminated by bacteria unrelated to a bladder infection.
Alternatively, cystocentesis may be done to get a direct sample from your dog’s bladder. This method uses ultrasound to obtain a sterile urine sample. This is a very accurate method but it needs to be executed by your vet.
Urine culture and sensitivity may even be done to identify the type of bacteria present in the urine so that the right type of antibiotic may be given to remedy the dog’s bladder infections.
Using this method, the presence of bacteria in your dog’s urine sample is a clear indication of bacterial infection in its bladder.
Here is a demonstration of how to properly collect sample urine for your vet’s assessment:
Other Signs of Unhealthy Urine
Color is not the only way to check the well-being of your dog through its urine.
Monitoring your dog’s urinary habits and closely observing other aspects of your dog’s urine can give clues to what your dog may be experiencing.
Here are other signs of unhealthy urine in dogs:
- Straining: Struggling to pee is a sign that there is an obstruction in your dog’s urinary system or tract. Both male and female dogs are equally susceptible to having these blockages, such as scarring, kidney stones, tumors, or inflammation. In male dogs, this may also be due to an overly enlarged prostate.
- Dribbling: Dribbling is also known as leaking urine, a possible sign of urinary tract infection. Though this may not be regarded as an emergency, this situation can be very uncomfortable for you and your dog.
- Frequent urination: Monitoring the urine frequency of your dog is an effective way to catch underlying health issues. Frequent urination is usually an indication of urinary tract or kidney infections, bladder stones, and liver failure. On the other hand, less serious causes of this condition may be due to overhydration and changes in weather.
- Insufficient urine production: If you notice that your dog is not peeing enough, its poor urine production might be caused by conditions such as dehydration, stress, diabetes mellitus, bladder rupture, and decreased kidney blood flow.
- Unusual odor in urine: A strong sense of smell can help you check abnormalities in your dog’s urine. A chicken broth or fishy odor in the urine might indicate that your dog has UTI. At the same time, the scent of ammonia suggests the possibility of dehydration, kidney failure, and UTI as well in your dog. Further, a sweet urine smell might mean your dog has diabetes mellitus.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Color Is Dog Urine With Kidney Failure?
When a dog’s urine has a dark yellow, brown or black, red or pink, and blue or green color, it might indicate kidney failure.
In such instances, do not take any chances and bring your dog immediately to the vet.
What Color Is Dog Urine With a UTI?
The color of urine in a dog with a urinary tract infection is usually either black and brown or red and pink.
Further, a dog with UTI would also have a strong urine odor. It might have a scent similar to chicken broth, fish, or ammonia.
When you observe these signs of UTI in your dog, bring it to the veterinarian so that proper antibiotics can be given to relieve its condition.
What Color Is Dog Urine When Dehydrated?
A dehydrated dog will produce dark or bright yellow-colored urine. However, if your dog’s pee turns orange, black, or brown, this is an indication of severe dehydration. Give your dog fresh, clean water immediately.
If your dog is suffering from severe dehydration, make sure that you also consult with your vet for proper treatment. This condition is fatal when left untreated.
What Does Milky Dog Urine Mean?
The milky or cloudy urine in dogs usually means the presence of pus and indicates an infection somewhere in your dog’s body.
This can be due to UTI or a problem caused by bladder stones and prostate issues in male dogs. Further, cloudy urine may also suggest dehydration and kidney diseases, like kidney stones and crystals.
How Do I Know If My Dog Has a UTI?
Some of the observable behaviors in a dog with a UTI are frequent urination, straining, crying or whining when urinating, urine leakage, and frequent licking of the genitals.
Of course, looking at the urine color and seeing a brown or red shade is also an effective way to detect the presence of UTI in your pet.
What Are the Signs of Kidney Failure in Dogs?
Dogs suffering from kidney failure would have very noticeable symptoms, such as weight loss, lethargy, seizures, a notable change in water drinking habits, decreased or increased urine volume, and loss of appetite.
Almost all discolorations of urine from the normal light or pale yellow may be a possible indication of kidney failure. Nonetheless, it is still best to consult with your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
Nature has its way of telling us biologically how to take care of the needs of our dogs. In this case, the color of urine produced by our pets gives us a solid message of how they feel and what they need at the moment.
As you familiarize yourself with what each urine color means and what to do for each, you also grow a sense of ownership and responsibility in taking care of your dog’s health.
Further, no matter how knowledgeable you become in determining what condition is indicated by your dog’s urine, always ensure that you partner with your veterinarian to diagnose and treat your dog’s health issues.
We hope this article has given you the skill to initially detect your dog’s condition through a dog urine color chart. If you have started to monitor your dog’s urine color, let us know about your experience in the comment below!