How to Make Homemade Dog Repellent

By: Contributors  | 
Is your dog destroying your yard or garden? You can make an easy and safe repellent to help stop his antics. Lynn Greyling/PublicDomain Pictures

Key Takeaways

  • Homemade dog repellents can include natural ingredients like citrus, cayenne peppers, vinegar, mustard oil and coffee grounds, each disliked by dogs for their strong smells or tastes.
  • These repellents are easy to make, safe for the environment and effective in keeping dogs away from gardens and furniture without posing a risk to their health.
  • Do not use ammonia as a repellent because it can be potentially harmful if a dog consumes it.

Man's best friends may be great for companionship, but they sure can wreak havoc on gardens and upholstery. Whatever the reasons you want to keep a dog away, there are many dog repellents that are easy and cheap to make at home.

All of these listed are 100 percent safe for dogs and the environment:


  • Citrus. Dogs find the smell of citrus horrendous. You can protect your garden by placing slices of oranges or lemons throughout the flowerbed. To keep your dog off of your furniture, place a glass of lemon water on a nearby table or spray your furniture with the mixture.
  • Cayenne peppers. Though cayenne peppers will not harm your dog, they will irritate his eyes, nose and throat. To keep your dog out of your flowerbed, grind a mixture of black pepper and cayenne pepper, and sprinkle it throughout your garden. A good trick for getting your dog to avoid the upholstery is to sprinkle cayenne pepper in your potpourri or leave a bowl of ornamental chilies next to the sofa.
  • Vinegar. Dogs strongly dislike the odor of vinegar. Vinegar can be potentially dangerous for plants, so don't spray vinegar in your garden. Instead, douse biodegradable coffee filters in white vinegar and allow them to dry in the sun. Once completely dried, cut the filters into thin strips about the length of a toothpick. Spreading the strips throughout your garden will repel your dog and allow your flowers to thrive.
  • Mustard oil. Dogs hate the smell and taste of mustard oil, so spray it around the area you want your dog to avoid and watch it do its magic.
  • Dog poop. Try placing some of your dog's poop in holes that he has dug and you can bet that he won't dig in them again. Strategically place some in holes all around his favorite digging spots and watch him lose interest in encountering his own waste.
  • Coffee grounds. Coffee is another smell that dogs aren't fond of — and coffee grounds are great for your garden soil as well. Just scatter them on top of the soil and your dog will stay away.

Important note: Do not use ammonia as a dog repellent. While ammonia will keep dogs away from almost anything because the smell irritates their noses, it can cause damage to their throats and stomachs if consumed. Always check with your vet before using any chemical or substance around your pets.


Frequently Asked Questions

How often should you reapply homemade dog repellents for effectiveness?
You should reapply homemade dog repellents regularly, especially after rain or watering, to maintain their effectiveness in deterring dogs.
Can you use these natural repellents safely around other pets?
While these natural repellents are generally safe, it's important to consider the specific sensitivities of other pets in the household and consult with a veterinarian if unsure.