What is your Pet’s Urine Trying to Tell you?

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Urine is a literal goldmine of information. When analyzed, it can tell you everything from your pet’s nutritional needs to potential infections. So, what happens when it’s not gold at all? What if, instead, your pet’s urine is red, brown, or full of crystals? Use this decoder to determine what your pet’s urine is trying to tell you.

Is Your Pet’s Urine Normal?

It’s always good to have a benchmark of normalcy. Healthy pets will produce a transparent yellow that might take on a pale to amber hue. Depending on what’s passed through their system, the color could vary slightly but should stay within a few shades. The more hydrated, the clearer it may appear. The less diluted, the darker it will look.

The yellow tint comes by way of the kidneys. When functioning properly, they produce a chemical called urochrome, which creates the familiar tone.

When urine is transporting more than routine cellular waste, life can become a bit more ‘colorful.’

Orange Pet Urine

Dark urine isn’t inherently a cause for concern. However, if it takes on a more orangey tone, jaundice could be the culprit. Along with severe dehydration, orange pet urine could indicate liver disease, gallbladder or pancreatic issues, damage to red blood cells, or problems with the bile duct.

Whenever you see this ominous omen, time to get your pet to the vet for additional testing.

Red, Pink, or Red-Orange or Reddish Brown Pet Urine

Red urine is a red flag, no way around it. The most common diagnosis is a UTI (urinary tract infection), in which case it should also take on a cloudy appearance.

Red-tinted pet urine might be an indication of:

  • lower urinary tract disorder
  • cystitis
  • internal bleeding or clotting issues,
  • physical trauma
  • cancer


Make sure a medically trained pet professional helps you determine and diagnose the color change.

Black to Brownish Pet Urine

Urine only takes on these darkened shades when something serious is at play. It could be your pet got their paws on food that’s poisonous to dogs, like garlic or onion. Maybe they sucked down some Tylenol and now their body is rejecting the acetaminophen. It could also be a sign of severe injury to their internal musculature. In any event, best to get them checked and determine the source of the hemoglobin.

Crystals in Pet Urine

Crystals are common in pet urine. They’re usually associated with bladder infections. If properly hydrated their body should pass them without an issue. Once they form together, however, they can create painful blockages or bladder stones.

Dietary therapy and high-quality pet foods that are low in protein, magnesium, sodium, and phosphorus increase the acidity in urine and can help dissolve some stones. You’ll still need to see your vet for a round of antibiotics. Without the script, a bladder infection could worsen, eventually leading to a UTI or Kidney issues.

The message to pet parents here: stay attuned to your fur baby and note any changes to urine color. The sooner they can be checked and, if needed, treated, the less time they’ll have to spend in pain.

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