Why do Dogs Pee on Plastic Bags

It’s a fairly common issue that dogs will urinate on plastic bags, but the reasons behind this behavior aren’t always entirely clear. There are two popular theories. One is that plastic bags smell like urine because they contain ammonia, and the other theory is all about dogs marking their territory. Finding a solution to prevent this behavior from occurring again with your dog should take priority.

Plastic Bags Smell Like Urine to Dogs

A popular belief is that many dogs like to pee on plastic because plastic contains ammonia. Urine often smells like ammonia after it has had time to start decaying. Urine contains urea which breaks down into ammonia.

This ammonia smell is found in many plastics including plastic bags. Many dogs are attracted to this smell and well do their business on plastic. This is a commonly see behavior in all dogs, but some breeds are specifically known for having this behavior.

Marking Territories: Peeing on Plastic Bags

Another common belief is that dogs use their urine as a way of marking their territory. This is a natural instinct for many mammals, including dogs and wolves. Plastic is one the most common things that dogs will attempt to urinate on.

Frequently, dogs mark their territory by urinating on plastic bags. It is a declaration that you are claiming the area as your own. A dog’s scent can be detected on an object long after it defecated. Why do dogs pee on plastic bags vs on other objects?

Pets love plastics because they are excellent scent carriers. Additionally, plastic bags are readily accessible to dogs attempting to mark their territory because people tend to leave them lying around the house.

Your dog may exhibit undesirable behavior when bored or lonely at home. If, for example, you have a new baby and you also have a dog, your dog may exhibit abnormal behavior because you are trying to split your attention between the two.

He may urinate on new things brought into the house, like toys or grocery bags, to assert his authority over these things. In addition, other family members, whether human or animal, may want to maintain their dominance, which may cause your dog to behave quite similarly.

Why do dogs pee on plastic bags

What is Urine-Marking

On the other hand, marking one’s territory with urine is a territorial behavior. Your dog may be trying to establish his dominance or calm his nerves by doing so. To do so, he urinates on items he claims as his, such as your socks and furniture.

While male dogs are more likely to engage in urine marking, female dogs are not immune to the behavior. The most common form of marking is the lifting of one hind leg, but your pet may still be doing it even if he doesn’t do that. Dogs typically only mark vertical surfaces with their small amounts of urine, though they have been known to mark horizontal surfaces as well occasionally.

Reasons for Urine-Marking

  1. You haven’t spayed or neutered your dog. Dogs that haven’t been neutered are more dominant and likely to mark their territory.
  2. One of your pets has not been spayed or neutered. Even animals that have been spayed or neutered may mark if other animals haven’t been changed.
  3. Some other pets in your home aren’t getting along with your dog. A dog may need to mark his territory in times of uncertainty within the pack.
  4. Your dog marks the newcomer’s belongings with his scent to assert his ownership over the space.
  5. Something new has been introduced into the environment a suitcase or a guest’s purse, and it either has an unfamiliar smell or the scent of another animal.
  6. Outside, your dog interacts with a variety of other animals. There’s a chance your pet will leave its mark on a door or window if he spots another animal through it.

How to Prevent Urine-Marking

You should take your dog to the vet first to ensure there aren’t any underlying health issues. If he is found healthy, follow these steps to prevent him from spraying plastic bags and everything else with urine.

  • Kindly give some thought to spaying or neutering your dog as soon as it is practical. The longer a dog goes without being neutered, the more difficult it will be to train him not to mark things such as plastic bags with his scent.
  • Use a cleaner made to get rid of urine odor to clean the affected areas thoroughly.
  • Change soiled areas into places your dogs would not want to return to. You can also alter the significance of those places for your pet if you can’t avoid them. Encourage your pet to stop marking by feeding, treating, and playing with him.
  • Put anything that could be used as a marker out of reach. You should store new purchases, guests’ items, and plastic bags in a closet or cabinet.
  • When your dog is inside, check for any indications that he needs to go pee. Take him outside and make a lot of noise when he starts to urinate. Give him compliments and a treat if he relieves himself outdoors.
  • When you cannot keep an eye on your dog, he needs to be confined. An excellent place to start is by isolating him in a confined space where he cannot leave any trace of his presence.
  • A short course of anti-anxiety medication might help your dog if the behavior is caused by anxiety. This will put him at ease and make it much simpler to modify his behavior.
How to prevent urine marking 2

Dealing With The Behavior

Keeping plastic bags out of your dog’s reach is the most effective way to stop him from soiling them with his urine. Put them away, such as in a cupboard or a closet, where your dog can’t get to them set. If you have a garbage can with a lid, keep it shut to prevent your dog from entering the bags inside. In addition, place plastic bags that are being used for storage inside a container that has a lid on it.

If your dog already has the pattern of urinating on plastic bags, you will need to be patient and consistent in your efforts to break him of this habit. To begin, clean up any accidents that may have occurred using an enzymatic cleaner designed for pet stains. This will eliminate the odor of urine and make the area less appealing to your dog because he won’t be able to smell it. The next step is to avoid similar incidents by placing the bags out of reach and using a repellent spray.

Other Steps to Stop The Behavior

Establish a Clear Hierarchy

It is essential that your “pack” has a clear hierarchy and that you are the pack’s leader in decreasing the marking behavior. One of the simplest things you can do to establish yourself as the pack leader is to prevent your dog from sleeping in the bed with you. Because he slept on the bed with you, elevating his status to yours can lead to status confusion. Your dog will feel less need to mark his territory once he realizes he is not the pack leader. He can relax now because someone else is responsible for that task.

Establish hierarchy

Always Stay Calm

Remember that incorrect marking is a stress response. To calmly stop a dog from marking is one thing. Reprimanding him after the fact will only make things worse. Unless you stop him while he’s doing it, your dog won’t connect your displeasure with his marking. He might look guilty when you tell him off, but that’s just because he wants to make you happy at that moment, not because he realizes that his marking, which happened however long ago, is wrong.

Watching Him Closely While in the Act

It is a highly effective method to stop him from marking his territory if you can catch him “in the act.” Correct him by saying “NO” and bringing him outside.

Giving Him a Belly Band

You can train dogs not to urinate on things by using belly bands, which are bands wrapped around the dog’s stomach. If the dog urinates while wearing the belly band, the band will function similarly to a diaper and catch the urine. Dogs despise getting their fur wet, and once they realize that marking leaves them in an uncomfortable position, they will typically stop doing it.

Discourage Outdoor Markings

Give your dog a chance to empty his bladder before going for a walk, and then quickly but casually stop any other attempts he makes to leave his calling card around the neighborhood. It doesn’t have to be a big deal; just keep walking as your dog tries to mark as if you didn’t notice.

Importantly, Avoid Punishment

Be aware that a dog will mark when they are feeling stressed. It can interact with how a dog marks its territory without losing its cool. If you try to help him right now, you will only make things harder for yourself. If you don’t stop your dog from marking while he’s doing it, he won’t know that your disapproval affects what he’s doing.

Your pet may look guilty when you tell him off, but he’s just trying to make you feel better in the moment. It’s not an admission that his marking, whenever it happened, was wrong.


If your dog already has the habit of weeing on plastic bags, it will take some time and a lot of persistence to break the habit.

The most immediate method for preventing your dog from leaving his mark on plastic bags with his urine is to keep the bags out of his reach. Put them away in a drawer, cabinet, or closet where the dog won’t be able to find them.

Your dog should not be allowed to get into the trash, so keep the lid closed. Always store plastic bags inside a container with a lid on it for an extra layer of protection. You will eventually see positive results if you maintain a consistent effort throughout your training.

The longer term solution ultimately comes down to using effective training methods that will ultimately teach your down what behavior is acceptable.

At Cozzzy Together, we love dogs. If you are a dog lover, we would encourage you to shop our collection of dog bandanas, accessories, as well as products to treat yourself.

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