How to Get Dog Pee Stink off Your Tile Floors, and Other Puppy Ventures

Ugh! I spent THREE HOURS on hands and knees yesterday, trying to scrub Ruby’s puppy pee stink off the living room floor.

Ruby, who is about as un-housetrained as a dog can get, has stealth-pissed repeatedly in the living room. A couple of times it seeped under the bookcases and the baseboards, and once it went under the folding desk in there and saturated at least one of the ball-shaped wood legs.

Of course I frantically wiped it up as best as I could, and I’ve sprayed the floor several times with the ridiculous enzyme spray. Luz mops every two weeks, too, leaving the place looking — if not smelling — great.

Now, for the first time in years, come the rains. And what with all that moisture in the air, the stink wafts into the atmosphere. WHAT a stench!!! I couldn’t walk into the room without gagging.

So I started scrubbing, trying to get that out of the grout. Eventually the ceiling-to-floor bookcases will have to be emptied and moved and their “feet” scrubbed with something (what, I can’t imagine) and the tile under them scrubbed and the baseboard pulled out and new strips put down and painted. But for the nonce, deodorizing the parts I can reach will have to suffice.

Understand: this tilework was “sealed” by the previous owner, who installed it. He used one of those goopy grout seals that lays down like a coat of acrylic paint — it is impervious. And STILL it stinks. You can tell where the stuff is saturated by putting your nose down near the floor and sniffing. Phew!

Here’s how the various chemicals I tried worked:

Simple Green: useless
Enzyme spray: laughable
Straight vinegar: helps a little in places that aren’t too badly saturated. Dissolves and lifts some neglected patches of urine up. Gets the smell off the tiles pretty well, but leaves the tracks of grout still stinking.
Peroxide: hard to tell…all I had on hand is the stuff for contact lenses, and not much of that.
Baking soda solution: nearly useless
Vinegar puddled into the grout line with baking soda sprinkled over it, then scrubbed into the grout and over the tiles and then washed (and washed, and washed) with clean water: helps a little more than just straight vinegar. Worst spots still stink enough to choke you.
BUT: tile and grout cleaner, when sprayed to puddle into the grout lines where the worst of the stink is identified (French art books  to John Irving; Encyclopaedia Britannica volumes 8 to 16), allowed to sit for 8 or ten minutes, and scrubbed off: that works!

So if you have a dog stink on your floors, you might want to try the stuff made specifically as tile and grout cleaner. It’s readily available at Home Depot, Lowe’s, and hardware stores. Obviously, this is intended only for tilework, not for carpets or wood flooring. I don’t expect I’d put it on natural stone, either…

Don’t know if it would work on cat pee, which is much stronger and more persistent than dog urine. But it’s surely worth a try. Also the recipe described in this post about wood floors supposedly is effective on cat urine. I’ve never tried it, but it’s all over the Net, so apparently some folks have had success with it.

Ruby, an exceptionally unhappy dog, is now confined to her X-pen or tied to a leash all the time she’s in the house. Period. She’s not getting loose to stealth-pee or dump again!

She’s getting two weeks (2, ii, II weeks!) to shape up, or she’s outta here. I am puppied out! And I believe this particular dog to be essentially untrainable when it comes to figuring out where the doggy bathroom is. She’s seven and a half months old and still peeing and dumping all over the house.

In my time on this planet, I’ve raised eight puppies and never had any problem housetraining them within a reasonable length of time. One of them was house-trained in two days. Okay…that was some kind of World Dog Training Olympics Record. But the others all got the idea within two or three weeks. The problem is, she’s so adept at sneaking that you can’t catch her in the act. The other day M’hijito and I were in the same room with her and she managed to deposit a puddle without either of us spotting her!

And no, just now she does not have a UTI. She stopped peeing every 15 to 30 minutes as soon as she went back on the Clavamox.

So, as a last resort, I’m using a technique I applied to Anna the German Shepherd when she was in her furniture-eating phase: Tie the dog to myself or to a doorknob in whatever room I happen to be in, and NEVER let her roam free in the house, ever. When I’m not here, she goes in her crate. When I’m doing something where I can’t attend to her and watch her every single living breathing minute, she goes in her X-pen.

Add to that the standard puppy house-training gambit: take her out every two hours and encourage her to do her thing.

If she doesn’t have the picture after two weeks of that, she’s going back to the breeder.

I’ll discuss this with the vet when I go in for another financial fleecing this morning. Yesterday I thought she had some conjunctivitis, but now it’s cleared up. Still have the 9 a.m. appointment, though. We’ll see what he says about this scheme. If he doesn’t think it’ll work, then she’s going back to Zion Corgis forthwith. Today!

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Anne August 20, 2014 at 9:00 am

Honestly, this whole pet pee thing is a huge part of why I have not gotten another cat after the last one went to that great litter box in the sky. I live in total fear of pee saturation/smell in our carpeted house.

Two kitties back we lived in a different house and while on vacation I hired the ten year old next store (with her mother, of course) to feed and check on the cats. There must have been some double frontal lobotomy going on because the two of them closed off the door into the room where the cat box was. I have never figured their reasoning.

Anyway, the cats ruined the dining room carpet. I mean ruined, forever. I used gallons of the urine erasing enzyme and bought a black light to find the urine stains. I even pulled up the carpet in some areas to treat the pad. I got rid of perhaps 80% of the smell.

We eventually sold that house, but I live in fear of that happening again.

funny August 20, 2014 at 10:43 am

Yup. Been there and done that, with a vengeance! That’s why I won’t have a cat, either…IMHO they’re far dirtier than dogs. At least a dog can be trained to take it outside.

Uhm….usually…. :-/

Y’know, I’d have asked the idiot mother to foot the bill for replacing the carpets. I mean…she CLOSES THE DOOR TO THE CAT BOX? Did she do that on purpose? Maybe it was malicious.

Liz L. August 20, 2014 at 10:11 am

Have same issues with elderly Papillon (reluctantly adopted when 90-year-old mother-in-law could not deal with any more).

funny August 20, 2014 at 10:47 am

Hi, Liz–

******* Take the dog to the vet and have it examined for a urinary tract infection!!! Peeing on the floor, especially if the dog has been housetrained in the past, is a classic symptom of a UTI.

A UTI is easy and not horribly expensive to treat. If it’s left untreated, though, it can turn into a blockage that has to be surgically removed or into kidney disease, both very painful to the animal and, decidedly, for your wallet.

Money Beagle August 20, 2014 at 10:55 am

My cat has peed on the carpet on several occasions, and the enzyme stuff worked very well, but I think that’s designed more to work on fabric than on hard surfaces, which is probably why the contrast between your experience and mine.

funny August 20, 2014 at 11:01 am

That surely could be it.

When the weather was dry, the stuff seemed to help. But as soon as some serious humidity came rollin’ in, it became clear the effect was an illusion. :-D

jestjack August 20, 2014 at 2:19 pm

Our cats are becoming older and one in particular has decided she is gonna pee where ever she damn pleases. Had her to the vet for testing…no uti…nothing physically wrong with the cat.. picture of health.The vets answer…”she’s angry…it has to do with her psysche”…. To which I replied W-H-A-T !!! So I guess we have to find a “cat shrink”….OR just leave the cat outside…I share your pain with the pup…I find this maddening…

Anne August 20, 2014 at 2:33 pm

I have to add this. I have a loopy friend who has a cat who started peeing outside the box after many years of hygienic behavior. My friend has actually taken this cat to two *psychics.*

One of them said the cat is angry. Well, who the hell isn’t?

funny August 20, 2014 at 2:39 pm

Indeed. It’s all Barack Obama’s fault!!!!!!!!!

I love it. One of my dear friends — actually, our fact-checker at Arizona Highways (can you believe there was once a time when Highways was so elevated, so credibly a publication of record, that it actually HAD a fact-checker? {sigh}), styled herself as a pet psychic. Almost gagged trying to keep a straight face when she told me this. But in fact, she seemed to believe it herself: she was convinced she could commune with the animal spirit. I mean, real animals, not the metaphorical type.

Eventually she figured out that she could charge people for the… uhm…service. And she did.

George August 20, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Clean with baking soda and water then follow up with Odor Ban.
Those fancy high priced products are a waste of money.

funny August 20, 2014 at 5:42 pm

Hmm… This is a new-to-me product. It’s available at Amazon: $75 for four gallons. Supposedly eliminates rather than covering up odors. Good to know about!

Elissa @ 20s Finances August 21, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Agree! Baking soda does wonders!

L August 21, 2014 at 2:57 pm

I have had success, on dog and cat, using straight ammonia. Let sit, scrub with soap n water, followed by enzyme cleaner, let sit, scrub soap n water. Apparently ammonia, being an ingredient in pee, helps dilute the stink for removal or somesuch.
And, sorry, that pup would have been returned to the breeder a LONG time ago if she were mine. I realize she’s a sweet dog and all, but you paid big bucks for her, and are still strewing money in her path to no avail. Hey! Maybe money will soak up the pee smell!!

funny August 21, 2014 at 6:25 pm

Ha haaaa!! I think you’ve got something there! So I’ve got this shredder…we put some dollar bills in there — oh, why be pikers? Let’s use $50 bills, and maybe a credit credit card or two — and we sprinkle it over the puddles to soak up the pee. Magical!

When I had the accursed cats — at one point including my mother’s cat and her litter of five pissing kittens — I used to use ammonia. Alllllll over the house. It ate the paint off the baseboards. Didn’t do an awful lot for the Eau de Chat, though, other than covering it with an odor reminiscent of the atmosphere of Titan.

Yeah, really…when it became apparent that the dog arrived here with a UTI, a condition likely to be chronic, I should have bundled her in the car and headed for Wittman right then & there. It’s a day late and quite a few dollars short now, though.

funny August 21, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Come to think of it, BTW, I didn’t list one of the many substances used to try to lift the Parfum de Dog Pee: Windex.

It’s actually home-made Windex, containing that venerable product’s active ingredients but skipping the blue dye: mostly alcohol and ammonia. Cuts the stink temporarily but doesn’t kill it permanently.

Also, because ammonia is an ingredient in animal urine, dogs and cats are attracted to it and will come back to re-mark a spot you’ve cleaned with ammonia.

Barb August 23, 2014 at 9:41 am

Cat house here with my own and my sons cats. More than I would like. So far, so good, but with attrition we are finished. Just because of litter box duty. Although we seem to have a laundry pee – er.
Acquired a house with dog urine soaked floor boards after taking out the carpet. I used baking soda sprayed with vinegar. Then Lysol, then painted with Kilz. Now I can still detect the smell on a humid day. What else can I do with particle board floor boards short of tearing them out and replacing them?

funny August 23, 2014 at 10:44 am

Hi, Barb–

The link that I put at the words “the recipe described in this post” is actually about trying to get the eau de pet pee out of wooden floors. However, particle board is a whole ‘nother critter from hardwood or even pine. Particle board can swell up and be destroyed if you get it very wet. However, it sounds like you did get it plenty wet, if you doused it with vinegar & Lysol. If there were no ill effects, you might want to risk getting it wet again with that recipe — it involves hydrogen peroxide, which is supposedly helpful.

Maybe paint it with several more coats of Kilz? Or how about painting a couple of coats of top-quality, thick latex paint over the top of the Kilz? Maybe a thicker layer of something would do the trick.

Ugh…isn’t that annoying? You may end up having to just rip up the floorboards and lay down new particleboard.

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