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Home > Dogs > How to Get Dog Pee Smell Out of Car Seats (Easy & Effective Tips)

How to Get Dog Pee Smell Out of Car Seats (Easy & Effective Tips)

pug dog in car

Many dogs love traveling and are eager to jump in the car and ride along wherever their owners are going. If you’re a dog owner with a car, you probably use your vehicle to take your dog to the vet, groomers, or along on family adventures.

If your dog does the unthinkable and pees on your car seats, you’ll have to get that mess cleaned up right away. Once you clean up the pee, you’ll need to deal with the lingering odor. Dog urine smells awful, and it gets worse inside a car during hot weather or when the heat is on.

If you don’t get rid of the smell of dog urine, riding in that car of yours will be very unpleasant, so there’s no time to waste! Here are the steps to take to get the dog pee smell out of your car seats.


The 3 Steps to Get Rid of Dog Pee Smell in Car Seats:

1. Determine What Type of Seats You Have

Car seats can be made of cloth or leather. To ensure you don’t damage your seats when removing odor, determine the type you have. If you’re unsure, look in your owner’s manual or do some research online to find out.

Since most car seats are durable cloth materials like nylon or polyester, the directions below are for cloth seats. If your car has leather seats, arm yourself with a quality leather cleaner and follow the directions.

The good news about leather is it doesn’t absorb stains and odors like cloth, so one good cleaning is usually all it takes to remove the smell of urine!

To get started with cloth car seats, gather the following supplies so you can roll up your sleeves and get to work.

car seats
Image Credit: Pixabay
  • Pet stain and odor eliminator
  • Sponge or rags for scrubbing
  • Clean towels for drying
  • Portable vacuum

When buying a stain and odor eliminator, look for one that contains enzymes and bacteria. When this type of product is sprayed on pet urine stains, the bacteria will eat away at the organic material while it’s removing the stain and smell. Just be sure the product you buy is safe to use on the type of fabric seats you have!

If you're trying to find an enzyme cleaner that does it all, we highly recommend our favorite cleaner, the Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray.

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2. Air Out the Car

Before you get busy working on the odor, it’s a good idea to air your car out by opening all the doors. If you have a hatchback or station wagon, open that door too.

Allow your car to air out for at least an hour before you start the odor removal process. Once you start working, keep the doors open so you have some good air circulation. This is especially important when spraying an odor and stain removing product.

3. Attack the Spot with Your Stain and Odor Eliminator

Spray the stain and odor eliminator on the spots where your dog peed. If the pee has been there long, spray a liberal amount and use a sponge or rag to rub the product in. Wait a few minutes so the product can soak in well to remove the stain and smell.

After a few minutes, place a dry clean towel over the area and allow it to sit overnight. The next day, vacuum the spot and repeat if necessary. With any luck, the pee smell will be gone for good!

man cleaning car seat
Image Credit: Andrey_Popov, Shutterstock

divider-dog paw

Preventing Dog Pee Smells in Your Car

If your dog is often in your car, it’s important to take some steps to ensure he doesn’t do his business on your seats again. The best way to ensure your dog won’t pee in the car before a trip is to take him for a walk so he can urinate before traveling.

Here are some other ways to prevent your dog from peeing on your car seats.

  • Put your dog in a crate or car seat: It’s always smart to have your dog secured safely in a crate or a dog seat for cars. Some states even require that dogs be restrained in cars so check the laws in your state! A dog crate is a good solution for a large dog, while a car booster seat is perfect for smaller canines like Yorkies and Chihuahuas.
  • Use a car seat cover: A car seat cover is a great way to protect your car seats. A seat cover will keep your seats protected and make it comfortable for your dog to go for rides. Look for a machine-washable cover that fits your car seat and one that matches your car’s interior.
dog in a carrier
Image Credit: Tomasz_Mikolajczyk, Pixabay

Why Dogs Pee on Car Seats

If your dog continues peeing on your car seats, you probably are at wit’s end trying to figure out why. Maybe your dog has a urinary tract infection or UTI. Dogs with UTIs urinate frequently, and their urine often smells more than usual. Some signs of a UTI include:

  • Wanting to go outside often
  • Dripping urine
  • Licking of the genitals
  • Straining to urine
  • Strong urine smell

If you notice any of these signs, get your dog to the veterinarian right away for a urinalysis. If your dog has a UTI, your vet may prescribe an antibiotic to treat the infection.

Some dogs feel anxious about riding in a car, causing them to urinate during travel. If your dog doesn’t like to ride in the car and hesitates to get in, he may be suffering from anxiety.

Speak to your vet to learn some ways to take your dog’s anxiety levels down. Your vet may suggest spending a few minutes every day sitting in your parked car with your dog to ease his anxiety.

Dog in a car with seat belt restraint gear
Image Credit: Andrey_Popov, Shutterstock

It’s even possible that your dog has motion sickness. Some signs of motion sickness in dogs include:

  • Panting
  • Whining
  • Excessive yawning
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Urination
  • Defecation

Motion sickness is more common among puppies than older dogs. This is because puppies’ inner ears aren’t fully developed wherein balance is affected. Speak to your vet about your dog’s motion sickness to find the right solution. Your vet may recommend some motion sickness pills or tell you to wait it out if your dog is young.



Now that you know how to get the dog pee smell out of your car seats, follow the tips above to keep your seats pee-free. Once you get a handle on the problem, road trips with your dog will be more fun for everyone! Remember that dogs don’t want to pee in cars as they prefer using the ground so don’t be too hard on that furry friend of yours!

Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

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