Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your dog.

Cleaning Dog Urine


How To Clean Dog Urine

Accidents happen—this article will help you deal with them. Follow these steps to thoroughly clean up dog urine and eliminate odor. Not only will your house smell better, but your dog will also be less likely to urinate in the same spot since dogs tend to urinate where previous urine is detected.

Young puppies have little bladder and bowel control at eight weeks of age, but this quickly increases over the next couple of months. With consistency, patience, and time, your puppy will learn what is expected as well as who is in charge. This training will also help prevent other unwanted behavioral problems.

Dogs may urinate inside the home for many different reasons, including medical issues, behavioral problems, or excitement. When a pet continues to urinate in inappropriate areas you need to rule out medical and behavioral problems by a trip to your veterinarian or a behavioral specialist.

Some Basic Facts

Dog urine is more concentrated in the morning after a long period of rest. Dog noses are so much more sensitive to smell than human noses, they are able to use them to “read” other dogs’ urine and determine the sex, health, and reproductive status of the other dog instantly. Marking, or urinating in order to give this information to another dog, can occur as a continued behavior, though many dogs will mark a new home once and be done with it.

Whatever the cause, once your dog has urinated in your home, cleaning the urine well the first time will help prevent the problem from occurring repeatedly.

Fresh Carpet Stains

When cleaning fresh urine, absorb as much of the urine as possible into towels. It helps to stand on the towels for up to a full minute to help absorb all of the liquid. Once the area feels dry, spray an oxygenated or enzymatic cleaner onto the area. Treat up to six inches outside the area you feel is soiled to be sure you are treating the entire stain. Remember, our noses aren’t as sensitive as a dog’s nose. Don’t saturate the carpet, but spray enough to cover the entire area, following manufacturer’s instructions for use of the product. Most will give a length of time to allow the spray to work. Then blot the moisture from the soiled area again, and if you can still smell urine, repeat the process. When dry and odor-free, you can also apply a carpet deodorizer if you wish and vacuum the area thoroughly.

Old Carpet Stains

Old carpet stains are difficult to find. A black light is helpful to locate stains and you may be surprised to find more soiled areas than you were originally aware of. If you don’t use the black light you will need to try to find the soiled areas based on smell. However, sometimes dog urine does not have a strong odor, so you are not likely to find all the soiled areas that way.

Once you have found the old stains, outline the areas with chalk to help you treat them, especially if there are multiple areas. Spray the areas with the cleaner and follow the same directions as in the fresh stain cleaning method described above. Repeat until there is no urine odor left in the carpet. You may need to remove the carpet and padding, treat the subfloor, and replace the padding and/or carpeting if the soiled areas are extensive.

Hard Floors and Walls

Use of enzymatic or oxygenated spray cleaners on hard floors and walls may be sufficient, but sometimes walls may need to be re-painted or hard floors re-varnished. Sometimes urine has soaked so deeply into the carpet fibers and beneath the area you are cleaning (i.e., between wood planks, underneath drywall, behind baseboards) that it becomes impossible to clean the urine smell out completely without replacing the flooring or other materials.


Items that can be laundered should be first washed with detergent, oxygenated laundry booster, and bleach (if possible). You may soak items that have agitated in the washer with detergent and booster for several hours or overnight. This is especially helpful with shoes or other things with crevices that are difficult to clean.

Smell the items before drying and if a urine odor remains, repeat the process. Do not dry in the dryer, even if you do not detect an odor. Air dry the items first, and then moisten them slightly to check for odor. This will re-activate the urine odor if it is still present. Repeat the washing process if necessary.

Furniture and Beds

Couches and beds are some of the most difficult areas to clean. Urine soaks into the padding and most of the time is impossible to clean. For this reason, it is highly advisable to use a waterproof mattress pad if you have pets or small children. Applying stain protection to furniture after purchase is also a good option if you have a new puppy or an old dog that is having bladder control problems.

You can spot-clean furniture and mattresses after testing the fabric for colorfastness. If you have stain protection on your upholstery it may be possible to launder it. If all else fails, you may need to consult a professional, who may have special commercial equipment to more effectively clean upholstery.

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.