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Help! Whole House Smells like Dog Urine

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Your entire house smells like dog urine. You hate this terrible odor and are equally embarrassed, but love your dog and that’s why you’re practicing acceptance.

You are afraid to have anyone visit. Every time you try to clean up a particular mess, your dog pees again in that exact spot right after you leave.

Or you have a puppy and want to have a break from puppy blues in general.

You just can’t seem to keep up with this. Can you do something against the strong smell?

Luckily, yes.

How to Neutralize Dog Urine Smell in Your House

The first thing you need to know about cleaning dog urine is very simple. Most of the dog urine smell you sense is due to ammonia.

Ammonia is an alkaline (strong base, opposite of acidic).

On a pH scale ranging from 1 (extremely acidic) to 14 (extremely basic), ammonia sits at a comfortable 11.6.

Though you might not generally think of vinegar as an acid, it is on the acidic end at a ph of around 2.5.

These would put these two chemicals at just about the exact opposite of this scale.

In other words, one will neutralize the pH (potential of hydrogen) of the other. By combining the two compounds together, you should wind up with an even 7 on the pH scale.


Put simply, vinegar is probably going to be your strongest ‘at home’ tool in the fight against smells like dog urine.

Baking soda will also absorb the smell.

In the end, the enzymatic cleaners listed below are by far your best options.

At-Home Solutions

Are you confused by this terrible odor? If you’re wondering why your house smells like dog urine but can’t find the source, a UV black light will work wonders for you.

All you need to remove dog urine odor is vinegar, a book, a vacuum, and a couple of towels.

  • Grab an absorbent towel to sop up what you can of your dog’s urine
  • Blot up these spots as well as you can, until you’ve gotten all that you can
  • Mix 3 parts vinegar with 1 part water in a spray bottle
  • Saturate the stain by spraying thoroughly with your homemade enzyme cleaner
  • Now, cover the stain with another dry, absorbent towel or cloth, thick enough to absorb everything
  • Cover this with a semi-heavy book to hold it in place

Allow this to dry overnight.

Day Two:

Now, mix one part vinegar with three parts of water in the spray bottle you used. Repeat the rest of your previous steps, allowing it to again dry overnight.

Your last step would be removing the book, and rag, and vacuuming the carpet.

Use baking soda.

Baking soda is a wonderful tool for naturally neutralizing odors. Sprinkle it onto the urine stain, gently working the baking soda into carpet fibers before leaving overnight.

After leaving the baking soda overnight, vacuum it up completely the next day.

The Humane Society of the United States suggests against vinegar (or other stronger-smelling compounds) because the change in scent might encourage your dog to re-assert his own scent message. That is essentially true, assuming your dog isn’t trained to urinate outside.

In the end, you might continue to experience the same problems until your dog understands urinating indoors isn’t appropriate. That’s where training comes in.

Looking for additional resources?

Have you just brought a new addition home, and want to know How to House Train Your Puppy?

Do you care for an older dog, and aren’t sure what to do about these messes? If you want to know How to Potty Train an Older Dog, we would be glad to help.

Enzyme cleaner

As you’ve probably guessed, an enzyme cleaner uses enzymes to help in breaking down stains. Enzymes themselves are biological catalysts that speed chemical reactions in the body (and on your floor, in this case).

Essentially, enzymatic cleaning agents are far better at cleaning dog urine smells than any homemade solution here and well worth the investment.

Many sources will tell you things like vinegar will not do much more than mask odors. To truly achieve a level of complete stain removal, you’ll need to break down the chemical bonds in dog urine with an enzymatic cleaner.

You’ll find some highly recommended enzymatic cleaners further down this list. No other household method is a better option when it comes to cleaning animal urine.

How Can I Remove Dog Urine Odor From Carpet?

First off, a black light will work wonders if you’re having trouble locating the source of your dog’s urine odor.

Once you have found it, you’ll first want to sop up any standing fluid. Use a dry towel to absorb anything you can, without rubbing it into the carpet.

Now that you are left with either a new wet spot or an old dry spot, consider investing in one of the enzymatic cleaners below. These will essentially destroy the compounds that create your dog urine odor, not simply mask it.

Most enzymatic cleaners for dog urine odors will offer very simple directions directly on the back of the container. If they don’t, the general steps are as follows:

  1. Blot up (absorb) any standing urine with a dry towel. Be sure not to scrub or rub this further into the carpet.
  2. Apply the dog urine enzyme cleaner to the impacted surface, following the directions provided.
  3. Wait for the recommended amount of time for the product to work (normally 10 minutes).
  4. Finally, blot up the area with another dry towel.

If you don’t want to go that route, follow the at-home solutions above with the use of vinegar and baking soda to remove dog urine odor from your carpet.

How to Get Old Dog Pee Smell Out of Couch

You’ve taken care of the stain, but what are you going to do about this smell that just won’t seem to go away?

Baking soda will actually help you deodorize most stains and is recommended by nearly any source. You can still begin by gently working it into an old stain, allowing it to sit overnight.

If you have a ‘dust buster’ handheld vacuum, you can vacuum up the baking soda the following day.

Other pet owners suggest a combination of apple cider vinegar and powder-based laundry detergent. Specifically, washing any removable couch cushion or other surfaces with powder-based laundry detergent and ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar should do the trick.

In the future, removable slip-on couch covers will help you avoid any additional mistakes. If your cough cushions contain removable covers (many do), you can simply remove and wash them with the combination above.

You might also consider using an enzymatic cleaner to help break down that ammonia. This is actually your best option, and you can see a few listed below.

How to Get Rid of Dog Urine Smell Outside

Before you consider investing in any lawn treatments, remember your dog might eat some of that grass. This is actually a very common canine behavior.

Don’t use bleach on any area your dog has access to.

Some sources advise using garden Lyme on grass and lawn areas, but you don’t want your dog ingesting that. Dawn dish detergent mixed with vinegar in a spray bottle is a safer alternative.

An oscillating sprinkler will cover the area in water daily, diluting any urine odor.

You can also sprinkle baking soda on the area to absorb the urine smell, but don’t let your dogs around it. You can also dissolve a cup of baking soda in a gallon of water, pouring it on the area.

Best Enzyme Cleaner For Dog Urine

We’ve listed some of the absolute best enzymatic cleaners for dog urine available on the market here. If you really want to do a good cleaning job, not just mask the odors, consider investing in one of these.

1. Rocco and Roxie Stain & Odor Eliminator

The Rocco and Roxie Supply Company guarantees their product will virtually eliminate any pet-related odor, stretching from urine to vomit, feces, and more. The treatment doesn’t just remove the odors so your pet won’t be tempted to urinate in the same spot, but the stains also.

This product takes care of stains, residue, and odors. It’s completely chlorine-free and safe for both children and pets. You can use it on nearly any surface imaginable.

The producer even guarantees 100% satisfaction or your complete money back.

2. MisterMax Anti-Icky-Poo

Available at countless retailers across both the US and Canada, MisterMax Anti-Icky-Poo is specifically designed to eliminate pet odors. If you’re dealing with pet urine (or other organic smells), there isn’t much better.

It will treat odors from urine and feces, vomit, smoke and char, even dead body odors, and many other organic smells. This will work on all common surfaces, floors, and fabrics alike.

Again, you are 100% guaranteed effectiveness or a complete refund.

3). Pawstruck Pet Stain and Odor Remover

Again, you can use this dog urine odor eliminator on any surface in the home. It will work on odors from things like vomit, blood, urine, wine, feces, and countless other messes.

It’s made with safe, natural, non-toxic, and biodegradable ingredients in the USA. Plant-based enzymes used here are safe for pets, children, and families alike.

Pawstruck Pet Stain and Odor Remover even offer a natural citronella ‘lemongrass’ scent.

Is the Smell of Dog Urine in Your House Bad for You?

Heavy ammonia exposure certainly can lead to drastic long-term health effects. Most of these will be in the form of respiratory system complications, but it can cause skin/eye irritation, and even lead to cancer.

Of course, these are extreme results from quite a bit of ammonia exposure. Several animals in a confined living environment can lead to long-term ammonia exposure if it isn’t cleaned.

Dogs may also have bacteria in their urine, such as with a bladder infection. It isn’t always sterile, unlike the old saying.

Bacteria and microorganisms can grow in animal urine, which can lead to things like allergies and airway inflammation. It can also cause mold growth.

Finally, if allowed to soak into the subfloor, animal urine can cause rotting. Not only will it be impossible to clean without accessing the subfloor, but you may also need to replace a section of it.

How to Prevent Dog Accidents

You’ll first need to understand why your dog is continuously urinating in the same general area before you can treat the problem.

Both dogs and cats are territorial animals. Whereas anyone who’s owned both will agree that cat urine can be much worse, dogs are able to smell microscopic odors cats would never dream of.

When dogs are marking, they’re leaving their scents on various objects to kind of “claim” these things.

Dogs leave sort of ‘messages’ in their urine for other dogs to ‘read’ in the scent. Because the sense of smell is so powerful in dogs, they can pick up on these messages very easily, even if you can’t smell a thing.

Make Sure You Get It All.

When a dog urinates on standing objects or in one particular area repeatedly, he is trying to leave his sent mark for other dogs to follow.

If you don’t eliminate all traces of the scent, he’ll likely want to mark that same area again.

Your dog could be drawn to the same spot time and time again if you don’t act quickly and remove all the scent that’s been there.

Medical Problems?

If your dog is already house-trained and this urinating behavior is something new, there might be a deeper medical cause. Consider scheduling a veterinary checkup for your pet as soon as you can.

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Disclaimer: This blog post does not substitute veterinary attention and does not intend to do so. I am not a veterinarian or pet nutritionist. If your dog shows any sign of illness, call your vet.

About Danielle

Equipped with 5+ years of expertise as a Rottweiler owner, I partner with licensed veterinarians and trainers to share research-backed and actionable advice for you and your furry friend.


Tuesday 15th of December 2020

Does it work the same for cat urine?


Tuesday 15th of December 2020

Hi Albert, yes most of these tricks should work for cats too. There are some natural repellents that work on cats, but not dogs (lavender, citrus, eucalyptus, rosemary are often cited) and vice versa. Cat urine contains more ammonia which means it might be harder to get rid of the smell.

On the other hand, the amount should be far smaller than what a large breed dog can produce :).