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My dog can't pee

isolated dog


  • Being unable to pee is a life threatening condition.
  • If your dog is unable to pass urine, this could indicate a blocked bladder.
  • Call your vet for advice ASAP if your dog is having trouble peeing.

What to do if your dog can’t pee

Step one: Check your dog’s symptoms

  • If your dog is unable to pee, you may notice them straining and crying. They might also vomit, have a painful belly, and lick their genitals a lot. As their bladder fills, you will notice your dog becoming more uncomfortable and unwell.
  • If your dog is peeing but only passing small amounts of urine, you may notice them going to the toilet more often than usual, licking their genitals lots, and passing blood stained urine.

Step two: Check your dog’s pee

  • Watch your dog to see if they pass any urine when they go out to pee.
  • If they pass any urine, try collecting some to check if it looks unusual, contains blood, or anything gritty.
  • Also check for urine around the house - your dog may change where they pee if they are in pain.

Step three: Call your vet

  • Being unable to pee can be a life threatening condition. Call your vets ASAP if your dog is unable to pee, don’t wait to see if they improve.
  • Call your vet for advice if your dog has any other urine problems such as peeing more regularly, only passing small amounts of urine. These symptoms can indicate a problem such as a urine infection, a prostate problem or bladder stones - all of which can lead to much more serious issues if they are left untreated.
Published: March 2020

PetWise Pet Health Hub – brought to you thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery 

Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only.

Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst