Apart from being a man’s best friend, the dog can also be a HUGE waste producer.
One day they make you laugh and warm your heart. The other they make you clean the mess they leave behind.
An awful urine smell can be one of those messes. Luckily, learning how to get rid of dog urine odor is not much of a problem.
As long as you’re sure it is indeed urine, understand where it happens and why then finding a way to eliminate that scent should be a piece of cake.
But first, let’s go over the basics…
What Does Dog Urine Smell Like?
Generally, dog urine shouldn’t have any smell. It should be odorless or close to that.
In fact, when dogs pee in grass or soil, you shouldn’t even feel it as it typically gets absorbed by the garden.
In case you feel the smell, there’s a chance something’s wrong with the dog. An alternative could be the place where your dog is urinating that absorbs the odor. And as the last option, it could also be that you aren’t doing any upkeep to the garden. Thus, the waste is accumulating in the same place.
Regardless, it’s something that needs fixing. But first, you need to learn why it even happens.
What Causes Dog Urine Odor in the Garden?
Reasons abound. Like it can happen with humans, dogs may also go through all kinds of situations that cause them to produce smelly urine.
The most common reasons, however, are these:
Bad Urinating Habits
Your dog just pees everywhere, even in the places he shouldn’t. Do you cover your garden with a piece of landscape fabric and your dog peed on it? That will make it stink. The same could happen if your dog starts to pee on concrete, ceramic, or any other material that doesn’t absorb the urine.
In case dog urine smells like burnt rubber, that’s a sign of heat. The dog (in this case, probably a female) is looking for a partner. Her body is sending pheromones with this smell, which is not pleasant for humans in the slightest.
Anxiety & Emotional Issues
Some people claim that dog urine smells like skunk. When this happens, it’s either because the dog has a bad diet or is too anxious (it happens a lot with small breeds). Emotional problems are the most common, where their bodies react negatively to food and produce unusually smelly residues.
If you feel the smell is coming out of nowhere (your dog seems okay), your dog could actually be sick internally. This is common with dog urine smell like fish, which means the animal has a urinary tract infection (UTI) or similar disease. You may see how your dog urinates more frequently.
In the worst-case scenario, it starts to urinate blood. If this happens, take the dog to the vet RIGHT AWAY, as it could be much more than just an infection.
Medications & Supplements
When dog urine smells like ammonia, it could be due to medications. This often happens when you’re giving supplements and/or medications for the skin and fur. They tend to affect your dog’s bladder directly, changing the urine’s pH in the process. The result? Ammonia-like odor.
Too Much Urination
When the odor is urinating too much, that could also cause a faulty smell in your patio. Why? Because the urine accumulates more, doesn’t dry up, and bacteria starts to grow. This produces a broken odor that’s hard to ignore. Typically, this happens when the dog has a UTI.
7 Methods for Eliminating Dog Urine Odor Outdoors
Regardless of what’s happening with your dog, you can always get rid of dog urine odor with the right approach. Here are a few strategies we recommend:
1. Using Cleaning Products
The obvious way to clean the urine would be to use a product. But not any product.
If you use chemicals like chlorine or similar, you may end up causing damage to the soil and/or plants around. And you probably don’t want that.
The solution? An enzymatic cleaner. These are completely safe, coming from organic sources. They eliminate the odor and stains without causing any damage.
2. Cleaning with Water
For moments where the smell is not too harsh, you can always use pure water. It is the easiest dog urine odor eliminator, always helpful and available.
But depending on how strong the smell is, you may need to use more water than usual. The purpose is to dilute the urine and get rid of any sign of bacteria that could stay behind.
Probably the best way to do this is to pressure-spray the area where your dog urinated until you don’t see any stain and the odor goes away.
For gardens with only plants and soil, try soaking the area for a few hours until everything dissipates.
3. Preparing a Lime Mix
Another highly effective yet safe dog urine yard odor neutralizer is lime. You could also use lemons and even pineapple. Any citrus fruit containing many citric acids works perfectly due to the enzymes that kill bacteria.
The way to make it work is to mix every part of lime with three parts of water. Blend the solution well, apply it to the area, and let it work. The smell, enzymes, and acidity of the lime solution should eliminate the odor within a few minutes. Best of all? This doesn’t cause any damage to plants or grass.
4. Pouring Baking Soda
When you see dog urine smell on gravel, concrete, or any other sturdy surface, baking soda becomes an excellent alternative. Don’t use this on plants or soils.
By simply mixing a few tablespoons of powdered baking soda in a watering can or gallon container, you will have a sufficiently strong solution that gets rid of the smell and any stain in seconds.
Pour it over the area you want to clean, and then scrub it with a broom or sponge. The odor should go away right away.
5. Soaping the Place
It is not an easy decision to use your dish soap to get rid of urine smells. But it’s still a safe alternative and one of the most effective. However, it only works on solid surfaces. Using it on soils, grass, or plants can be damaging.
As effortless as mixing dish soap with an equal part of water, you will have a sufficiently potent blend that effectively eliminates any smell. If you pick a dish soap with fragrance, that will stop the scent even faster.
6. Making a Vinegar Solution
When you search for how to eliminate dog urine odor, vinegar comes up as one of the best methods. And there’s no doubt why. Vinegar cleans up pretty much anything due to its high acidity.
But just like soap and baking soda, vinegar can be damaging to plants. Only use this method for solid surfaces that can withstand the acidity.
The way to make it work is simple. Mix a cup of vinegar with a gallon of water. Let the solution mix well, and then apply. Vinegar not only cleans the area but also leaves a slightly annoying smell for your dog (he may not want to urinate in that place again).
7. Turning the Soil
The last thing you can try is to turn the soil over. Exactly how it sounds.
If your dog is urinating in an area with tons of soil and little grass or plants to worry about, you can always grab a shovel and turn the soil over the urinated place. This will bury the ground and remove the smell almost instantly.
This is an excellent method by itself. But we recommend mixing it with other methods above, especially vinegar, as it may prevent the dog from urinating in the same place again.
How to Prevent Your Dog from Urinating in the Garden
By now, you should be well-aware of all the different ways you can get rid of dog’s urine in your garden. But how can you prevent it in the first place?
Here are some strategies to consider:
Make an Easy-Dog-Run
Dogs are habit-making animals, believe it or not. If they get accustomed to doing something one way, they will repeat it until it is no longer possible. And urinating is among those things.
If you build a dog run, then you can help the canine get more comfortable urinating in that place. With a bit of teaching, the animal will eventually realize that’s the place to leave their liquid residues.
For this, however, you’ll have to find a sufficiently large place that you won’t use for anything. Then pour some pebbles, wood chips, mulch, or sand. Try to force the dog to urinate in that place for a few days/weeks. You could bring the dog in with posts, tree stumps, or rocks. Then it will probably start doing so automatically.
Get a Dog Lawn
Just like an easy-dog run, a dog lawn works as a place for canines to leave their smelly filth. These can be a little more expensive and demanding, though.
While you may find an artificial lawn useful, you should get a “dog lawn” from a pet shop instead. These lawns are specifically designed to withstand dog residues and be easy to clean.
More importantly, they work for almost any type of dog. But if you have a small breed, they will benefit the most, as you can use the lawn as the area for the animal to stay in without causing any distress.
Train Your Dog (Consistently)
People think trained dogs learn something, and they won’t do the opposite ever again. But in reality, they’re forgetful.
Dogs need constant reaffirmation and training to understand what they should or not do. How can you do this? Bring your dog to the area you want it to pee at the same time, every day. Teach them with reinforcements where to pee and where not to. And keep doing so for months or years if possible.
Beware of Its Diet & Health
Lastly, you can always prevent your dog from being a urinating machine by taking care of its health. Making sure your dog is always healthy is the sure-fire way to avoid any problem later on. The same happens with its diet. You don’t want to feed him bad food that could produce this problem.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Still have a doubt or two regarding dog urine smell? Here are a few questions you may have, with their respective answers:
Does dog urine smell?
No. It should smell. If it smells, then that’s very likely a problem.
How long does dog urine odor last?
Depending on the surface, it could last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Solid surfaces tend to last the longest.
Can dog urine smell make you sick?
Yes. Dog urine that smells like ammonia, for example, can be slightly toxic, cause nausea, dizziness, and maybe even make you puke.
So, ready to get rid of dog urine odor in your garden? As you can see, it’s not child’s play. But it’s still a lot easier than you probably thought.
Keeping your dog urinating odorless and away from your garden may take some time and effort. It is entirely worth it.
Once your dog starts doing it correctly, and without any smell, then you’ll be glad that you put in the work. Just remember, the base is always keeping your dog healthy and well-fed. That should suffice to get rid of the urine odor forever.