In people, some foods, such as asparagus, can make urine smell quite weird.
I don’t expect your dog eating a plate of asparagus for dinner?
I am even not sure it would make their urine smell bad because Jasmine did get some asparagus in her meals and I don’t recall any noticeable changes in the smell of her pee. It might have changed, but as much as I monitor what comes out of my dogs closely, being outside and ones nose not getting THAT close, asparagus pee is something that likely would go unnoticed.
Which brings me to the point that with the distance of your nose from your dog’s pee and the way the smell would dissipate in the outdoor environment, I imagine that in most cases the urine has to smell pretty bad before you’d notice unless your dog is also having potty accidents at home.
Is it actually pee you’re smelling?
Can you be sure the smell is definitely coming from the urinary tract? Other things can be mistaken for smelly urine including pyometra, vaginitis and skin infections around the vulva or prepuce.
Concentrated urine can have a strong odor.
The more concentrated the urine, the stronger it will smell of ammonia. If low hydration or high concentration of the urine were the reason, the color would also be a very strong shade of yellow.
Dehydration is not a good thing, though, and if my dog had such concentrated urine more than once, say after a long trip or walk, I’d want to take measures to keep the hydrated better.
Roses are supposed to smell sweet; urine is not. If your dog’s urine smells sweet, you are indeed actually smelling sugar. Glucose, to be more accurate. As you can imagine, sugar might belong into your baking recipe but not in your dog’s urine. If this happens, there is too much glucose in your dog’s blood and it spills into pee, and you’re likely looking at diabetes. A simple urine test will help determine whether this might be the case.
Further, dogs with diabetes are prone to infections, and the combination of high sugar and a UTI is quite possible. That is double the reason to have your dog’s urine tested asap.
I am not aware of any medications that would make any profound changes to dog’s urine though I imagine there might be some. I am, however, aware of a case where a dog’s horribly smelling urine was attributed to a chemo treatment while it was indeed a severe bladder infection instead. Given the circumstances, assuming the terrible smell was from the meds made sense but I strongly believe that assumptions are your worst enemy. Never assume anything. Verify, confirm.
Urinary tract infections (UTI)
All this brings us to the most common cause behind bad-smelling urine, and that are urinary tract infections. That is the number one cause of stinky pee. And no, a UTI is not a light matter and not just because of the discomfort it brings.
Other potential causes of smelly urine include crystalluria/uroliths (although the smell is probably just concentrated urine) and possibly neoplasia of the urinary tract, for example, a tumor growing in the bladder. Prostate disease in male dogs may also affect the smell of the urine.
Urinalysis is a non-invasive, affordable, quick test. If your dog’s urine looks or smells weird, get it done.
Bad Odor in Dogs: Why Is My Dog Stinky?
What Your Pet’s Urine Says About His Health