Abnormal Urinary Behavior

Cats Dogs
Straining to urinate Straining to urinate
Urinating small amounts Urinating small amounts
Frequent and/or prolonged attempts to urinate Frequent and/or prolonged attempts to urinate
Crying out while urinating Crying out while urinating
Excessive licking of the genital area Excessive licking of the genital area
Urinating outside the litter box Urinary accidents in the house
Blood in the urine Blood in the urine
Excessive water consumption Excessive water consumption
Constantly asking to go outside


Footnote 1

If you have noticed one or more of these symptoms with your four-legged friend, it’s time to call your vet to have them perform a urinalysis. Your vet’s office can set aside urine collection cups/dishes/non-absorbing litter, syringes, or whatever you may need for at-home urine collection. It is helpful if you can collect the urine at home to save some time at your pets appointment and to prevent the possibility of not being able to collect urine at the scheduled appointment.


What is a Urinalysis?

The urinalysis examines the properties of the urine sample such as the pH, specific gravity (a measure of concentration), and amount of protein or other biochemicals. It also includes a visual inspection of the urine sediment to look for crystals, cells, or bacteria.


When should I collect the urine?

The first morning urine will be the best sample because it is the most concentrated.

The urine should get to the lab to be analyzed within one hour of collection. After one hour the sample becomes less accurate.

It is important to know your vet clinic hours of availability to be sure they are open at the time of collection. If it is not possible to get the urine to the vet within the hour the sample will need to be refrigerated.


Cats – Urine Collection at home

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as collecting a clay urine clump from the litter box, a urine-soaked bath rug, or a paper towel you used to soak up the urine. Collecting urine from cats at home takes some skill, but it is possible. If successful, it will save your cat a lot of stress of collection at the vet clinic.

Footnote 2

Non-absorbing cat litter beads are one method of at-home urine collection in cats. You will need to check the litter box frequently for urine production. If you get lucky and find freshly produced urine in the box, you will need to remove the urine from the plastic bead litter with a syringe and transfer it to a sealed, labeled collection container.


Free catch is a method that will work on some cats. It is less likely, but some cats will urinate as soon as they are placed in the litterbox and you can collect the urine in a clean container or dish before it hits the cat litter.


Dogs – Urine Collection at home

First, take your dog outside and let them sniff around like normal on a short leash.

Next, place a clean dish in the stream of urine after the dog has already begun to urinate. A midstream sample will reduce the bacteria or contaminants on the outside of the vulva or prepuce.

Afterwards, place the urine collected from the shallow dish into a labeled container and get to the vet clinic ASAP. A urine-soaked paper towel or fabric will not be a sufficient sample.


What is the minimum amount necessary to run a urinalysis in the lab?

The more urine collected the better! Collecting urine can be difficult and sometimes a dog or cat with urine trouble won’t produce a large sample. Two milliliters of urine should be sufficient to get results. No more than 20 milliliters is necessary.


If you have any questions regarding your pet’s behavior or need assistance with obtaining a sample, call your veterinarian’s office for further support.


Article written by: Lindsey B.


1  Image taken from OpenClipArt. No changes made to image. Used under CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication license

2   Original image. Branded product displayed: Nosorb™ from Creative Science LLC purchased by clinic.