Motion artifact is an important limiting factor for abdominal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in veterinary patients. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of pulse sequence on abdominal MRI diagnostic quality in dogs. Ten normal dogs were each scanned using 16 MRI pulse sequences. Sequences included breath-holding sequences, respiratory navigation sequences, and traditional spin-echo sequences. Four observers independently scored diagnostic quality for each sequence based on the appearance of specific organs, overall diagnostic quality, and degree of artifactual interference. Signal-to-noise ratio and contrast-to-noise ratio were also calculated for each sequence. The sequence with the highest overall mean diagnostic quality score was the dorsal T2 turbo spin echo (TSE) with fat saturation and breath-holding. The sequence with the lowest mean diagnostic quality score was the dorsal T2 fast spin echo. The sequence with the highest signal-to-noise ratio for all evaluated organs was the sagittal T1 spin echo. Signal-to-noise and contrast-to-noise ratios did not correlate with subjective assessment of overall diagnostic quality for the majority of the sequences evaluated (P < 0.05). The three sequences considered to have the highest diagnostic quality for the cranial abdomen were the dorsal T2 TSE with fat saturation and breath-hold, transverse T1 turbo fast low-angle shot gradient echo with breath-hold, and dorsal T2 half-Fourier acquisition single shot TSE with respiratory navigation. These sequences had short acquisition times, yielded studies of similar diagnostic quality, provided complementary information, and are therefore recommended for routine canine abdominal MRI protocols.