How to Get Rid of Dog Urine Odor in Backyard

Anyone who has a pet knows that one thing they may have to deal with is unpleasant smells. Even if your dog has been going potty in the backyard for years with no odor, it can arise suddenly for a few different reasons. In this article, we’ll go over how to get rid of dog urine odor in the backyard as well as how to prevent it in the future.

What Causes Dog Urine Odor in Your Backyard?

Maybe you’ve noticed an odor where there wasn’t any before and are wondering what has caused the sudden foul smell in your backyard. There are a few different reasons that could cause dog urine odors to arise. By knowing what is causing the smell, it can help you understand how to get rid of dog urine odor in your backyard but preventing it as well.

Urinating in Certain Areas

You may notice that the dog urine odor is worse in some areas more than others. This is because dogs tend to go to the same areas to do their business, causing a more potent smell.

Porous Surfaces

If your dog marks a porous surface, such as concrete, it will soak it all in. Over time, you may notice a stronger odor and discoloration in their chosen area. Although there are ways to clean porous surfaces, you can also prevent it from happening in the future. We’ll talk about both later in the article.

Medical Issues

If you never noticed dog urine odor in your backyard and it has come on suddenly, it’s essential to rule out any medical issues. With specific issues, the smell can increase or change, so it’s something worth paying attention to.

  • Medications can sometimes change the pH of your dog’s urine, giving it a more potent smell. Prior to changing your dog’s medications, make sure to ask your vet what the side effects are so you can be prepared.
  • UTIs or urinary tract infections are pretty common in dogs and can cause a foul urine odor. Although female dogs are more likely to develop a UTI, both male and female dogs can get them. In addition to a change in odor, there may be an increased frequency in urination or bloody/cloudy urine. If you notice anything unusual, go to your vet so they can prescribe the right medication.

How to Get Rid of Dog Urine Odor in Your Backyard

There are few methods to get rid of dog urine odor in your backyard, depending on where it is coming from. While the process is going to be close to the same no matter what, there are a few variations depending on the location.

Step One: Identify the Source

First, identify where the source of the odor is coming from. Since dogs will typically do their business in the same areas, you should only need to clean those areas to get rid of the odor. Pay attention to where your dog is urinating to spot the source.

At night, you can use a black light to light up where the worst areas are.

Step Two: Clear the Area

Make sure that you keep any pets inside while you clean the area. Remove any outdoor furniture, toys, or any other items that are in the vicinity of where you’ll be cleaning.

Step Three: Clean the Area

  • For damp areas: If the area is wet, using a hose with a nozzle attachment and a little soap should remove the harsh odors. Adjust your nozzle to the highest pressure and spray the area for a few minutes until the area is completely covered with soapy water, then rinse thoroughly.
  • For porous areas: If the area is porous, such as cement, and the urine is dry, mix a small amount of bleach with water, and cover the surface. Let the mixture sit for at least 10 minutes and then rinse thoroughly with water. If the smell is still there after cleaning, you may need to agitate the area.
  • For grassy areas: For grassy areas or other outdoor organic surfaces, sprinkle garden lime any areas where there is dog urine. You can find garden lime at a garden center or online. Using more is better than using less because the urine likely has soaked deep into the soil, and you’ll need to saturate it to completely rid the areas of odor. Soak the garden lime with water. Once this process is complete, this should not only remove any lingering odors but will also neutralize acidity caused by the dog urine, helping to keep your grass greener.

Step Four: Repeat as Necessary

For really stubborn areas, the smell may not completely go away. If you notice the odor after going through all of the steps, go through them again until your backyard is odor-free.

If your dog continues to go potty in the same spots again, be sure to do this regularly to keep the odor to a minimum. However, preventing the odor in the first place is going to be the easiest way to keep your backyard smelling fresh, which we’ll discuss later in this article.

Other Ways to Get Rid of Dog Urine Odor

There are a few different remedies you can turn to if the above doesn’t work or if you don’t have the necessary supplies. Below are some other simple ways to get rid of dog urine odor.

Turn Your Soil

If your dog is doing its business over hard-packed soil, it’s likely baking in the sun and creating an unpleasant urine smell. After they potty, take a shovel and turn the soil. This disrupts the soil, giving it time to biodegrade and neutralize the bacteria that cause the odor.

Enzymatic Cleaning Products

If you have strong urine odors in your backyard, you may want to give an enzymatic cleaner a try. They work by breaking down bacteria in the urine that causes the foul odor. While these cleaners are typically used indoors, they are also effective in your backyard.


If all you have on you is water, this extremely environmentally friendly option can work to reduce and even get rid of dog pee odor. However, if you’re going to use water, you’ll have to be quick and use it immediately after your dog goes to the bathroom.

In order to do this, keep a watering can nearby so you can quickly douse the urine with water to use after your dog finishes going potty. Another option is to purchase oscillating sprinklers to not only keep your grass healthy but help to minimize odor.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is regularly known for and used for varies household cleaning remedies. It can also be used on your concrete and grass to reduce pet odor smells. Sprinkle it directly on the grass, concrete, or soil and let it sit until the moisture is fully absorbed and rinse with water.

For porous surfaces such as concrete, after sprinkling the baking soda and scrub it with just enough water to make it sud. Rinse thoroughly afterward.


Vinegar is another household item that comes in handy to clean and neutralize odors. Simply mix a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar or white vinegar with 4 cups of water and cover the area using a spray bottle. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then rinse off with water.


Citrus juices, such as lemon, can also be used to remove harsh pet odors from your backyard. Similarly to the vinegar mixture above, just add a teaspoon of lemon juice with 4 cups of water and use it in a spray bottle as necessary. Let it sit on the area, and then rinse with water.

How to Prevent Dog Urine Odor in the Future

Once you know how to get rid of the dog urine odor, it may be easier to prevent it than to continually go through the steps above. The methods below should help keep the harsh smell to a minimum in the future.

Build an Easy Dog Run

Building your own dog run in your backyard doesn’t have to be a complicated project. A dog run gives your pet a designate space to run around and do their business leash-free. This is a great way to not only reduce odor but also gives your dog a place to get some exercise in a designated spot.

Once you choose the right spot in your backyard for your dog run, you’ll just need a few materials to get it entirely set up. For the full step-by-step process of building your own dog run, check out this article.

Add a Dog Lawn to Your Backyard

To keep your dog from urinating and leaving odor throughout your backyard, you can keep it more contained by using a dog lawn. The beautiful thing about dog lawns is that you can easily clean them and relocate them if needed. There are different varieties on the market that are designed specifically for dogs to do their business.

Although dog lawns are mainly used indoors, they’ll work just as well in your backyard.


If you notice dog urine odors that weren’t there before, it could be build up over time or even a medical issue. Once you rule out any medical issues, you can begin the process of removing the odor with a simple step-by-step process explained above. In the future, building a dog run or having a designated dog lawn can help prevent odors from urine and dog poop in the future. If nothing else, take your pup for walks around the neighborhood or at a dog park.

For other ways to make your backyard smell better, check out this article.