Molly is a 1-year-old Labrador Retriever (not mine!) that has a peeing problem. She often urinates in the house when she’s excited, which raises the question about how to clean up such accidents.

In general, urine is sterile and is not a risk for disease transmission. Simply removing urine from the area should therefore be adequate. However, urinary tract infections can happen, and some of the bacteria that cause these infections could be transmitted to people, although the risk is likely extremely low. The risk is probably greatest in pets that develop repeated urinary tract infections because of underlying diseases such as diabetes. Another concern is leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that can cause kidney failure and that can be transmitted to people.  More information on leptospirosis is available on the Worms & Germs Resources page.

In most situations, indoor urination is more of an annoyance than a real health risk. If a pet suddenly starts urinating in the house, it should be examined by a vet to look for any of the many health or behavioural problems that can cause this. This includes testing for a urinary tract infection. If an infection is present, or a pet has suddenly started urinating in the house for an unknown reason, it is prudent to be more careful about cleaning it up than one might be when dealing with housetraining accidents in puppies, or with dogs with certain chronic urination problems not related to infection.

Urine should be removed with disposable paper towels, which are promptly discarded. The area should also be disinfected, if possible. Smooth surfaces (e.g. linoleum, tile, hardwood) can be wiped with any appropriate household disinfectant. Carpets are harder (if not impossible) to disinfect. Always wash your hands after cleaning up any accidents.