While housebreaking your pup, some accidents will likely occur along the way. If your little one has left you with a urine stain on a favorite couch, blanket, throw or other fabric item, remove it as soon as possible. Swift removal helps to prevent your dog from re-marking the area.
Blot away any excess urine still present if the stain is wet and fresh. Use paper towels to absorb as much of the urine as possible.
Dampen the area with lukewarm water or club soda and let it sit for a few minutes. Blot the stain with paper towels. Repeat this process a few times to remove residual urine from the stain.
For urine stains on upholstery or carpet, you may want to dampen the area with enough water to get down to the padding. Remove the water with a wet/dry vacuum instead of paper towels.
Soak the stain with an enzymatic pet cleaner and let the fabric dry overnight. These types of cleaners, found in pet supply stores, contain enzymes that break down the chemicals in the dog urine and bacteria that digest them. The bacteria need time to digest these chemicals, which is why items need treatment overnight. Some enzymatic cleaners may require a longer drying time, so read the manufacturer's directions carefully. These natural cleaners eliminate the urine odors and, in most cases, the stain itself.
Regular detergents don't fully remove the urine and can leave behind residual odors that will attract your dog back to the spot to eliminate again.
Clean removable, washable items in the washing machine. Add detergent and 2 cups of baking soda to the laundry and run a cycle as usual. The baking soda helps to eliminate the urine odors and scour away stains.
Sun drying the items, instead of placing them in the dryer, further eliminates urine smells, giving the items a delicious sun-dried scent. It's also useful because if you notice any residual stains, you can more easily try to remove them in a second wash. Machine-drying the fabric, however, could end up accidentally locking in the stains, making them harder to remove.
Treat upholstery or carpeting to another round of dampening with water, blotting with paper towels or a wet/dry vacuum and dousing with an enzymatic cleaner.
While the area dries, cover it with newspaper or aluminum foil to prevent your pup from re-marking the area with urine.
- American Humane Association: Housetraining Puppies & Dogs
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Urine Marking in Dogs
- The Humane Society of the United States: Removing Pet Stains and Odors
- Partnership for Animal Welfare: Cleaning Tips
- Nuance Solutions: Bio-Enzymatic Cleaners
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Cleaning Up After Rodents
- If you don't have an enzymatic cleaner available, substitute a mixture of one part water and one part white vinegar. This should lessen or eliminate scents and stains. Three-percent hydrogen peroxide can also remove stains and smells by killing any bacteria present in the urine stain.
- Always test any cleaner on a small portion of the fabric to avoid discoloring it.
- Clean stains from white fabrics with a mixture of one part bleach to 10 parts water. This mixture will wash away the stain and any bacteria present in the fabric, recommends the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Spay or neuter your pup to reduce his need to mark your furniture with his urine. Once your puppy reaches about 6 months of age, his hormones will prompt him to mark your home, inside and out, with urine to advertise his availability to mate with other dogs.
- Avoid ammonia-based cleaners to wash away urine in fabrics because it smells similar to your dog's urine, prompting the pup to re-mark the stain.
- Use nontoxic cleaners around your pup to avoid your little guy accidentally poisoning himself by licking the cleaner off of the fabric or walking on it and licking it off of his paws.
- Never punish your pup for an accident indoors -- it's cruel and serves no purpose. He won't understand what you are upset about and will only become fearful of you.
- A visit to the vet may be in order to check your furbaby for any health issues causing him to urinate indoors, especially for a formerly housebroken dog.
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.