Does Your Dog’s Urine Smell Like Ammonia? – Causes & Treatment

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Have you noticed an ammonia odour coming out of your dog’s kennel? You could be wondering “Why does my dog’s shed smell awful?”

Actually, this is probably the smell of your dog’s urine. If a dog constantly pees inside the kennel, it will start to stink badly.

The situation can be worse if your dog pees in your living room – not just in the room, but on your rugs or couch. What a mess!

So what contributes to this smell? Why does the urine smell like ammonia instead of like normal urine? In this article, we answer these questions.

The following are probable causes of your dog’s urine smelling like ammonia:

1. Your dog has a medical condition.

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Kidney diseases make urine very concentrated as it doesn’t get filtered well. This means most chemicals will just remain in the urine and it will contain a smaller proportion of water.

Ammonia is one of the chemicals that are excreted in urine by the kidney. If the kidney fails, there will be more ammonia than water in the urine, thus causing the smell. Kidney failure may also cause your dog’s breath to smell like ammonia.

Other medical conditions that can lead to your dog’s urine smelling like ammonia include diabetes and bladder stones; both of these conditions will be explored further below.

2. Your dog isn’t well hydrated.

Dehydration can be disastrous, both in humans and dogs. In the case of dogs, there are several possible causes including diabetes and kidney disease (above).

A well hydrated body has a good amount of water getting excreted in urine. In this case, the body reabsorbs a small amount of water, leaving the rest for excretion. Dilute urine doesn’t have a strong smell.

If your dog is dehydrated, its body will be striving to retain as much water as possible.

This means almost all the water will be reabsorbed in the kidney and only a small amount will be left to form urine. This is when concentrated urine that smells like ammonia results.

One of the best indicators of how hydrated your dog is, just as with humans, is the colour of the urine. The darker the shade of yellow, the more dehydrated your dog likely is. This is why an ammonia odour will typically be associated with darker urine.

3. Your dog is on a new diet.

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Just like humans, dogs excrete exactly what they eat.

Have you ever noticed a change in the smell of your urine when you change your diet? Or, a more practical example: has any medication ever changed the smell of your urine?

Well, a change in your dog’s diet can totally change the way its urine smells. For instance, foods like asparagus and fish can make the urine smell like ammonia. Vitamins such as B6 can also cause the smell.

Make sure that you’re feeding your dog foods that are safe. If you want to feed it mushrooms, for example, take a look at this article.

4. Your dog has a UTI.

Urinary tract infections (UTI) are very common in dogs. They occur when a dog’s urinary tract gets exposed to bacteria.

This can cause a lot of pain and discomfort to the dog. UTI causes concentrated urine which is also very painful to pass.

Check if the dog has other symptoms of a UTI. These may include barking when peeing, discomfort signs, constantly licking the urinal area, and the strong smell of ammonia.

UTIs are also often connected with bladder stones, which involve the formation of uncomfortable crystals that can lead to obstruction of the bladder.

Treating The Ammonia Smell

Concentrated urine in your dog is definitely something that you should take seriously. Once you spot the symptoms, try to hydrate it as much as you can. This will leave it with some excess water to make its urine dilute.

Furthermore, observe its diet and notice if there was a change. If you believe that your dog’s diet is the reason for the ammonia smell, consider eliminating foods that are causing it.

Finally, check for any infections, diseases or conditions like kidney stones, bladder stones, or diabetes. If necessary, seek professional advice and treat your dog until it recovers.

Bladder stones, as an example, may be treated with antibiotics, special therapeutic diets, or even surgery depending on the type of bladder stones present.

Once the root of the problem has been addressed, work out preventive measures to ensure it doesn’t happen again in the future.


It can be concerning when your dog’s urine smells like ammonia. This is especially true when it pees all over the place, making the whole house stink.

If your house smells like an ammonia factory, you can use odour-removing bags, mixtures of white vinegar and water or baking soda, or an enzymatic cleaner to get rid of the stench.

Make sure you identify your dog’s problem, and if needed, seek advice from a professional veterinarian.

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