This post contains affiliate links, which means we earn a commission for sales referred from links on our site. We're also Amazon Associates, so we may earn from those qualifying purchases, too. Learn more!

How to Stop Pets From Peeing on Carpets


Both cats and dogs are very olfactory creatures. Many decisions they make are based on what they smell.
We, as people, will walk into a room and look around to size up the situation. Cats and dogs will explore a room by smelling things.

This is important to understand if you are going to get your pets to stop peeing on your stuff.

Rule Number One

You must find and eliminate old urine smells in the house. Pets are drawn to these odors and many times their instinct is to mark that same spot. So when you clean up urine odors, make sure you get all of the urine – particularly what might be in the backing, the pad and (in worst-case scenarios) even the sub floor.

There is a LOT of information about how to go about doing this online, but look for common-sense, professional advice as opposed to trusting the advice from the lady who swears pouring Windex on the spot is the answer.

It’s handy to also note that if you buy a home, it is important to determine if pets have lived there. Carefully check the carpets over to see if you notice any smell at all. Walk around with your pets and watch their behavior closely. If they’re fixated on certain areas of the carpet, get down on all four and smell that area for odor. I know, right, but you need to know what you’re dealing with.

You can even purchase a urine detector like the one pictured here from Amazon. They’re not expensive and they really help you find the spots you need to concentrate on.

Rule number two

Never assume your pet is being bad. There are many reasons why pets urinate where we don’t want them to. Often times it is because of a physical ailment. If your elderly grandparent became incontinent because of age, would you yell at them and hit them with a newspaper?

If your pet suddenly starts having this problem, seriously consider a trip to the vet to see if an ailment is causing this problem.

Rule number three

First look to see if there is something you have done that might be causing this to happen. Such as not letting animals out often enough, dirty litter boxes, stressful situations in the home that are upsetting the pet, old urine smells, new pets etc…

Well over 75% of the time it is something that you could do differently that will take care of the problem. There are many articles written about what causes pets to behave in certain ways.

Specifically about cats

The cat litter box must be kept clean. Pardon me for getting graphic here, but if you had a bathroom where the toilet was never flushed and it smelled really bad, you wouldn’t want to go in there either. Cats are very clean animals and they will not use a litter box if it is too dirty.

I know it is a hassle but you should have a couple of litter boxes around the house. Cats will go to the litter box because of the smell but if it gets too dirty they will choose another place.

Where do they pee?

Often times if they find a pile of clothes on the floor they will use this for a substitute litter box. Typically when cats start peeing on the carpets they will find one to three areas up against the wall, usually near a corner and often near large windows or sliding glass door. Each area will often be from the wall and out about 18 inches and about four to six feet long. They will saturate this area. In these cases the urine goes all the way into the sub floor.

Just cleaning the carpets from the surface in these cases is not going to be enough. Since the urine is in the padding and the floor beneath it they can still smell the urine. These carpets need to be pulled up, the padding cut out, the sub floor cleaned, disinfected and sealed, the carpet disinfected and cleaned and new padding installed. Since this is an area where the cat associates with urine you could put a clean litter box in this area and over the period of a couple of weeks move it little by little to where you want it. Putting plastic over area where they have been peeing, putting down strips of two sided tape, covering the area with aluminum foil and /or spraying the area with a lemon scent have all proven to discourage cats from coming back to that area. There are also many products made to keep pets away from these areas. Some people say they work and say people say they don’t. When we have used them they did not work.

Does punishing the cat work?

As far as punishing a cat or scolding it, this creates the opposite effect of what you want. All this does is stresses that cat and creates more problems. This doesn’t mean you can’t shoo them away from a problem area. It means it does not work to yell or hit. A little trick we use in our home for our three rescued cats is we have a couple of spray bottles with water in the house. When our cats start doing behavior we don’t like we just spray the water in their direction. Now all we have to do is just pick up the bottle and they take off.

Specifically about dogs

Dogs tend to pee anywhere and everywhere. There is puppy training which is different than working with grown dogs that have been house trained already.

In my experience almost always a dog that house been properly house trained is peeing on the carpet because of something an owner has done, is not doing, or is not paying attention to.

We have a rescued mixed breed dog that gets so excited when we come home that if we are not calm he pees all over the floor and our feet. He was abused before we got him and I believe the peeing is a sign of being submissive. As long as we are calm he is fine. We let him out and after he runs around a bit we can play and rough house with him and he is fine.

Good luck & keep loving your pets!

This article was provided courtesy of Michael Carlson, the owner of Power Clean Carpet Cleaning in Anchorage, Alaska. For more information on pet issues and carpet cleaning or simply carpet cleaning questions in general, be sure to visit They’ve been cleaning carpets for over 30 years!


About Author

Devoted pet owner and now, devoted pet editor, Judi worked in traditional offices, keeping the books and the day-to-day operations organized. Taking her dog to work every day for over a decade never seemed odd. Neither did having an office cat. She knows what it's like to train a new puppy and she's experienced the heartache of losing beloved companions. Retired, she currently lives with her spoiled dog and four chickens (who are, interestingly enough, also spoiled).


  1. This is a very good tip…first thing I should to to stop my dog from peeing on our carpet is eliminate the old urine smell and the next step must be done…Nice!!!

  2. Turn Your Pet Into A Well Behaved Family Member on

    We have two cats, and one of them is a real jerk about the peeing issue. He’s not the brightest animal, but sometimes even a squeaky clean litter box isn’t enough to keep him going where he’s supposed to. And the “anti-urine” agents? In our experience, no effect, except for a substantial lightening of our wallets.

  3. This article made me realize a lot of things and helped me a lot with regards to this kind of habit. The good thing though is that my dog does not pee inside the house and he is also house trained. At first when we first brought him to the house he got this kind of issue so we read some related articles and managed to potty train the dog.

  4. I have an extremely smart 8 and a half year old Jack Russell. I also run a private psychology practice out of my very small home. I recently left my dog in the care of someone I thought was responsible. When I returned home, I found that my dog had probably been left in the house by himself and had used the living room area rug as a pee pad. I had to throw the carpet out, however, he has been using the new one the same way. I will replace this carpet, however, I don’t want to do that until I can assure myself that I can stop him from continuing to use the living room rug as a pee pad. There is no way to lock him in the kitchen or bedroom, my house just isn’t set up that way. Furthermore, he has free reign in the yard whenever he wants it, and I place him in my bedroom when I have clients and he has never peed in the bedroom. This is totally psychological and I’m not sure how to remedy the problem.

  5. I have a 3-y/o toy poodle that has recently starting peeing on the living room carpet. He is taken outside every couple of hours, but he comes back into the house and pees on the carpet after he has peed outside. What can I do? Could I sprinkle black pepper where he pees and let him sniff that and it will burn his nose and maybe that will stop him? My wife isn’t well and can’t take him out so I had put “pee pads” down beside the carpet on the vinyl, but he won’t use them. What can I do?

Leave A Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This post contains affiliate links, which means we earn a commission for sales referred from links on our site. We're also Amazon Associates, so we may earn from those qualifying purchases, too. Learn more!