Why Does My Dog Pee on Houseplants?

Your dog has a nasty habit: he likes to pee on your houseplants. While it's frustrating that your dog is peeing inside the house in general, the pee not only stinks up your house, it's also killing your potted plants that you work so hard to keep alive.

labrador puppy sniffing houseplant
credit: KristinaKibler/iStock/GettyImages

While dogs don't specifically target houseplants to pee on, once they mark their territory, and they smell that scent, they are likely to keep repeating the behavior. Thankfully, with some thorough cleaning and training, you can teach your dog to stop peeing on your potted plants in no time.

Why dogs pee inside

Dogs may urinate inside for a number of reasons.

He's still a puppy

The most obvious reason is that he is still young and not yet housetrained, so you need to continue working on that through techniques like rewarding him for peeing outside and crate training him.

Major life changes

If your dog is housetrained and suddenly starts going where he's not supposed to, think about if there have been any recent changes around the house or in his life. Did you get a new job and you're now out of the house for longer periods of time? Did you get a new pet, have a child, or move to a different house?

Health problems

Another possibility is that your dog could be having health problems. A bladder infection could be the cause of the problem. Additionally, your dog may be getting older and unable to hold in his pee anymore. Perhaps he's having memory issues and has forgotten that he needs to only go outside.

Dog looking guilty behind houseplant
credit: Catherine Falls Commercial/Moment/GettyImages

How dog pee kills trees and potted plants

If you walk around your town and you see trees with bark peeling – or they just look unhealthy around the trunk – it's likely due to too much dog pee. All animals' urine contains ammonia, which is toxic to a tree or potted plants around your home. Additionally, dog pee has salt in it that deprives trees and plants of water. This can quickly damage your potted plants and cause them to eventually die.

How to get your dog to stop peeing inside

If there were some big changes at home, then your dog is likely stressed out and anxious. Practice calming techniques like petting him, not yelling at him when he goes in the house, giving him his favorite toys to play with when you're not home, and making sure that you're keeping him on a regular walking and feeding schedule.

If you suspect your dog has a medical issue, taking him to the veterinarian as soon as possible will help you determine what the exact problem might be and how to solve it. Your veterinarian might suggest medication or further training techniques.

Miniature Dachshund looking out from behind houseplant
credit: gyro/iStock/GettyImages

You'll also need to do a deep cleaning of the area around your potted plants where your dog peed. If your dog urinates on the carpet, you'll need to cover the spot with paper towels and newspaper to soak up the pee. Then, get a professional carpet cleaning done. You can also blot the spot with cool water, and then put a thin layer of baking soda on it overnight to cover up the smell. You'll vacuum up the baking soda in the morning. A mix of distilled white vinegar, baking soda, and water works wonders as well.

If the pee is on hardwood floors, using a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water, letting it sit for about 10 minutes and then wiping it up should help. Additionally, you can buy a urine remover spray from the pet store if you aren't comfortable concocting your own homemade remedy.