No matter how well-trained your dog is, sometimes he/she will still have accidents in the house.

It’s not a matter of if, but when.

Here are the steps that you can take to prevent repeat behavior (and take care of the mess and smell).

Catch them in the act.

how to handle your dog's accidents in the house When you catch your furry friend in the act of “going” inside, use it as a learning opportunity for your pup. Be sure not to punish or scold the dog. This will only encourage the dog to be sneakier next time, to avoid making you upset. Instead, say something along the lines of “Whoops, outside,” while promptly taking the dog outside to an appropriate spot for relief.

Immediate damage control.

As quickly as possible, take a paper towel and blot up as much of the urine as you can from the floor or carpet. Don’t use a hair dryer to dry the urine spot, because it 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.

Fix the deeper problem.

Even when you have cleaned up the surface stain, the battle isn’t over. The urine can, and will, still do damage to the padding and sub-floor. Bacteria and allergens can also linger and bring sickness and other health problems if not taken care of. Avoid steam cleaning the area as the heat can set the stain and odor, and the water can take a long time to dry, causing mildew to grow. Instead, you want to hire a professional carpet cleaner who specializes in pet accidents to ensure that the smell and bacteria are completely removed.

Determine the cause.

There are a number of reasons that your dog might have had an accident, including:

  • Stress. Major life changes can cause distress for your dog, resulting in accidents.
  • 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 and steadily, over the course of a few weeks.
  • Home renovations. Changing your dog’s environment can be stressful, particularly if strange construction workers 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, and plan accordingly.
  • Health issues. A loss of bladder control and urination on an inconsistent schedule 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.

Note: Training is key!

You can’t really consider your dog fully house-trained before he is at least a year old. When you’re dealing with a new puppy, accidents will be common. In order to house train your puppy:

  1. Begin by taking the dog out frequently, and then gradually increase the amount of time between trips outside.
  2. Go outside with your dog and praise him when he urinates in a properly designated spot, then reward him with a treat afterward.

We hope that these tips will help you when your dog has an accident. Pet urine is no fun to deal with, but it is a problem that can be addressed and taken care of properly.