Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, behavior consultant, former veterinarian assistant, and author of "Brain Training for Dogs."
Collecting a urine sample from your dog is often recommended when your dog needs a urinalysis. If you own a dog that has begun straining to urinate or has been urinating drops of blood, you may be dealing with a dog urinary tract infection.
When you schedule for your dog's vet appointment and describe the symptoms, the receptionist may tell you to bring along a urine sample. As you put down the receiver, you wonder how a urine sample is collected. Yes, a human urinalysis can be quite simple, but when it comes to a dog, how do you get a urine sample? Where do you keep the urine? How do you keep it fresh? How long can you store it? And last but not least, how much is needed? So many questions!
Collecting a urine sample from your dog isn't hard, and if you are worried you won't be able to collect it, don't despair. Your vet can always collect it for you. Before giving up though or thinking it's too hard, read the instructions below, you may be surprised to find out it's much easier than thought!
Step-by-Step Instructions on Collecting a Urine Sample From a Dog
The following steps will help you collect a urine sample from your dog. In veterinary terms it's often called "free catch." Because urine samples must be at the peak of their freshness, you want to collect it within a few hours of taking it to your vet.
Working at a vet hospital, I was quite used to owners dropping it off within minutes and I could feel from the container that it was still warm. Often the sample was collected on the spot in the little grassy area we had in front of the office.
I would then ask the owners the time it was collected and labeled the container with the dog's name, time it was collected and would take it to the back immediately. So here are some steps for a successful urine collection from your dog.
Step 1: Choose the Right Container
As with human urinalysis, choosing the right container can make a whole lot of difference. Your dog's urine sample should be collected in a clean, sterile container. You may want to wear disposable gloves.
If you are planning to use a container from home, make sure it is clean and dry and that it has a lid. This is very important. I don't know how many samples we had to refuse because the container wasn't as clean as needed or it spilled in the owner's car.
Most veterinarians will provide sterile containers for urine collection upon request and many times they are free (or at least, they used to be).
Step 2: Pick the Right Time
You may have to do a bit of time management to be successful. You will need to combine a time when your dog's bladder is full and has a strong urge to urinate, with a time that is convenient for you to drop the sample off to the vet.
Most dogs feel compelled to urinate first thing in the morning if they were in the night indoors with you. Also, remember, that you want to drop off the sample as soon as you can and morning urine samples are best.
Ideally, urine samples should be analyzed within two hours, but can be slightly longer if the sample was refrigerated. Check with your vet on exact guidelines.
Step 3: Plan How to Collect It
You may need some advanced planning to do in order to be successful. Will you have somebody helping you when you collect the sample? Is your dog comfortable urinating when he's on leash? Does your dog like to mark/urinate in a certain spot? Does he urinate on walks? Does he know how to urinate on command? Is your dog a male of a female? Is your dog comfortable having you near when he urinates?
Make plans on how you will collect the urine. If you have a big yard or acreage, you may want your dog secluded to a small area, or better, keep him on leash so you won't have to chase him around.
Step 4: Collect Enough Urine
When it comes to urine samples, amounts can be on the conservative size. Having worked at an animal hospital myself, our veterinarians often used to giggle as some clients used to bring a whole can of urine or a horse-size amount in a pint-size zip-lock bag.
How much urine is enough?
Ideally, the amount should range between a teaspoon to a tablespoon. No need to collect the whole urine flow, just about one to two teaspoons will do!
Step 5: Store the Sample Correctly
As mentioned, urine samples should be at their peak of freshness, not older than a couple of hours ideally and should be preferably refrigerated to grant testing accuracy. I like to keep samples in a cooler for the car ride if the weather is hot. Never freeze a urine sample!
How to a Collect Urine Sample From a Female Dog
Some owners have success by placing a saucer under their female dog as she squats down. Others have found that attaching a cup to a long ruler or a yardstick helps for those dogs that are uncomfortable when owners get too close while they urinate. I personally like to use a soup ladle for both male and female dogs and this is what we suggested when I was working for a vet. For female dogs, you will stay behind your female dog and wait for her to squat.
How to a Collect Urine Sample From a Male Dog
For male dogs, you will need to stay to your dog's side rather than behind. Many male dogs urine mark, so you want to watch for when your male dog finds a vertical surface such as a bush, tree or post. As soon as you see him raise his leg, bend down and catch the sample with your ladle.
Tip: The best sample is collected midstream and first thing in the morning as that's when the urine is most concentrated.
What's a Urine Culture and Sensitivity Test?
In some cases, a vet will order a urine culture and sensitivity test. The culture is helpful in identifying the specific bacteria causing a urinary tract infection. The urine is often obtained through a procedure known as cystocentesis.
After the urine is obtained, its incubated to allow the bacteria to grow so it can be properly identified. Once the bacteria is identified, a sensitivity test takes place.
In this test, the vet will determine which antibiotic works best against the specific bacteria. Generally, this test is ordered when an animal is diagnosed with a urinary tract infection and the prescribed antibiotic is not working.
How to Collect a Urine Sample From a Male and Female Dog
What If I Can't Collect a Urine Sample From My Dog?
What if you weren't successful collecting a sample? It happens. You may have missed catching the urine or your dog may not be stimulated to go or you had a sample but your spouse found it in the fridge and drank it thinking it was apple juice. We actually had this happen!
If you have no luck catching the urine sample, take your dog to the vet. The technicians may walk your dog until he goes and catch the sample, or in worst case scenarios, when a sample is really needed for diagnostics, a cystocentesis can be performed.
This consists of a procedure where the veterinarian will stick a needle through the bladder wall and directly collect the urine this way. A big advantage of this procedure is that urine obtained via cystocentesis is sterile and free from bacteria or foreign matter.
This may sound like a harsh technique, but all the dog feels is the needle piercing the skin. If your dog is used to getting vaccinations, he may not be bothered by this procedure.
Another method is collecting the urine via catheter. A thin catheter is inserted into the urinary passage into the bladder and then urine is withdrawn into a syringe.
Normally, no anesthesia is usually required for both procedures (unless your pet is uncooperative, very small or in pain) and it is done pretty quickly if the bladder is full. If your dog is seeing the vet for this procedure try to refrain him from urinating hours prior or on the way to the vet.
As seen, a dog's urine can say many things. Generally, diluted urine that resembles water can indicate kidney problems or excessive drinking. Concentrated urine that is very yellow can indicate dehydration or liver and kidney issues.
Urine can be checked for glucose in diagnosing suspected diabetes or for protein in possible kidney failure. The PH of urine will determine if the urine is alkaline or acidic. White blood cells, red blood cells and bacteria may indicate infection, crystals may mean bladder stones.
A urinalysis is a valuable diagnostic test. Make sure you label the urine sample container with your dog's name, last name and time it was collected. This will help the receptionist and the veterinarian. Upon having run the urinalysis, your vet will give you a call on his/her findings and will discuss treatment options if anything was found.
What Is a Urinalysis, Anyway?
What exactly is a urinalysis? As the name implies it's an analysis of the dog's urine. It's one of the most important tools to diagnose many conditions in dogs.
For instance, a urinalysis can detect bladder stones, infections and even possible prostate problems, liver disease, kidney disease and cancer. As you can tell, it's valuable information that will help your vet determine exactly what is going on with your dog.
How to Obtain a Urine Sample From a Small Dog
© 2014 Adrienne Farricelli
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on December 18, 2019:
Glad to hear you were able to collect a urine sample from your dog~ The process may seem a little daunting at first, but it can be a breeze after a bit of practice. Last time, my dog was at the vet, the vet tech missed several times, and I was like, let me do it, let me do it!
thanks on December 17, 2019:
thanks for your information. worked like a charm.
Mary Craig from New York on November 24, 2014:
Oops, I certainly did mean useful...the mind wanders and the fingers follow.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on November 19, 2014:
Thanks for stopping by and taking your time to comment on my article on dog urinalysis. I hope you meant voted up and useful, not useless, LOL ;)
Mary Craig from New York on November 16, 2014:
Excellent information. Sometimes the things that are so easy for humans to do seem almost impossible when it comes to your dog. Being armed with information is the best way to face any problem.
Voted up, useless, and interesting.
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on November 03, 2014:
Well-advised tips here.
Kim Kardashian from u.s on November 02, 2014:
yap that's nice trick
Collecting a stool sample is not difficult however, it can be an unpleasant task. Fortunately, with the correct techniques you can ensure that collecting a stool sample is hygienic, effective and stress-free. Follow these simple steps in order to collect an adequate, easily-to-test stool sample for your veterinarian:
1) Collect a fresh Sample: Whenever possible, a fresh stool sample should be delivered to the vet’s office. Poop that has been sitting in the yard for days will not test well in a laboratory, and may produce false results or fail to diagnose potentially dangerous conditions adequately. You can ensure that you collect a fresh sample by being vigilant when Fido goes outside for bathroom breaks. When the dog defecates, the stool sample should be picked up as quickly as possible.
2) Measure the Sample: You do not need to take an entire stool to the veterinarian because only a small amount is needed to perform the necessary tests. Generally, vets need no more than one gram of stool in each sample. This amounts to a piece of stool roughly one inch long. In order to keep the measuring process hygienic, use a plastic knife or a pair of latex gloves to break off a small amount of stool.
3) Store the Sample: Some veterinarians will provide pet parents with a designated container in which to collect their pet’s stool sample. These containers are generally made of plastic and have screw-on tops. If your dog’s vet did not provide you with a receptacle, a Tupperware container or two small Ziploc bags will work just fine.
4) Keep the Sample Cool: It is important to keep your pet’s stool sample cool. If it’s warm outside, consider double bagging the sample container and transporting it in a small cooler. Pet parents can also store the sample in their refrigerators but should avoid freezing or leaving it in direct sunlight or warm cars.
5) Mark the Sample: Before delivering the stool sample to your vet, write your dog’s name and age, as well as your name and phone number, on the container. In addition to helping avoid any potential mix-ups at the vet’s office, this also ensures that the vet has easy access to your contact information in the event of further questions or unexpected results.
Collecting a stool sample can be unpleasant, but it is an important part of being a responsible pet parent. Fortunately, these simple steps help make collecting your dog’s stool sample quick, easy, hygienic and effective.
Content reviewed by a veterinarian.
Ultrasound-Guided Cystocentesis in Dogs
Gastroscopy In Dogs
If your dog is suddenly asking to go outside much more often to urinate but only passes small amounts each time, a urinary tract or bladder infection may be the cause. Other signs can include drinking more frequently and having urinary accidents in the home. Your pup should see a vet. Once the vet collects a urine sample from you dog through ultrasound-guided cystocentesis, and results come back from a laboratory, your veterinarian can make a definitive diagnosis and get her started on the proper antibiotic to clear up her infection and her discomfort.
Collecting a Dog's Urine with Cystocentesis
Have you ever tried to catch your dog's pee in a cup? Doesn't sound like much fun, does it? While the activity isn't exactly most people's idea of a good time, many caring owners have attempted this feat to collect a urine sample for their vet. As the majority will discover, it's easier said than done. And some dogs refuse the process altogether.
So what do you do if your dog simply won't cooperate? Instead of creeping up on your pooch every time she pops a squat, you could ask your vet. One method that is offered at a lot of clinics is cystocentesis. Cystocen-what now? In simpler terms, the veterinarian removes urine from inside the bladder so it can be sent for testing.
How is this done, you ask? Below is a step-by-step guide of how cystocentesis works.
Step 1: Fill Up The Bladder
Because urine is going to be collected from inside the bladder, there’d better be some in there! Your vet may advise you not to let your dog empty their bladder right before the appointment, or there may not be enough liquid for testing! Make sure your pupper has a good gulp of water before the appointment, especially if it's an early morning spot.
Step 2: Clip and Clean
Your vet will pick an area on your dog's abdomen where the bladder will be easily accessible. If you have a short-haired breed, this section may already be hairless. If your pooch's 'do is longer, the vet may shave a small patch of hair off. The site will then be disinfected to prevent any bacteria on the skin from getting into the sample or the bladder.
Step 3: The Flip and Spread
This step sounds like it wouldn't work on any dog, but surprisingly, many a pupper obliges without too much resistance. Two extra pairs of hands will be needed to hold your fur-baby’s front and back legs in the air, gently spread from front to back. If the doggo stays calm and doesn't wiggle around, you're good to go on with the procedure!
Step 4: Feeling Around
Your vet is now going to get a little handsy. They have to locate the full bladder so that they can be accurate with the collection. If the bladder is hiding, some vets will try to do the cystocentesis blind. Make sure to talk to your vet as this is happening. Sometimes it's better to try a different method than to stress out your four-legged friend.
Step 5: Poke and Pull
The last and most important step is the collection itself. Using a big syringe able to hold lots of liquid, the vet will poke through the skin (and hopefully right on through the bladder wall). If the location is right, as the plunger is pulled, the chamber will fill with your pooch's yellow yield. If the sample is deemed good, it can then be sent for testing!
It's a Helpful Procedure
Urine samples play a key role in diagnosing your canine companion. A whole heap of health problems can be identified from urine, including kidney disease, bacterial infections, and cancer.
So if sticking your hands where the sun don't shine sounds unappealing to you, it may be time to discuss cystocentesis with your vet. As long as your pup stays calm, it can be a simple way to collect a perfect urine sample.
Collecting urine from your cat
For indoor cats either replace litter in the tray with non-absorbent kitty litter (available at the vet clinic), cut up straws or a plastic bag cut into strips. Some cats will urinate with no kitty litter in their litter tray at all. Other cats will allow you to collect their urine by placing the lid of the yellow lidded urine collection jar under them when they are urinating.
When your cat has urinated, tip his/her urine into a clean screw top jar (specimen jars are available from the clinic) trying not to spill too much litter into the jar. It is best to do this outside or over the laundry sink, as it can be a messy job. Your vet clinic may also be able to provide you with a syringe to draw the urine up so there is little waste.
For outside cats or those not too keen on the above collection method, keep your cat in a confined area such as the bathroom or laundry. Leave them there for a few hours and bring them to the clinic in a cage. A vet or nurse can usually express urine from your cat as long as his/her bladder is full. Sometimes a short stay in hospital is required to allow the bladder to fill up.