Dog Repellents for Your Yard

dog in a yard

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The need for effective dog repellents is clear to all of those long-suffering folks who may be forced to deal with the unpleasant task of poop disposal for other people's dogs. Below are listed some diverse and best approaches to keep dogs away from yards without harming them in any way.

ways to repel dogs from your yard
Illustration: Catherine Song. © The Spruce, 2018

DIY Repellant Sprays

Some dog repellant products, commercial or DIY, can be problematic. For example, dogs may hate the smell of any type of pepper, but sprinkling it on the ground can burn a pet's skin and mouth, and the rain will wash it away quickly, requiring frequent reapplication, anyhow. Other products sprinkled, poured, or sprayed on the ground tend to diminish in their effectiveness after a rain. A good dog repellant is safe and low-cost for pets, no matter how many times reapplication is necessary. Luckily, there are a couple of DIY options.

Homemade Sprays

Use water combined with either ammonia or vinegar as a homemade spray. These ingredients are readily available and inexpensive products right off the kitchen shelf, saving you a trip to the home improvement center. All you need to do is combine in a clean spray bottle a 50/50 solution of ammonia or vinegar (white or even apple cider vinegar will do) and water, then spray areas from which you'd like to deter dogs.

Neither ammonia nor vinegar should be sprayed directly onto any lawn grass or landscape plants that you care about, as sufficient amounts will kill vegetation. Ammonia and vinegar are best used as dog repellents for around the perimeter of your property, forming a stinky, invisible barrier that keeps dogs away.

Warning

Do not mix vinegar and ammonia. Use the ingredients separately. Though it's not dangerous to mix them, vinegar and ammonia neutralize each other when combined, resulting in an ineffective solution of saltwater.

Oranges and Other Citrus Fruits

Dogs also dislike the smell of citrus, leading some homeowners to use orange, grapefruit, or lemon peels as dog repellents (for that reason, lemon ammonia can be considered a canine double whammy). While these fruit peels are natural and easy to obtain, tossing them around your front yard may appear like a garbage bag exploded, so you may want to restrict peels to your backyard, out of public view. Even then, you need to keep watch because fruit peels may draw rodents into your yard. And use any citrus with caution, as it can be somewhat toxic to dogs.

spraying vinegar onto the yard's perimeter

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Commercial Dog Repellents

Store-bought dog repellents can get pricey because they need to be reapplied often. It's also expected that these products may contain harsh chemicals to make them more effective. Read the labels carefully to make sure they are safe to use around your home, especially if you have small children.

Dog Repellant Sprays

There are numerous dog repellent sprays on the market. Many are made to protect humans from dog attacks, but others better suited for yards make use of the fact that dogs dislike the smell of citrus, pepper, and even citronella. But unlike with actual orange peels, sprinkling or spraying citrusy repellents in the front yard will not create an eyesore. These dog repellents come in both granule and spray form.

Critter Ridder

Critter Ridder is an organic dog repellent put out by the same brain trust behind Havahart traps (humane traps used to relocate live animals). Available in both granules and sprays, Critter Ridder works as a dog repellent because it gives off a smell of black pepper, which our canine friends find offensive. Havahart also offers Cat & Dog Granular Animal Repellent. The selling point of this product is that it is supposed to be long-lasting (up to 60 days).

Liquid Fence

Liquid Fence works on a different principle. This dog repellent depends on the fact that dogs seek out areas with familiar smells in which to do their business. Liquid Fence masks those smells. So instead of repulsing dogs with offensive odors, this product removes the welcoming odors and discourages them from conducting any business in your yard. Be sure to get the Liquid Fence specially formulated for dogs.

Gadgets That Act as Dog Repellents

Most gadgets that repel dogs will also repel other types of wildlife, such as cats, deer, rabbits, and raccoons. They are typically safe, quiet, and most of all, use very little electricity to do the job. Beware, though, that motion-activated gadgets may set off any time it senses motion, even human movement.

Scarecrow Sprinklers

Unlike dog repellents that come in powder, granule, or spray (liquid) form, no re-application is required with gadgets like motion-activated scarecrow sprinklers, which can be found under many brand names, such as Orbit, Havahart, and Hoont. Just hook the scarecrow sprinkler up to your garden hose and let its motion-activated mechanism do the work. Another advantage with this product is that there is no need to take separate control measures against each of the various types of pests that may infiltrate your yard. Scarecrow sprinklers will repulse stray cats and garden pests just as surely as they will keep Fido away.

Yard Gard

Yard Gard is a safe, silent, and electronic dog repellent. Like scarecrow sprinklers, it is effective against other pests, as well. But unlike a scarecrow sprinkler, you have a choice of two modes. You can continually blast would-be pests 24/7 or allow its motion-activated mechanism to alert it when pests approach.

This dog repellent works by emitting sonic and ultrasonic sound waves that canines find offensive. Mount it on an outdoor storage shed, tree, or fence. Place the unit where needed and plug it in or run it on batteries.

dog repelling gadget

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Fences as Dog Repellents

Many pet owners install special invisible dog fences to contain their dogs in their yard. Though putting up a fence is usually a considerable expense, it can offer multiple benefits, such as privacy and curb appeal, in addition to keeping pesky dogs out of your space. Here are a few other potentially more affordable options:

  • For a rustic yard, erect a chain-link fence accented with painted horizontal wood boards.
  • For less public areas of your yard, consider mesh or hardware cloth containment fencing, often used to keep deer out of yards.
  • For your front yard, you may only need a shorter, pretty picket fence that is just restrictive enough to keep curious canines off your property.
fencing as a dog repellent

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Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. "Household Cleaning & Sanitizing". Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/emergency/hygiene-handwashing-diapering/household-cleaning-sanitizing.html.

  2. "Lemon". ASPCA, https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/lemon.