White dog sitting in corner of home.

We’ve all seen a dog lift its leg on a tree or fire hydrant, or sniff endlessly at a rock or patch of grass only to dribble a few drops of urine over the area. For dogs, urinating marking is an important means of communication and “scent marking”. Urine communicates a dog’s age, sex, whether a female is in heat, and so much more. It’s also a way of marking territory.

Urine marking in dogs is a normal, instinctual behavior, but the problem arises when it’s done inside the home. The Pet Experts have seen it all when it comes to inappropriate urine marking, and you can bet we have some tricks and tips up our sleeves to help correct (and clean!) this common canine concern.

Troubleshooting Urine Marking

Get checked – Underlying health conditions, such as a urinary tract infection, can contribute to inappropriate urination. Bring your pet in to see us to rule out any physical problems.

Spay or Neuter – Neutering reduces urine marking behavior in around 80% of dogs and eliminates it in 40%. Spaying in females eliminates the urine marking that occurs around the time of estrus.

Find the triggers – Figuring out where and when your dog is marking is key to putting a stop to it. Some dogs mark new items brought into the home, especially if the items come from a place where another dog lives. Block off areas your dog is likely to urinate and keep new items in a separate room until they can be cleaned.

Reduce anxietyAnxiety is a major cause of inappropriate urination. Being left home alone for long periods of time, not enough exercise, a recent move, or any major change can create anxiety. Make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise and attention each day, and consider enlisting the help of a dog walker or doggie daycare (for social dogs) if your dog is regularly home alone all day.

Get it Clean!

Thorough cleaning of any area that has been marked is essential, otherwise your dog will smell their urine and is likely to mark the same area again. 

For carpets: Blot the area with paper towels or newspaper, and rinse thoroughly with water or using a wet vac. Coat the area with baking soda and let sit overnight, then vacuum it up in the morning to remove the odor. For set-in stains we recommend using an enzymatic cleaner, such as Nature’s Miracle

For hardwood: For fresh puddles on hardwood floors, simply blot the area dry, rinse with water, and dry again. For set-in odors, mix a one-to-one solution of white vinegar and water and rub it into the spot with a sponge. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before rinsing. For tougher odors, sprinkle with baking soda and vacuum using the hard floor attachment, or try an enzymatic cleaner labeled safe for hardwood floors.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at Elmhurst Animal Care Center for more information on urine marking. We’re here for you!