Not many pawrents find themselves asking, “why is my dog’s pee orange?” but if you are, you are likely feeling pretty worried. Our canines give us mini heart attacks almost daily with small and major issues alike.
As with anything to do with doggy waste, we always need a good pet stain remover on hand to clean up if they have an accident indoors.
There are several reasons for orange pee in dogs, some more severe than others. We’ve consulted the atlas of urinalysis to help you figure out this unusual dog urine color. The good news is that most of the causes for orange pee are easily rectifiable at home or with the vet’s help.
So, Why Is My Dog Peeing Orange?
The most likely reason for orange pee in dogs is dehydration. Orange pee and dark yellow pee in dogs are often indistinguishable, both being compelling signs that your pooch isn’t taking enough water. Kidney issues, UTIs, certain foods, medications, and liver and gallbladder issues are other reasons for orange urine.
A healthy dog’s urine should be transparent yellow. Any weird colors like orange, cloudy, and green urine call for further investigation. Many of these irregularities subside on their own, but some persist depending on the underlying cause.
It’s pretty easy to confuse really dark yellow urine for orange. Actually, most pet owners are referring to dark yellow urine when they say orange. But what does it mean when your dog’s urine is actually orange and not just a shade of yellow?
9 Reasons For Orange Urine in Dogs
Any change in your dog’s body can mean something is causing a health issue. Whether it’s stool change like bloody poop or yellow poop or even urine color and frequency change, there’s always more to it.
These nine reasons for orangish urine in dogs will enlighten you on the matter and aid in determining the next step.
Dehydration is by far the most likely reason for orangish urine in dogs. Your pup taking too little water causes urine to get concentrated, leading to darker, smellier pee. The unusual orange color results from the concentration of urobilin. Urolibin is a byproduct of an orange pigment called bilirubin, which is produced during the breakdown of red blood cells, and can accumulate in the urine if there is a problem with liver function or red blood cell breakdown,
Other signs of dehydration in dogs include:
- Increased panting
- Sunken eyes
- Loss of skin elasticity
- Sry, sticky gums
- Collapsing in extreme cases
- Loss of appetite
Dehydration-caused orange urine is easy to solve by upping your dog’s hydration. You can do this by changing up the bowls and adding flavor, such as broth. However, dehydration can become a life-threatening problem if other underlying issues like vomiting, diarrhea, and illness cause it.
2. UTIs and Bladder Stones
Your dog may also have orange urine if their urinary tract is infected by bacteria (UTIs). UTI pee is often cloudy or pinkish but can sometimes appear as dark yellow or orange. Additionally, bladder stones, such as those composed of calcium or urate crystals, can cause orange or rust-colored urine.
In UTIs, bacteria enter the urinary tract and can stem from poop entering the urinary system or a weakened immune system. You’ll see your dog uncomfortably peeing too often, but only a little comes out with UTIs. This can manifest as your dog leaking urine or peeing in the house even when fully trained.
3. Liver Issues Including Bile Duct Problems
Poop and pee color changes in dogs can often be credited to liver issues. Bilirubin is a yellow-orange pigment produced in the liver and then excreted and stored in the gallbladder as bile. Any interruptions to this natural order due to liver issues result in excretory color changes.
Research has shown that dogs with liver issues have increased ammonia levels that could potentially cause urine color change. Additionally, another liver issue called cholestasis (a bile duct disease) interrupts bile flow from the liver to the small intestines.
This causes bile and bilirubin accumulation in the body tissues and eventually dark yellow or orange pee. Yellowing of eye whites and the skin will also follow yellow pigment (bilirubin) accumulation, which we call jaundice.
4. Eating Foods or Objects with Dye
Your dog having orange urine may be as straightforward as eating substances with yellow or orange coloring or dye. Foods such as too many carrots, beetroots, and even corn can change your dog’s urine and poop into orange.
Urine color change due to too much beta carotene (what’s in the carrots) can precede possible vitamin A poisoning. This condition happens slowly over time and has devastating health consequences. Another culprit is if you are giving your dog too many vitamin supplements This can cause the same bright yellow to orange pee that you see in humans that are excreting excess vitamins.
5. Certain Medications
Certain medications, including those as common as laxatives, can cause orangish dog urine. Expert sources hold that some laxatives contain senna that could color the pee orange. Other common drugs causing the color include Azulfidine, Macrobid, and Doxorubicin.
6. Ingestion of Toxic Substances
Orange-colored urine can also occur when your dog ingests toxic substances, causing muscle damage. The toxins cause the change when muscles release a mixture of oxygen and myoglobin, causing dark urine.
This kind of pee is usually a darker shade of orange and comes with other signs like disorientation, vomiting, weakness, and convulsions. Common culprits include onions and garlic, chocolate, raisins, xylitol, grapes, and household products.
7. Pancreas Issues Like Pancreatitis and Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreas problems like pancreatitis (inflammation) and pancreatic cancer can darken pee to orange or brown. This is because jaundice often accompanies severe pancreas issues like cancer, which darken the pee when bilirubin accumulates excessively.
8. Gallbladder Issues
The gallbladder is crucial to healthy urine color since it stores bile which can stain your dog’s urine. Issues like gallstones and gallbladder inflammation can affect the removal of bile from your dog’s system. The direct result is bile accumulation that gets released in the pee, turning it rust-colored.
9. Severe Anemia
Any disease that results in red-blood-cell destruction can cause bilirubin to accumulate in the system. If the body is breaking down too many red blood cells, they may end up in the kidneys and in the urine, turning the urine red, pink, or orange. This accumulation can cause jaundice and the yellowing or orangeing of urine and poop. See our article on pale gums if you suspect that your dog is anemic.
How Serious is Orange Urine in Dogs: Should I be Concerned?
The severity of orange urine in dogs depends on the other existing symptoms. Since most orange-pee cases result from dehydration, the color change shouldn’t be too concerning if your dog is otherwise fine.
Conversely, worrying signs like refusing to eat, vomiting, diarrhea, increased peeing frequency, and weakness means the change is potentially severe. Noticing any signs accompanying the urine change is enough to visit the vet as soon as you can.
Help! My Dog Has Dark Urine and Is Not Eating
Dark urine and appetite changes suggest that your dog is sick and needs to go to the vet. Health issues like liver failure, gall and pancreas problems, and toxicity can cause inappetence and urine color change.
The signs can also mean that your dog is severely dehydrated. While this sounds moderately easy to treat, dehydration can itself be a symptom of something far worse, like viral infections. See or call your vet if you are anxious about your dog’s urine and appetite.
What Can I Do if My Dog’s Pee is Orange
If you notice that your dog’s urine is orange, it could be an indication of a potential health issue. Here are some steps you can take:
1. Monitor your dog.
Observe your dog for any signs of discomfort or changes in behavior. If they appear to be in pain, have difficulty urinating, or exhibit other unusual symptoms, it’s important to seek veterinary attention promptly.
2. Assess their hydration.
Make sure your dog is adequately hydrated by checking their water intake. Ensure that fresh water is available at all times, and monitor if they are drinking normally.
3. Review their diet.
Consider if there have been any recent changes in your dog’s diet. Certain foods, treats, or supplements can sometimes cause changes in urine color. If you introduced any new items, stop feeding them temporarily and see if the urine color returns to normal.
4. Rule out dehydration.
Dehydration can sometimes lead to concentrated urine, which may appear darker or more concentrated. Ensure your dog has access to fresh water and encourage them to drink. If you suspect dehydration, consult your veterinarian for guidance.
5. Contact your veterinarian.
If the orange color persists, or if you notice any additional concerning symptoms, it is best to contact your veterinarian. They will be able to provide you with professional guidance and advice based on your dog’s specific situation. They may ask for a urine sample or request a physical examination to help diagnose any underlying issues.
Dog Pee Color Chart
Frequently Asked Questions
What Color is the Urine of a Dog with Kidney Failure?
The color of urine during kidney failure depends on the stage, ranging from dark yellow to greenish. Dark yellow or orange pee often indicates early to middle-stage kidney issues along with other signs like increased thirst and peeing. Green urine typically suggests late-stage kidney failure when the issue has already set in almost entirely.
Why Does My Dog Have Brown Urine?
Brown urine is a concerning color that often signals muscle damage. The damage can result from trauma, seizures, or even poisoning, such as from metaldehyde. The color also means red blood cells damage.
Why is My Dog’s Pee Very Yellow and Smelly?
Extremely yellow and smelly pee often suggests dehydration, but it is easily curable by upping your dog’s water intake. The color sometimes means health problems like kidney issues, UTIs, and bladder inflammation. A slight odor is expected, but too much suggests the urine is excessively concentrated.
Orange pee is arguably less worrying than other colors like green, red, or brown, especially when there are no other signs of illness. Most times, simply increasing your dog’s hydration will return the pee to the normal straw-colored or pale yellow hue. However, other instances, particularly those with vomiting, inappetence, and lethargy, require medical attention.
Tamsin De La HarpeAuthor
Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions.
Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.
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