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Has Your Adult Dog Ever Started Peeing in the House for No Apparent Reason?

I waited until it was dark and turned off all the lights in the house, then I searched with a blacklight -- sure enough, I found pee.

Meghan Lodge  |  Jun 11th 2014

All dogs pee. It’s a healthy part of life. I can appreciate that. What I can’t appreciate is a dog peeing indoors. Now, I’m not talking about a new puppy or newly adopted dog who is still learning the ropes of indoor life. And accidents happen, even with longtime housebroken dogs.

But within the past month, our three-year-old American Pit Bull Terrier, Axle, decided to start peeing in the house again. These weren’t “oh my dog, I just can’t hold it anymore” kind of pees. It didn’t matter if I left him alone for one hour or for six, I would come home to pee — the “hike your leg and mark multiple spots” sort of pees. Even after cleaning up the mess and going back to crate training, I smelled pee.

But determining if it really was Axle who was peeing — and exactly where he was peeing — turned out to be much harder than I thought. You see, Axle’s pee smells eerily similar to the weed-eater after I get done weed-eating the dandelions, clover, and the other miscellaneous weeds that insist on taking over my yard. If you walk through the freshly mowed lawn, your boots will bring in the same scent. So when I kept getting a whiff of this faint, only slightly offensive odor, I couldn’t determine if it was pee (ew) or our shoes. After sniff-checking the shoes, I concluded the scent was, indeed, pee. The problem was that I couldn’t isolate the scent. It seemed to be everywhere. Well, when a scent is “everywhere,” it’s more than likely located close to your air return for your air conditioning unit. Sure enough, the cat tree was marked. I tossed it in the dump and cleaned the floor around it. Problem solved, right? Think again!

I’m not a nasty person. I try to keep a clean house, although it can quickly get cluttered with baby gear, pet toys, and my husband’s many “projects.” I try to keep everything swept, dusted, and mopped, so the thought of some dog pee residue in my house just makes my skin crawl. It didn’t help that no one else seemed to notice the smell (which kept occurring). Was I going crazy? I was bound and determined to find the source, eliminate it, and go back to enjoying my house sans odor.

I waited until it was dark and cut out all of the lights in the house. With a blacklight, I started searching. Every room I checked came back “clean.” Remembering the cat tree, I decided to check back around the air return. Sure enough, there was pee. Apparently, Axle had decided to mark the whole corner, not just the cat tree. The amounts were clearly small enough that they would be dry before I ever had a chance to notice them, but the odor remained. I broke out the enzyme cleaner and went to spraying and scrubbing. I’m pretty sure I also scrubbed off the top layer of paint, but there was no more dog pee. Satisfied that I had solved the problem, I went back to enjoying my day.

Later than night, as we were watching Capt. Picard and his crew explore deep space, the air came on and it hit me. Dog pee. OH. MY. DOG. Could nothing eliminate the smell? Had he crawled into the air system itself and peed? (Highly unlikely, as the AC runs through the attic.) I took to my hands and knees and started sniffing the floor. Yep, nose to floor, nose to wall, nose to furniture, I was going to find this offensive thing. My husband thought I was crazy. Axle thought it was a game, and the cat thought I had found something to eat and would run and check every spot behind me. After much crawling and searching, I came to the end table across from where the cat tree had been. Axle had marked the legs on it. How gross! Back to the enzyme cleaner I went. Of course, I finished sniffing around the entire house before I was satisfied that this time the odor was gone for good.

Today, I put Axle in a crate when I’m not home. He doesn’t have a UTI, and his food/water intake hasn’t changed. I think it may be a territorial thing because of the neighborhood dogs who like to roam through our yard and mark the trees and the front door, but I can’t help that. Whatever the issue, Axle has been very agreeable about the return of his crate, and I don’t have to come home to any pee.

What about you? Have you ever had an issue with your dog peeing in the house? How did you find it? Tell me below in the comments!

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About Meghan Lodge: Fits the Aquarius definition to a fault, loves animals, and is always pushing for change. Loves ink, whether it’s in tattoos, books, or writing on that pretty sheet of blank paper. Proud parent of Toby (cat) and Axle (dog). I’m a former quiet nerd who’s turned bubbly animal-obsessed advocate.