Cleaning Stains and Odors

White and black chihuahua standing on exam table

Has your pet left “scent marks” of urination and/or defecation on your floor or furniture?

To successfully re-train your pet to avoid those areas, follow these basic steps:

  • Find all soiled areas using your nose and eyes. A black-light bulb will usually show even old urine stains. Turn out all lights in the room; use the black-light to identify soiled areas and lightly outline the areas with chalk.
  • Clean the soiled areas appropriately to remove the odors (see below).
  • Make the areas unattractive and/or unavailable
  • Make the appropriate “bathroom” area attractive
  • Teach your pet the appropriate place to eliminate by using positive reinforcement

These steps work as a team! In order for your efforts to be successful, you need to follow all of these steps. If you fail to completely clean the area, your other re-training efforts will be useless. As long as your pet can smell that personal scent, he’ll continue to return to the “accident zone.” Even if you can’t smell traces of urine, your pet can. Your most important chore is to remove (neutralize) that odor.

Methods to Avoid

You should avoid using steam cleaners to clean urine odors from carpet or upholstery. The heat will permanently set the odor and the stain by bonding the protein into any man-made fibers. You should also avoid using cleaning chemicals, especially those with strong odors, such as ammonia or vinegar. From your pet’s perspective, these don’t effectively eliminate or cover the urine odor and may actually encourage your pet’s inclination to reinforce the urine scent mark in that area.

Cleaning Tips