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Smells That Repel Dogs

| Updated September 26, 2017

Dogs are a popular house pet in today’s society, according to Sarah Hodgson, author of “Puppies for Dummies.” However, while dogs are beloved pets, they are not so desirable in the garden or in certain areas of your home. Rather than fencing off an area or simply putting up with the nuisance of a dog being where it isn’t wanted, there are certain scents that can be used to repel them.

Chili Pepper

Chili pepper is an effective and common dog repellent, states Gardening Know How. Chili pepper releases minor irritants that particularly affect the sensitive skin around a dog’s nose. According to Hodgson, chili pepper is the most common ingredient in commercial dog repellents on the market. Sprinkle chili pepper around an area that you do not want a dog to frequent. If a dog commonly chews on an object, a paste of chili pepper and water can be applied to it to stop the dog from chewing. Use caution when using chili pepper as a dog repellent however, as it can stain fabric and furniture.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits, such as lemons and oranges, produce scents that slightly irritate the sensitive skin of a dog’s nose and eyes. According to Gina Spadafori, author of “Dogs for Dummies,” citrus scents are commonly found in commercial dog repellents. Chop up a lemon or orange and place the slices around the area that you will like to repel dogs from. As an added bonus, the area will smell of fresh citrus fruit. Lemon and orange slices must be replaced every few days, as they dry out and lose potency over time.


Ammonia is a smell that dogs are not fond of, according to Gardening Know How. While ammonia has a strong and displeasing scent to a human’s nose, to a dog’s highly sensitive nose it is like a punch in the face. Ammonia is often the basis of commercially produced dog and cat repellents. Soak cotton balls in ammonia and place them around the area that you want to repel the dog from, says Spadafori. Never pour ammonia directly onto the ground, as it will stain carpets and kill plants.