How to Control Urine Odor in Dog Kennels

Dogs appreciate a clean kennel.
i dog sleeping in metal kennel image by Paul Retherford from

The distinguishable smell of urine in a dog kennel is disturbing for humans and dogs. The smell does not represent a healthy environment and instead shows an increase in your dog's risks of disease and stress. Dog kennels must be cleaned daily to control urine odors.


Remove solid waste with a pooper scooper and use towels to remove hair and urine. Once organic matter is out of the kennel, use hot water and an enzymatic detergent to clean the kennel's walls, floor and ceiling. Corners and cracks of kennels can trap urine odor smells, so spend extra time cleaning these areas. Rinse the kennel with hot water. Cleaning the kennel with soap and water removes organic matter, but it does not disinfect the kennel, so the microbial urine smell will still be there.


Once the kennel has been cleaned with soap and water, a chemical disinfectant is needed to kill microorganisms. Bleach is a common disinfectant, but it must be diluted properly to avoid skin and airway irritation. Bleach is diluted in a 1:32 ratio, which is half a cup of bleach per gallon of water, according to the Humane Society of the United States. Be sure urine has been cleaned thoroughly before bleach is applied. Urine contains ammonia and combining bleach with ammonia releases fumes that are harmful to people and animals, according to Apply the diluted bleach to all surfaces of the kennel and allow it to disinfect for 10 minutes before rinsing the kennel with water.


Urine can be absorbed into the fabrics of bedding, so cleaning the kennel without cleaning the bedding does not remove the odor smell. If you clean your kennel daily and the dog is already housebroken, check the bedding in the morning; your dog may be leaking urine while sleeping. If your dog is incontinent, make a veterinary appointment. Machine wash your dog's bedding with bleach and hot soapy water, according to If possible, dry the bedding in a dryer at the hottest setting. If the smell is still noticeable, the Humane Society of Southern Arizona recommends adding a pound box of baking soda to the laundry detergent and washing the bedding again.


Moisture in a kennel is prime environment for microbial growth, so keep the kennel dry by using a squeegee or fan blowing into the kennel. A mop spreads disease and harbors urine odors, so toss this cleaning tool aside while cleaning your kennel. If you choose to use a mop, disinfect the mop in diluted bleach immediately after cleaning the kennel.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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