A sheepish puppy sits next to a urine stain on a tiled floor.

How to Get Rid of Puppy Urine Smell

From snuggling with your new puppy to seeing them interact with toys for the first time, there’s plenty of great puppy moments for a pet owner to enjoy. But there are some puppy moments that are far-less adorable, such as potty training. No matter the breed of puppy you get, there will be some bumps in the road during potty training. Even after you have pup trained to go outdoors, the occasional accident will occur within your home. Which means, puppy owners need to know how to clean up accidents (both stains and puppy urine smell) properly.

When the inevitable accident occurs and you find yourself cleaning up after your puppy, there are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind, especially when it comes to trying to eliminate that unpleasant puppy urine smell.

How to Eliminate Puppy Urine Smell

Before we address cleaning up the mess your puppy has made, it’s important to try and remain patient and calm with your puppy. Accidents are going to take place. While you’ll want to reward good behaviors and discourage bad behaviors while training your puppy, you want to be careful with how you discipline your puppy at the same time. Finding a balance between forging a strong, positive bond with your dog and giving them proper instructing can be tough for some pet owners. Learn more about dog behavior and training.

When your puppy has an accident, the surface that it occurs on will change the way you can most effectively clean it. If your puppy spills on carpet, you’ll have to take a few more steps to absorb the urine than you would on a linoleum floor. Additionally, your puppy’s ability to detect scents is far superior to yours. It’s important to rid your home of urine odors, so that your puppy does not detect previous dog urine scent and believe that the indoor spot is a place they should return to for using the bathroom.

Step 1: Absorb Dog Urine

The first step to cleaning up after your puppy’s accident is try and absorb all of the urine. The best materials for absorbing dog urine are paper towels and cloth towels. The faster you can absorb the urine the better, as with each passing minute the urine is soaking deeper into your carpet or floor, which makes the scent stronger and stronger. Try and press down on your paper towel or cloth towel with enough pressure that the moisture is rising up and being collected.

Step 2: Extract Remaining Urine

If you own a shop-vac, use it to suck up as much of the urine as possible, especially on carpet. A standard carpet-cleaning vacuum isn’t recommended for sucking up liquids. Don’t have a shop-vac? Move along to step 3.

Step 3: Apply an Enzyme-Based Product

Once you’ve extracted as much of the urine as possible, it’s time to start applying a cleaning product. The type of cleaning product you use is one of the ways you can derail your urine-smell killing efforts. (We’ll detail that below.) When selecting a cleaning product, make sure you get a enzyme-based product. Enzyme-based cleaning products are engineered to attack the uric acid crystals in urine that stain your floors and smell up your home. They are designed to both clean the spot of the accident and to eliminate the bacteria and odors deposited there. Typically, cleaning products with pets featured on them are enzyme based, but it’s always smart to check the ingredient label. Spray the cleaner on the spot liberally and let the cleaner soak into the spot. Then, gently dab the spot where the accident occurred with a dry paper towel.

Step 4: Baking Soda or Light Fragrance

Once you’ve finished cleaning the spot of your puppies accident, sprinkle a bit of baking soda near the spot or spray an odor-killing fragrance in the area. Plug-in scented oils are also helpful, as they’ll continue to perfume the area over time.

Step 5: Reward Your Puppy’s Next Outdoor Potty Trip

After you’ve finished cleaning up the accident, try and help your puppy get outside before the next time they use the restroom. Sometimes that means taking them out yourself and waiting for them to go. Bring a treat with you and if they go outside, reward them with it and give them plenty of verbal and physical affection. You want to condition your puppy to go outside, especially after they’ve made mistakes.

Puppy Urine Smell and Stains: What Not to Use

There are a few solutions that people use to clean up puppy accidents that should be avoided. They include:


While bleach is great for fighting stains, avoid using it for puppy accidents. Bleach will not kill the odor of dog urine. It simply disinfects the area. More importantly, bleach is harmful to breathe and is very toxic for your puppy. Dogs use their noses to dictate where they’re going to use the bathroom. After you’ve cleaned the spot, they’ll return to that area and smell around for their previous bathroom spot. By using bleach, you’ll not only fail to eliminate the odor, you’ll get your puppy sick from the fumes.


Another common mistake puppy owners make when cleaning up a puppy accident is to apply ammonia as a cleaning solution. Dog and cat urine has an ammonia odor naturally, so applying ammonia will make the spot smell worse and will give your puppy the idea that they should return to that spot to do their business in the future. And whatever you do, don’t ever combine bleach with ammonia or you could became very sick from inhaling the fumes. Mixing bleach and ammonia is extremely dangerous and can be lethal.

Pet Insurance for Puppies

Now that you’re armed with proper steps to clean up accidents and eliminate the smell of urine, it’s time to talk pet insurance. Having a puppy will require several trips to the vet. Vaccinations, spaying and neutering, and check ups will all be vital visits for your puppy’s health. However, they will start to take a toll financially. And that’s before you account for the random accidents and illnesses that will require your puppy sees a vet.

That is, unless you have pet insurance.

Pet insurance provides pet owners with the freedom to make veterinary decisions without stressing the financial implications. Learn why most vets recommend pet insurance to pet owners. It can’t prevent accidents or emergencies, but it can dramatically reduce their economic and emotional strain.