If you have a pet, you know that urine has one of the most unpleasant and persistent smells, no matter how hard you might try to scrub and scour it away!
Whether your pup is potty trained or not, accidents can happen, which is why you need to learn how to effectively remove pee odor before it turns into a problem.
(Hint: it does not include soap and water, or wet wipes.)
In this post, I will tell you exactly what you should do when your whole house smells like dog urine, but perhaps more importantly, what you shouldn’t do.
What to Do When Your House Smells Like Dog Urine?
1. Use a UV Black Light
Finding the source of the smell is the first step to getting rid of it.
This UV blacklight is among the most essential tools for fighting pee odors as it can reveal long-dried stains and urine traces that you may have missed.
Make sure the room is completely dark before you start searching for dog urine. The stain will look like a shiny mark, so it shouldn’t be difficult to locate it.
Use the blacklight on floors, walls, carpets, mattresses and sofas so you don’t miss anything.
2. Get a Good Enzyme Cleaner
View this post on Instagram
Once you find the source of the smell, you need to remove it entirely, or else your dog will keep marking this spot again and again.
An enzyme cleaner is an efficient and safe way to break down organic waste (like urine). This cleaner is not only a best seller on Amazon, it’s also my personal favorite!
Test the product in a hidden place first and then apply and leave it on for 10-15 minutes. Then, soak it up in a paper towel.
Keep in mind though, you may need to repeat this process more than once for persistent smells.
RELATED: Best Enzyme Cleaner for Dog Urine
3. Make Your Own Pet Odor Eliminator
Does vinegar really help to remove dog urine odor? It depends.
You see, highly concentrated urine contains ammonia, which is an alkaline substance. Vinegar, on the other hand, is acidic, so it does have the ability to neutralize the scent.
The downfall is that vinegar isn’t a powerful urine odor neutralizer, and it doesn’t seem to be that successful at cutting through stubborn pee stains.
However, in some cases, using vinegar may help. But if you’re going to use it, be sure to use it right:
First, don’t apply the vinegar right on the soiled area. Instead, absorb as much as possible with paper towels. Once it’s soaked up, mix equal parts of white vinegar and water and saturate the pee spot.
At this point, you can use a toothbrush or carpet brush to work the mixture into the stain. Let it sit for 10 minutes or more and remove the excess vinegar solution with a cloth.
Repeat the process if you need to.
4. Consider Buying an Air Purifier
View this post on Instagram
Even if you do everything right, urine smells can be hard to eliminate completely. 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, is what causes the strong smell.
So how does an air purifier help?
To remove these nasty odors from the air, you’ll need to buy an air purifier with an activated charcoal filter. You’ll also want a pre-filter and a True HEPA filter to catch things like pet hair and pet dander.
This air purifier comes with all of these filters, and it also reduces bacteria and viruses!
An air-purifying bag is a cheaper option for getting rid of unpleasant odors, allergens and other pollutants in your house or car.
These bags contain natural bamboo charcoal, which is safe to use around pets, and they last for up to 2 years!
5. Rent A Wet/Dry Vacuum
When it comes to carpets, things can get a little more complicated, especially if the stain is quite old.
Older stains that have managed to soak into the carpet padding and backing probably need a deeper cleaning. For this, you can rent (or buy) a wet vac. Some vacuums will even do mattresses and couches!
Here’s how it works: the carpet-cleaning machine pushes clean water through your carpet and then pulls out the dirty water.
You can use an enzyme cleaner or vinegar at this point to scrub out what’s left of the stain and give it some time to dry completely.
While you’re at it, you might as well clean the whole carpet so that it won’t look uneven.
But I have to caution you – avoid using steam cleaners to remove pee from your carpet as the heat will set the stain in the fabric.
6. Try an Odor Eliminator Candle
View this post on Instagram
That’s right, an odor eliminator candle!
These candles come in different fragrances (from Apple Cider to Pecan Pie to Pumpkin Spice) and they all include a special pet odor neutralizer component that helps remove unpleasant smells.
Whichever you decide to purchase, make sure they’re 100% pet-safe and environmentally friendly!
They should use soy wax instead of paraffin and come in a glass jar, so when you’re done with the candle, you can reuse it for your dog’s treats.
What Not to Do When Your House Smells Like Dog Urine?
Don’t use regular floor cleaners. They’re just simply not enough. Even if you don’t notice it, your dog has a much stronger sense of smell and can almost certainly still notice remnants of his urine on the floor.
Floor cleaners for pets, on the other hand, are a different story.
Don’t use ammonia (or ammonia-based products). That is a big no-no! As I mentioned earlier, dog urine naturally smells like ammonia.
Therefore, if you use a product that has ammonia in it, your dog will likely continue to mark the same spot you’re trying to clean.
Don’t use bleach. While bleach is a powerful disinfectant, it doesn’t do anything for dog urine. Plus, bleach fumes are harmful and it’s also highly toxic if ingested.
As you can tell, there are far more effective and pet-friendly options available.
How to Help Your Dog Avoid Potty Accidents?
Keep in mind that first and foremost, you need to clean up your dog’s mess. Unless the smell is completely gone, he will keep marking that spot.
Since canines are territorial animals, your dog is simply following his instincts. So never punish him for this behavior.
Other potential causes for potty accidents include: poor house training, excitement, submissive behavior, health problems and stress.
The question is, what can you do to stop it?
1. Consider Neutering or Spaying
If your dog has a marking problem, you should consider having him neutered (here are more medical benefits).
In most cases, neutering a male dog can help reduce marking behavior by 90%, and even though marking is less common in female dogs, spaying usually resolves that, too.
Since the best time to spay or neuter a dog is before sexual maturity, be sure to ask your vet for guidance on this.
2. Start Housebreaking Early
This is a no-brainer, but the most important thing you should do to avoid potty accidents is to immediately housebreak your dog.
Whether you train him to go outside or use pee pads, your pup needs to know exactly where he’s allowed to relieve himself, as well as where he isn’t.
It might also be a good idea to ignore your dog when you get home until he’s completely calm.
3. Walk Your Dog Frequently
If you choose to potty train your dog to go outside, then you need to take him out often. If not, he won’t have any other choice but to do his business inside the house.
Be prepared to take your dog for potty breaks 3-4 times a day and even more if he’s a senior or a puppy. If the bathroom schedule is too demanding, you can always hire a dog walker or use pee pads occasionally.
4. Check for Other Underlying Issues
If your dog is properly potty trained and you take him out frequently, yet the problem persists, then maybe it’s a health condition you should talk to your vet about.
Aging, urinary tract infections and kidney stones can all contribute to a lack of bladder control in dogs. This makes them more prone to having accidents.
If your dog is peeing in the house mostly when he’s alone, then you should look into separation anxiety.
In this case, you may want to learn more about this behavior to address it yourself or consult a dog trainer or behaviorist.
Now you, have you tried some of our tips to get rid of dog urine smells in your house? Let us know in the comments below!
Li-ran believes that dogs can teach us more than we could ever teach them. He considers himself a holistic pet parent and enjoys spending his time in the kitchen cooking homemade meals for his dog, Richie.