When Your Dog Has an Accident on Your Rug

Picture of Ryder, new puppy.

This is Ryder. She's a cockapoo and she's 10 weeks old.

She just arrived to live with Bob and  Leslie Ford. Bob is Addison/Dicus & Bailey's somewhat famous carpet installer.

According to Puppy Find, the Cockapoo

...is known for its pleasant temperament, loyalty and patience. Cockapoos are outgoing and eager for human companionship and attention.

...The Cockapoo is gentle and loving with children and enjoys the company of all living things, including other dogs and pets.

Ryder and the Fords are going to make a great team. Ryder is healthy and looks to have a long and healthy life with the Ford's.

Bob & Leslie Ford with new pup, Ryder
Bob and Leslie Ford with new pup, Ryder, who is not yet into posing.

Her arrival got us to thinking that we need to refresh what we know about dealing with dog accidents.

So we turned to rug-cleaning guru, Randy Hughes.

Randy Hughes has been in the rug cleaning business for virtually his whole life.

He grew up in Nashville where his dad has a FiberSeal franchise. Randy started working there when he was very young.

Now almost four decades later he has several FiberSeal franchises of his own in Central Florida and covers just about all of us from the Tampa Bay area to Daytona Beach.

Randy knows about dog accidents and how to deal with them.

Snapshot of Randy Hughes, rug cleaning expert
Randy Hughes - rug-cleaning expert.

Here's what he passed on to us in his pleasant Tennessee drawl.

Dog Accident Overview

Stains in rugs and carpets gain strength from three factors in a dog's life.


If your dog is dehydrated, his/her urine turns darker and makes a powerful stain.


Food processed for older dogs is softer to accommodate chewing problems. It also is full of artificial dyes to give it a meaty look. These dyes pass through the dog and can wind up in your carpet or rug in both liquid and solid waste and really hard to remove.


Older dogs, like humans, are plagued by arthritis. Most vets prescribe treatment with steroids, usually prednisone. These have the effect of making urine stains stronger and harder to get out.

First Defense - Training

According to Pets.webmd.com house training a dog can be a long process requiring determination and patience. "It typically takes 4-6 months for a puppy to be fully house trained, but some puppies may take up to a year."

"Determination and patience" will pay big dividends over the years in preserving expensive rugs and avoiding embarrassing spots on the carpet.

If house training is not going well in your house, consider hiring a professional.

Mike Bailey of Addison/Dicus and Bailey holding Ryder
Mike Bailey with Ryder

Keep your Dog Hydrated

Depriving your dog of water will not prevent accidents. It will make them worse. Dehydrated dogs (and humans) produce a darker, stain-producing urine that can be very hard to remove.

Make sure the water bowl is full.

What's at Stake?

Is your rug a hand-knotted wool rug colored with all vegetable dyes? Or is is a bargain rug that you bought in case the dog peed on it? (We sell a surprising number of those.) Obviously there is a wide difference in value and what there is to lose with the hand-knotted rug compared to the cheaper rug.

Specifically if the rug doesn't mean that much to you, do-it-yourself techniques are totally appropriate. But if the rug is valuable and potentially ruined by a dog, be prepared to call a professional rug cleaner that you trust to come finish the clean-up job and assure that you don't have permanent stain.

In all cases you are the first responder and need to tend to the accident as soon as possible after it happens.

Wendy Gold with Ryder
Wendy Gold with Ryder


Dog Accident First Response

Young and Middle Aged Dogs

If your dog is a pup like Ryder or is even late middle aged, cleaning up accidents is quite easy.


Pick up the solid parts just like you would in the park or in your neighbor's yard. Let the remainder dry at least 24 hours or longer. Make sure that whatever is left is as dry as dust. Then in a non-aggressive manner, brush what's left to remove dry particles from the fibers. Then vacuum up them up and your rug or carpet should look like nothing ever happened.


You have two options here. Both will also work like the technique to remove red wine spills.

Small shop vacuum

Grab your wet dry vacuum and vacuum up the accident as soon as possible after it happens . Be gentle. Don't force the nozzle of the vacuum into the fibers. Don't bend and crush the fibers in your zeal to get out the urine. In most cases this is all you need to do.

If your dog is dog young, not dehydrated and not eating dyed food, the urine should come out without a stain.

Randy does not advise adding water to the spot. It forces the urine into the padding where it's harder to get at and may leave odor.

Three rolls of paper towels

The second option is blotting with a paper towels or "...anything that is more absorbent than the rug or carpet." The remaining liquid will wick from the least absorbent to the most absorbent, from the rug to the paper towel.

He emphasized that terrycloth towels are not as absorbent as most rugs. They might be good to keep traffic away from the spot, but not to absorb liquid.

If at this point the stain remains, you will need to call a professional.

Older Dog Rug Accidents

An old dog relaxing

Remember that medications and food specially processed for older dogs can cause intense and stubborn staining. If your rug is valuable or if location the accident is in the middle of your carpet, do the following.


Randy recommends the same first response as with younger dogs. Remove the solid parts. Let the remainder dry. Brush it gently and vacuum up the remains.

If the rug is stained, your best solution is to contact a professional cleaner.

He or she will probably start with an extraction machine. This is a powerful vacuum that sprays water heated to the boiling point which dissolves the stain while the machine vacuums it away almost instantaneously.

Still stained? Your rug cleaner will probably then begin a process of applying cleaning chemicals, starting with a weak solution and ramping up the strength until the stain is gone and the rug is not discolored.

Liquid Doggy Accidents on the Rug

Vacuum it up with your handy wet/dry shop vac as soon as possible after the accident.

Or blot it up with paper towels.

You might get lucky and remove the stain. If not, call a pro. Let him or her take care of it with an extraction machine.


There a common theory that using vinegar on dog accidents will neutralize the smell and prevent the dog from returning to the same spot over and over.

Randy said that this has not been his experience. "The best way to clean the spot thoroughly is with an extraction machine," he said. "Even then it's a 50/50 chance that the dog will not return to that spot. Some dogs are determined to use the same spot no matter what you do."

If your rug is not particularly special to you or if a carpet stain is not in a spot that people will likely see, try to remove the stains yourself. We can't recommend a particular product, but they are available at your local grocers or hardware supplier.


This a tough one. Randy said that there is a 50/50 chance that it's going to stain.

This is because bile and stomach acid are nasty staining compounds, "...20 times more likely to stain," according to Randy.

What to Do

Use the same technique as with solid elimination. Pick up any solid piece and vacuum or blot up the rest. If then there is a stain and the rug is important to you, call a professional.

If it's not a cherished rug, try to remove it yourself.

Ryder playing - gif

We Love Our Dogs

Like children sometimes we have to put up a lot with them. But in most cases we think that they are more than worth it.

Many dogs live their entire life without a single stain. We certainly wish that for Ryder and for your dogs.

Pup Ryder asleep in her doggy bed.






Hand-knotted 9x12 rug in Oushak style
9 x 12
Close out $1900


Addison/Dicus & Bailey Close Out Policy

The best way to find out about our latest closeout is to subscribe to our newsletter.
You must have an account with Addison/Dicus & Bailey to buy one of these rugs.
The closeout offers will begin when we send the newsletter between the 20th and 30th of each month and last for 30 days.
No returns. No showings in homes.
Rugs can be picked up at the showroom, or we can arrange for home delivery and set up for an extra charge.
These are individual pieces in one size in one color.
First come, first serve.
Don't worry about storage wrinkles. We will steam them out.


Visit Our Home Page


Our Newsletter

Tailored to the design industry.

Subscribe Now

Unsubscribe at any time.