As a dog owner, you have probably asked yourself more than once if dog urine attracts rats. It’s a common concern, but don’t worry, on this page you will find the answer to your question as well as, potential risks of rats in your dog’s enviroment, ways to prevent unwanted rodent visitors, and more.

The Science Behind Dog Urine and Rat Attraction

Two neuroscientists at Harvard Medical School, David Ferrero and Stephen Liberles, made a groundbreaking discovery on 2011. They identified a single compound found in high concentrations in the urine of carnivores, including dogs, that triggers an instinctual avoidance response in mice and rats. This compound acts as a chemical tag, allowing rodents to sense the presence of potential predators from a safe distance. This finding, published as news in the Harvard Medical School by Jake Miller on June 28, 2011, is the first time scientists have pinpointed a chemical tag that enables rodents to detect carnivores in general.

This discovery reinforces the thesis that dog urine not only does not attract mice, but also repels them.

However, there is a contrary current of thought, curiously also based on a chemical component of urine: ammonia. Ammonia is found in varying concentrations in dog urine and is known for its strong odor. Rats are attracted to ammonia, and it’s often used as a bait ingredient in rat traps.

A weakness of this thesis is that, the ammonia levels in dog urine alone are unlikely to be a strong attractant. Other factors play a more significant role in rat attraction.

Food Residue:

Rats are primarily attracted to food sources. If your dog urinates near food scraps, garbage, or other food-related items, the combination of residual food odors and dog urine may create a more appealing scent for rats.

Are rats attracted by dog faeces?

To the question do rats eat dog poop? the answer is yes; rats may consume dog feces, and there are a few reasons why they might be drawn to it. Dog feces can contain tiny pieces of undigested food that rats find nutritious. Dogs often consume protein rich meals, and this makes their feces a potential source of essential nutrients for rats. Rats, like other animals, require these nutrients for healthy growth and development, and they can obtain them from dog feces. While it might not be the primary food source for rats, it is possible for them to eat dog feces if it’s available. However, it’s essential to manage dog waste properly to prevent attracting rodents and maintain a clean and safe environment.

Risks of Dog Urine Attracting Rats

While dog urine alone may not be a strong attractant for rats, there are potential risks associated with the presence of rats near your home or property:

Disease Transmission: Rats can carry diseases such as leptospirosis, which can be transmitted to dogs through contact with rat urine. This makes it crucial to minimize rat populations in areas frequented by your dog.

Property Damage: Rats are known for their destructive behavior. They can chew through electrical wiring, insulation, and even structural components of your home. This can lead to costly repairs and pose a safety hazard.

Competing for Food: Rats can become competitors for your dog’s food if they are drawn to the smell of urine near the feeding area. This can result in a nuisance and potentially affect your dog’s nutrition.

Preventing Rat Attraction Due to Dog Urine

 Here are some strategies to help prevent your dog’s urine from attracting rats to your property:

  • Prompt Cleanup: Always clean up after your dog promptly. This includes picking up feces and hosing down areas where your dog has urinated. Regular cleaning reduces the chances of residual odors attracting rats.
  • Secure Garbage Bins: Ensure that your garbage bins are secure and not easily accessible to rats. Proper waste disposal helps eliminate potential food sources.
  • Seal Entry Points: Rats can enter homes through small openings and cracks. Seal any potential entry points to prevent rats from coming inside.
  • Remove Food Residues: Keep outdoor areas clean from food residues, and secure pet food in airtight containers to minimize the chance of attracting rats.
  • Rat-Proofing: Consider rat-proofing your outdoor space by using rat-resistant trash containers and maintaining a well-kept garden to reduce potential hiding spots for rats.
  • Pest Control: If you suspect a rat infestation, it’s advisable to consult with a pest control professional who can assess the situation and implement appropriate measures to eliminate the problem.


While dog urine itself may not be a potent attractant for rats, and that there is a robust thesis based on a scientific study that totally contradicts it, it’s essential to take steps to minimize any potential attraction. Keeping your property clean, securing food sources, and taking measures to prevent rats from accessing your home are key strategies to ensure a rat-free and safe environment for both your dog and your family. Incorporating insights from Harvard research helps us understand the intricate world of rodent olfaction, highlighting the importance of a proactive approach to rat prevention to keep your home and your pets safe from these unwanted visitors.

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