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“We need a urine sample.” It's not fun when the doctor or nurse says it to you, but when it's the vet asking, it's a totally different—and much more difficult—matter. I found that out the hard way.
Many years ago one of my dogs, Chatelaine, had either a bladder or urinary tract infection. I took her to the vet and got antibiotics to treat it. On the way out of the examination room, the vet asked me to get a urine sample in a couple weeks and to bring it in so that he could check to see if the infection was gone. At the time, I didn't give it much thought.
It wasn't until I actually had to get that urine sample from her that I began to wonder how I would do it. But I'm a trusting soul, and I figured since the vet asked me for one, it must be possible to do. Writing this article now, I don’t remember how HE got a urine sample from her to confirm that she did actually have a UTI, but he did. I’m sure years of training and practice made it easy for him or the tech that actually did it.
But that didn’t help me. How do you get a urine sample from a dog?
On the specified day, two weeks later, I sat, patiently waiting for her to go outside to answer the call of nature. We had a dog door, one of those with the thick plastic flap that makes a distinctive sound, so when I saw her get up and then heard the plastic flap swing shut, I jumped into action, picked up the urine sample cup that I had waiting conveniently next to the back door, and went outside after her.
She was squatting about 10 feet from the back patio, and I came up behind her with the cup in my outstretched hand. I tried to position it underneath her, but she wasn't having any of it.
Chatelaine looked back at me, her eyes big, then stood up and ran to the farthest corner of the yard. Undaunted, I followed, and squatted behind her as she squatted, still hoping to get that sample.
Again she stood up—and I swear, she had a look on her face that said "What the heck do you think you're doing?"—and ran to another spot in the yard. There, she squatted and relieved herself until I got close, cup still in my outstretched hand, at which time she picked up and ran off again.
I was beginning to feel more than a little foolish, and I’m pretty sure she was feeling more than a little annoyed. But I persevered, because I wanted to get that sample and make sure that my sweet dog was cured.
However, after repeating this pattern a couple more times, covering what seemed like every inch of our backyard, I had still not got even a single drop of urine in my sample cup. I hated doing it, but I finally gave up, called the vet's office, and explained my problem. They didn’t seem surprised or disappointed.
Maybe some people could get a urine sample from their dog, but I wasn't one of them.
All's well that ends well. I took Chatelaine back to the vet, who did whatever it is vets do to get a urine sample from a dog, and found out the infection was gone.
I never tried to collect another urine sample from her, but it was a long time before she let me get anywhere near her when she was in the backyard, even if my hands were empty.