How To Protect Hardwood Floors From Dog or Cat Urine? [4 Actionable Tips]

It’s never fun when pets do things they’re not supposed to. Especially when the pet cats or dogs are in heat and they pee all over the house to assert dominance and excitement. Sometimes, the acidic pee leaves long-lasting discoloration on wood floors and decks. That’s why it’s important to know how to protect hardwood floors from cat urine and dog urine.

You can protect hardwood floors from cat urine and dog urine by placing down a thick rug pad/carpet with moisture-absorbent properties. Additionally, you should never let your pets roam around freely on raw wood floors. Allow them on the newly laminated floors with protective oil-based sealants at least 3-4 weeks after refurbishment.

Cats and dogs can pee on hardwood floors for many reasons. From sheer aggressiveness to acute health issues, anything can be the case in such unfortunate situations. So, to protect the lavish hardwood floors, you should always be proactive so that you can minimize the damage even before it happens.

How To Protect Hardwood Floors From Cat & Dog Urine?

Cat and dog urine can affect hardwood floors harshly depending on the level of acidity. From smelling to petty discoloration to bleached effect to melting of the protective sealants – everything is possible unless you remain vigilant.

Here are the most common ways of protecting hardwood floors from acidic urine and similar liquid products:

1. Potty Training

Untrained pets can get nervous and pee/poop on the floor itself since they don’t know any better. 

So, if you’re thinking of keeping the pets inside the house, potty train them as soon as possible. Again, some pets have a hard time adjusting to new places. In such cases, you can try training them again till they get used to the new atmosphere.

2. Rug Coverslips

Proper rugs can help hardwood floors in more ways than one. Organic rubber rug pads keep your wood fresh and non-toxic. They can prevent slippage, discoloration, and bruising as well.

Good-quality rug covers have great moisture absorbance properties. So, by placing these rugs on the hardwood floors, you can prevent the pee from reaching the floor underneath. Additionally, the soft pads will keep your extra enthusiastic pets from scratching all over the floors when they run.

3. Protective Sealants

You should always use protective sealants over hardwood floors, with or without pets. A coat of high-quality polyurethane finish will help to preserve both the structural integrity and glistening of your hardwood floors.

In fact, highly acidic pet pee can sometimes break through these sealants and damage the wood underneath. Hence, never go cheap when choosing the perfect hardwood finish.

4. Neutering/Spaying

Pets, especially cats and dogs can pee everywhere if they become extremely frustrated when in heat. The frustration can make them act frantic and make reckless decisions.

By neutering the male pets and spaying the female pets, you can help your pets stay healthy and active. Afterward, they won’t go into heat as often and act a lot calmer than before.

How To Clean Pet Urine From Hardwood Floors?

It’s super easy to clean up after your pet. But when it comes to hardwood floors, time is of great essence. Pet urine, like human urine, is slightly acidic. Hence, they have catalytic properties and react with the finish of the hardwood floors.

Letting the pee sit on the wood floors for a long time, willingly or unwillingly, will bring no good results. So, depending on how long it’s been since the bad deed, you should adopt the specified countermeasures below-

Time SpanStateDiscolorationCleaningAftercare
5-10 Minutes– liquid urine
– looks like splashed waters
– light glistening
– fresh pee-like smell
no visible discoloration– DRY soft cloth/paper pad for soaking up all the urine
– wood-friendly liquid cleaners for further cleaning
– clean dry towel/mop for drying the surfaces
– air fresheners, citrus-flavored for quick overpowering
5-10 Hours– concentrated urine
– shriveled volume
– sticky surface
– enhanced smell
slight discoloration – hydrogen peroxide for instantaneous cleaning
– a dampened towel for soaking up the excess urine
– dry-wiping the surface
– sanding, if needed
– air fresheners, scented candles, naphthalene, etc. 
5-10 Days+– crystallized consistency
– breaks down – – easily like flecks of rust
– deeply disturbing smell
discernible discoloration, especially on dark-colored hardwood floors– concentrated cleaners for deep cleaning
– let the surface soak for a while before gently scrubbing the dissolved urine
– back to back cleaning to get rid of all kinds of residue
– professional refurbishment for extended discoloration

How To Remove The Smell Of Cat & Dog Urine From Hardwood Floors?

Pets have a notorious reputation for leaving a lingering smell after defecation. Even a little bit of pee in the corner of the house can make the entire room smell for days.

As such, it’s important to check and clean every nook and cranny if you have pets in the house. And if you do indeed find some sort of unpleasant smell even after cleaning, you can take the following steps:

Air Fresheners

Use citrus-flavored or floral air fresheners for a soothing smell around the house. Aim the freshener high up in the middle of the room and let the particles diffuse naturally.


You can use naphthalene balls inside the cupboard, beneath the sofa cushions, etc. to keep the area fresh. You should, however, make sure to not keep them in an easily accessible place, especially if there are kids in the house. Sometimes, the kids and even pets, accidentally swallow these balls which leads to life-threatening predicaments. 

Cat Urine Vs. Dog Urine – Do They Damage Hardwood Floors Differently?

Both cat and dog pee leave similar types of stains over hardwood floors after long-term exposure. The evaporated urine leaves odorous salt crystals all over the surface.

So, no, cat and dog urine don’t usually damage the hardwood floors that differently. Cat urine, however, is oftentimes a lot more concentrated than dog urine i.e. more acidic.

So, the rate of progressive damage is faster with cat than with dog urine in most cases. Cat pee also smells infinitely stronger than dog urine due to the enhanced concentration.

Why Do Pets Urinate On Hardwood Floors?

Pets can urinate on hardwood floors due to multiple reasons. Sometimes, they’re just inexperienced but then again, sometimes, they just want to punish you for not paying them enough attention. Here’s why pets usually urinate on hardwood floors –

  • ultra excitement
  • lack of potty training
  • inaccessibility to usual peeing places
  • anger and frustration
  • sickness
  • weather changes
  • unknown environment, etc.

Final Verdict

So, how to protect hardwood floors from cat urine and dog urine after all? Allegedly, it’s hard to predict such unfortunate outcomes because even the most trained pets can make you suffer through mishaps like these.

But with engineered i.e. properly treated hardwood floors, you won’t have to worry about instantaneous damage. You can also use protective carpets, rugs, etc. to soak up the urine before it even reaches the wood. 

You should clean the carpets/rugs as soon as possible before the smell spreads. You should also take your slightly misbehaving pets to the vet if they keep peeing on the hardwood floors constantly. And with new pets, you should potty train the babies at your earliest convenience.

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