So your whole house smells like dog urine and you’re not sure what to do about it. Your dog keeps peeing in the same spot, and you’re wondering what’s going on.
Unfortunately, dog pee smell can be difficult to remove and may linger long after the mess has been cleaned up.
If you find yourself in this situation, here are some ways you can tackle the problem.
Can smelling dog urine make you sick?
Smelling dog pee continuously isn’t only unpleasant but also unhealthy.
Pet urine contains a high concentration of ammonia, which can cause headaches, nausea, as well as irritation to the eyes, skin, and respiratory system1.
Long-term exposure to pet urine smells may even aggravate chronic health conditions such as asthma and allergies.
Before you freak out, remember that smelling a little bit of dog pee here and there isn’t necessarily harmful.
But if you’re exposed to pet urine smell constantly, especially in a small, enclosed space, you need to take action.
How long does dog urine smell last?
While the smell of dog pee will eventually fade away on its own, this may take some time. In some cases, it may take several years for the smell to go away completely!
However, the longer you wait to treat it, the harder it will be to get rid of the smell later.
This is especially true if the urine has soaked into the padding of your furniture or carpet, or even into your hardwood floors, which you’ll probably have to replace.
What not to use to clean up dog urine
1. Don’t use a regular floor cleaner. It’s just not going to cut it.
Remember that your dog has a much stronger sense of smell than you and can almost certainly still smell remnants of the urine, which will likely make them want to pee there again.
A floor cleaner that’s safe for pets and contains enzymes to break down the urine will be far more effective and is a much better choice.
2. Don’t use ammonia (or ammonia-based products). That’s a big no-no.
Dog urine naturally smells like ammonia, so when you use a product that has ammonia in it, not only will it make the smell stronger, but your dog will continue to mark the same spot over and over.
3. Don’t use bleach. While bleach is a powerful disinfectant, it doesn’t do anything to remove urine odor.
In fact, the strong scent of bleach might make your home smell worse, and it can also irritate the skin and eyes, making it dangerous to use if you have small children or pets in the house.
How to get rid of dog urine smell in your house
Use UV black light
Finding the source of the smell is the first step.
A UV flashlight is one of the best ways to quickly and easily find the source of lingering odors such as pet urine.
You can use it on walls, floors, carpets, furniture, and any other surface that you suspect your dog may have peed on. The pee will glow a bright yellowish-white color under the black light, making it easy to find.
However, make sure the room is completely dark, as any light will ruin the effectiveness of a UV black light.
Get an enzyme cleaner
Once you find the urine, cleaning it is easy. The best tool for this job is an enzyme cleaner.
Enzyme cleaners contain natural bacteria that immediately begin to eat through the urine and eliminate the odor.
Rocco & Roxie Stain & Odor Eliminator is a best seller on Amazon, and many pet owners swear by it.
Test the cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area before you go crazy cleaning. Then, apply the cleaner to the affected area and leave it for 10-15 minutes. Use a paper towel to wipe up the excess cleaner, then let it air dry.
Depending on the severity of the stain and odor, you may need to repeat this step a couple of times.
Change your air filters
Even if you do everything right, some of the odor might still linger. This is because urine contains compounds that release strong chemicals into the air.
These chemicals eventually get oxidized, and that, along with the presence of bacteria, can cause a lingering odor.
Most people don’t think about their air filters, but they’re important.
A dirty air filter will prevent the correct amount of clean, fresh air from getting into your home. This can cause odors to linger longer.
Changing your filters regularly and cleaning them is an important way to keep your house fresh and to help remove odors.
If you want to take this a step further, you can get an air purifier for your home.
Air purifiers use active carbon filters to trap and eliminate airborne molecules. This includes the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that cause urine odors.
I have Xiaomi’s Smart Air Purifier 4 Compact and it works great.
Home remedies for dog urine smell
Not only are these home remedies inexpensive, but they’re also all-natural and chemical-free. That’s a win-win for you, your family, and your pup!
You can use them whenever your house smells like dog urine or if you just want to freshen things up.
The acidic nature of vinegar not only makes it useful for cleaning, but also for neutralizing the bacteria that cause smelly urine odor.
The downfall is that it isn’t as effective as an enzyme cleaner when it comes to strong smells. If you have a mild pee smell, vinegar will likely be enough to remove it.
But if you’re going to use vinegar, be sure to use it right.
Soak up as much of the urine as you can with paper towels. Then mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle and apply it directly to the affected area. Allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes and wipe it up.
Repeat as needed.
Baking soda is a good option for deodorizing your carpet or upholstery.
Sprinkle the area with baking soda and allow it to sit for a few hours or overnight before vacuuming. The fresher the stain is, the better your chances of removing it.
Lavender, lemongrass, rosemary, and orange are all great essential oils you can use to create a natural odor remover spray.
To make a spray, add 10 drops of essential oil to your vinegar and water mixture. Shake well and apply to the affected area. Allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes, then wipe clean.
How to get dog urine smell out of a hardwood floor
Dog urine can wreak havoc on your hardwood floors.
These types of floors are porous and absorbent, making it difficult to completely remove the odor if not treated immediately.
Start by cleaning up any fresh urine with paper towels. This will prevent the urine from soaking into your floorboards and causing more damage.
Next, mix equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle and add several drops of dish soap.
Spray the flooring to cover it thoroughly and let sit for 15 minutes. Using a clean cloth, wipe up the flooring to remove any excess liquid.
If the smell persists, consider using an enzymatic cleaner formulated specifically for pet accidents on hardwood floors.
How to get dog urine smell out of a carpet
Carpets soak up urine like a sponge, making them hard to clean once the odor has set in.
For older stains that have managed to soak into the carpet padding and backing, your best option is to use an enzyme cleaner.
For newer accidents, make sure to blot as much as you can. Then, mix together 1 cup of white vinegar, 1 cup of water, and 2 tablespoons of baking soda.
Spray the solution on the stain and let it sit for 5-10 minutes to work (make sure to rub it into the carpet for best results).
Finally, blot up any remaining liquid with a clean cloth.
It’s important to avoid using steam cleaners as the heat can set stains and make them harder to remove.
How to get dog urine smell out of a couch
Just like with hardwoods and carpets, the key is to act quickly.
Blot up as much of the urine as possible using paper towels. Avoid rubbing the area, which can spread the stain and odor deeper into the fabric.
In a spray bottle, mix equal parts white vinegar and water and apply generously to the affected area. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes and blot with a clean cloth.
Then sprinkle baking soda over the spot, work it in gently, and let it sit for several hours or overnight to absorb any remaining odor. Vacuum the area thoroughly when you’re done.
This tends to work best for fresh stains, as older ones may require a more powerful cleaning solution like enzyme cleaner.
Investing in a slipcover for your couch can also help prevent future accidents from becoming permanent stains and odors.
How to stop your dog from peeing in the house
It’s important to identify why your dog is peeing in the house. Is it due to a medical issue or behavioral problem?
If your whole house smells like dog urine because they’re marking their territory, it’s important to clean it thoroughly.
Unless the smell is completely gone, your dog will continue to pee in that spot.
Here are a few more tips that may help:
Consider neutering or spaying
If your dog has a marking problem, you should consider having them neutered.
According to studies, neutering or spaying a dog can help reduce marking behavior by 90%2, although marking is less common in female dogs.
The best time to spay or neuter a dog is between 4-6 months of age.
Start housebreaking early
The earlier you start housebreaking your dog or puppy, the easier it will be to prevent them from peeing in the house.
Make sure you’re following a consistent schedule that allows your dog to relieve themselves at the same time each day, and be patient!
Take them outside every two hours, as soon as they wake up, after eating and drinking, and after playing. Also, watch for signs that your dog needs to go outside, like sniffing around or circling.
Walk your dog more often
Be prepared to walk your dog more often, specifically 3-4 times a day when you first start housebreaking, and even more if you have a puppy or an older dog.
If the weather is bad, and you don’t want to go outside, or you simply don’t have the time, pee pads might be a good option.
Check for other underlying issues
If your dog suddenly starts peeing in the house, it might be caused by a medical problem. Some of the most common issues are: urinary tract infection, kidney stones, and diabetes.
Schedule a vet visit and have your dog checked out.
If your dog is healthy and there’s no medical reason for the accidents, then it could be something behavioral such as separation anxiety.
In this case, you’ll have to work on changing your dog’s behavior or find a good dog trainer or behaviorist to help you out.
Other potential causes for potty accidents include excitement, submissive behavior, and fear.
There are a few things you can do when your house smells like dog urine:
Regularly cleaning up after your pet, finding the source of the smell, and using the right cleaning products can help you get rid of that dog pee smell.
However, it’s important to ask yourself why your dog is peeing in the house in the first place.
A medical condition or behavioral issue may be to blame, so make sure to consult with your vet or a professional dog trainer if you have a persistent problem.