Asked on Jan 09, 2015

What smells like dog pee that isn't dog pee?

by Grady
I have stepped into my friends house and instantly smelled dog pee. He doesn't have any pets, yet his house smells like dog pee. Any idea why?
  20 answers
  • Lily White Lily White on Jan 09, 2015
    ammonia ?
  • Corey Rigoni Corey Rigoni on Jan 09, 2015
    You're smelling ammonia from something...perhaps it's being used as a cleaning solvent in the house?
  • Robin Macdonald Hill Robin Macdonald Hill on Jan 09, 2015
    does he have a wood burning stove or fireplace? or store wood in the house? every time we fill the basement with wood (about a cord and a half) it stinks.
  • Betsy Betsy on Jan 09, 2015
    mice? Mice urine can smell like ammonia-and they urinate everywhere!
  • Grady Grady on Jan 09, 2015
    Mouse pee smells different than dog pee. He thinks it is something different and he has gas fireplaces. And he knows the difference between the smell of dog pee and cat pee. Any other thoughts? I heard that carpet shampooer water smells like dog pee once it's on the carpet. Any thing about that? Maybe it is ammonia but cat pee usually smells like ammonia.
  • RH RH on Jan 09, 2015
    If he isn't the original homeowner, it's possible that a previous owner had pets that caused the smell. Time has a way of making those smells worse sometimes instead of dissipating them. I moved into a house 15 years ago that had been vacant for a couple of years prior, but the people who lived there before that had locked their dogs in the one bedroom when they'd go away (versus a kennel), and the dogs had "gone" on the carpet under one of the dormer windows that faced the street. The carpet *LOOKED* clean, as i'm sure they'd shampooed it, but the smell had sunk through the carpet into the pad and eventually into the wood floor underneath, meaning the smell was still there for the dogs to know it was "ok" to use that spot again... We pulled up the carpet and the bottom had HUGE dark stains (despite the top looking clean), the pad was completely brittle and powdery in that spot from the (probably) years of misuse, even the staples that held it down were RUSTED from all the liquid!! The wood had large rings that were obvious water damage (and too far away from the window, and too perfect in circles to be blamed on a leaky/left-open window). We looked up online how to refinish the wood and try to eliminate the smell (which was mostly contained in the carpet pad, but still somewhat remained in the wood after the carpet had been pulled). Fortunately the weather was nice, so we could leave windows open during this process, because once the carpet was lifted and that nasty pad was exposed OMG it was sickening to breathe!!
  • Victoria D Victoria D on Jan 09, 2015
    water old leaks in hidden places . bathroom from the bottom of the toilet.
  • Kayo Frazier Kayo Frazier on Jan 12, 2015
    If you have carpet, check in a corner of the room to see if there is hardwood or just sub floor. If it is hardwood & if you like it, you can pull up the carpet. You can rent a sander for a reasonable amount of money. Most hardwood floors can only be sanded down 4 times before they need to be completely replaced. Sand down the wood, this will create dark brown/black stains & release some of the smell. Give the room some time to air out, then sand it down again. Choose a dark stain that will cover the darkest parts of the animal stains. Then poly 2-3 layers. This will seal in the smell. Now, if it is sub floor, you can go the cheaper way, cut out the parts that are stained & replace them with clean sub floor. OR just replace the whole sub floor then either re-carpet or put down hard floors.
  • Grady Grady on Jan 13, 2015
    He had his house built so no dog could have peed there. Maybe it is the sub floor.
  • Grady Grady on Jan 20, 2015
    Thanks for the answers, but I'm still hoping for more ideas.
  • RH RH on Feb 04, 2015
    I have to agree with the thought that sometimes carpet shampooer can smell pee-like. Though I have a sensitive nose, so I smell things and associate them in ways other people don't. It depends on the brand, I suppose, as well. Could there have been ammonia spilled or used somewhere (could be that ammonia was an ingredient in a carpet shampoo, that would explain why it would smell like pee to some people)? Now you've got my brain all curious... Victoria brings up a good point as well, it could be the sub-floor from a leak around the base (or under, around the wax seal) of the toilet. If it's a main floor bathroom, and the furnace/AC is in the basement, it would circulate the smell throughout the house if the leak has traveled either through the sub-floor or down along the drain... I hope you all discover the cause soon, there's nothing more frustrating than to not be able to find the source of a bad smell :(
  • Grady Grady on Feb 11, 2015
    My friend thinks that something might have caused a leak. Is that possible?
  • Grady Grady on Mar 02, 2015
    My friend now thinks that his carpet itself causes the smell. I have heard that new carpet smells like dog pee. Is this true?
  • Grady Grady on Mar 03, 2015
    Thank you Randi. I am still open to more ideas. But thank you still. My friend is grateful for what I have told him. I am still open to more ideas.
  • Grady Grady on Mar 03, 2015
    You were right about carpet shampooer smelling like pee Randi. Now did you mean dog pee or human pee?
  • RH RH on Mar 03, 2015
    Ammonia is present in all animal urine (humans are animals) but with varying degrees. Also smell is dependent on what has been ingested and how much water is diluting it. There's not a clear way to tell unless you have a keen sensitive nose and are aware of the differences. Cat pee will be very noticeable because of how it reacts with the kitty litter more than the actual urine smell itself, and male vs female will smell unique of each other as well. Sorry, my dad was a science teacher and sometimes I get on a teaching streak myself :p Basically, when one says "it smells like pee" it's because you're smelling the ammonia. So, to be truthful, I should have said "carpet shampooer can have a strong ammonia odor." :)
  • Grady Grady on Mar 04, 2015
    Oh. I didn't realize that ammonia was present in all animal urine. But, recently, my mom used our carpet shampooer and I swear it smelled like dog pee.
  • Grady Grady on Mar 04, 2015
    It was disgusting. And I know my dogs didn't urinate on the carpet. They are housebroken. But I swear the shampooer smelled like dog pee.
  • Grady Grady on Mar 06, 2015
    I have to say that ammonia does smell like dog pee. Any other ideas at all?