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VetTechErin, Licensed Vet Tech
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 681
Experience:  Published author in veterinary medical journals and on the Veterinary Information Network with a focus in toxicology
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My older dog is leaking urine and it smells like ammonia.

Customer Question

My older dog is leaking urine and it smells like ammonia.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The dog is 10 not three.
Expert:  VetTechErin replied 2 years ago.
Hi there!
My name is ***** ***** I would be happy to help you with your question about your dog.
What it sounds like you may be dealing with is a urinary tract infection. This is a very common ailment among dogs, and among other things, it can cause them to dribble urine, have a tinge of blood to their urine, and it can change the base pH of their urine, which is what give it that strong ammonia smell.
Since it is caused by bacteria, the treatment for this is typically a round of antibiotics. Due to the commonality of urinary tract infections, if you're already established at a local veterinary clinic, you may just be able to bring a urine sample into your vet to have them take a peek at it under the microscope and perform some other tests. The vet can then prescribe the proper antibiotic to help her start feeling better. Usually only about ten days worth of meds is necessary, but they will recheck his urine after he finished the medication to make sure the infection is gone. So long as he looks normal, he should stop dribbling as soon as it gets under control.
This is not typically an emergency unless they appear to be in a lot of distress, so while you need to contact his vet, you can wait until his regular vet office is open to do so.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to reply back!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
She is incontinent from age. She looses urine on and off. However it doesn't usually smell of ammonia. I will call my vet in the am. This is the same dog we discussed years ago. Thank you.
Expert:  VetTechErin replied 2 years ago.
You're very welcome! If she is normally leaky, it could just be due to a pH shift in her urine. The ammonia smell comes from something that is more alkaline (the opposite of acidic), so in MOST cases with a dog that has leaky urine, this means an infection.
But it could simply be a change in her urine pH. If she has no infection (which should still be checked due to the change in odor), then it could simply be from the change in diet to a lower protein one. Proteins like beef, chicken, etc., will acidify the urine of a dog. Once the proteins are removed from the diet, the urine will no longer be acidic, leading to a change in pH and the ammonia-like odor you smell.