French Bulldog looking sheepishly at their pee

How To Get Rid Of Dog Urine Smell In 5 Simple Steps

Written By Eloisa Thomas | Canine Coach, Double M.A in Anthropology.
Edited & Fact Checked By Renae Soppe | B.A Journalism & Science. 
Last Updated: 7th January 2024

Are you training a young pup? Did your dog have an accident? Or maybe you just want to know how to get rid of dog urine smell to save some old furniture?

 No worries, today is all about neutralising that awful stink. Soon enough, your entire home will be as fresh as new!

Ready to get cleaning?

Siberian Husky puppy peeing on ground

Prevention Is Key

Cleary the best way to remove the smell of pee from your home is not having it occur in the first place. While toilet training is crucial, there are aids out there that can help support the process.

Check out our guides below:

Dog Urine: The Normal, The smelly, And The Ugly

Dogs pee. It’s normal and expected. But not all dog urine is the same, and like many other things, changes in their urine can be one of the first signals of other health issues.

As with most health issues, what “normal” urine looks like might differ slightly from one dog to the other. In general, vets agree that yellow-to-clear urine, without a very strong smell when fresh, is usually healthy [1]. Keep an eye out for frequency and quantity: changes in these could indicate an underlying problem.

PRO TIP: Get used to your dog’s urine while they are healthy, and not when you’re concerned about them. It’s easier to identify changes that way! Pay attention to the colour and usual smell. When in doubt, bring a sample to the vet.

Dog urine that is red, brown or orange might be an indication of the presence of blood or might be a harmless side effect of medication your dog is taking. If you see these colours or your dog’s pee changes suddenly, talk to your vet.

Related: How To Encourage Your Dog To Poop & Pee Quickly.

Dog pee, like all urine, smells. It has pheromones that serve as biological messages to other dogs. On the flip side, it might also make your home, your carpet and the street very smelly. Fresh urine should have minimal smell, but as time passes the smell gets worse. Here’s how to fix it!

What Neutralises Dog Urine Smell?

Since ammonia is what makes urine smell, to get rid of it you need to break it down. Luckily, nowadays it’s easy to find household products with the right compounds: enzymes.

Related: How To Stop My Dog From Peeing On The Bed.

Simply put, enzymes are biological compounds that specifically destroy proteins, getting rid of the stains and smells in the process. While you can buy specialised products, many staples you probably already have also break down the compounds in urine. To get rid of dog smell, here are a few easy products you can use:

  • Regular white vinegar
  • Baking soda (not baking powder!)
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Bleach

PRO TIP: We recommend using other options before trying bleach since it’s the strongest option and it will discolour your items. Bleach can only be safely used on tile floors, washable wall paint (preferably lightly coloured) and white clothes. If you do want to use bleach, always dilute it first and start with smalls amounts.

How To Get Rid Of Dog Pee Smell

The strong smell is normal, healthy dog pee is actually caused by ammonia. When pee dries, it concentrates and the smell gets worse. Here’s how to prevent a smelly problem in your home!

Step 1. Act quickly

The faster you clean up the mess, the less it will smell in the end. If you manage to get to the scene of the crime before it dries, the smell won’t usually be a problem later on.

Better yet: keep accidents from happening at all. The best way to do this is by getting your dog used to a strict peeing schedule and keeping an eye on them. Don’t have a clue about potty training? Read our essential guide on how to toilet train a puppy. It’s easier than you’d think!

PRO TIP: Know your dog’s cues to figure out if they have to pee. If it’s nearing their usual “go time”, it’s likely they want to go potty. Even if it’s not on their schedule, a dog that is restless, sniffing the ground, circling and barking probably needs to go [2].

Step 2. Soak up the pee

Once the deed is done, don’t let pee soak into the wooden floors or the furniture! If you can, soak the most of it up with paper towels or an old rag.

This will also save you headaches afterwards: it’s the easiest way to avoid smells down the road!

PRO TIP: For furniture or areas that readily soak up liquids (like rugs), sprinkle baking soda. It will help trap moisture while also deodorising the area.

Step 3. Use an enzymatic cleaner

This is the only way to get rid of dog pee smell in the house. The stink from urine comes from ammonia-producing bacteria. To neutralise that smell, enzymatic cleaners specifically destroy the compounds and pheromones in dog pee.

This has two main goals: getting rid of the smell and keeping your dog from repeating it. Dogs are more likely to pee wherever their smell is, so getting the spot clean on a microbiological level is essential.

If you don’t have an enzymatic cleanser, you can also use white vinegar.

PRO TIP: How to get rid of dog pee smell without an enzymatic cleanser? Check out your medicine cabinet. The hydrogen peroxide used to clean wounds will also dissolve urine molecules and vanish the smell. To use, apply generously to the affected area and leave to act for around 10 minutes. If you want to use it on a coloured surface (like a sofa or a stained table) keep in mind that hydrogen peroxide can de-colour your pieces. We recommend trying on a smaller, nondescript area beforehand.

Follow the instructions on the bottle, but generally speaking enzymatic products need to be applied and then left alone for at least 10 minutes.

Step 4. Blot the area dry

Once you’ve treated with the enzymatic cleanser, use a clean towel or rag to pat the area dry. If you’re dealing with wooden floors, use a damp mop.

Now is the time to survey for stains. Dog pee stains can be difficult to remove, particularly on upholstered furniture like couches or chairs. If you’re unsure whether there is a stain or not, let the area dry. Many times, fabric is darker when wet and everything will return to normal once it’s dry.

If there is a noticeable stain or the area already dried out and is still visible, you’ve got a problem. You can repeat the process above, using hydrogen peroxide and an enzymatic cleaner for longer.

PRO TIP: Keep in mind that repeated use of these chemicals can damage your furniture and discolour it permanently!

After using these products twice without success, we’d recommend calling a cleaning company specialised in stains.

Step 5. Sprinkle baking soda

Baking soda will get rid of any remaining smells your cleanser (or hydrogen peroxide) might have left behind. To use, just sprinkle liberally over the affected area. Let it work for at least half an hour, and finally use the vacuum to pick it up. If you’re dealing with upholstered furniture, you can also brush it off with a soft brush.

PRO TIP: Baking soda can also help get rid of yellowish stains in your furniture, as long as they are relatively fresh. Make a paste and leave it on for at least 24 hours if that’s what you want.

What To Do If It Still Smells?

If you’ve cleaned the area but once dry it still smells, there’s hope. It just means the enzymes didn’t get to all the urine. Here are a few tricks:

  • Leave the cleanser for longer: Although manufacturers don’t usually recommend it, I’m partial to just leaving stuff for longer to really make the smell disappear. Of course, try this at your own risk and always do a patch test first. We don’t recommend this for areas that you don’t want to get discoloured.
  • Apply baking soda generously: Grab the whole box and sprinkle liberally. If it isn’t covering the affected area very well, you can also do a thick baking soda paste. Just add a small teaspoon or two of water to half a cup of baking soda. Once it forms a paste, spread it as evenly as possible over the affected surface.
  • Spray with vinegar: This works well for upholstered furniture or other textiles. Use either diluted white vinegar or pure (only for very smelly areas) and let it sit for 20 minutes to an hour. Then blot with a damp rag.

How To Remove Dog Urine From Carpet

Carpets are particularly difficult to deal with since most of the time they aren’t easy to clean. No worries, getting pee smell out isn’t impossible, just slightly more difficult! Here0s what we recommend:

1. Tend to it as soon as possible: Don’t let urine sit for hours on end. If you know an accident happened, at least spray with an enzymatic cleanser before fully washing the carpet.

2. Soak it up: The same principle applies. Try to control how much pee gets into the carpet and soak it up with a dry rag as soon as possible.

3. Sprinkle baking soda: Since you can’t put it in the washing machine, you’ll be dry cleaning your carpet at home. To do this, sprinkle baking soda liberally over the entire area and let it rest for half an hour.

4. Use vinegar. This is an old trick that still works. To clean dog urine from carpet with vinegar and baking soda, dilute 1 cup of vinegar in 1 cup of water. Apply over the affected area (where you already sprinkled baking soda). You’ll see bubbles appear. Let it work for at least 5 minutes, longer if it’s an older stain.

PRO TIP: The fresher the stain, the shorter the treatment time. However, keep in mind both vinegar and baking soda can discolour fabrics and stains (if you have wooden floors for example).

5. Blot with a dry towel. Blot the area and let it air dry. If the smell remains afterwards, repeat the process.

Of course, you can also use an enzymatic cleanser to get rid of pee smell in carpet. Just follow the instructions on the bottle!

  1. PetMD. What Your Pet’s Urine Says About His Health.
  2. The Humane Society. How to house-train your dog or puppy.

Eloisa Thomas

Eloisa Thomas is Gentle Dog Trainers Canine Coach & Anthropologist.

With a double master's degree in Anthropology and awarded a Chancellor's International Scholarship to pursue a PhD in History at the University of Warwick (UK), she's well equipped to write well written and factual canine information that will actually help people understand their dogs better.

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