If your dog is using the potty outdoors, a big congratulations to you – house-training a dog to pee outside is one of the most stressful aspects of pet parenthood.
Now that your furbaby is regularly using the yard for bathroom purposes, you might have found a new problem has cropped up.
Your backyard space is now doubling as a toilet for your dog several times a day.
Our backyard or other lawn areas are spots we use for gardening, recreation, and even playtime with Fido.
It’s not as big of a problem as urine stains in the house where urine in carpets or, worse, dog pee smell in subfloors can make any of us cringe.
A dog urine smell plaguing the yard can still take away the enjoyment you get from your outdoor space.
So how to get rid of dog pee smell in the yard?
The most effective methods are surprisingly straightforward, and with a few simple supplies and a good dog urine removal product, you’ll be able to solve this stinky issue.
Evaluate Your Yard
Not all yards are created equally. Some of us have large spaces, while others have a smaller area of land around our homes.
I’ll cover the two methods I recommend most for getting rid of urine smells in the yard.
Which one is best?
It depends on the yard size, how much area is affected by urine smells, the climate you live in, and how many dogs you have.
Also, note that these two fixes can work in conjunction with one another. Sometimes, a little trial-and-error is necessary before you figure out which one is the best fit for you.
Dilution is a Start but Is It THE Answer?
Applying water is an easy method that seems to make sense as a logical solution. But it depends.
Do you have a medium to large yard, a multi-pet household, or a dog who doesn’t discriminate where they urinate?
All of the above?
Then watering down the area where the urine smells are worst may be a good first course.
This is because you want to wash away or flush out as much of the fresh urine as possible.
Remember, under the grass is soil, and we’re not worried about soil soaking up our pet’s urine – because it will happen whether we dilute it with water or not.
By spraying down the area, you’ll dilute the urine as it soaks into the soil along with the water, which will do wonders for dissipating the urine smell.
But what really happens?
Unless you have some heavy rains for a couple of days straight, you’re not really getting rid of the urine in the case of grass or dirt areas.
In fact, the water you apply may seep into the ground leaving behind potent urine crystals near the surface. This means the smell remains.
In other words…
If you have many large dogs, water alone simply might not be enough to dilute all that urine they leave in your yard.
This is why it might not work as well if you have a dog or dogs who use the same area repeatedly to urinate.
Using water to cleanse even a small area of highly concentrated urine will result in a backyard swamp that just wreaks of dog urine!
2 Options: Enzyme Cleaner or Ionic Odor Remover
I suggest going straight to one of these two options, especially if you have a smaller area to treat.
Enzymes or Ions, which is best?
If you don’t already know, enzymes for dogs, “number ones,” can help eliminate urine and other organic odors.
Yes, you can use enzyme cleaners outside and on the grass.
The natural enzymes in the formula eat and break down the smells at the source and can be useful in clearing up urine odors outdoors.
If your dog has a designated spot in the yard where they use the potty, you’re probably proud of them – it’s a good habit and good manners.
You also know how the smells can get out of control when they use the same spot every day.
The water method isn’t likely to cut it in this case, especially when multiple dogs are using the same territory for bathroom purposes.
The enzyme cleaner we recommend below comes with an adapter for the hose, so your job will be easy.
All you’ll need to do is follow the instructions for attaching it to your hose, spray the area, and leave it to dry.
The method is the same if you have a simple spray bottle. The only difference is you will need to find and spray the spots rather than treat the general area.
While many enzyme cleaners recommend a spot test on any surface, they are generally safe on turf and grass.
They work well if your dog missed the grass altogether and left a puddle on the concrete patios, sidewalk, or deck, too.
You will need to use this method of getting rid of urine odor in the yard often – how often depends on the number and size of your dogs.
For just one dog, you might find you only need to treat the lawn once a week or every two weeks.
Ionic Method (Best Option!)
While more expensive, this is my favorite way to remove urine odors outdoors.
It works on grass, turf, dog runs, mulch areas, stonework, gravel, and more.
The main issue with using a hose to apply water and enzymes is when you wet down the area; urine crystals can become rehydrated.
Getting moisture into the ground can cause the odor you already smell to intensify as ammonia in old urine spots gets further activated.
With enzymes, your only hope is that the enzymes penetrate everywhere they need to. If not, you’ll be doing the application over and over.
What’s more, enzymes have a limited shelf life since these products contain living organisms. They last about six months tops.
When you get your container, you have no idea how old they already are. And if you need to re-use and re-apply to your yard in a few months, the product may be expired and ineffective – talk about wasting money!
Ionic solutions last for years, as there are no living organisms involved.
These are simply positively charged ions suspended in a solution. When they come into contact with negatively charged odor molecules, they cancel them out, causing the smell to stop.
It’s simple chemistry!
Ions are 100% safe and natural. And unlike enzyme formulas, they are qualified as food grade. They are guaranteed not to harm your dog when they come into direct contact.
To me, that’s worth the cost…along with it just working better!
Now, let’s look at the instructions for using both methods:
How to Remove Dog Urine Odor from Yard: 3 Ultra-Easy Steps
1. Locate the Problem Areas:
Identify if one spot or a broader area needs to be treated. Suppose it’s just a small part of the yard; no need to treat all of the grass.
If you can’t easily tell, it’s worth investing in a black light. In the dark, this light will “light up” where urine is the most concentrated — the places where your yard is getting most of its “perfume” from.
Simply wait until dark, turn off lights around your house, and shine the black light around like a flashlight.
Mark the areas you find by placing pieces of scrap wood or some other scrap material as needed.
Now you’re ready to get to work!
2. Odor Removing Time!
For Ionic Odor Removal:
The best ionic product is made by Live Odor Free!® They sell a kit that comes with an easy 3-step process.
You simply soak the affected area with their solution and let it sit for a couple of hours. This opens up the urine crystals to receive the following treatment.
Second, sprinkle their odor-block granules over the affected area. For grass, it helps to brush the granules in a bit with a deck brush, rake, or broom.
Lastly, sprinkle on their knock-out powder. This is the main part of the process where the odor completely goes away.
You can read more details on their site here.
I love Live Odor Free!® because they’re so helpful. Customer support is responsive and happy to walk you through any questions.
And, of course, they offer a full money-back guarantee should your smell not go away for whatever reason – honestly, you won’t need this warranty, though!
***Be sure to use coupon code: LIVEODORFREE for 10% off at checkout.
To make your life even easier, many enzyme cleaners offer bottles that can attach to your hose for easy application.
For treating yards and making them smell “neutral” again, we recommend: Simple Green Outdoor Odor Eliminator.
Simply attach the bottle to your hose and run the water through your hose at full throttle.
Spray and saturate the areas you identified in the first step. You can be liberal since there’s no such thing as doing too much.
The best part?
No rinsing and no scrubbing.
3. Let it Sit
Now the easiest part of all… Just wait for it to dry, and your yard will be odor-free.
If you sense more smell after it’s had a chance to dry, see if you’ve missed a spot or simply treat it again.
You may be treating tough spots where urine has had a chance to really seep into the ground.
Preventing Urine Smells in the Yard
If you’d rather avoid it than treat urine odors in your backyard, there are some options out there.
Disposable “potty patches” made with real or artificial grass can save your lawn from becoming a rest stop for your dogs.
Similar to pee pads, the small, portable lawn provides a spot for your dog to relieve themselves without damaging things under them.
Many apartment dwellers opt to use these on balconies for their smaller dogs – it’s a more convenient solution than taking ten flights of stairs five times a day – since dogs can only hold their pee so long!
Potty patches or dog lawns can be used outside as well as an alternative to allowing your dog to urinate on the real grass.
They’re more attractive than pee pads, as they mimic real grass – or in some cases, actually are real grass.
Teaching a puppy to use a potty patch isn’t much different than basic house training. And older dogs who are already house-trained can be taught to use a dog lawn.
Lucky pet parents will find that their pet is naturally drawn to the dog lawn and require little guidance to encourage regular use.
Some potty patches have disposable components, so you don’t have to worry yourself with cleaning them.
Once it gets stinky, you can replace it.
Real grass potty patches can be composted and are biodegradable.
Others are washable with a hose and some detergent. Some work similarly to a litter box with a removable tray that needs emptying and cleaning.
You can even DIY a dog lawn if you’re ambitious.
If you choose to try a dog lawn, such as artificial grass that requires cleaning, enzyme and ion cleaners can still help with eliminating odors – and you’ll use a lot less of it than when you need to treat large portions of your yard.
There’s an added benefit to potty patches if you’re not sold quite yet.
In a pinch, they can be placed on porches, balconies, or in garages – perfect for when foul weather strikes.
Smell the Roses – Not the Pee
When it comes to your dog relieving themselves, the yard is ideal. What’s not so ideal is a urine odor invading your backyard space.
How to get rid of dog pee smell in the yard? Water can help light issues. Enzyme cleaners can be a simple approach but may be a waste of money. An ion odor remover is highly effective and gets the job done safely.
Water may be all you need, depending on your yard (and pack) size. Or, you might find bringing in a professional ion odor remover will solve your pee-smelling yard problems once and for all!