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How to clean up after your pet in the house

4 min read

How to clean up after your pet in the house
No matter how old your pets are, sometimes accidents happen. Here is how to clean up after your pet in the house when they've had a little mishap
Every pet owner's been there: you enter a room and find a small, unpleasant, smelly surprise left for you by your beloved furry friend. But how can you get rid it? Worry not: here are our top tips for cleaning up after your pet in the house.

My pet pooped on the carpet

Use an odour-controlling cleaner
Accidents will happen, not just with puppies or older pets that are losing control. Even the best-trained pets can have a mishap. Follow these steps to clean up:
  1. Carefully remove the solid part of the poop using an inside-out plastic bag over your hand, which you then turn right side out to enclose the contents 
  2. Blot up any liquid content with paper towels
  3. Soak the accident site with an enzymatic odour-removing cleaner
  4. Rinse residue with plain water to avoid leaving any scent that might draw the pet back to use the same spot
Be ready for the next time
A tawny cat rests its head on a small, fair-coloured dog's head
For the next pet-poo accident, be prepared: Store a pet clean-up kit in your broom cupboard or utility room. Keep paper towels, bin bags or poo bags (for disposing of solids and used paper towels), a sponge and the enzymatic cleaner in your kit.

My pet wet the rug

Soak it up with paper towels
If it’s fresh, soak up the liquid with a paper towel. Then lay a thick layer of paper towels on the spot. Cover the paper towels with newspaper, being careful not to let the newsprint rub off on the carpet. Stand on the padding for a couple of minutes. The pressure will help the towelling draw up the liquid. Do this again with fresh paper towels.
Use an odour-removing cleaner
Next, saturate the spot with an enzymatic odour-removing cleaner. This type of cleaner even works on old, dried urine stains. Rinse the area by spraying it with clean water and blotting up the water with paper towels.
"Avoid using fragrant cleaners as the scents may draw your pet back to the same spot"
Avoid using fragrant cleaners, such as shampoos, soaps, or vinegar, to clean the rug. The scents, like the scent of the pet’s own urine, might draw the pet back to the same spot to urinate again.
Banner of several different types of pets, including dogs, cats, bunnies, and guinea pigs, advertising Reader's Digest's Pet of the Month competition

I smell pet urine, but I can’t find it

You don’t always find the puddle when it’s fresh. Often a pet will sneak into a room, relieve itself, and sneak back out again. You may know nothing about it until you follow your nose, and by then the puddle may be dry and—if it’s a dark rug—invisible. To stop your pet from repeating this behaviour, you’ll need to remove the old urine, which means you must know where it is.
A Boxer-type dog lies on a charcoal grey rug in a living room, looking thoughtful
Use a black light to find the spot
To find it, try this trick. Turn out all the lights in the room, then use a black light to illuminate the old urine stains. A black light is an ultraviolet light that makes some compounds, including some in urine, glow in the dark. Outline the stains with chalk or string, so you can locate them when you turn the lights back on, then clean the area as you would a fresh stain.

My pet keeps urinating on the same carpet spot

Clean well and try retraining
Dogs and cats are territorial, but they don’t post signs to mark a spot as their own: they pee on it. They’ll do this outside on a tree or inside, where they can ruin floors and carpets and create foul odours. There are several things you can do to stop them—the most basic is to completely remove all traces of urine from the spot they’ve chosen to mark.
"Dogs and cats are territorial, and pee on spots to mark them as their own"
After you’ve soaked up fresh urine using paper towels, take the paper towels to your pet’s designated bathroom area, such as a litter box or an area of the garden outside. Take your pet to the spot and let it smell the urine there.
Sprinkle with a deterrent compound
If the pet continues its habit, consider using a deterrent, available at pet stores. These are usually strong-smelling substances that you sprinkle on the area a pet is marking. Some are stronger—and more offensive to humans in the house—than others.
"If your cat suddenly won't use the litter box, it may be reacting to change"
If it’s your cat, and it suddenly won’t use the litter box, it may be that it is reacting to change. Did you recently buy a new brand of litter? If so, switch back to the familiar brand. Is the box dirtier than usual? Clean it. Do you have a new cat that is sharing the litter box? Consider getting another litter box.

Problem stopper: Keeping down pet upkeep

A Yorkshire Terrier stands in the bath and gazes at the camera
  • To keep moisture and mud out of the house, carry a small towel on rainy or snowy walks for wiping the animal’s paws
  • To catch food spills and speed up their disposal, cover the pet’s eating area generously with newspaper (Don’t do this with a puppy you are paper-training)
  • If a pet carries food away from its usual eating spot, keep moving it back until the animal gets the idea
  • If you bathe a dog in the bath, cover the floor with towels. Towel the dog as dry as you can—and don’t open the bathroom door until it has shaken off all the water it can
Banner photo: Tips and tricks to clean up after your pet in the house (credit: Priscilla Du Preez (Unsplash))
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