4 Tips for Taking a Dog Urine Sample

Taking a dog urine sample doesn’t need to be difficult, but it helps to know some of the tricks the pros use.

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Wait! I need that. By: MikeFinkelstein
Wait! I need that. Photo: MikeFinkelstein

Someday there may come a time when you have to take your dog’s urine sample to the veterinarian.

I know — this can be a scary or gross thought for many people. But it’s one of those duties of being a pet caretaker that no one told you about. Honestly, there’s no reason to fear the pee if you follow these 4 simple steps:

1. Be Prepared With the Right Tools

First, you must have an idea of what you are going to catch the urine in. You have quite a few choices.

  • Sterile urine container: You can get one straight from most veterinary clinics. They are like little sterile cups and are just the right size.
  • Plastic container: These are my favorite because they come in a variety of sizes, and most are leak-proof. I buy the cheap ones, like the Rubbermaid or Glad containers, and keep them just for urine collection. If you don’t think you need to keep some on hand, then using one that has been sitting in your cupboard is fine — just make sure it’s clean.
  • Old plastic pill vials: These can be handy pee containers for little dogs — but again, just make sure they’re clean before you use them.
  • Plastic zip baggies: This isn’t my first choice because things can get messy if a hole or tear happens, but some people like to put pee in little baggies. I’m not here to judge.

2. Tools for Collection

Next, you will need to pick out the tool to catch the urine. Again, you have a lot of options:

  • You can use the container that you will be storing the pee in. Of course, this is going to depend on the size of your container and the size of your dog. If you have a big dog and a plastic pill vial, things are going to get messy. But if you have a little dog and a plastic pill vial, you might be able to get away clean.
  • The soup ladle is my favorite pee-catcher device. It’s so easy, especially for dogs who squat, and it requires minimal bending.
  • A cookie sheet is fine for small dogs. I actually never knew about this until a client at the clinic told me it’s her preferred tool. It’s supposed to work well with small dogs, but I don’t think I would try it on my guys because they would quickly flood the sheet.

3. Know Your Dog’s Urination Habits

Next up is investigating the past. Is your dog a squatter or a leg lifter? This is important to know because it will ultimately determine your technique later.

If you have a dog that has been known to be both a squatter and a leg lifter, I feel your pain because I have one of those, too. In cases like this, I recommend you take your dog to an area where he will be inclined to have to pee on something, like a tree, so that your odds are better of catching the urine on the first attempt.

4. Collecting the Sample

Now you should be ready to go out there and catch that urine.

I like to keep my dogs on a leash so I’m not chasing them all over the yard, but some dogs just can’t urinate when they are leashed.

Here are some things to keep in mind in those cases:

  • Squatters are easier than leg lifters for the simple reason that when you are trying to catch a urine sample from a leg lifter, they always have the potential to put their leg down right in your container and spill the pee everywhere. The only suggestion is to be faster than the dog. As soon as you catch that sample, get out of there!
  • Watch the squatters. They have the ability to pee and be done in the blink of an eye.
  • Be quiet. No screaming or yelling at them to take a pee. There’s no need to freak your dog out; a freaked-out dog is most likely not going to pee. So settle down and act like you’re not watching your dog’s every move.
  • Take your dog out when you know she has to pee, like first thing in the morning. Sure, it’s no fun to get out of bed and head outside, but this is your best chance of getting a good sample. If your dog’s appointment isn’t until later in the afternoon, you can keep it in the fridge or drop it off at the vet clinic when it opens — call ahead to make sure this is okay.
  • Wear gloves. If you’re afraid of getting a little pee on your hands, properly protect yourself. Urine washes right off, but this is coming from a girl who has been peed on more times than she can count.

If you just don’t think you’re cut out for taking a dog urine sample, I’m sure someone at your vet clinic would be more than happy to do it for you. Just don’t let your dog pee in the clinic parking lot! An empty bladder means no sample — and we can’t make that magically appear.

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