BACKGROUND: Measurement of high concentrations of urine catecholamines and metanephrines is useful in diagnosing pheochromocytoma in humans. Stress increases catecholamine excretion in urine. HYPOTHESIS: Stress of a hospital visit increases urinary catecholamine and metanephrine excretion in dogs. ANIMALS: Fourteen clinically normal dogs, 2 dogs with pheochromocytoma. METHODS: Voided urine samples were collected by the owners 7 days before (t-7), during the hospital visit immediately after diagnostic procedures (t0), as well as 1 (t1) and 7 days (t7) after the hospital visit. Urine catecholamine and metanephrine concentrations were measured using high-pressure liquid chromatography and expressed as ratios to urine creatinine concentration. RESULTS: In client-owned dogs epinephrine and norepinephrine ratios at t0 were significantly higher compared with ratios at t7. Metanephrine and normetanephrine ratios at t-7, t0, and t1 did not differ significantly from each other; however, at t7 they were significantly lower compared to values at t-7. In staff-owned dogs no significant differences were detected among the different collecting time points for any variable. Metanephrine and normetanephrine ratios were significantly higher in client-owned dogs compared to staff-owned dogs at t-7, t0, and t1 but not at t7. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: Stress associated with a hospital visit and with the sampling procedure causes increases in urine catecholamine and metanephrine excretion. Urine collection for the diagnosis of pheochromocytoma probably should take place at home after adaptation to the sampling procedure.