It happens to the best of us. Your dog will have an accident and pee on your floor. This is especially common if you have a puppy who is still being trained. When a urine accident happens, it’s important to take care of the problem quickly so that you don’t have permanent stains, odors, and even damage to your floors. Here’s the right way to handle it:

  1. Prevent Repeat Behavior.  If you happen to catch your dog while he’s in the middle of “going” inside, you have an opportunity to help him learn better. The important thing is to not yell or punish the dog, as you probably want to. This will just encourage him to be sneakier next (making the mess harder to find and clean). Instead, say “Whoops, we do that outside,” while quickly taking the dog outside to where he normally relieves himself. This will help him learn better. When he does go outside, be sure to praise him. 
  2. Engage in Immediate Damage Control. As soon as possible after the mess is created, use a paper towel to blot up (don’t scrub; it’ll only make it worse) as much of the moisture as you can from the floor or carpet. You may be tempted to use a hair dryer to dry any excess urine, but that will only set the stain and odor. If your dog has soiled anything washable such as a towel, put it through a cold rinse cycle and then a normal wash cycle with detergent while making sure to clean the area under the item as well.
  3. Clean the Deeper Mess. The problem with urine stains is that even when you have cleaned up the surface stain, the urine can still damage the padding and sub-floor. Urine is full of bacteria that can also linger and cause sickness and other health problems if not taken care of (not to mention the smell). To get the best results, you should hire a professional carpet cleaner like Chem-Dry who can remove urine stains. Avoid steam cleaning the area as the heat can set the stain and odor, and the water can take a long time to dry, causing mildew to grow.
  4. Determine the Cause. If this is a repeat offense or your dog is normally really good about going outside and you’re concerned something’s wrong, try to figure why your dog peed inside. There are a number of reasons that your dog might have had an accident, including:
    • Stress. Major life changes such as getting a new pet, moving house, having guests over, and more can cause distress for your dog, which leads to accidents.
    • Schedule changes. If your dog is used to being taken outside to relieve himself at specific times and the schedule changes, it can take some time to adjust. If possible, make these changes gradually, over the course of a few weeks. If that’s not possible, see if you can have a neighbor or family member come over to let your dog out until he gets used to the new schedule. You might even consider hiring a dog walker if you’re gone for a large period of time everyday. 
    • Home renovations. Changing your dog’s environment can be stressful, particularly if strange construction workers are going in and out of the house all the time and the house looks completely different than what he’s used to. If you install new carpet, it may also smell different to some dogs, causing them to want to mark it with their own scent.
    • New medications. If you recently started giving your dog a new medication, it may cause accidents. Check with your vet to learn about potential side effects of any new medication. 
    • Health issues. Your dog may be experiencing loss of bladder control as a symptom of an underlying health problem. If you notice your dog’s behavior changing or an other symptoms that cause you to believe he has health problems , be sure to check in with your vet.

For Young Dogs: Despite your best efforts, you can’t really consider a dog fully house-trained before he is at least a year old. If you have a new puppy in your home, it’s likely you’ll experience a lot of accidents. In order to house train your puppy:

  1. Begin by taking the dog out frequently, and then gradually increase how long you go between trips outside.
  2. Be sure that you go outside with your dog and praise him when he urinates in the right place. Reward him with a treat afterward. Don’t lure him outside with a treat; be sure to give it when its deserved so he learns the correct behavior. 

We hope that these tips will help you when your dog has an accident in the house! We totally understand that it’s never fun to have to deal with pet urine, but you can take care of it so it doesn’t become a huge problem in your home.