Common Urine Tests for Dogs

Urine tests, also known as urinalysis, for dogs are essential to detect diseases and illnesses that can range from minor to life-threatening. A dog urine test can identify things like diabetes, kidney failure and infection. Although there are a host of different urine tests which are performed on dogs, it is important for dog owners to be familiar with some of the most common urine tests, why they are used, and how they can help maintain an optimal level of health in a dog.

Urine pH

Urine pH is generally used to determine how acidic the urine is. Although diet can often affect a dog’s urine pH level, this particular urine test is a good detector of kidney function. One of the primary functions of the kidneys is to maintain an appropriate acid-to-alkaline level by absorbing, filtering, and stabilizing the amount of sodium in a dog’s body. When kidney function is impaired, however, the kidneys may not be able to reabsorb sodium from the body, and this can be detected on a routine urine pH test.

In dogs, urine pH is monitored on a scale of 1 to 14, with 1 being the most acidic and 14 recognizing high levels of alkaline. A normal urine pH value for dogs is between 5.5 and 7.0. Any lab result below 7 potentially indicates acidic urine, whereas any number of 7 could indicate too much alkaline in a dog’s urine.

Urine ph tests for dogs can be used to detect conditions like:

  • Diabetes
  • Dehydration
  • Chronic kidney failure
  • Urinary tract infections/obstruction

Dog Urine Protein Levels

Protein in a dog’s urine is known as proteinuria. Under normal circumstances, a dog should not have any protein in its urine. The protein urine test is commonly used in dogs with renal failure. Again, the one of the primary functions of the kidneys is to filter and metabolize protein. Therefore, when the kidneys are functioning properly, there should never be any residual protein in the urine.

Glucose Levels in Urine

Part of the routine urinalysis for dogs often includes glucose testing. Glucose is predominantly monitored within the blood, but when blood glucose levels become extremely high, typically as the result on uncontrolled diabetes, it is not uncommon to find trace amounts of glucose in a dog’s urine.

White Blood Cells

White blood cells are responsible for multiplying and fighting in cases of infection. A high level of white blood cells in the urine does indicate infection, typically of the bladder or kidneys. Unfortunately, the onset of white blood cells in the urine can be somewhat skewed in females because it is not uncommon for a residual amount of white blood cells to be found in the urine as a result of the vaginal collection process.

Culture and Sensitivity

After white blood cells have been detected in the urine, the next step is to test the dog’s urine for bacteria. Bacteria in the urine are common with urinary tract infections and kidney infections. A urine culture and sensitivity test is then used to determine which type of bacteria is present so that treatment can be decided accordingly.