What to Do When Your Whole House Smells Like Dog Urine

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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 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.

whole house smells like dog urine

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 this smell may even aggravate chronic health conditions such as asthma and allergies.

Before you freak out, remember that smelling a little bit of dog pee every now and then isn’t necessarily harmful. So unless you’re constantly exposed to an excessive amount of urine odor, you’re probably okay.

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

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.

Don’t use ammonia (or ammonia-based products). This is 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.

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 a good 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 I love it!

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!

White vinegar

The acidic nature of vinegar makes it useful for cleaning, as well as 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

Baking soda is another 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.

Essential oils

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 urine 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.

Otherwise, 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.

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? Is it a behavioral problem?

In addition, it’s essential to clean up any accidents promptly and thoroughly. Unless the smell is completely gone, the smell can attract your dog back to that area.

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. Additionally, 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 can be a convenient alternative.

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 infections, 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 dog trainer or behaviorist to help you out.

Other potential causes of urination include excitement, submissive behavior, and fear.

In summary

There are a few things you can do to get rid of the dog urine odor. These include finding the source of the smell, using the right cleaning products, and regularly cleaning up after your pet.

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.

Sources

  1. Ammonia — Wisconsin Department of Health Services
  2. Veterinary Care in Massachusetts: Benefits of Spay & Neuter — Anchor Animal Hospital

About the author

Li-ran Bukovza

Li-ran believes that our dogs can teach us more than we could ever teach them. He's fascinated by the dog-human bond and loves researching and writing about new pet trends. With the help of Richie (his trusty Maltese sidekick), he hopes to help as many people as possible understand the beautiful, complex world of canine companionship.