I had a bit of a scare with Bourbon my mastiff… My mom takes care of Bourbon while i’m at work. When I went pick him up she told me that he had some dark brown urine today… As a pet mom I was worried about him and wanted to know what was causing it.
Why Is My Dogs Urine Brown?
There are actually a number of different things that can cause your dogs urine to be brown in color. The first is something that happens when their liver creates to much bilirubin. When this happens the body will excrete it through the urine turning it brown in color. So what is bilirubin? Bilirubin is a yellowish pigment found in the bile fluid that the liver creates, an increased red blood cell break down can cause the liver to create this fluid in access.
Another potential cause of the brownish color in your dogs urine is when there is the presence of a protein called myoglobin. This protein is created and released into the dogs muscles when they are stressed or if they are injured. The coloured urine could also be a sign of kidney stones or an indication of old blood from a trauma or the kidney stones themselves.
If you notice a pink or red tinge to the urine, that is an indication there may be a current active bleed, and your do is passing new blood.
Discolouration can also be caused by your dog being dehydrated and not drinking enough water. It is very important that your dog always has a supply of fresh water available to them. If you every have any concern it is always a good idea to check with your vet…
Ideally the color you want your dogs urine to be is light yellow. This is a good indication your dog is getting the fluid it needs to keep hydrated and healthy. Try to keep an eye out for things out of the ordinary, sometime it will be nothing, other time they may be signs of something more serious happening with your dog.
What Happens At The Vets?
If you make the choice to go to the vet, you may be wondering what they will do… The vet can check for sensitivities indicating possible trauma or internal bleeding, swelling and other physical signs something may be wrong. They will want to know how much water your dog is drinking and if it is available to them all the time. Depending on the concerns they may want to get more information and possibly do some tests, in this case they will ask for a sample of your dogs urine to do a urinalysis.
It can be done a couple ways. There is the non invasive and the invasive way to go about it. The non invasive is the good old ‘pee in a cup’ method, you will need to collect a fresh sample of urine using a sterile cup or bag, your vet can usually supply you with this, the sample you get will need to be tested within 2 hours if not refrigerated and within 6 hours if it is. Timing is important in order to get the most accurate test results. The invasive way involves your vet putting pressure on the kidney forcing the dog to pee, or using a needle and syringe to extract the urine from the kidney itself. Both of those methods are very painful for your dog and if you can I would avoid them.
The urine test when it is completed will give the vet any indication of infections or other things that could have caused the discolouration. They will be able to diagnose and give treatment options to you if it is needed. Some vets even recommend doing urine tests yearly to keep on top of your pets health, and prevent infections from growing and spreading if there are any.
There are a lot of health concern that can be related to discolouration on the urine, if you have concerns always talk to your vet, don’t brush these sign off. Your dogs life could depend on it.
Thank goodness Bourbon only had the brown urine one time… I couldn’t even imagine the mission that would have been trying to gather a urine sample while he was taking his morning pee. I don’t know what would have collected more urine, my arms or the container…
Pet health 101 starts with a healthy and balanced diet, exercise and a lots of TLC.
I have a close eye on Bourbon right now, just to be on the safe side. And of course a check up with the vet.