Urea breath test (UBT) using an infrared spectral analyzer is widely used for non-invasive and rapid detection of gastric Helicobacter spp. in human, but not veterinary medicine. The main purposes of this study were to determine the reference range of the UBT in dogs and to evaluate its clinical usefulness. To address the first aim, 6 healthy laboratory beagles were subjected to UBT and upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. Gastric endoscopic biopsy samples from the antrum, corpus and fundus were examined for Helicobacter spp. by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, rapid urease test (RUT), histology and cytology. Amoxicillin, metronidazole and omeprazole were given to infected dogs for 14 days, and dogs that became Helicobacter-negative were used to determine the reference range for UBT. To address the second aim, 32 canine patients underwent UBT before upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, and the sensitivity and specificity of UBT were calculated based on our newly determined reference range using PCR as the gold standard for detection of Helicobacter spp. Initially, all 6 laboratory beagles were infected in all gastric regions and became uninfected after eradication. The mean ± 2 SD UBT value after eradication was 0.6 ± 1.8‰, and the reference range for UBT was determined to be less than 2.5‰. UBT was completed successfully in 27 patients. Using our reference range, UBT displayed 89% (16/18) sensitivity and 89% (8/9) specificity, indicating that UBT was quite useful for the detection of gastric Helicobacter spp. infection in dogs.