The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


March 9, 2014

Ryan Richardson: Pet urine becomes indoor problem during winter

JOPLIN, Mo. — My dog and I are sick of winter, and she has begun a rebellion because of it. She has fought me when we go outside because of the cold and snow.

When the blanket is out on the couch, she decides it's her sovereign right to claim it for the kingdom of Cami. This morning, I found that the long missing bag of bacon treats had strategically been removed from her hiding place behind said couch.

Those things pale in comparison to the fake bathroom breaks that she has been pulling on me. If you are a dog owner, you might know this one. It starts when she paws at the door, indicating she might want to take a leisurely stroll outside. I oblige because she has me whipped.

I get the leash out, don a coat and we are off. She will prance around and do the drop down action indicating that she has used the bathroom. Mission accomplished! That is, until about ten minutes later when she decides she would like to use the rest of it she saved up on my floors. I'm left with a giant puddle and a bewildered look as I wonder why she didn't do this outside. Then I'm left scrambling to clean it up before it stains the floor.

Sometimes this behavior can be attributed to a urinary tract infection, and it is worth a quick visit to the vet to have your pet evaluated. This happens a lot with cats because of diet and litter box use. Frequent urination, stop and start bathroom usage, and discoloration of urine are the obvious signs.

Thankfully, this wasn't the case with my pet. I know this is a weather-related issue. We haven't gone on a lot of walks lately because of the cold and snow.

The cold weather is also an obvious discomfort to her, so I assume she wants to limit her time outdoors. She's a small dog without the luxuries of a nice, thick coat like other pets. I've made it a point to extend our time outside -- to our dismay -- to cut down on these accidents.

When the inevitable does happen, I reach for the bucket under the sink that I keep for this emergency. I have a bottle of apple cider vinegar, baking soda, paper towels and a scrub brush that I have used way too many times this winter. They each have their use depending on the mess.

When I get to the puddle, I blot up the mess. Some people just wipe it down like a spill on a countertop, but that is a bad idea. You want to contain the area, not spread it around.

I'll use a lot of paper towels because it needs to be pretty dry. After that, I put some of the vinegar down to kill the smell. Again, I'm pretty liberal with it, but I'm not trying to spread it much beyond the original mess. After that is cleaned up and dried, I'll scrub a little bit of baking soda into it to make sure the stain is gone.

This does pretty well for me, and it leaves me without a stain or a smell. But there is a better test to see if you cleaned it up properly. If your pet is going back to the same spot to make another mess, then the odor likely isn't gone. You just have to put a bit more elbow grease into it.

I'm not mad at her doing this. She's a dog. Accidents happen, and this is one of them that I can cut down on and fix when it happens. But soon the accident will be a happy memory when warm weather returns to Joplin and she deems my yard worthy again for bathroom breaks.

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