Rats are not attracted to dog urine. In fact, the opposite is true. Rats are attracted to dog feces, but urine acts as a repellent. The reason for this is survival instincts. Dogs are a natural predator to rats, so they do their best to stay away from dog urine.
If you’re experiencing a rat problem, the issue isn’t because of dog urine. However, that doesn’t mean your dog isn’t the culprit! Rats are still attracted to dog feces and dog food. The best way to keep rats out of your yard is to make sure you clean up the poop as soon as possible and to not leave any food out overnight.
In this article, we will go into detail on why dog urine repels rats. We will also explain a few dog-related things that rats are deterred from and attracted to. By the time you’re done reading this, you should have your rat problem under control.
Dog Poop Does Attract Rats
Rats are drawn to all foods, and anything else they can eat. Yes, all types. This includes compost and fresh or rotting. Poop is considered compost. So, if you have a rodent problem, consider picking up your dog’s poop more frequently. This will help deter flies as well. (We have a whole article about keeping flies away from dog poop too!)
If you have multiple rats hanging around your property for your dog’s poo, you likely have other wild animals lingering around, too—primarily snakes. Rodents are snakes’ primary food source.
A snake can sniff out a rat like a bloodhound—more rats=more snakes. You may notice more birds of prey (hawks, owls, etc.) and feral cats too.
Urine Actually Deters Rats
Well, most animal urine deters them anyway. Just like cats and snakes, dogs are a rat’s natural predator. The scent of cat and dog is scary to rats and wards them off. The closer your dog pees to your house, the more effective it will be at repelling rodents.
The general rule of thumb is when you have a pest problem, you should use their natural predator’s urine to fend them off. Fox urine, for example, is excellent at keeping away skunks, groundhogs, and rabbits.
If Rats Aren’t Attracted to Dog Urine, What is?
Just because rats aren’t attracted to dog urine doesn’t mean other animals aren’t. Here are the two primary animals that are attracted to dog urine.
This is especially true for intact males and non-spayed females. Pee contains pheromones that attract potential mates. The urine of in-heat female dogs draws non-neutered male dogs like a magnet. And vice Versa.
This is not as much of a problem in neighborhoods with fenced-in yards as it is in rural areas where dogs are free to roam on large farms. If you are bothered by unwanted dogs visiting your neighborhood, call their owners, and express your complaints. When going to the owner doesn’t work, contact animal control and tell them your problem.
The downside of urine deterring prey is that it attracts predators. While this is not necessarily a problem at home (unless you have lots of food scraps out where they can eat them), it’s worth keeping in mind if you and your dog are camping enthusiasts.
In the wild, mother dogs do not defecate where they live. This is because they are clean and do not want to attract predators to their young. Bears will rarely show up at a house in search of a dog, they are generally more attracted to trash. So, the best way to keep bears from your yard is to keep your trash sealed tight.
Repellents for Unwanted Visitors
If your house is getting visited by unwanted animals, such as other dogs, rats, or rodents, the good news is there are some effective repellents to keep them away.
There are hundreds of commercial dog repellents on the market. They come in sprays and as different devices. Keep in mind, sprays will deter your dog from areas where they’re applied, so make sure you don’t use them too close to your house.
Spray repellents designed for dogs are safe, sprays designed to repel other animals may not be. Most sprays are affordable, but they are not waterproof. If you live in an area prone to heavy rainfall, these may not be the best option for you since you will have to remember to spray frequently for it to be effective.
Ultrasonic devices are humane and an efficient upgrade to spray repellents. The devices work by emitting a high-frequency sound only dogs can hear, so it won’t bother you. The sound will not damage dogs’ ears, just annoy them enough to go away. Most are solar-powered, waterproof, and stake into the ground, making them a more convenient option. They detect dogs’ and other small animals’ movement from up to 50 feet away. This can work to keep your dogs closer to your house while keeping the neighbor’s dog away.
Rats and Other Rodents
While we know the smell of dog and cat urine can repel rats, some are especially stubborn. You can find natural and chemical-based rodent spray repellents. Make sure whatever you’re using is safe for dogs. If it’s not safe for dogs, don’t spray it where your dog could potentially lick it. Also, make sure the spray is suited for outdoor or indoor use, wherever you’ll be spraying.
Just like for dogs, there are ultrasonic devices to repel rodents too. They work the same way, and only rodents can detect the sound. You won’t have to worry about the noise bothering your dogs or you.
Traps for Rats and Mice
Getting a cat is a great way to catch rodents, inside and outside. Many people in rural areas have multiple cats that live outside or in barns to kill pests. Cat’s are relatively low maintenance animals and natural predators.
Catch and Release Traps
Catch and release traps are the most humane way to trap pests. They work exactly as they sound. Bait the trap and wait for the rat or mouse to get stuck in it. Make sure you release the rodents far away from your house, or they will come back. This can be a pain, but if you don’t agree with killing them, it is your kindest option.
Instant Kill Traps
We know that killing animals may not be ideal, but it can be humane when done quickly. A common kill trap is a CO2-powered Striker. Like all traps, you need to bait it. These traps contain pressurized pistons that strike the rodent in the head, killing it instantly. It’s designed so the animal never suffers or sees it coming, so they don’t have time to panic.
Call in the Experts
When all else fails, hire a pest control company to come to your house. Companies can be expensive, but they are effective and offer long-lasting results. They aren’t exclusive to rats; they can help you get rid of any unwanted pests and offer advice to keep your home pest-free.
What Could Be Attracting The Rats?
If you’re wondering whether or not dog urine attracts rats, there’s a good chance you have a rat problem and are just trying to figure out why. Now that you’ve ruled out dog urine, what else could be attracting the rats?
You’ll often find rats in areas that are neglected. These neglected places typically have scraps for rats to feed off of. That’s why it’s common for rats to hang out in the sewer. Yuck!
Easy to Access Food
Rats don’t like to work hard for their food. They don’t “go out and hunt.” They just sit back and eat whatever food they come across. One type of food that rats love is dog food. If your dog is a free-feeder, don’t be surprised if you spot a rat sneaking in for a bite.
Leaky Pipe or Sprinkler
Rats are just as attracted to a water source as they are a food source. If you have a leaky pipe or sprinkler, you may find rats swarming in.
Unsecured trash is like a goldmine for rats! They’re not afraid to eat your thrown out leftovers. The easiest way to fix this is to secure the lid of your trash can to prevent rats from getting in. Once rats realize they can’t get in, they’ll move onto the neighbor’s trash can.
Will Bleach Keep Rats Away?
Yes! Bleach will keep rats away. In fact, bleach is more of a rat repellent than dog urine. Bleach has such a strong smell, it’s undesirable for rats and other rodents. Pour about a cup of bleach in a spray bottle and fill the rest of the bottle up with water. Then spray the perimeter of your house along with the other areas you know rats are hanging out. This is a temporary fix, but if rats have made a home for themselves in your house, it will drive them out.
Dog Urine Doesn’t Attract Rats, it Repels Them
Since dog urine repels rats, you can use this to your advantage. By teaching your dog to urinate near your house’s borders, you might be able to keep those pesky rodents away. Of course, it helps a lot if you take out the trash and don’t leave food on the table!
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Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of dogdorable.com, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.