Can a drug test tell the difference between human and dog pee? A Complete Guide

Can you test dog urine with human test strips?

Most diagnostic reagent strips used to perform routine urinalysis in veterinary laboratories were designed for human use. Although they do provide useful information to evaluate urine samples from animals, the results obtained with several diagnostic urine strips are unreliable.

A urinalysis is a simple test to assess your pet’s overall urinary tract (kidneys and bladder) health and insight on your pet’s glucose regulation and liver function.

What can a urine sample detect in dogs?

The most common things found in urine sediment are red blood cells, white blood cells, crystals, bacteria, and tissue cells from different parts of the urinary system. Small amounts of mucus and miscellaneous debris are often found in free-catch samples. Rarely, parasite eggs are found in urine.

The only difference between dog urine and human urine is that they come out of differing species. Otherwise, its next to impossible to tell them apart, unless you have the urine chemically analyzed. Like human urine, dog urine is most concentrated in the morning and then is mostly water later later on. Also, dogs usually do not urinate as much as humans.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

Dog urine contains water, bacteria, ammonia, uric acid and dog hormones. Its these hormones that are different from human urine. Any dog nose can smell these hormones to know the sex, health and even the breed of the dog that urinated. When the dog urine dries, it does so in tiny crystals that can release their smelly messages when they are moistened again from humidity or being sniffed through a dogs wet nose.

The big misconception about dog urine is that it destroys lawns. It doesnt. Dog urine is mostly water and studies have shown that, over time, lawns with dogs in them do just as well as lawns without dogs.

How Accurate Are Drug Tests?

A patient with acute onset neurologic signs walk into your clinic and the owner admits the dog could have been exposed to illicit drugs.

Should you run an over-the-counter urine drug screen? What if the results aren’t what you expect?

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center explains the ins and outs of urine drug screens and how to get the best answers from them.

An OTC urine drug screen can be a useful diagnostic tool when treating toxicity or suspected toxicity cases in veterinary medicine. The tests are readily available, affordable and offer rapid results.

Most of the information available regarding these tests are based on literature from humans. One study with dogs did show that at least one type of urine drug screen correctly identified barbiturates, opiates, benzodiazepines and amphetamines/methamphetamines. This study also found that neither the OTC test nor gas chromatography mass spectrometry at standard settings identified methadone or marijuana in dogs known to have been exposed.

While the exact reason for these false negatives is not known, a possible reason may be dogs produce different metabolites than typically tested for in humans.

False positives can make testing a challenge. In humans, false positives are often due to drugs that are structurally similar to the drug being tested for. Here are a few areas where false positives may occur based on human data:

False positives are not the only potential complicating factor. The patient must have been exposed to a sufficient amount of drug and adequate time needs to elapse from the exposure for the drug to be in the urine. Specimen handling should also be considered, as some drugs like THC may adhere to glass or rubber.

For more information, read the Top 5 Tips for Treating Illicit Drug Exposures and listen to a free, recorded webinar by the APCC on the Toxicology of Illicit Drug Exposures.