As our dogs age, their body goes through various changes. One of those is reduced controlled of their bladder. Unfortunately, this means you are going to have accidents indoors. Urine has a very strong ammonia smell and this can be a tricky odor to eliminate.
This handy guide will give you several tips to remove the stain and smell of dog urine without damaging your carpet, blanket, and couch. Let’s look at fresh stains first.
Blot The Stain
You cannot successfully remove the odor of urine if the stain is fresh and urine is still soaked into the carpet/blanket/couch. Get a piece of kitchen roll or other absorbent material to remove the liquid. Pressing lightly on the urine spot, keep dabbing until the area is almost dry.
Dilute The Urine
Any remaining urine in the affected area needs to be diluted. To do this, you can mix lukewarm water with a small amount of liquid soap. Be careful which soap brand you use. Choose one that is ammonia-free or you will never get the smell out!
Using a clean towel, gently dab or wipe the wet area. You will need to repeat this process a few more times until the stain is gone.
Now that the urine spot has been diluted and cleaned, you need to add a deodorizer to start breaking down the ammonia crystals in the carpet/blanket/couch. Natural deodorizers are safer for your carpet/blanket/couch and most are found in your pantry. Baking soda is the best option here.
Simply sprinkle a few tablespoons of baking soda over the area and leave it overnight. The longer you leave the baking soda, the more ammonia crystals will be broken down. This is what removes the smell of urine. Make sure the layer is not too thick or your vacuum will have a job getting it all out.
The following day you can vacuum up the baking soda. Go over the spot several times to ensure all the baking soda has been removed. If you can still see a light stain, repeat the process once more.
Older urine stains can be a little trickier, as they have had more time to settle into the carpet/blanket/couch. Also, because the urine has now dried, you may not be able to see the stain. A UV light will solve this problem for you. Dog urine contains phosphors that light up under UV light.
Towels and Blotting
You will need a similar method to removing fresh urine, however, this requires a little more work. You will need one towel to soak the area and a second towel to do the blotting. Use the same water and liquid soap method as before to soak the stain, then use the clean towel to blot the area until it is almost dry.
Use an Enzyme Neutraliser
The smell of urine lingers because of the proteins. An enzyme neutralizer will break down those proteins and remove the urine smell. They don’t take as long to work as baking soda. Simply spray the area and wait for 10-20 minutes (always follow the guidelines on the product).
Try Natural Options
If you prefer to use more natural methods, you can use white vinegar instead. It works the same way as an enzyme neutralizer purchased from a store. Soak the area in lukewarm water only, then blot dry. Use a spray bottle to apply the white vinegar to the urine spot. Now use a clean, dry towel to blot the area until it is dry.
Rinse and Repeat
As with the first method, you can repeat these steps multiple times if the urine smell is still present. As long as you do not use too much of your enzyme neutralizer, repeating the process will not cause any damage to your carpet/blanket/couch. Leave time between each application to ensure the carpet/blanket/couch has dried.
Preventing Future Accidents
The unfortunate truth is that as dogs age they have less control of their bladder and will need to pee more often. To avoid any more accidents indoors, try to increase the number of times your dog has access outdoors.
Reverting back to his puppy schedule will really help here. Puppies and older dogs have very simple bladder control. They will need to pee first thing after waking in the morning, so take them straight outside.
After breakfast, take them out again so they have another chance to go. Remember to include potty breaks after naps as well. It is recommended that an elderly dog has access to an outdoor area every 3-4 hours, much like a puppy who is toilet training.
If you are not home every day to do this, ask a friend or neighbor to drop by to let your dog out. Not only will this prevent them from peeing indoors, but it will also prevent them from feeling uncomfortable and will give them an extra company.
Remember to let them out again the last thing before bed. Smaller breeds may also need to pee during the night. An old dog cannot be expected to hold its bladder for 8 hours. This means setting an alarm during the night so you can let them out.
If your elderly dog has had lots of accidents on the same carpet/blanket/couch, you may not be successful in getting all the urine spots or smell out. Dogs will pee over an area that smells of urine, just like they pee over other dog’s pee when they go on walks.
In this case, it may be more practical to replace your carpet/blanket/couch. Remember to also replace the underlay that sits between your carpet and the floor. If your dog has regular accidents, the chances are that the urine has soaked all the way through.