You know how it goes: The minute you turn your back, your pet decides that your new carpet is the perfect place to relieve himself. You clean and clean, but you can't get rid of that smell. What can you do?
Well, for starters, you need to find which areas are soiled and then re-train your pet to avoid eliminating in those areas. And to do that, you'll have to clean those areas, and clean them well. Here are the steps you'll need to take:
Find all places your dog or cat has done the deed using your nose and eyes. A black-light bulb can make finding even old urine stains easy. Turn out all lights in the room; use the black-light to identify soiled areas and lightly outline the areas with chalk. You can buy black lights at most home supply stores or online. To make the hunt really easy, try using a black light headlamp. It will keep your hands free and make it much easier to search tucked away spaces.
To be successful in breaking your pet of his habit of urinating indoors, you need to follow all these steps when cleaning an area. If you fail to completely clean the area, your re-training efforts will be useless. As long as your pet can smell his personal scent, he'll continue to return to the "accident zone." Even if you can't smell traces of urine, your pet can.
To Clean Washable Items
To Clean Carpeted Areas and Upholstery
For "new" stains (those that are still wet):
For stains that have already set:
To Clean Hard Surfaces & Walls
If the wood on your furniture, walls, baseboard, or floor is discolored, the varnish or paint has reacted to the acid in the urine. You may need to remove and replace the layer of varnish or paint. If you do so, make sure the new product is safe for pets. Employees at your local hardware or home improvement store can help you identify and match your needs with appropriate removers and replacements. Washable enamel paints and some washable wallpapers may respond favorably to enzymatic cleaners. Read the instructions carefully before using these products and test them in an invisible area.
No matter how good a job you do of cleaning up the areas your pet has soiled, it will continue to be a problem if you don't know why it's happening. First, talk with your vet to rule out medical causes for the behavior by visiting your veterinarian. If your pet is having inside accidents due to illness, no amount of training will keep future accidents from happening. If your pet is healthy, talk to the vet or a trainer about other reasons your pet may be urinating or defecating indoors. (For help, see our tips on Solving Litter Box Problems, Housetraining Your Puppy, and Reducing Urine-Marking Behavior in Dogs and Cats.)
Finally, in conjunction with cleaning, be sure to teach your pet where you want him to eliminate. To do this, make the "accident zone" unattractive and the appropriate "bathroom" area attractive, and follow our tips on Training Your Dog with Positive Reinforcement to modify your pet's behavior. The re-training period may take a week or more. Remember, it took time to build the bad habit, and it will take time to replace that habit with a new, more acceptable behavior. Treat your pet with patience and give him lots of encouragement!
For more tips and advice on raising a healthy, happy pet, visit the Humane Society of the United States.