Skip to Content

Should I Refrigerate Dog Urine Sample?

Should I Refrigerate Dog Urine Sample?

As an Amazon Associate, we may receive a small commission from qualifying purchases but at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

So, you’ve been asked by the vet to collect your dog’s urine sample and bring it for testing. What a tall order!

Although dogs are always spraying trees and walls as a way to mark territories, they are not particularly keen on having their urine collected by humans.

You’ll have to follow your pup all over the place hoping she urinates when you are ready and does it without being too jumpy about it.

After hours of tracking the dog, you finally have the sample in a container. What now?

If you have some time before the vet requires the sample, how do you ensure that it stays fresh until it is needed?

Should you place it in the refrigerator?

We investigate…

Should I Refrigerate Dog Urine Sample?

The short answer is yes. A dog’s urine is best refrigerated to keep it fresh and ensure correct results during analysis.

If left at room temperature for as little as 2 hours, it may undergo significant changes that alter its integrity.

For instance, bacteria present in it will reproduce enough to indicate a urinary tract infection.

Secondly, cells in the urine sample may break down becoming impossible to be viewed from a microscope.

The presence of these cells can also indicate false inflammation in the urinalysis results.

Lastly, urine also tends to become alkaline when left at room temperature. Not only does this give a false pH test but it can trigger crystals to dissolve.

To avoid the above, a dog’s urine sample is best taken to the vet immediately after collection.

However, if that is not an option, the next best thing to do would be to refrigerate.

Refrigeration keeps it viable so it can give the rights tests when the time comes.

 As long as you keep the contents in a sealed container and store it in the fridge, they will remain stable for about 24 hours.

Else, you are only looking at keeping it fresh for two hours tops.

What About Your Dog’s Stool Sample?

A fresh doggie stool sample is always the best. However, if your appointment isn’t until later in the day, you can store it in the refrigerator.

 Like the case of a urine sample, refrigeration keeps the stool from ‘going bad’ so that it can reveal the right tests.

Be sure that the sample is only 12 hours old for correct results.

How Long Can You Keep a Dog’s Urine Sample before Testing?

A study done to test the stability of dog urine samples at different storage conditions showed that refrigeration keeps things stable for up to 24 hours.

Parameters including ketones, glucose, pH, sediment, and bacterial quantification remain the same for this period as long as the sample is well preserved at 40C.

After this, some of the parameters may give the wrong findings. Anything kept for more than 24 hours may not be viable for testing.

With that said, your vet is best suited to guide you on how long to store the sample before taking it for testing.

Some parameters such as crystals degrade faster than others despite refrigeration.

As a result, you may be required to bring the sample earlier than you had anticipated.

Call the vet before storing the sample and ask them for guidelines on the same.

Best Practices for Refrigerating Dog Urine Sample

Storing your dog’s urine sample keeps it from deteriorating too fast.

However, if you don’t take care during storage, you may end up contaminating the sample in the end.

Here are some precautions and best practices to adhere to during storage.

I. Ensure the Sample Is Sealed Shut

 This sounds like common sense but when you are a rookie in pet parenting, it really isn’t.

Before you place your sample in the refrigerator, be sure that it is closed 100%.

As a matter of fact, you want to keep it sealed right from the collection stage to avoid contamination.

Use a Ziploc bag or a glass jar with a tight lid. You want to make sure that no contaminants from the fridge tamper with the urine.

The contents shouldn’t spill over to your food items in the refrigerator either.

II. Do Not Freeze the Sample

Most vets warn against freezing a dog’s urine sample.

Perhaps it is because thawing takes too long and might compromise the end result.

If you want to freeze the sample, run this idea by your vet first.

 If they give the go-ahead, let them also offer you a few tips to help keep the sample viable.

 If freezing, stay away from glass as it can break if frozen

III. Keep the temperature at 39.2-48.20F (4-60C)

 This is the most ideal temperature which slows down the deterioration of the sample.

 4 degrees is especially the most recommended temperature setting.

IV. Refrigerate the sample as soon as possible

 The earlier you store the urine, the more viable it will be for testing.

Aim to keep it in the refrigerator within an hour or two after collecting it.

Parting Thoughts

Collecting a urine sample is not an easy undertaking.

So, after doing the hard work, you want to make sure it is viable for testing.

Refrigeration keeps the urine from breaking down and deteriorating.

Go ahead and keep it in the fridge for up to 24 hours before testing.