What’s the Plan?
Even the best dogs sometimes have accidents in the house. The key is to prevent repeat behavior and take care of the mess and smell quickly. Here is our advice:
- If caught in the act. If you are lucky enough to catch your furry friend in the act of “going” inside, you should use it as a learning opportunity for your pup. Don’t punish the dog, because this only leads to him being sneakier next time. Instead, say “Let’s go outside” and quickly take the dog outside where he’s supposed to go. Don’t be surprised if you have to do this several times before it sticks.
- Immediate damage control. As soon as possible, blot up as much of the mess as you can from the floor or carpet. Don’t use a hair dryer to dry any excess urine – that will set the stain and odor. If your dog has soiled anything washable such as clothing, put it through a cold rinse cycle and then a normal wash cycle with detergent.
- Fixing the deeper problem. It’s difficult to clean deep enough to get out the entire stain. For very small spots, a specialized cleaner may do the trick. Unfortunately, urine often seeps down and damages the padding and sub-floor. Bacteria and allergens can also linger and cause sickness and other health problems if not taken care of. Avoid heat of any kind – hot water or steam cleaning can set the stain and odor and using water can just invite mildew to grow. Instead, you want to hire a professional carpet cleaner who specializes in pet accidents to make sure the smell and bacteria are completely removed.
- Determining the cause. Now it’s time to turn back to your pup. It’s a good idea to figure out what might have caused the dog to have an accident:
- Stress or excitement. Major life changes can cause distress for your dog, leading to accidents. Sometimes rough-housing also makes them get excited enough to forget to hold it in.
- Schedule changes. If your dog is used to being taken outside to relieve himself at specific times and the schedule changes, it can take some time to adjust. If possible, make these changes gradually, over the course of a few weeks.
- Home environment changes. Home renovations or moving to a new place can be stressful for your dog. This is especially true if strange construction workers or movers are going in and out of the house all the time. A new carpet may also smell different to some dogs and cause them to mark it with their own scent.
- New medications. If you recently started giving your dog a new medication, it may trigger accidents. Check with your vet to learn about potential side effects.
- Health issues. A loss of bladder control may be a symptom of an underlying health problem. If you notice your dog’s behavior changing, be sure to check in with your vet.
Training is Key!
You can’t really consider a dog fully house-trained before he is at least a year old. When you’re dealing with a new puppy, accidents will likely be common. In order to house train your puppy:
- Begin by taking the dog out frequently, and then gradually increase the amount of time between trips outside.
- Go outside with your dog and praise him when he urinates in a properly designated spot, then reward him with a small treat afterward.
We hope that these tips will help you when your dog has an accident. Pet urine isn’t ever fun to deal with, but it is a problem that you can address and take care of properly. When you need help getting rid of odors or cleaning up a spot that just won’t go away, be sure to give us a call!