How Can I Protect My Hardwood Floors From Dog Urine?

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When you first get your little bundle of love, you’ll think you can love it no matter what happens; however, this quickly changes when it needs to go to the toilet. Puppies genuinely have no control over when they need to go, and they’ll urinate or poop wherever they may find themselves.

To protect your hardwood floors, we recommend not allowing your dogs on the floor until they are properly house trained. You can apply a thick coating of oil or apply several layers of hardwood floor sealants, with most people preferring to provide a safe spot for the dog to pee.

These are the basics of owning a puppy, but there are more things you can do to protect your floors than simply covering or sealing them. Many owners learn through trial and error that their puppies may not be ready for training, preferring to give them a place to be safe rather than letting them go wild.

What Are The Best Treatments?

Your dog may be the new love of your life, but if your entire house has hardwood floors, you will need to learn how to ensure it does not damage your floor. Most dogs nearing adulthood will not need to be closely watched at all times; however, this can take up to a year.

It would be best if you understood how each treatment to protecting your hardwood floors works, allowing you to enjoy having your dog around comfortably. We have tested through our trials and errors to see precisely which treatments help keep your floors perfect.

Sealants To Protect It

The first and the best solution to stopping your dog from staining your hardwood floors is sealing the entire floor. You should preferably have three to four layers of sealant on your floor, creating a proper protective layer on your floors that will keep all moisture out of the wood.

This will always be one of the best ways to prevent dog urine from staining your hardwood floors, as it directly creates protection for your floor. However, it will require a lot of work as you will have to sand between the first and second layers to ensure that the next few layers of sealant are smooth.

Oils For The Floor

Many hardwood floor owners prefer not to have their floors sealed, as the look given by the sealant can be considered plastic-like. When this is a problem, you can turn to wood oil to provide the wood with a proper stain and look, keeping the feeling and luxurious look that hardwood owners want.

With oils, the wood is hardened, and the overall look of the wood will last a lot longer, requiring that you only have to treat the spot of the wood that has been soiled. Usually, just washing the spot that has been urinated on and then giving fresh oiling will have the floor looking perfect.

Pet-Friendly Areas

Probably the best way of stopping your dog from peeing on your hardwood floor is to have an area of your home where they can happily do what is needed. Even with the best trainers in the world, young dogs will relieve themselves wherever they may be, which means your hardwood floors are in danger.

For the first few months that you have a dog, it is best to have them live, sleep, and eat in this area, taking them out only when you are with them. This will allow you to stop or lead them into areas where it is safe to urinate or poop without getting into trouble that they may not yet understand.

Keep An Eye On The Dog

Whether you have the dog in a specified area, it is allowed to run wild, or it can only come inside the house when you allow it; this is the most important part. You must keep an eye on the dog, ensuring that when it needs to go to the toilet, you are ready to lead it somewhere it is allowed to.

Many owners that have not yet trained a dog in the past make the mistake of assuming the dog will naturally learn not to go inside the house. However, dogs need to be taught where and when it is okay to use the bathroom, requiring that you take them or lead them to their safe spaces.

How Can You Prevent Your Dog From Urinating?

For experienced dog owners, this may seem like an amusing thing to imagine, while new dog owners who have only met trained dogs think this is possible. You cannot prevent your dog from urinating, and you will have to teach them when and where to go instead.

The training process for puppies may feel impossible, and up to four or five months of age, it can be hard to train your dogs properly. Puppies have short attention spans and will usually not retain many things you try to train them, especially regarding their toilet behavior.

Positive Training Techniques

This is easily the best way to train your dog to do almost anything, especially when still learning to go to the toilet. Taking or leading them to a space where they can urinate and poop and praising them will teach them how much a positive move.

When training your dogs to do anything, positive training is always the best way to ensure that your dog is learning. Not only will this help your dogs learn what the correct behavior is, but it will strengthen the connection you have with the animals as well, mainly because they will always be happy to see you.

Teaching To Use Specific Areas

This is important if you have only an apartment or want your dog to use a specific house area without hardwood floors. You will need to train the dog to use the space you need them to go, taking it there when you see it is about to go to the toilet.

This will train the dog that it needs to urinate or poop in that specific area, quickly walking there when it feels it needs to go. Just be sure that the spot you have selected will be where it can go for its entire life; your dog will most likely only use that area to do everything.

Taking For Walks

We highly recommend doing this with your dogs anyway, but building a schedule will be the best way to train it if you have hardwood floors. If you take your dog for a walk in the morning and the afternoon, allowing it to use the toilet whenever it needs will teach it to only go during walks.

As you and your dog build the schedule to go to the toilet, you will both learn its toilet needs, with a lot of dogs quickly learning to only go to the bathroom while on a walk. Usually, you will see that people have dogs that almost always wait for them to arrive home to go for a walk.

Can Dog Urine Ruin Covered Hardwood Floor?

If you or a family member has recently put down a carpet over hardwood floors, it can be easy to forget about the precious floor. However, when the new dog in the family arrives, it may suddenly become a new problem that you wonder about, with many hoping the carpet will protect the floor.

Dog urine will ruin a hardwood floor that has been covered, whether it is with a carpet or linoleum, as these are not always perfectly sealed. Carpets work like a sponge that keeps the urine wetter for much longer, while linoleum allows the urine to soak through and cause damage.

What Smells Can Deter Dogs From Peeing?

The smells that deter a dog from urinating can be problematic as some dogs mark their territory. Usually, male dogs will exhibit this behavior, and many owners want to try and find a way to stop them from marking the inside of your house using smells to deter them.

A mixture of vinegar, some citrus, and regular dish soap mixed in with water and then sprayed on areas you think the dog may be marking will work. We would also recommend washing and cleaning the house often; the smell of chemicals will naturally deter your dog from keeping inside.

You should note that different dogs will have different reactions, with a surprising number of dogs liking the taste of vinegar and citrus. You should ensure that whatever you are using to deter marking with urine is something your dog will hate the smell of.

What Are The Dangers Of Dog Urine On Hardwood Floors?

Despite your absolute best efforts, your dog will eventually urinate on your hardwood floors; even if they are still a puppy, they can leave a significant mark. You will need to know exactly what can happen as you leave the stain to stay for a bit longer than is needed.

With dog urine, several things happen, usually being a lot more aggressive and dangerous than most people would assume. Quite mistakenly, many people think that dog urine is simply a bit worse than spilling tea or water on the floor when in reality, it isn’t.

Rotting The Wood

Moisture on wood makes it rot and become brittle while making it easier for bugs and ants to work through the wood to damage it. Further, rotting wood leads to a host of other problems that will bring health issues while making the floor unsafe to walk on.

Wood that has a starter to rot creates a significant problem for anyone that wants or needs to walk on it, with most people mistakenly thinking that rotted wood is easy to fix. However, there is only one way to repair rotten wood: completely replace the wood’s parts that have started to rot.

Causing Stains

Water can leave rings on the wood, which will create headaches down the road, but dog urine properly stains the wood. Untreated wood stained can be almost impossible to fix. It usually requires being deeply sanded and stained several times with oils.

This is usually the thing that most owners of hardwood floors stress about when they see a dog urinating on their floors. This is why it is the most common thing hardwood floor owners stress about, forgetting about the other more serious problems that can exist when a dog pees on the wood.

Bacterial Growths

This is one of the two biggest dangers that can come from dog urine on your hardwood floors, as the urine is filled with some nutrients and foods that bacteria like. This causes them to grow and rapidly become uncontrollable as they comfortably eat off both the wood and the urine left behind.

If you have ever met someone who has many dogs that they have not appropriately trained only to do their business outside, you will know that they are prone to being sick. This is why the urine creates many bacterial and virus growth throughout their homes, making them sicker.

Uncontrollable Smell

You may find that your house has started to smell slightly musky at all times if your dog is constantly peeing on the hardwood floors. This is because the urine does start to puddle under the floor, soaking into the wood, creating a stench throughout the house that You cannot simply wash away.

Many people mistakenly think that only cats can leave this stench in a house; however, dog urine can do the same. You will have to clean the urine quickly to prevent the smell from being soaked up by the wood, preferably with a mop and soapy water.

Mold Growth

This is probably the thing that few people consider at all when they see a pet urinating on the floor throughout a home. A wet hardwood floor starting to rot is the perfect area for mold to quickly start growing, as there is no sunlight to burn the mold away.

Molds can cause a whole list of raspatory infections and irritations that have been known to kill people when they were sleeping. You should always check for mold growth when you see an area is constantly getting wet; if you have a dog that urinates on the hardwood floor, it is best to spray regularly.

Cost To Replace

Often, people learn to have their second or third dog enclosed in specific house areas when training is the previous cost of fixing stains. It is costly to repair and replace hardwood floors as much of the wood used for the floor no longer exists.

You should be aware of this before buying or adopting a dog, as you may have to replace the floor if you are renting. The entire floor needs to be replaced many times, refinished, or resealed as the stains from the dog urine have spread further than you could ever have imagined.


Your hardwood floor needs to be sealed or oiled to protect it from the urine that your dog will inevitably put on it. The best cure to this problem will always be to prevent it, though, having your dog trained to not pee in the house, letting it live somewhere it can pee on the floor until it is trained.

Whatever you do, please don’t think that intimidation or aggression will have the dog stop peeing; it’s never the answer!


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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting professional home inspections since 2002. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Professional Inspector (CPI), Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
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