Why Is My Dog´s Urine so Dark?

Updated on March 23, 2018
DrMark1961 profile image

Dr. Mark is a small animal veterinarian. He works mostly with dogs and exotic animals.

If your dog is in pain while urinating try to see what color pee is coming out.
If your dog is in pain while urinating try to see what color pee is coming out. | Source

If you are out for a walk and notice that your dog´s urine is not yellow, you need to find out why as soon as possible. Maybe it will be no big deal, and you will find out that your dog has a mild infection or her new diet has some strange red dye.

It can be a lot more serious. If you notice some of the other symptoms I describe below remember them and when you take her to your vet you can find out what is wrong.

In my experience, many problems can be dealt with easily if taken care of right away. A tumor on the bladder wall can be removed, but if left for months most of the bladder will be lost and the dog would probably end up being euthanized.

Dark urine can be an early symptom of many problems. If you do find out that your dog is healthy, all of you can be happy

Some common causes of dark urine in dogs

 
Dehydration
Urinary tract infection
Liver disease (hepatitis from infection, poison, cancer)
Gallbladder disease
Blood loss into the body
Muscle damage (like a car accident)
Kidney or bladder stones
Vaginal or prostate infection or cancer
Some poisons
Some types of dyes in the dog food

Reasons for Some Changes

  • Blood clots: If you see fresh blood and small blood clots it can be caused by an infection of the kidneys or bladder, kidney or bladder stones, or a tumor growing in those areas. If your dog is still intact she may pass a blood clot when she is in heat but it is not from the bladder.
  • Black urine: If the urine is black instead of just dark that can be another sign of blood. It usually indicates that more blood is being lost.
  • Clear urine: If your dogs urine is clear, and not yellow like normal urine, that incidates he is not able to concentrate urine. Have it checked as soon as possible because dilute urine can be a sign of many other health problems, like diabetes, that need to be treated.

What Else to Look Out For

Dark urine is not really the disease that is hurting your dog; it is just one of the signs to look out for when your dog has a problem. If you notice these other symptoms it can help your vet diagnose your dog´s problem quicker, and with less testing. If your dog:

  • Is having a hard time urinating it can mean a problem with the bladder, urethra, or prostate
  • Is drinking excessive water, many systems need to be looked into. One type of hormonal disease causes a dog to become dehydrated even when drinking a lot
  • Has pale or yellow gums she may have blood loss or destroyed blood cells somewhere in her body
  • Is weak or has pain in her back or legs it may mean that she has muscle damage

Normal urine is yellow.
Normal urine is yellow. | Source

Other Tests Your Dog Might Need

The first part of your dog´s visit to the vet will be a physical exam. If she is anemic her heart may be very fast, if she has a bladder stone it may be large enough to be felt during the exam, or she might even wince when her muscles are palpated during the exam. A female dog might have a vaginal discharge, or an older male dog might have a swollen prostate.

Expect at the very least that your dog will need a urinalysis (a microscopic examination of her urine), a complete blood count, and a blood chemical analysis to check her liver, kidneys, and other internal organs. If you hesitate because of the costs, remember the love she provides you every day and do your best to support her now that she needs you.

Besides these basic tests, some dogs will also need:

  • X-rays to check for any stones in the bladder
  • Ultrasound to check the kidneys, liver, and bladder wall for tumors
  • Laparoscopic exam and biopsy

Dark dog urine may be a cause for concern.
Dark dog urine may be a cause for concern. | Source

Will My Dog Get Better?

Your dog has an excellent chance of getting better, but her chances really depend on what the cause is and how soon you have her checked out. If she has dark urine secondary to muscle damage, the problem will clear up as soon as the muscle heals.

A liver disease, especially cancer, is a more serious problem. Getting a diagnosis early will help in many cases.

It is difficult to say how things will turn out until the cause of the problem has been determined. I have read a very popular web sites that recommends you take a “wait and see” attitude towards your dog´s health. This is wrong. If your dog has dark urine, find out what is wrong today!

Questions & Answers

  • Post knee surgery, my dog is on Cefpodoxime, and I noticed her urine is very dark since starting the drug. Could this be a side effect?

    The only side effects of that drug that I know of are vomiting and diarrhea. You should take her to your vet tomorrow and have a urinalysis and bloodwork done to find out if she is having post-surgical complications.

© 2016 Dr Mark

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    • DrMark1961 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Mark 

      8 months ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Sunny, if your puppy is having black stools that is an indication of digested blood in the intestinal tract being passed in the stool. Do you have access to a vet where you live? If you do, take a stool sample in and have it looked at and checked for worms, like hookworms. Is your puppy vaccinated against parvo? What is drools? Is that the brand of puppy food? Read the label and let me know if there are a lot of dyes in there.

    • profile image

      Sunny 

      8 months ago

      Hello how are you? I have a pug puppy of 4 months and I started feeling it drools nutrition puppy. I just wanted to know some information that my dog is peeing Orange colour and potty is of black. I started feeding get drools since 2 days I'm getting scared please suggest me what to do.?

    • DrMark1961 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Mark 

      22 months ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      I wanted to follow you on flipboard but I cannot find your account. What is your name/account name on that site?

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      22 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you very much for sharing this information, DrMark. It's useful and important information for people with a dog in their family. I'll keep it in mind for my dog and share it on Flipboard so that others can see it.

    • DrMark1961 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Mark 

      2 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      I think I forgot that one, Bob! I havent seen snow in years.

    • Bob Bamberg profile image

      Bob Bamberg 

      2 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

      Helpful information as usual, Doc. If people notice a color change in their dog's urine and report it to their vet right away, it can result in a much better outcome. We have a saying we learned as children here in the Northeast that reminds us that dog urine is yellow: "Don't eat the yellow snow."

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