How Can I Detect Dog Urine in the Carpet?

A roomy crate can help your dog avoid accidents.
dog in a cage image by igor kisselev from

For most people, detecting dog urine itself is not a challenge; instead, the challenge is pretending it's not there or figuring out how to remove it. But if your dog is home alone all day, his urine may have time to completely dry, making it difficult to locate stains before they are fully set in the carpet. If your dog frequently has accidents, consider keeping him in a crate while you are gone or hiring a dog walker to help him get the bathroom breaks he needs.


When urine has dried, it often leaves a yellow hue. On white carpet, the urine can look almost neon, and on darker carpets may manifest as discoloration or spots with an odd glow. Even when your dog's urine is completely clear, the ammonia in urine can cause yellow discoloration as it dries.


Dry urine often does not smell, but if the urine is fresh, you should be able to pinpoint the location by sniffing for a pungent, mildly unpleasant odor. Urine smells like ammonia and may slightly resemble the scent of ammonia-based cleaning products.


When urine has completely dried, the smell may no longer be present. Over time, the color of urine may also fade. However, the texture of your carpet will feel slightly different at a spot of urination. It may feel clumped together, rough or even slightly sticky.


The sooner your clean up urine, the less likely it is to permanently stain your carpet. Blot any excess moisture with paper towels, then spray with an oxygen-based carpet cleaner. Allow the cleaner to set for five to 10 minutes, then rub out the stain. Next, apply a pet stain remover with odor-neutralizing properties. Allow this to settle into the stain for five minutes, then wipe or vacuum the area according to the package directions.


  • How Clean is Your House?; Aggie Mackenzie et al.
  • New Puppy Owner's Manual; Angela Fitch

About the Author

Brenna Davis is a professional writer who covers parenting, pets, health and legal topics. Her articles have appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines as well as on websites. She is a court-appointed special advocate and is certified in crisis counseling and child and infant nutrition. She holds degrees in developmental psychology and philosophy from Georgia State University.

Photo Credits

  • dog in a cage image by igor kisselev from