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What to Expect When Collecting Your Dog’s Urine Sample

So you’ve been to the vet’s office and they need you to collect a urine sample from your dog. Seems straightforward until you start thinking about it. How are you going to manage this? We’re here to help.

As a dog owner myself, I’ve had to do this a few times and it’s not nearly as hard as you might think. This post will give you some ideas on how to go about it. For example, your veterinarian doesn’t need a whole cup of urine. If you can get an ounce of urine, you’re doing great.

The second important thing to know is that the veterinarian may ask for a first-thing-in-the-morning sample and they want it right away.

Why You Need to Collect a Urine Sample

Veterinarians can assess your dog’s health by examining urine.

Examining your dog’s urine tells you whether your pet is eating healthy and what supplements are needed. It also enables veterinarians to diagnose specific health conditions.

The following are some examples of what a veterinarian may be looking for.

Urinary Tract Infection

Changes in urine color, consistency, and odor could mean that your dog has a urinary tract infection or kidney disease.

If a UTI has caused bacterial infections elsewhere in your dog’s body, there are steps you can take—such as administering antibiotics—to keep them from spreading. The veterinarian will want to diagnosis this before the infection gets worse.

Bladder and Kidney Problems

Bladder Stones, bacterial infection, and kidney problems are other causes of UTI.

Your dog is more likely to experience UTI symptoms if he experiences:

  • an elevated white blood cell count
  • bladder infection
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease.
dog peeing in the snow for a urine sample

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus or sugar diabetes is when a dog cannot properly digest sugar or glucose for energy.

If you notice signs of these health problems, you must collect a urine sample as soon as possible and bring it in for testing.

If your dog’s vet sees large white blood cells in your dog’s urine test, there might be an infection present somewhere in his body.

It could be:

  • bladder infection
  • bladder stones
  • prostate disease

Dog Urinalysis via Cystocentesis

If collecting a traditional urine sample is impossible or too difficult for whatever reason, the veterinarian may opt for a procedure known as cystocentesis.

The vet’s office test results are far more accurate than with an owner-collected fresh urine sample. Also, when urine passes through the urethra it can be contaminated with bacteria. Even though the bacteria is harmless to the dog, it can make it difficult to interpret test results.


Cystocentesis involves inserting a needle with an attached syringe through the abdominal wall directly into the bladder. Through this method, there is no contamination of the urine. This is because the urine isn’t in contact with the urethra, genital tract, or skin.

This is actually a common procedure. Dogs are typically not sedated because the procedure is so quick. It’s over in seconds and is a safe and relatively simple procedure.

Since cells are dividing rapidly in your dog’s body, it is important to get them tested as soon as possible after collection.

At a veterinary diagnostic laboratory, results from a stream of urine can be returned within 24 hours.

What You’ll Need to Collect a Urine Sample

The first thing you’ll need to collect your dog’s urine sample is a clean container.

It can be plastic or glass just as long as it’s clean.

You’ll need a clean, plastic, or glass collection container with a lid. You can use any kind of plastic cup sturdy enough to prevent leakage. The most important part about collecting a urine sample for testing is to collect a sterile sample and to keep it at room temperature.

Items You Can Use:

  • Soup ladle
  • Clean margarine dish
  • Tupperware container
  • Ziploc bag
  • Small needle
  • Plastic bag
  • Aluminum pie plate
  • A clean plastic container (like an empty plastic water bottle)
  • The correct size collection container (depending on your dog’s age and weight
  • A clean towel
  • Disposable gloves
  • Hand sanitizer/wipes.

We’ll show you how to use these tools in the following sections.

The Best Way to Collect Urine from Your Dog

Here are some methods that every pet owner should know when collecting a sample from your canine companion so that you can get the best possible results and avoid having any accidents occur during the collection process.

Aluminum Pie Plate Method

Use an aluminum foil pie plate to collect a female dog’s urine during dog squats. Be sure to place the pie plate on a surface that is easy to clean and easy for you or your dog to walk over.

Soup Ladle Method

You can try this trick if you want to test your dog’s urine collection, but your dog won’t hold still long enough for you to put a container underneath it.


Tape a clean stainless steel ladle to the end of a yardstick. You could also use a broom handle. Position the ladle over your dog’s urinary stream so that it flows into the ladle. It may splash a bit but remember, you don’t need a lot.

Have a sterile or clean container nearby to put the urine in. It should have a cover. If it doesn’t you can always make your own cover with Saran wrap.

Plastic Bag Method

The most difficult thing about using a plastic bag is that you’re going to have to quickly place the opened bag in the urine stream. Some people suggest putting the bag underneath the dog BEFORE he/urinates, but that’s not going to work.

It’s unlikely the dog will actually pee until you move away.

Plastic is good to use because it doesn’t affect urine chemistry.

Alternative to Outdoor Pees

There are a ton of reasons why you might not be able to get your dog to pee or poop outside. If you live in an apartment or a condo, for example, you’re going to have to bundle up every single time your dog needs to go out.

That can end up being a lot of times. It’s one thing if you own a house and just open the back door. But what if you can’t do that so easily?

Whether you’re recovering from surgery or just not feeling up to it, there’s an alternative to all the outdoor time.

Have you considered bringing a patch of lawn inside? Of course not! That’s why there are companies that create a clean patch of grass and send it to you.

The following are affiliate links. If you happen to click on one and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission.

How Doggie Lawn Works

They offer hydroponically grown grass with a frame of your choosing. It’s the perfect puppy potty without having to constantly brave the outdoors. It might be fine if you live in a warm-weather climate. If you’re like me, however, there are several layers of clothes that have to be put on before stepping outside in the winter.

I could go on and on, but DoggyLawn explains it better so check it out.


What if My Dog Can’t Produce Enough Urine?

You do not need a large amount of urine. If your dog can squeeze even a teaspoon of urine out, that’s likely good enough.

If you suspect that your dog has a problem urinating, have it checked out by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Urinary retention is a result of obstructions in your dog’s bladder, can be life-threatening if not dealt with quickly and properly.

When Would You Need a Fecal Sample?

A fecal sample is usually needed when your dog is having intestinal problems such as diarrhea or constipation.

A fresh specimen can be used to determine if there are parasites in your dog’s intestines. This is a very common test that all dogs are required to go through at least once in their life.

Large white dog peeing on a tree for a urine sample

How Long Will Dog Urine Keep?

Because dog urine samples aren’t refrigerated, you must use them within a short time of collection. This can be tricky, as your vet might ask you to collect it right away rather than waiting until a convenient time.

What’s a First Morning Urine Sample?

A first morning urine sample (FMUS) is exactly what it sounds like: collecting your dog’s first morning urine. Pet owners most commonly use this sample type to test female dogs for pregnancy.

How Often Should I Conduct a Dog Urine Test?

The decision will be up to your veterinarian.

If there is any risk of disease or bacterial infection in your dog, it’s best to test for it more frequently (once every three months for heartworm disease).

If everything looks good—no fleas, no ticks, and no issues—the recommendations will vary but might be once per year.

Talk with your veterinarian about how often you should test your dog’s urine stream. This will depend on many factors, including age, overall health, risk of exposure, and prior testing results. If your dog is diabetic, then it could be 1 to 3 times a day.

What’s the Difference When Collecting a Urine Sample from a Female Dog?

Because female dogs typically have wider urethral openings, it is often easier for them to produce urine from a squatting position.

What’s the Difference When Collecting a Urine Sample from a Puppy?

There are a few notable differences between collecting urine from an adult dog and one less than four months old.

In general, a puppy’s pee tends to be clear or lighter in color compared to that of adults. It may also have traces of red blood cells in it, especially if they haven’t been spayed or neutered yet.

Preparing for the Test

When your vet tells you it’s time for your dog’s annual checkup, you know what that means. It’s time for blood tests, vaccinations, and other procedures.

For some owners, collecting a urine sample can be one of those procedures. It’s unlikely that you’ll need to show up at the veterinarian’s office with a urine sample unless he/she suspects a problem.

If you’re concerned about travelling with the urine specimen, you could drive your dog to the vet’s office and collect the sample in the parking lot.

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Collecting a small sample of urine from your dog isn’t as difficult as you’d think. The trick is to let him/her begin their usual urination BEFORE slipping a bowl (female) or a ladle attached to a stick (male dog) beneath them.

There’s no need to be hesitant. If you’re nervous or acting strangely, your dog will pick up on that. Just get in there and get the job done. That’s the easy part. Once you have the sample, you’ll need to keep it warm (or room temperature) and get it to the veterinarian’s office asap.

If you can get in the car and bring it right away, then do that. If you can’t, ask the veterinarian how to store the sample.


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