How to Clean Up "Accidents," Urine & Feces from Dogs
Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.
Race Foster, DVM

"Prevent 'scent posts' in your home by cleaning up accidents thoroughly."

Cleaning cageWhenever dogs urinate or defecate, specific scent chemicals are passed with the urine and feces. The smell of these substances triggers an elimination reflex in dogs that is not unlike the territorial marking of their wild relatives. Dogs naturally return to an area where these scent chemicals are present, thus creating 'scent posts,' places where dogs consistently eliminate.

This instinctive behavior is an aid to housetraining puppies, since they learn to associate their outside scent posts as the place to eliminate. Unfortunately, scent posts can also be an obstacle to housetraining if (and when) your puppy has an accident indoors.

Cleaning up accidents thoroughly is critical to preventing the creation of scent posts in your home. With scent capacities estimated to be a hundred times greater than humans, dogs can easily detect urine and fecal odors that have been cleaned with conventional household cleaners, carpet shampoos, and ammonia. The result can be a distressing pattern of repeated accidents in the same spot.

To prevent your dog from making scent posts in your home, first blot the area with a rag or towel to remove as much of the dampness as possible. Then treat the area with a chemical odor remover that uses natural anti-microbial enzymes to break down and neutralize the odor. These are the only products that attack the molecular structure of the odor-causing bacteria, as opposed to simply covering up the odor.

While accidents do happen, the best way to keep scent posts outside the home is to closely supervise your puppy when not crated indoors.

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