Why Does My Dog’s Urine Smell Like Ammonia?

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Dogs sometimes choose the most unfortunate places to urinate, and we’ve all had that moment where we’re just a few seconds too late to open the door to let them out. Many caught in this unfortunate moment may wonder “why does my dog’s urine smell like ammonia?” while they clean up the puddle. So what could cause this ammonia smell, and what can you do about it?

There are several reasons why your dog’s urine may have an unpleasant smell of ammonia, which may signal some health issues. Here’s a look at what could be causing your dog’s urine to smell like ammonia.

How Does Healthy Dog Urine Look and Smell?

When a dog is healthy, its urine will be yellow to amber color and have little to no odor. However, if a dog’s urine smells like ammonia and is stronger than usual, it could be a potential sign that something is wrong with them.

Ammonia is one of the many compounds that make up urine. When concentrated, your dog’s urine can give off a strong smell.

why does my dogs urine smell like ammonia


What Causes Dog Urine to Smell Like Ammonia?

If you’re wondering – why does my dogs urine smell like ammonia? – there are many reasons why it might have an ammonia smell. Some of the most common causes are:

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

A UTI is a bacterial infection in the bladder, urethra, or kidneys. When a UTI is present, the ammonia smell will be very prominent.

Kidney Infection

Kidney infections are another common cause for owners noticing that their dog’s urine smells like ammonia. A kidney infection can develop from bacteria moving into the organ. 

Signs of this type of infection may include:

  • A fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is a common condition in dogs. Trauma, infection, or cancer may cause kidney diseases in your canine. As the kidney function declines, so does the dog’s ability to remove toxins from its body. As a result, it can increase ammonia levels and, hence, an elevated ammonia scent in urine.

why does my dogs urine smell like ammonia


Diabetes is a metabolic disease that affects how the body uses sugar. One of the consequences of diabetes is that it can damage the kidneys. 


Cancer can also lead to an increase in the ammonia smell of urine. Cancerous cells release toxins that can damage the kidneys. In some cases, the tumor may be on the kidney itself. So ammonia levels may increase.


Dehydration is another common cause of ammonia-smelling urine. When dogs become dehydrated, their bodies cannot produce enough urine to flush out the toxins. As a result, those same toxins, including ammonia, will continue to build up.

Treatment When Dog Pee Smells Like Ammonia

The treatment for ammonia-smelling urine will depend on the underlying cause. For instance, if your dog is dehydrated, treatment will involve giving your dog plenty of fluids and electrolytes. Water should always be from a fresh and clean source.

If the cause is a UTI, treatment will involve antibiotics to clear the infection. In some cases, surgery may also be necessary to remove the infected tissue.

When your dog has a kidney infection, treatment will likely involve hospitalization. Your dog may need to stay in the hospital for at least a day to get fluids and IV antibiotics. In severe cases, surgery may also be necessary. However, if the infection is mild, you can begin treating the dog at home after this short hospital stay.

A diabetes diagnosis will involve insulin therapy and close monitoring of blood sugar levels. In addition, your dog will need a diet adjustment and a proper exercise plan.

If the cause is cancer, treatment will involve surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy. The type of treatment will depend on the type and stage of the cancer.

why does my dogs urine smell like ammonia

How to Prevent Dog Urine Smelling Like Ammonia

Several actions can prevent ammonia smell in dog urine. You can ensure your dog has:


One of the most important things you can do to prevent ammonia smells in urine is to ensure your dog has enough water. Dehydration is one of the leading causes of ammonia-smelling urine.

why does my dogs urine smell like ammonia

A Healthy Diet

A balanced diet is essential for a healthy dog. Make sure your dog gets all the nutrients they need from their food.

A Low-Protein Diet

Feeding your dog a diet low in protein can help to prevent their urine from smelling like ammonia since the body breaks protein down into ammonia.

Give Your Dog Supplements

There are several supplements you can give your dog to help keep their kidneys healthy. These include:

  • Cranberry extract
  • Garlic
  • Vitamin B6
  • Chlorophyll
  • L-carnitine

Monitor Your Dog’s Urine pH Levels

You can also monitor your dog’s urine pH levels to help prevent the ammonia smell in urine. The ideal pH level for dogs is 6.5-7.0. If your dog’s urine pH level is below 6.5, they are at risk of developing ammonia-smelling urine.

why does my dogs urine smell like ammonia

Can I Get Rid of the Ammonia Smell in the House?

If your dog has an accident while its urine smells like ammonia, it can be tricky to get rid of the scent. However, you can use certain products to remove the smell from carpets, furniture, and other surfaces. 

Some products include:

If the ammonia smell comes from your dog’s bedding, you can wash it in hot water with an enzymatic cleaner. You can also use a steam cleaner to remove the ammonia smell from surfaces.

You can also use products you’re likely to find around the house, like apple cider vinegar or baking soda. Baking soda is very effective at breaking down ammonia.

Final Thoughts – Why Does My Dog’s Urine Smell Like Ammonia?

If you notice that your dog’s urine smells like urine, keep a close eye on them to ensure that they don’t have an underlying health issue.

The ammonia smell could indicate that your dog’s diet needs some attention, or they might be dehydrated, have a UTI, kidney infection, diabetes, or cancer. Always ensure that your dog gets enough clean water, a healthy diet, and supplements to help maintain kidney health. 

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BarkZine is a small team of devoted dog owners – so we understand what it’s like to be obsessed with your pup! We consult with veterinarians and dog behavior experts to bring you the best advice for your furry companions.

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BarkZine is a small team of devoted dog owners – so we understand what it’s like to be obsessed with your pup! We consult with veterinarians and dog behavior experts to bring you the best advice for your furry companions.