What causes urine Odor? There are over 75 compounds that have been found in animal waste that cause odor. Understanding these compounds helps us know what we can do to eliminate it. Urine is decomposed by anaerobic bacteria. Some of the groups of compounds that smell, and are a result of this breakdown are sulfides, phenols, ketones, volatile organic acids and more. Carbohydrates in animal waste include sugars, starch, and cellulose. Starch and cellulose are broken into glucose (sugar) units as the first step of decomposition. Under anaerobic conditions, sugars are broken into alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, and organic acids. These intermediate compounds are odorous. They are a part of what causes urine odor. These compounds can be further metabolized and transformed into methane, carbon dioxide, and water (nonodorous end-products)
The odor of ammonia gas is one part of the distinctive odor that helps us to identify and locate urine. The other component of urine’s odor is off-gassing from bacteria that grow abundantly in warm, dark places with a never-ending food supply. The pet feeds the bacteria daily with its urine! There are several types of chemicals that are very affective in eliminating the urine odor. Each of these chemicals has to come in contact with the urine to be affective at neutralizing the odor. Some work immediately on contact and others need time to work. Enzyme products need time to digest the urine. These chemicals also need to be applied in sufficient quantities to be affective.