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Lisa, Certified Vet Tech
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16077
Experience:  AAS Vet Tech. Bully breed rehab & Behavior modification
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I have a 5 year old female Pitbull. Her smells like pure

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I have a 5 year old female Pitbull. Her urine smells like pure ammonia. What could be causing this and what can I do to clear it up. Also some preventative measures in the future?
Hello! My name is XXXXX XXXXX it will be my pleasure to help you with your dog today.

I'm sorry to hear that your dog isn't feeling well. Unfortunately, strong smell during urination can be caused by many things that range from the rather benign (like a urinary tract infection) to the more dangerous (such as bladder cancer). In addition, there are issues like bladder stones or kidney disease that can present with this strong urine.

Stones are caused by things such as minerals in the urine, bacteria, certain medications, an excess of Vitamin C in the diet or even their diet (which can affect the pH of the urine). There are some breeds that are more prone to stones than others (such Poodles, Yorkies Shih Tzus and Schnauzers) although any breed can get them (I have a Maltipoo who has had them twice!). Usually a course of antibiotics and a diet change to a prescription diet takes care of the problem.

Kidney disease can happen in any breed and unfortunately, at most any age. The contributing factors can include dehydration, cardiac issues, tumors, blood loss from traumas and both infections and ingestion of toxins. Even some medications can impair kidney function and lead to kidney disease. Generally this is treated with supportive care to keep the dog comfortable and to help improve kidney function.

Bladder cancer generally affects middle-aged or older dogs. Although not nearly as common as some of the other possibilities, I wanted to mention this as well since it is ofen over-looked as a cause of bloody urine especially if the dog is otherwise healthy and hasn't had any long-term issues.

Urinary tract infections (also known as UTIs) are the number one most common cause for bloody urine in dogs. The infection can be located anywhere in the urinary tract from the bladder to the kidneys and in unneutered male dogs, even in the prostate. Certain medications and underlying health problems such as diabetes or viral infections can also lead to UTIs. This is what I think is the most likely cause of Tubby's urine issues.

The important thing is to have your pup seen by a vet as soon as possible for evaluation of the blood in the urine. This amonia smelling urine is never 'normal' and can get worse if left untreated. Your vet will likely want to run a urinalysis, so if you can catch urine from your dog before going (you can catch it up to 24 hours before your appointment, just keep it in a clean, closed container in your fridge. Do not leave it out of the fridge as that will cause bacteria to grow in the urine and may give you false positives). Hopefully it'll end up being nothing too severe, but early intervention is the key.

As for the future, something else you might want to consider would be adding a supplement aimed at urinary tract health to her diet. Cranberry could be a good supplement to add to your pup's regimen, but I would absolutely talk to your vet about it first. I have a maltipoo who has some urinary issues and he gets two 1500mg soft gels daily of cranberry. It really does seem to have helped.

I hope this helps!!

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks Lisa that is allot of great information. I have one more question about Her hot spots. She has some hot spots that are coming out again I cant afford to take Her to the vet but give her regular baths and use over the counter products like shampoo but they are getting worse is there anything you can suggest to help her?

Hot spots are something we see all the time, and we see them in heavy coated dogs (Goldens and Labs are both famous for getting them).


If you are able to, clip the hair around the hot spot so that you are able to see what you're working with better. Scrub it twice daily with a mild antibacterial soap. Leave the soap on for about 5 minutes, then rinse thoroughly and dry the area. You can apply a topical antibiotic cream containing hydrocortisone to the hot spot 2- 3 times a day. It's very important that you keep her from scratching at the area, as this will delay healing and most likely cause infection.

Lisa and 5 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Judy,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Tubby. How is everything going?