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Why Does My Dog Smell Like Ammonia? 5 Questions Answered

Why Does My Dog Smell Like Ammonia

Your dog greets you and you smell something stinky.

You take a sniff of their fur and realize…

The strong odor is coming from them. 

And it smells like ammonia!

Oh no…

The worst thing is the smell doesn’t go away.

Now you’re wondering why and what’s happening.

Don’t beat yourself up.


Continue reading to find out:

  • 7 tips on how to to get rid of the ammonia smell.
  • Whether you should be worried about the smell or not.
  • 5 common situations of dogs who smell like ammonia and why.
  • If there’s a difference when the smell is coming from different body parts.
  • And a lot more…

Why does my dog smell like ammonia? 

Your dog smells like ammonia due to underlying health issues such as kidney disease, UTI, gastrointestinal problems, or genital infection. It may also be due to the food they eat or dehydration.

Why does my dog smell of ammonia? 5 questions answered

Your dog’s pee smelling like ammonia could be due to Urinary Tract Infection.

UTIs are caused by bacterias in the urine and could smell like fish. Surprisingly, it’s very common in dogs.

In fact, a study mentioned that 14% of dogs can get UTI at some point in their lives.

And the smell of ammonia is not the only symptom of UTI. You should also watch out for the following:

  • Fever.
  • Blood in the urine.
  • Needing to constantly pee.
  • Cloudy or dark-colored urine.
  • Whimpering during urination.
  • Excessive licking to the genital area.

UTI can cause pain and discomfort to your pooch but can often be treated easily. 

So if you notice any sudden changes in your dog’s potty routine, take action immediately. 

You can also do the following precautions to prevent UTIs:

  • Keep their urinary opening clean. 
  • Provide fresh, clean water every day.
  • Make sure that they’re regularly groomed.
  • Prevent them from holding their urine for long periods of time.

However, there are cases when it can be a sign of more serious conditions. Such as kidney infections or bladder stones.

The best course of action is to check with your vet for proper diagnosis and advice.

Why does my dog’s breath smell like ammonia? 

Your dog’s breath smells like ammonia due to chronic or acute kidney failure.

Since the kidney is not functioning well, there’s a buildup of waste in the bloodstream. And this is what causes the smell of ammonia.

Most times, early symptoms of kidney disease are often overlooked. This is because the signs don’t always look severe.

But mild conditions can become serious when left untreated. That’s why we should always pay attention to every symptom. 

Aside from ammonia breath, the following are other symptoms to watch out for:

  • Lethargy.
  • Loss of appetite. 
  • Increased urination.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Increase or decrease in water consumption.
  • Dental diseases such as pale gums and mouth ulcers.

Interesting fact: According to PetsMD, dental disease is the leading cause of chronic kidney failure in older dogs.

This is why a dog’s dental health is also very important. It can be helpful in preventing kidney problems.

Aside from that, we should keep them away from harmful chemicals in the house. Other things to keep them away from are:

  • Raisins.
  • Grapes.
  • Medications.
  • Contaminated water.

Why does my dog’s poop smell like ammonia? 

Your dog’s poop smells like ammonia because it may be a sign of gastrointestinal problems.

This is caused by consuming the wrong food or having a poor diet. 

Other causes of gastrointestinal problems in dogs are:

  • Viruses.
  • Parasites.
  • Bacterial infections.
  • Consumption of garbage.
  • Changing food too quickly.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease.

Fortunately, it’s easy to spot if your dog is having digestive problems. Symptoms to look out for are:

  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Weight loss.
  • Constipation.
  • Excessive gas.
  • Loss of appetite.

Since treatment of this problem depends on the cause, it’s best to consult your veterinarian for expert advice.

Why does my dog’s fart smell like ammonia? 

Your Dog's Fart Smells Like Ammonia

Your dog’s fart smells like ammonia because of the digestive activity happening in their stomach.

During digestion, different gases are released. And if mixed with hydrogen sulphide can result in the ammonia smell. 

This could also be a sign that they’re not digesting their food properly.

If you’ve noticed your pup farting more with a bad smell, there could be an underlying issue.

Maybe they’ve eaten something they’re allergic to. Or had food intolerance.

To be on the safe side, it’s still best to have your dog checked by a vet.

You could also help your dog by changing their diet. And switching to higher quality dog food.

Did you know that some short-nosed breeds tend to fart more? These breeds are:

  • Pugs.
  • Shih Tzus.
  • Bull Mastiffs.
  • Boston Terriers.
  • French Bulldogs.

Why does my female dog smell like ammonia?

Your female dog smells like ammonia because she might have an infection in her genital area.

This condition is called vaginitis and is caused by yeast or bacteria. It can appear in any female dog, whether spayed or not.

Most dog owners think the ammonia smell is due to the female dog in heat. But this is wrong.

Sometimes, they can get an infection in their genital area which leads to a stinky smell.

According to VCA, these are the most common signs of vaginitis:

  • Vaginal discharge.
  • Licking of the vaginal area.
  • Rubbing of the genital area.
  • Increased frequency of urination.
  • Inflamed or swollen vaginal area.

If you think your furry friend has vaginitis, check with your vet for a physical examination.

The best way to prevent this from happening to your dog is to make sure that their genital area is always clean.

How do you get rid of ammonia smell on a dog? 7 tips

#1: Go to a vet for professional help

When you notice a symptom with your beloved pup, what’s the one thing I always mention?

You probably know this by now… Go to the vet!

This is always the most advisable thing to do. Especially when you think your dog is sick.

Not only will they be properly diagnosed, but they will also be given the right treatment.

So what can you expect in the veterinary clinic?

The vet will do a urinalysis to test the components of your dog’s urine. 

According to VCA, this is mainly used to assess the health of the kidney. But it may also help in revealing problems in other organs.

This is performed using a dipstick. Each test pad measures a different chemical component.

It will change color to show the amount of substance in the urine. The substances that can be detected are:

  • Blood.
  • Protein.
  • Glucose.
  • Ketones.
  • Bilirubin.
  • Urobilinogen.

#2: Provide them with the proper diet

Many of us mean well when it comes to our beloved companions. 

But there are times when we don’t realize the poor food choices we make for them.

Did you know that dogs shouldn’t eat table scraps?

It can lead to them ingesting toxic foods. This is because table scraps can contain onion, chocolate, raisin, grapes, and xylitol.

Check the table below to learn how each of these foods can affect your dog:

ToxinEffects on dogs
OnionBreakdown of red blood cells leading to anemia.
Raisin and GrapesCan cause serious kidney damage and acute kidney failure.
XylitolCan cause low blood sugar, seizures or liver failure.
ChocolateCan cause the heart rate to speed up and affect the nervous system.

On the other hand, if your dog already has kidney disease. They need to be provided with a proper diet.

The changes in the diet depend on the severity of the kidney disease. 

VCA recommends reducing the following on your dog’s diet:

  • Protein.
  • Sodium.
  • Phosphorus.

It is also advised to increase omega-3 fatty acids. This can help in slowing down the progress of chronic kidney disease.

It’s also critical to provide your dog with an unlimited supply of clean water. 

Which we’ll discuss in detail below…

#3: Make sure they’re always hydrated

Making sure your pooch is always hydrated can help a lot in preventing the smell of ammonia.

It’s also key in preventing a lot of health problems in the future.

Water helps in breaking down the food your dog eats. And helps the kidney flush out toxins. 

It also allows digestion and bowel movements to work smoothly.

Here are a few tips you can do to make sure your dog drinks enough water:

  • Add water to their food.
  • Wash their water bowls regularly.
  • Make it fun by getting a drinking fountain.
  • Provide different water bowls around the house.

You might also want to check out: 19 Crazy Simple Tricks To Get Your Dog To Drink More Water

#4: Ensure that they have a healthy lifestyle

It’s also important to make sure that your dog has a healthy lifestyle. 

This will help in preventing diseases that may lead to the smell of ammonia.

Having a healthy lifestyle for them means getting plenty of physical and mental exercise.

Other things you can do to keep your dog healthy are:

  1. Ensure that they’re regularly groomed.
  2. Make sure you give time and bond with them.
  3. Provide a clean and comfortable sleeping area.
  4. Feed them high-quality and well-balanced dog food.
  5. Take them to the vet for checkups at least once a year.

#5: Take your dog’s dental health seriously

Imagine if you don’t take care of your teeth. And you let it get filled with plaque and tartar.

You probably won’t be able to tolerate the bad smell in your mouth. And this may also cause you health problems.

This also happens to dogs. Not taking care of their teeth can be harmful to them.

So how can you take care of your dog’s oral health? Here are a few things you can do:

  • Brush your dog’s teeth regularly.
  • Give them dental toys and treats.
  • Use toothpaste that is safe for dogs.
  • Get their teeth professionally cleaned.
  • Finally, make sure to have their teeth regularly checked.

Making sure that they have good dental health is key to preventing serious health conditions.

But this is often overlooked by dog parents. This is because some think that bad breath symptoms are normal for a dog to have.

When in fact, this is the most common sign of periodontal disease. Which, when neglected, can progress to kidney disease.

This is because bacteria from the mouth can enter their bloodstreams. And that can spread to other organs such as the kidney, heart, and liver. 

Other symptoms of periodontal disease include:

  • Irritability.
  • Weight loss.
  • Bleeding gums.
  • Discolored teeth.
  • Reduced appetite.
  • Excessive drooling.
  • Loose or missing teeth.

It’s important to get them treated as soon as you see any of these signs.

One study even mentioned that the treatment of dental diseases can help in preventing the progression of kidney failure.

#6: Try home fluid therapy

According to VCA, home fluid therapy is commonly recommended for dogs with kidney disease.

Fluid therapy helps in replacing both the loss of fluid and electrolytes in sick dogs.

The equipment usually includes a bag of fluids, a drip set, and a needle. 

Don’t worry, I know how you feel. Trying different treatments for your dog can make you hesitant.

You’re only thinking about your pup’s wellbeing. And your vet is also thinking the same thing.

So if they advised you to try this treatment, they only want what’s best for your dog.

For steps on how to give fluid therapy, check the video below:

You can also help your dog prepare for treatment by doing the following:

  • Play calming music to relieve stress.
  • Suspend the fluid bag higher than the dog.
  • Position them near a window so they can get distracted.
  • Make sure to provide a comfortable spot for them to lie down.

You might also want to know: 13 Effective Tips To Get A Sick Dog To Drink Water (Fast)

#7: Clean your dog’s area and places where they pee

Of course, you wouldn’t want your house to smell stinky forever.

That’s why It’s also important to clean areas where you can smell the ammonia.

And also, take note of spots in the house where your pooch might pee.

One of the most effective ways of removing bad odors is using baking soda.

We can do use baking soda by following these 3 simple steps:

  1. Wipe pee with a newspaper or towel. 
  2. Once soaked, sprinkle at least 1/4 cup of baking soda.
  3. Leave it overnight and vacuum the following day.

We can also use vinegar to get rid of the odor. This is often used for dried-out stains of urine.

This can also be done with 3 simple steps:

  1. Mix vinegar with baking soda and put in a spray bottle. 
  2. Spray the stain and soak it up with a cloth.
  3. Do this until the smell of ammonia disappears.

When the smell is too hard to remove, try using enzymatic cleaners instead. 

These products will work efficiently as they were created to get rid of dog urine stains and odor. 

It’s also advisable to clean your pup’s area. Make sure to wash their beddings and any blanket they use.

Doing this will not only make it comfortable for your dog. But will also keep your house smelling fresh.

5 common situations:

#1: Dog vomit smells like ammonia

Dog vomit smells like ammonia could be because they ate something foul.

Dogs are known to eat things they shouldn’t. And their curiosity can sometimes make them eat disgusting things they find.

For example, they might go to the trash and eat spoiled food. 

Or they found the remains of a dead animal and ate it.

When their body rejects it, vomit might come out with a disgusting smell of ammonia.

This is caused by the different bacterias coming from what they consumed.

But when you notice your dog vomiting a lot, they need to be brought to the vet immediately.

#2: Dog diarrhea smells like ammonia

Dog diarrhea smells like ammonia may be due to intestinal parasites called giardiasis.

This is caused by drinking contaminated water or eating animal stool. Drinking these will open the door for parasites to live in their intestines.

These parasites attach themselves and damage the intestinal walls. 

And this is what causes diarrhea to smell like ammonia.

The best way to prevent this is to make sure your dog has safe and clean drinking water.

They should not be allowed to drink water in public places. 

And near places where other animals leave their poop.

It’s also encouraged to always pick up feces that your pooch leaves behind. 

This is to prevent the spread of this parasite to other dogs.

#3: Male dog urine smells like ammonia

Male dog urine smells like ammonia because of bladder stones. This can cause pain, UTI, and obstruction of the urinary tract.

The most commonly found bladder stones in male dogs are calcium oxalate.

Certain dog breeds also have an increased risk of developing calcium oxalate stones. 

These are:

  • Pugs.
  • Maltese.
  • Shih Tzus.
  • Dalmatians.
  • Pomeranians.
  • Bichon Frises.
  • Yorkshire Terriers.
  • Toy and Miniature Poodles

Some dogs with small bladder stones will not always show symptoms. 

But it’s still best to be aware of the following:

  • Vomiting.
  • Bloated stomach.
  • Blood in the urine.
  • Discomfort while urinating.
  • Cloudy or discolored urine.

Veterinarians are not sure what causes bladder stones. But there are ways to prevent it.

The following are tips you can apply:

  • Keep your dog hydrated.
  • Give them plenty of opportunity to urinate.
  • Avoid giving high-oxalate foods (nuts, spinach, chocolate).

#4: Dog skin smells like ammonia

Dog skin smells like ammonia because they might have rolled in their own pee.

Sometimes, they may also roll in other animal’s urine. And since they’re rotating their back on the pee, the more the smell will stick in their skin.

If you notice your pooch rolling in pee after you just gave them a bath, they’re not doing it to upset you.

They do it to mask their scent. Because rather than the smell of fruits or floral, they prefer their natural body smell.

Another reason they do this is to mark their territory and leave their scent. 

This is normal dog behavior. And definitely, one of the things they do that makes you think… 

“Why does my dog like doing that?”

The good news is there’s nothing to be worried about. The only thing you can do is give your pooch another quick bath.

#5: Dog anus smells like ammonia

Dog anus smells like ammonia could be due to infected anal sacs. The anal sacs can get infected when bacteria grows.

It usually begins with impaction and will progress to an infection.

Dogs have two small sacs on each side of their anus. 

This is where they release the fluid that they use to identify each other.

And the reason why dogs often sniff each other’s butt.

When the fluid inside becomes thick and dry, it can plug the openings.

Aside from the bad smell, other common symptoms are:

  • Scooting.
  • Constipation.
  • Licking or biting the rear end.

This can be treated easily but may need help from a vet if the impactions happen repeatedly.

If the impactions are left untreated, it may turn to infections. And will develop into an abscess.

This can be prevented by providing your dog with a healthy diet. And plenty of exercise.