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Dr.Fiona, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
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Experience:  Small animal medicine and surgery - 16 years experience in BC, California and Ontario
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Dog urine smells like Sulphur or Rotten eggs. What is it?

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My dog's urine smells like Sulphur/Rotten eggs. What does this mean? She is on Rymadyl.

Hi there!
When did this start? Is she having any urinary accidents in the house?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I thought I noticed it like a very light smell about a month ago, but know one else did. Then about a week ago my boyfriend noticed it and it has gotten much much stronger and today she had her first accident in the house like she didn't even bother to let us know she needed to go out. Thats why I got scared and made her an appointment at the vet.

Ahhh... ok!
And have you noticed anything else different? Any vomiting or diarrhea? Any increases in drinking?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Just increases in drinking. Her stools have been normal and she hasn't vomited at all.


That has been very helpful - thanks!

There are a few possibilities for the foul smell to your dog's urine. If she were on her way in to see me, I would be considering the following things:

1. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).

This is by far the most likely thing.

UTI's in female dogs are fairly common.

The urethra (the tube between the bladder and the outside) is short and wide in female dogs which allows bacteria an easy route to climb up into the bladder and cause infection. If your girl is overweight or has any stiffness in her hips that would make her more prone to infection, too. If she has sore hips, she might "hold it" instead of getting up to go, and as that urine sits in the bladder for long, then it is more likely that an infection can get started. Most UTI's will clear up with a 1-2 week course of antibiotics from your veterinarian.

Here is more about it:

2. Mass in bladder wall.

It is possible that your girl might have a growth in the wall of the bladder, which could cause a foul odour. Though it would be more likely to cause bleeding instead. This can happen as a mass grows into the wall of a blood vessel in the bladder. This is rare.

An analysis of a urine sample would help to diagnose this, as the veterinarian could look for the presence of abnormal cells.

Here is more about this:

3. Bladder stone.

In some dogs, stones form in the bladder. As they grind around in there, they can cause erosions on the inside surface of the bladder which can lead to infection, foul smell and also often bleeding. This normally occurs in young to middle aged dogs. Your girl is a bit old for this to be high on the list of possibilities, though it could happen.

Again, an analysis of a urine sample can help to diagnose this, as small crystals are usually visible in the urine under a microscope when dogs have this problem. These stones are usually made of either struvite (in alkaline urine) or of calcium oxalate (in acidic urine).

Here is more about this:

So, in summary the most likely reason for the foul smell to the urine is a urinary tract infection. This should clear up with a course of antibiotics from your vet.

If it does not, your veterinarian may suggest x-rays to look for a mass in the bladder, or bladder stones. I think it is a great idea to go visit to your vet on Wednesday to have her examined, and to get some antibiotics if your vet diagnoses a urinary tract infection.

Oh, and in case you have heard of this product for humans, unfortunately Uristat (phenazopyridine HCl) is not at all safe in dogs or cats. In dogs, it causes something called dry eye (keratoconjunctivitis sicca, KCS). In fact this drug is so effective at causing dry eye in dogs that it is used as an experimental model!

At home what you can do to help her is encourage her to drink more. The more she drinks, the more she will flush out her bladder.

There are a number of things you can do to increase water consumption. You can mix a bit of food in with water to make a soup. That way your dog may be enticed to drink more.

You can make "hot-dog soup." To do this, take one hot dog and cut it into a dozen small pieces. Put them in 2 cups of water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Take off the heat, and allow to cool. Remove the hot dog pieces, and offer the dog the water.

I suggest opening a can of tuna 'in water' and offering the liquid diluted with water 50:50.

Any clear fluids are fine to give, such as apple juice, gatorade, pedialyte. Dilute all of them 50:50 with water.

You could try Lactose Free milk (Lactaid is the Canadian brand ), diluted with water.

Offer some canned dog food, and mix it with water to make a gravy to pour over her dry food

Other things you can do to encourage a dog to drink are:

- Offer water from a very wide flat bowl

- If she likes dripping water, leave a tap.

- Offer bottled water and see if she prefers it.

- Offer onion-free chicken broth or beef broth, diluted 50:50

- See if she likes water with an ice cube in it.

- See if she likes it out of a cup or pasta bowl. You could try getting some human baby food in meat flavours (check that there are no onions or garlic in the ingredients) and mix that with warm water and offer that as a "soup" for her to drink. Beech Nut makes a line of baby food that has nothing but meat (beef, chicken, turkey or veal) in it.

If you cannot find this, you could find another meat baby food. Just read the label carefully to be sure there are no onions, onion powder, garlic, or garlic powder in it.

Cook a chicken breast and put it in the blender with enough water to turn it into baby-food consistency. Make it into a soup. I am not sure what size she is, but if she is an average weight of 40lbs or so, then it would be great if you could get 1/2 to 1 cup of fluids an hour into her. Aiming for 6 to 8 cups over the course of the day.

Hopefully, these ideas will help you to get some fluids into your dog so her urine is more dilute! This should help to keep her more comfortable until you can get her in to see her vet.

You can take along a fresh urine sample by slipping a clean soup ladle or clean, empty margarine container under her when she urinates. Where I work, there is a $25 fee for urine collection, and you can avoid this by taking your own sample!

If you need more information, just click on reply and I will still be here to provide it!

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