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How to get a urine sample from a dog

At some point during your dog's life, it’s likely your vet will ask for a urine sample. This could be for a wellness check, because your dog is experiencing kidney problems, they’re struggling to pass urine, or for something else. In some cases, your vet will take the sample, but generally, you’ll be asked to bring one — after all, getting a dog to urinate on command isn’t easy. 

That's why we've put together this guide on taking, storing, and presenting your dog's urine sample.

Brief summary:

  • To collect a urine sample from your dog, you’ll need a sealable container and gloves
  • The method for collecting the sample will depend on whether your dog is male or female
  • The best time to collect a sample is early in the morning, and the sample should be as fresh as possible when handed in to your vet practice
  • You can prepare your dog by getting them comfortable with you being close while they urinate

Collecting a urine sample from your dog

Try to stay calm and don’t rush your dog.  

What to use to get a urine sample

  • A well-washed sealable pot (like a tupperware container, avoid jam jars or other sugary food containers)
  • Something to catch the sample. This could be a dish, cup, or a soup ladle can work very well!
  • Gloves
  • Pipette (small tube to suck up the urine and put it in a different container), if not available you can pour it carefully into the container
  • A long pole (if your dog is uncomfortable with you getting too close)

The method will depend on whether your dog is male or female, as each urine sample will be collected slightly differently. 

Taking a urine sample from a male dog

To take a male dog's urine sample, you’ll have to get quite close. Once you thoroughly wash your container with warm soapy water and let it air dry, you'll be ready to start catching. Pop your dog's lead on before taking him outside, preferably in the garden. Keeping him on the lead will help you control where he urinates.

As he cocks his leg, wait for the stream to get going, then, wearing gloves, slide the container into his stream. You don't need to fill the whole tube, sometimes a few drops are enough, but do collect as much as you can.

Once you have your sample then suck it into a pipette or syringe, or pour it carefully, into the sealable container. Close it tightly and label it with your and your dog’s name, and the date of collection.

Taking a urine sample from a female dog

Getting a urine sample from a female dog is slightly different because of how they posture to urinate. It's best to use something like a foil container that can be slid between your dog's legs as they begin urinating. Keep her on a lead, and stay calm. Try not to touch your dog with the container, as this can contaminate the sample.

If you have a nervous dog who doesn't want you to be close as they urinate, you can direct them to a bowl you've placed on the floor or push a bowl or container underneath them using something like a broomstick. Once you have your sample, praise and treat your dog for doing a great job. You can also use a long handled ladle to hold under them, if you avoid bending behind them this can help to prevent startling them.

How to prepare your dog for a sample?

If you know in advance you'll need a sample, you can begin to prepare your dog for urinating into the container. Each morning as you let them out for a pee, go with them, praise them and, if possible, see if they will allow you to get close enough to stroke them as they're peeing. It may take some time, but if you manage to get your dog comfortable in your presence while they're having a wee, it'll make collection day much easier. 

What is the best time to get a urine sample from a dog?

The best time to take a urine sample is early in the morning, preferably during their first urination of the day. There are two reasons for this. First, if your pup has been holding in their urine all evening, the first one of the day should be the longest, giving you time to take a sample. Secondly, it will be more concentrated because they won't have drunk or eaten anything for a few hours, and the more concentrated the urine, the easier it'll be to find potential issues. After all, it's easier to spot a drop of ink in a sink than in a pool.

How fresh does a dog urine sample need to be?

The fresher, the better. In an ideal world, you'll get the sample to the vet as soon as you've washed your hands, but in case you can't, then refrigerate it until you can drop it off. Your vet will most likely ask you for a mid-stream sample, where the urine is collected mid-stream while your dog is already peeing. This is so any small debris will have been passed, leading to an uncontaminated sample.

Do dog pee samples need to be refrigerated?

If you can't get your sample to your vet within an hour, you should pop it in the fridge in a secure, well-marked container. You must get your urine sample to the vet the same day it was taken, as this will give them the best chance of getting a diagnosis from the urine. 

Why do vets need a urine sample?

Your vet could ask for a urine sample for lots of reasons. Urine samples are a great way of checking for any underlying health conditions that don't show symptoms, especially those with the kidneys and urinary tract. This will allow the vet to identify and treat the problem earlier. 

What can a vet tell from my dog's urine sample? 

Your vet can tell any number of things from your dog's urine. This is called urinalysis and is performed to check for underlying or hidden health issues. Some of the most common problems a urinalysis may flag are:

Urinary tract infection

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common in dogs. They are caused by an infection in the urinary tract. Your dog's urine sample will show bacteria and white blood cells if they have a UTI. It will be one of the first things the vet will look for, if only to rule it out.

Urinary crystals

Urinary crystals are painful for your pet. They can lead to UTIs, and in severe cases, the crystals clump together and cause stones, making it very difficult for your dog to go to the toilet. In some cases, they can be dissolved with a change in food or antibiotics, otherwise surgery will be needed to remove them. 

Kidney disease

The kidneys help concentrate the urine. Diluted urine can signal the kidneys aren't quite working as well as they should. This is why it is best to take your urine sample in the morning when it is meant to be most concentrated.


Diabetes in dogs can be diagnosed through the amount of glucose (sugar) in your dog's urine. The urine test may also show ketones, another sign your dog may be diabetic.

I can't get a urine sample from my dog. What are the alternatives?

If you can't get a urine sample from your dog for whatever reason, then call your vet and discuss the options. Generally, there are two ways in which your vet can extract urine from your dog. Cystocentesis and catheterisation.

What is cystocentesis?

This is where your vet will pass a needle directly into your dog's bladder, and the urine is taken out using a syringe. While it may be slightly uncomfortable for your dog, it does mean the sample isn't contaminated by anything, as the urine works its way along the urinary tract because it is being removed directly from the bladder. Sometimes sedation is required for this procedure.

What is catheterisation?

Catheterisation is where a narrow tube is passed up the urethra into the bladder, where the urine is pulled into a syringe. This is a good option for dogs that aren't peeing normally, especially male dogs. It can, however, draw bacteria from the urethra into the bladder as the tube is pushed along. 

Need more advice?

Urine samples are a great way of diagnosing health issues, and collecting them in a space where your dog feels comfortable will help keep them calm and happy.

If you have any questions, it's always best to contact your vet because they can tailor their advice to your dog, their breed and your situation.

Find your nearest vet using our Find a Vet page, or speak to a vet online using Online Vets.