Dog urine is not a glamorous topic. Yet, when you are a responsible pet owner, chances are you will be dealing with not-so-glam topics daily. One such topic is the urine smell difference between males and females.
Does male dog urine smell worse than female? Yes, in theory, a male dog’s pee can smell differently and much worse than a female dog’s urine. However, in practice, it takes a sensitive nose to sense the difference occurring. The different scent of male and female urine is significantly pronounced in cats.
In this article, we will talk about the difference between male and female urine. We will cover the reasons resulting in such differences and go through the reasons which cause changes in the smell of urine.
Dog Urine Characteristics 101
Urine can be analyzed chemically, under a microscope, or visually to assess its basic characteristics such as:
- Color (yellow, red, brown, orange)
- Odor (stronger, less pronounced, foul, sour)
- Clarity (clear, transparent, cloudy)
- Quantity (larger or smaller amounts of urine)
- Frequency (inappropriate urination, posturing without urinating).
These basic urine characteristics can say a lot about the dog’s urinary health and overall wellbeing. Plus, they are easily relatively to monitor. As a dog parent, you do not have to check the pee every time your dog urinates. However, paying attention to these characteristics is a useful way of noticing more serious changes.
Male vs Female Urine Smell
It is no secret that male and female urine smell different. This is a direct result of the presence of different hormones in the urine. The effect of hormones on urine smell is much more pronounced in cats than in dogs – you can easily differentiate a tomcat from a queen by smelling the cat and its pee.
In dogs, the urine scent difference is less pronounced but present. For example, a pregnant woman is more likely to sense that difference due to the sharpened sense of smell. However, in some instances, the difference will be more easily detectable.
Since hormones are the main reason male and female dog urine smell different, it is safe to assume that there will be differences between intact and fixed males. Obviously, the urine of intact males will smell much stronger than that of fixed dogs. However, if you had your dog fixed just now, do not expect overnight changes in the urine smell. Hormones stay in the dog’s system and therefore in the urine for up to several months after the procedure.
Another reason we should mention is the peeing position. This is not related to the actual urine smell, but it does influence the dog’s overall scent. Namely, male dogs make more peeing mistakes – at first, they squat, then as they mature, they start raising the leg. In both cases, there is room for mistakes.
When squatting, they usually spray their front legs, and when raising the leg, it is common for urine to flow on the standing leg. Urine-wet fur takes up a rather repelling scent and makes the dog’s overall scent hard to bear.
Factors Affecting the Dog’s Urine Smell
Sex is an important factor, but when it comes to urine smell, it is not the only one. In fact, there are many factors affecting the dog’s urine smell. Some are benign and transient, while others are more severe and usually indicative of an underlying issue. Here is a list of the most important factors affecting how a dog’s urine smells:
- Peeing frequency – the more frequently a dog pees, the less stinky its urine will be. On the other hand, if the dog refrains from peeing and the urine spends more time in the bladder, the ammonia concentrates, converts to mercaptan, and becomes more strong scented.
- Hydration status – dogs that drink a lot of water have more diluted and, therefore, less smelly urine. Dogs that rarely drink will have concentrated and strong-smelling urine.
- Medications and supplements – just like in people, it is possible for certain medications to affect the way the dog’s urine smells. For example, long-term use of antibiotics will result in urine scent changes.
- Urinary infections – dogs with bacterial urinary tract infections will produce foul-smelling urine. Male dogs are less prone to ascending urinary infections than females but more prone to urinary-stone-related infections.
- Kidney function and health – the lack of urine smell is worrisome, too, as it may indicate a problem with the kidneys and inability to concentrate and actually form urine.
Summing Up: Male vs. Female Urine Smell
All in all, male and female urine smell differently for one simple reason – they have different chemical makeup of the urine. Male and female hormones are excreted via the urine, and in the end, it is their presence that affects the urine smell.
However, if you have a male dog whose urine suddenly started smelling differently, it is highly advisable to seek veterinary help. Urine smell changes can be indicative of various underlying health conditions.