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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 24349
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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I have a 7.5 year-old spayed female puggle, Roxy.

Customer Question

I have a 7.5 year-old spayed female puggle, Roxy. She is overweight--something I am working on. She was 46lbs, and has come down to 43lbs in 2-3 months. However, my question is about her urine this morning--her first walk of the day. I noticed that her urine was unusually a dark yellow. She has been in great health. She gets fed the rolled dog food called FreshPet (now that she in on a diet, she gets approx. 1 cup in the AM & 1 cup in the PM). The label for her weight says she should be fed even more, but I believe that information to be faulty. In addition, I put a few (approx 10) kibbles of Grain- & Potato-free dry food. I do this to slow down how quickly she eats. I started this about 2 months ago because she finishes her food within 2 minutes. Anyway, I am giving you that information as a background. Do you think her feeding is sufficient to lose weight? Any suggestions? To continue, I took Roxy out on a longer than usual walk last night. 1.3 miles to be accurate. It's warming up in the North East (NJ), but this was a 9pm walk, and she still panted (if that is a word!), and pants even if it is 55F-60F degrees like it was last night. I know pugs, and mixed pug breeds like a puggle are prone to breathing issues, and do not fare well in the heat, but is this normal. I thought it was cool to me, but is this even normal? Lastly, as I've said her first urination of the day was unusually dark in a yellow color. I noticed it because it contrasted with the grass. Could this just be a temporary condition of dehydration? If so, what can I do in the future, as summer approaches? After last night's walk, she did drink water (as usual in warmer temps. when not in Winter), and I gave her two ice cubes (she is so, so spoiled that I have to hold the ice cube in my hand, and she just licks away for 5 minutes!). Thank you in advance.
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 7 months ago.
Hi Rob, can you give me some additional info? 1) When was the last time Roxy had blood work run? Was her thyroid tested? If so, when was this? 2) Has she had any urinary concerns in the past? 3) Is she prone to panting inside, as well, during points where she should be relaxed?
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Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 7 months ago.
I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. To answer you directly, yes, the unusually dark yellow urine can simply indicate dehydration but also excessive bile in the urine. A urinalysis will differentiate one condition from the other. If you feed for the desired weight as per the label's instructions you may see weight loss but, historically, commercial foods aren't going to do the trick without severely restricting calories (which also restricts essential micronutrients) and significantly increasing caloric expenditure. The prescription diets such as Hill's m/d or r/d should be considered. Panting can result from quite a host of disorders. Excessive panting can represent both medical and behavioral problems. It's often seen with elevated ambient temperature, exercise, anxiety, or perceived pain. To confound the diagnosis further, it's also seen with fever, narcotic administration, glucocorticosteroid (prednisone, e.g.) therapy, Cushing's disease, hyperthyroidism, hypocalcemia, pheocromocytoma (an adrenal gland tumor), cardiac disease, tachyarrhythmias (fast irregular heart rates), brain disease and obesity. I would first consider that Roxy is simply "out of condition" at her excessive weight.Before initiating a weight loss program it's always best to have a thorough physical exam including diagnostics in the form of blood and urine tests (including a test for hypothyroidism as PitRottMommy alluded to) performed. Roxy's urine color and panting will be addressed in such testing as well. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thank you so much! I just recently took Roxy on her nighttime walk--a longer one, but not so extreme. I collected her first urination was pretty long (the one, during which, I took a sample in a clear, plastic cup, which I cut down its length very short, as she squats like the female she is!). Not funny though, as I'm freaking out. Maybe I'm just an alarmist. Her first urination was not as dark yellow as when I first posted--I think anyway. Smell not so foul. However, she did urinate 6-7 times during a 20-25 minute walk. She normally does urinate a few times on each walk, but I don't know/think this often. Also, I put spring water in her food both times today (the rolled FreshPet chicken, which I mash down for her). I bought Roxy for my ailing mother, but she has had many setbacks, so I've been taking care of her. I am an alarmist with her, but it's because she means so much to my terminally-ill mother, and myself. Money is so short that I am freaking out. Lastly, I stopped adding the handful of Weuva dry kibbles (chicken, salmon, and Turkey),--expensive, but anything for her... I'll be the one to go without-- to the FreshPet because I'm wondering if it's the cause of this. She's never had a UTI, or bladder infection. Roxy eats better than both my mom, and I, but I pray she is healthy. Please help!? Any advice? Thank you so much in advance!
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 7 months ago.
She's certainly not malnourished! You're doing fine in that regard. I don't like to hear that the urine smells foul at all and urinating at that frequency is worrisome, I agree. It would be prudent to have a complete urinalysis performed but not on a free-catch as you made. The urine needs to be collected aseptically and that's done by cystocentesis - percutaneous aspiration of her bladder through her abdominal wall. Sounds terrible but dogs don't seem to mind. Please continue our conversation if you wish.