Reasons Why My Dog Smells Like Urine? (DIY Fixes)

Have you gone to cuddle with your pup recently, only to find that they smell strongly of urine? Why does my dog smell like ammonia!?

my dog smells like urine
Why can a dog smell like urine? Why might a puppy smell of ammonia? Can it be fixed?

Dog’s smelling like urine can have many causes. The “best” reasons you want are external causes. These can be treated by a quick trim or a purchase of better potty products.

When a dog smelling like urine is due to more serious internal issues, this will require a visit to the vet and, most likely, a urinalysis and blood work. All hope isn’t lost in this case, though! There are plenty of medications to treat common conditions causing your dog to smell like pee.

Let’s look at six reasons Fido might be smelling Foul as well as what you can do about it. Because not much in the world is worse than not being able to cuddle our pups!

Reason One – Your Dog Is Over Excited

If you have a puppy, chances are they’ve peed before when they’ve gotten excited. Like when you come home after a long day of work or while they’re playing with chew toys. The good news is, the problem usually resolves once they reach one year old.

So, what can you do for one whole year? Do you just drown in puppy pee every time you greet your dog? Nope. There are a few tips and tricks that might help your pup stop peeing when excited! 

1. Keep all their playtime outside. If they pee, it won’t be a big deal. This creates less of a mess for you to worry about. 

2. Clean up the pee calmly. Nervous peeing is a thing too. You don’t want your pup to be fearful by you getting upset. Just calmly clean up any urine with an enzymatic spray (these sprays thoroughly eliminate the urine smell) and keep it moving.

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3. Give your pup treats for peeing in the correct place. This reinforces the positive behavior, and your dog will continue to pee in the proper places.

4. Keep greeting to a minimum. Since your dog gets excited every time you greet them, try to minimize the number of times you do this. So, you don’t need to get them hyped up every single time you walk through the door. The same goes for visitors!

Reason Two – Your Dog is Peeing on Their Feet 

Have you ever been watched by your dog while trying to pee? Well, now it’s time to return the favor. You may not notice it, but your dog might actually be peeing on their feet. This is more common in male dogs than female dogs. 

So, next time you see your dog about to relieve themselves, pay attention to where that stream is landing

Additionally, if they’re peeing on the pavement, they might actually be having some splashback. And if your dog’s fur is long, it’s easier for that to get trapped and cause an odor. Giving your dog a haircut is a good idea if this seems to be the case.

If the urine cause the coat to be matted – expect some bacteria to take advantage. This is one of the leading causes of itchy paws or paw chewing amongst breeds of dogs.

Before you go and give your long-hair Chihuahua a buzzcut, try to trim a small amount of the hair under their body first to see if this fixes the problem. 

Reason 3 – The Pee Place Isn’t Absorbent 

Maybe you live in Arizona but love the look of green, luscious grass. Hence, you decide to get artificial grass installed in the backyard. This may be the issue. Places like fake grass and pavement are not ideal pee places for pups.

They don’t absorb odor on their own. You can use special cleaners or just simply use white vinegar to get rid of smells. Lastly, you could find more absorbent surfaces like a porch potty.

diy porch potty

We actually made a DIY porch potty and detail the process here. There are also lots of budget friendly dog toilet options you can consider. 

Reason Four – Incontinence 

Incontinence can range from mild to severe. It’s a condition caused by old age, an infection, nerve damage, or weak bladder muscles. This results in pee leaking onto their fur while they’re sleeping, sitting down, or walking around, causing the urine odor. 

There is even something called “Spay Incontinence.” This happens due to a hormone imbalance after spaying. Urinary tract tissues depend on estrogen. After your pup’s ovaries are removed, her estrogen levels may be deficient. These low levels relax the urethra sphincter, and pee gets released involuntarily.

Both situations should be addressed by your vet so you can get the proper care for your pet and keep your nose happy.

Reason Five – They’ve Been Rolling in Pee

Dogs instinctually roll in the grass to mask their scent. Unfortunately, the “mask” can be another animal’s urine. You won’t notice this outright because you won’t be able to see it on their fur as you would with poop.

So, next time your pup is rolling on the grass at the dog park, don’t be surprised when they get back in the car smelling like urine.

Reasons Six – The Pee Itself is Pungent 

Dogs don’t wipe themselves, so it’s normal to have a little dribble on their fur. The amount is so minuscule that you won’t notice it. But if you do, it could be the result of: 

  • Dehydration
  • Poor diet 
  • UTI
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney problems
puppy at the vet

Dehydration

Dehydration happens when your dog doesn’t drink enough water or get enough water through their food. Dehydration causes urine to be darker and at a higher concentration, which means it’ll be a lot more smelly than diluted urine. 

To make sure your pup is getting enough water, encourage drinking after play and exercise. You can also try serving wet food instead of dry food since it has higher water content. Lastly, always have a water bowl sitting out—especially one outside for after playtime.

Poor Diet

If you choose to feed your pup wet food, make sure you choose one that’s not too high in protein. Too much protein increases your dog’s urine’s acidity and can make the ammonia smell more intense.

 Natural liver treats are a great option that does not make pee smell. Just be sure to check the amount of protein in the first. 

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Just as a general guideline, a healthy weight dog should eat no more than around 30 grams of protein. But of course, it’s always best to consult your vet for the most accurate information specific to your dog.

Feeding your dog a healthy, simple diet could be beneficial for the strong urine smell. You can also make the switch to dry food to see if that affects the scent.

UTI

UTIs (urinary tract infections) make your dog’s pee smell bad because it is laced with bacteria. UTIs can also be the reason behind incontinence in some dogs. 

Since UTIs happen when bacteria enter the bladder through the urethra, it’s essential to take your pup to the vet as soon as you notice something is off. The bacteria could make it’s way up to the kidneys and cause more severe issues.

But even if that doesn’t happen, UTIs can be extremely painful and uncomfortable for your furry friend. Getting it treated ASAP is the best course of action. You’ll help them feel better and get rid of that awful smell. 2 for 1? Who would pass that up! 

Diabetes

If every time your dog walks by you, you wonder he’s it’s gotten into the sugar container, you might want to take a whiff of the pee the next time they urinate. 

Diabetes causes sweet-smelling because their body has a buildup of glucose in the blood and is trying to dispose of it through the urine. This is an apparent cause for concern and shouldn’t be taken lightly. You should make an appointment to see your vet as soon as possible.

Kidney Problems 

Failing kidneys and kidney disease are known to cause a dog’s skin, fur, and breath to smell like urine. This happens due to the buildup of the waste product called urea, building up in the blood. 

If you suspect a urine odor coming from your pup’s mouth, even slightly, it’s best to take time to your vet to get checked out. The earlier serious health problems are dealt with, the less of a chance of long-term complications.

My Dog Smells Like Urine Conclusions and Takeaways

There are many reasons your dog can reek of ammonia. If you find out the problem, you can fix yourself by grooming and finding better pee places, then do so!

However, if you think the cause is health-related, it’s best you take your pup to the vet to avoid any complications.

If you are wondering “why my dog smells like urine?” – the sooner you find out the cause of the pee smell, the sooner you can get back to cuddling your pup without holding your breath.