Layne has worked in shelter medicine for over six years and likes to share her advice with fellow animal guardians.
How to Neutralize Dog Urine Odor in the Yard and in Soil
You love your dog, but you don't love the stinky smells that come with pooping and peeing in the back yard—especially when the sun hits the regular urine spots and starts heating up the grass, soil, and concrete. These obnoxious odors are enough to take away the fun of being in the back yard and may even drive your houseguests away.
You may be wondering how to get rid of these obnoxious odors. There are a few ways to naturally reduce the strong smell of dog urine. We'll also talk about how preventing the accumulation of urine in the first place can reduce the chances of unsightly brown and yellow grass on your lawn.
Why Does My Backyard Smell Like Dog Pee?
Dogs tend to reuse the same spot to potty over and over again. They take it as a cue to get down to business. Overtime, this can cause an accumulation of odor in a certain spot in the yard on the concrete—it may even cause discoloration and kill the grass or plants. It's the acidity of dog urine that causes the grass to turn—this too, and concrete is porous.
Concrete Is Porous
Every time your beloved canine potties or marks over the concrete, the concrete will soak the urine right up. This leads to prolonged odor release, discoloration, and really stubborn smells. So, let's talk about how you can prevent this problem from progressing as the longer you wait to address it the harder it will be to quickly extinguish it.
How to Get Rid of Dog Urine Smells on the Lawn/Concrete
Here are a few options on how to get rid of dog pee smells in the yard. Before proceeding, you may want to use a few tools:
- disposable or reusable gloves
- scrub brush
- spray bottle
- plastic tank sprayer (included below)
- sunglasses or glasses
Not the most environmentally friendly, but water is the easiest tool for getting rid of dog pee smells if used diligently and immediately. You will simply want to rinse the location of your dog's pee as soon as they potty with at least three times as much water as there is pee.
Consider using a garden hose with a spray nozzle or even a simple watering can. You can keep a water can filled nearby the door and follow your dog after they are done. Some individuals regularly use their oscillating sprinklers, too, to keep grass healthy.
2. Baking Soda
Baking soda is great for both concrete and grass. You can let it sit on the potty sites—sprinkle it directly on the soil, grass, or on top of the concrete and let it sit until the moisture seems to be fully absorbed. Then rinse with water. If you are using it on concrete, sprinkle it on the concrete and consider scrubbing it with a small amount of water until it suds. After the baking soda is saturated, rinse it away.
For use in a spray bottle:
- Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 4 cups of water into a spray bottle and apply it to the site directly. Note: This solution will not damage your grass.
You can use apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar to neutralize pee odor. As mentioned above, simply mix 1 teaspoon with 4 cups of water in a spray bottle or apply concentrated vinegar for really bad cases (rinse afterward). You can also create a solution and attach it to the end of your house as a spray/application.
Citrus, like lemon, also works wonders on pet odors and is also a natural deterrent. You can add a teaspoon of lemon juice to 4 cups of water in a spray bottle or increase the concentration for use with a plastic tank sprayer.
5. Dog Lawns or Turf
Some owners elect to use "dog lawns" for smaller breeds or may even install special turf and create a designated potty spot for their dog. This adds a control factor. You can disinfect the area even more aggressively with natural enzymatic cleaners like:
- Nature's Miracle (I use this regularly on carpet inside the house for cat hairballs—it works wonders)
- Simple Green
- Pee Posts (Pee posts use pheromones to attract dogs to a designated potty area, so you can direct them to where you want them to go, thereby controlling odor.)
Note: Make sure you rinse these products carefully so that your pet's paws do not get irritated; do not introduce these chemicals directly into the waterways (street drains).
6. Build an Easy Dog Run
This doesn't have to be an intensive project. Choose a part of the yard you are ok with sacrificing for pottying—make sure that the designated area is suited for your construction. Simply put some 2-foot picket fence/stakes into the ground or soil to create a perimeter, and go to Home Depot or similar and lay down some cheap pebbles or dog-safe wood chips or mulch. This works very well!
7. Turn Your Soil
If your dogs are simply pottying over soil and it is hard packed and baking in the sun, simply go out there with a small shovel or larger shovel and turn the soil after they potty. If you disrupt the soil and flip it over like you would compost, you give the Earth time to biodegrade and neutralize the bacteria and waste products that tend to make the soil smell.
DIY/Cheap Indoor-Outdoor Pet Potty
Always Rule-Out Medical Issues
Before we begin to talk about how to get rid of the smells, let's make sure your pet is in good health. You will want to be aware of the following:
- Medications can change the pH of your dog's urine and may even enhance urine and waste concentrations. Ask your vet about the side effects of medications if you are noticing any changes.
- UTIs or urinary tract infections are not uncommon in dogs. Males or females can suffer from UTIs, but female dogs are particularly prone. Notice if there is bloody or cloudy urine, increased odor, or increased frequency and/or straining. Go see your vet if you suspect something unusual.
- Frequency of urination can tell you a lot about your dog's health. Some dogs may have trouble urinating, may be urinating more frequently than normal, may be holding their urine, or may be dribbling and incontinent. Communicate all of these changes to your vet and take your dog in if something isn't right.
I hope these tips helped. When all else fails, take your dog out for a walk and into a public doggy-park. Please share your eco-friendly tips below!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Laynie H
Laynie H (author) from Bend, Oregon on November 11, 2019:
Thanks so much Dora! I recently took care of my friend's dogs and they live in a warm place . . . I noticed the smell of the potty area when the sun came out quite a bit! Unfortunately, you have to walk by the potty area to get to their door. I figured it might help.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on November 10, 2019:
Read this out of curiosity, since I don't have pets. I'd recommend it as very helpful. Great suggestions!