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How to Get Dog Pee Smell Out of Car Seats (Easy & Effective Tips)

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on June 27, 2024 by Dogster Team


How to Get Dog Pee Smell Out of Car Seats (Easy & Effective Tips)

Many dogs love traveling and are eager to jump in the car and ride wherever their owners go. If you’re a dog owner with a car, you probably use your vehicle to take your dog to the vet, groomer, or on family adventures.

If your dog does the unthinkable and pees on your car seats, you’ll have to get the mess cleaned up immediately. Once you clean up the urine, you must deal with the lingering odor. Dog urine smells awful and worsens inside a car during hot weather or when the heat is on.

If you don’t get rid of the smell of dog urine, riding in your car will be very unpleasant, so there’s no time to waste! Here are the steps to get the dog pee smell out of your car seats.


The 3 Steps to Get Rid of Dog Pee Smell in Car Seats:

1. Determine What Type of Seats You Have

Car seats can be made of cloth or leather. To ensure you don’t damage your seats when removing odor, determine the type you have. If you’re unsure, look in your owner’s manual or do some research online.

Since most car seats are made of durable cloth materials like nylon or polyester, the directions below are for cloth seats. If your car has leather seats, arm yourself with a quality leather cleaner and follow the directions.

The good news about leather is that it doesn’t absorb stains and odors like cloth, so one good cleaning is usually all it takes to remove the urine smell!

To clean cloth car seats, gather the following supplies. Then, roll up your sleeves and get to work.

  • Pet stain and odor eliminator
  • Sponge or rags for scrubbing
  • Clean towels for drying
  • Portable vacuum

When buying a stain and odor eliminator, look for one that contains enzymes and bacteria. When an enzyme cleaner is sprayed on pet urine stains, the bacteria will eat away at the organic material while removing the stain and smell. Just be sure the product you buy is safe to use on the type of fabric seats you have!

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car seats
Photo Credit: Pixabay

2. Air Out the Car

Before you get busy working on the odor, it’s a good idea to air your car out by opening all the doors. If you have a hatchback or station wagon, open the rear door, too.

Allow your car to air out for at least an hour before you start the odor-removal process. Once you start working, keep the doors open so you have good air circulation. This is especially important when spraying an odor and stain-removing product.

3. Attack the Spot with Your Stain and Odor Eliminator

Spray the stain and odor eliminator on the spots where your dog peed. If the urine has been there long, spray a liberal amount and let it soak in. Then, use a sponge or rag to scrub the stain.

After a few minutes, place a clean, dry towel over the area and allow it to sit overnight. The next day, vacuum the spot and repeat if necessary. With any luck, the pee smell will be gone for good!

man cleaning car seat
Photo Credit: Andrey_Popov, Shutterstock

divider-dog paw

Preventing Dog Pee Smells in Your Car

If your dog is often in your car, it is crucial to ensure they don’t urinate in it again. The best way to ensure your dog won’t pee in the car before a trip is to take them for a walk before the ride.

Here are some other ways to prevent your dog from peeing on your car seats.

  • Put your dog in a crate or car seat: It’s always wise to secure your dog safely in a crate or a dog seat. Some states require dogs to be restrained in cars, so check the laws in your state! A dog crate is a good solution for a large dog, while a car booster seat is perfect for smaller canines like Yorkies and Chihuahuas.
  • Use a car seat cover: A car seat cover is a great way to protect your car seats. It will keep your seats protected and make it comfortable for your dog to go for rides. Look for a machine-washable cover that fits your car seat and matches your car’s interior.
dog in a carrier
Photo Credit: Tomasz_Mikolajczyk, Pixabay

Why Dogs Pee on Car Seats

If your dog continues peeing on your car seats, you probably are at your wit’s end, trying to figure out why. Maybe your dog has a urinary tract infection or UTI. Dogs with UTIs urinate frequently, and their urine often smells stronger than usual. Some signs of a UTI include:

  • Wanting to go outside often
  • Dripping urine
  • Licking their genitals
  • Straining to urinate
  • Strong urine smell

If you notice these signs, immediately get your dog to the veterinarian for a urinalysis. If your dog has a UTI, your vet can prescribe an antibiotic to treat the infection.

Some dogs feel anxious about riding in a car, causing them to urinate during travel. If your dog doesn’t like to ride in the car and hesitates to get in, they may be suffering from anxiety.

Speak to your vet to learn ways to take your dog’s anxiety levels down. Your vet may suggest spending a few minutes every day sitting in your parked car with your dog to ease their anxiety.

Dog in a car with seat belt restraint gear
Photo Credit: Andrey_Popov, Shutterstock

It’s even possible that your dog has motion sickness. Some signs of motion sickness in dogs include:

  • Panting
  • Whining
  • Excessive yawning
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Urination
  • Defecation

Motion sickness is more common among puppies than older dogs. Puppies’ inner ears aren’t fully developed, and their balance is affected. Speak to your vet about your dog’s motion sickness to find the right solution. Your vet may recommend motion sickness pills or tell you to wait it out if your dog is young.



Now that you know how to get the dog urine smell out of your car seats, follow the tips above to keep your seats pee-free. Once you get a handle on the problem, road trips with your dog will be more fun for everyone! Remember that dogs don’t want to pee in cars since they prefer using the ground, so don’t be too hard on that furry friend of yours!

Featured Image Credit: Andrey Popov, Shutterstock

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