7 Best Dog Repellents To Protect Your Family and Yard

Written by Thomas Matthews

You love dogs, but you don’t necessarily want them wandering into your yard and causing damage – or worse, harming you and your family. Is there a way to protect your loved ones and your property by repelling dogs – without hurting them?

What are the best dog repellents? Some of the best dog repellents to protect your family and yard include ultrasonic devices to scare dogs, hedges to deter them, and citronella to keep them away. In cases of a dog attack, pepper spray can be used as a defense. 

If you want to learn how to repel dogs from your yard, keep reading. This article will teach you everything you need to know about the best ways to repel dogs and offers some commercial products you can try at home. 

How To Scare Dogs Away?

Ultrasonic sounds can be used to scare dogs away and are used in ultrasonic dog bark deterrent devices like the Humutan Anti-Barking Device. These sounds are beyond our range of hearing but come in loud and clear for dogs. Dogs react to an unexpected ultrasonic blast the way we would to a burglar alarm or police siren.

Alysontech Anti Barking Device, Outdoor Anti Bark Deterrents with Adjustable Ultrasonic Level, Waterproof Ultrasonic Infrared Dog Barking Control for Small Medium Large Dogs
  • Effective range up to 50 feet (approximately 4.6 meters): 1: Low...
  • 【Strong and weatherproof】Adopt high-quality, long-term use,...
  • Lightweight, cute design, suitable for outdoor decoration, but it...
  • Adjustable ultrasonic level control: suitable for small, medium...
  • Train your dog to stop barking in a 100% safe, humane and...

However, dogs can become accustomed to ultrasonic surprises very quickly. Sounds are more intimidating when they come from unexpected places. Therefore, ultrasonic devices are more effective when you regularly move them to different places. 

What Keeps Dogs Away?

What Keeps Dogs Away

While a surprise might scare a dog away, canine curiosity might draw them back. You need to make your yard unpleasant for stray dogs. And since dogs experience the world through their noses, you will find that a nasty smell repels dogs best.

What Scent Will Keep Dogs Away?

Just as dogs enjoy rolling in things we find disgusting, they are repelled by some of our favorite scents. Dogs do not like strong, minty smells like peppermint and wintergreen. They also dislike the aromas of onions and garlic, and the smell of hot pepper is actually painful. 

What Plants Keep Dogs Away?

Citronella, lavender, marigolds, rosemary, and rue are frequently mentioned as plants that will repel dogs from gardens. While dogs might dislike the smell enough to avoid sniffing the plant, these flowers will not drive the dog out of the yard.  

How To Keep Dogs Away From Certain Areas?

How To Keep Dogs Away From Certain Areas

You have no problem with your puppy playing in the backyard, but you want him to stop digging in your garden or trying to burrow under your fence. How do you save your geraniums from your frisky pooch? Read on and find out.

How To Keep Dogs Away From Fence?

Thorny hedges like holly or barberry will discourage dogs or any wild animals from coming in. A line of dense hedges makes jumping the fence harder, while the hedge’s roots make digging more challenging. You can also use granular repellents or spray to keep dogs away from your fence.

How To Keep Dogs Away From Your House?

The Havahart Motion-Activated Animal Repellent & Sprinkler will give a stray dog an unexpected bath. It also works on opossums, raccoons, and other unwanted guests. Animals don’t like surprises. (But don’t be surprised if, after a few sprays, your dog decides your animal repellent is a sprinkler game.)  

Havahart 5277 Critter Ridder Motion Activated Animal Repellent and Sprinkler - Repel Cats, Dogs, Chipmunks, Groundhogs, Squirrels, Skunks, Deer, and More
  • Naturally Repels – Repels nuisance animals such as birds, cats,...
  • Detects & Deters – The device releases a startling surge of...
  • Motion-Activated – An infrared sensor detects animal heat and...
  • Multiple Settings – 4 sensitivity settings allow you to adjust...
  • Eco-Friendly Design – The motion-activated repellent uses only...

How To Keep Dogs Away From Garden?

Dogs dislike the smell of vinegar, which is also a potent weed killer. If your dog keeps playing in your garden, you can fix two problems at once with a horticultural grade vinegar.

Heinz Cleaning Vinegar, 128 Fl Oz Bottle
  • All natural
  • Special cleaning strength
  • Safe for cooking
  • Perfect for cleaning
  • Diluted to a cleaning strength of 6% acidity

Be sure you shield your vegetables and ornamental plants when spraying weeds. Horticultural vinegar can kill them too. With horticultural vinegar, you can get rid of weeds and discourage your dog from tearing up your garden.

How To Keep Stray Dogs Away From Your Dog?

If you have an extremely aggressive stray in your neighborhood, you may need pepper spray. But in most cases, a simple bottle of water will suffice. Spray the overly friendly or small but yappy dog when they get too close. They will generally back up.

How To Keep Dogs Away From You?

If you need something more than water, you can try a citronella-based spray like the PetSafe SprayShield Animal Deterrent.

PetSafe SprayShield Animal Deterrent with Clip - Citronella Dog Repellent Spray – Ranges up to 10 ft - 2.4 oz / 71 mL - Protect Yourself and Your Pets
  • ADDED SAFETY: Carry SprayShield Animal Deterrent Spray with you...
  • CITRONELLA SCENT: When using this product, a burst of citronella...
  • COMPACT DESIGN: This small-sized can has an added belt clip so...
  • QUALITY PROMISE: PetSafe brand has been a trusted global leader...
  • U.S.-BASED CUSTOMER CARE: Our pet product experts are here to...

Dogs dislike the smell of citronella and will avoid citronella spray like you would avoid a skunk. But citronella spray will not burn their eyes or cause you harm if the wind blows it back in your direction. 

Are Repellents Safe for Dogs?

Pepper spray to the face isn’t fun for anybody. Both dogs and humans can have allergic reactions, blistering, or other side effects. But pepper spray is a repellent of last resort intended only for use against an attacker.  

The repellents listed here will not harm dogs because dogs will not roll around in something that smells unpleasant to them. These compounds repel dogs without injuring them. You avoid stinky areas when you can. A dog’s nose is 1,000 times more sensitive than yours.   

What Is a Good Dog Repellent?

A good dog repellent will repel most dogs most of the time; No repellent drives away all dogs all the time. If properly used, all the commercial dog repellents we have listed below will considerably cut down the frequency of unwanted dog incursions.

7 Best Commercial Dog Repellents for Yard

If you want your furry friends to get off your yard and stay off, here are the 7 best dog repellents for lawns:

Bonide Rabbit, Dog & Cat Repellent Granules

Bonide Go Away! Rabbit, Dog, & Cat Repellent Granules, 3 lbs Ready-to-Use, Keep Dogs off Lawn, Garden, Mulch & Flower Beds
  • Go Away! Rabbit, Dog & Cat Repellent Granules by Bonide...
  • Use this product as a training aid! While this product is an...
  • Natural active ingredients are people and pet safe when used as...
  • Protect yard, lawn, garden, flowerbeds, trees and shrubs. Natural...
  • Go Away! Animal Repellent Granules arrive conveniently ready to...

Bonide Rabbit, Dog & Cat Repellent Granules discourage cats, rabbits, dogs, and other animals with a mix of thyme oil and cinnamon oil. It will not harm gardens, flowerbeds, or lawns and is safe to use around pets and children.

Liquid Fence Dog & Cat Repellent

Liquid Fence Dog & Cat Repellent Ready-to-Use, 32-Ounce
  • REPELS PETS AND STRAYS: Masks familiar animal odors dogs and cats...
  • WHERE TO USE: Spray on lawns, trees, shrubs, flower beds, garden...
  • READY TO USE: No mixing; just spray as directed and repeat...
  • MASKS ANIMAL SCENTS: Harmless to plants and animals when used and...
  • COVERAGE: 32 ounce spray covers up to 500 square feet.

Liquid Fence Dog & Cat Repellent uses a mixture of garlic oil, cornmint oil, and citronella oil to make a harmless but stinky mixture you can spray to keep dogs away. By masking existing odors, Liquid Fence turns a dog’s marked territory into unfamiliar ground. 

Messina Wildlife Dog and Cat Stopper

Messina Wildlife WW-G-001 Dog & Cat Stopper Pest Repellant Shaker Jug, 2.5 lb, red
  • REPELS SMALL ANIMALS stops most dog and cat breeds from bedding...
  • GUARANTEED 30 DAYS EFFECTIVE per application all year round...
  • SAFE to use around kids, pets, and vegetable gardens, our...
  • EASY TO USE simply pour into an empty garden spreader (hand held...

The Messina Wildlife Dog & Cat Stopper mixes geraniol – a substance veterinarians use to treat fleas – with cornmint oil and castor oil. This creates a blend that is safe for pets, people, and plants alike, but smells and tastes unpleasant to furry intruders.

Repels-All Animal Repellent Concentrate

Repels-All Animal Repellent Concentrate - 32 Ounces
  • Bonide 237 Animal Repellent Bottle, Concentrate
  • Unique blend causes a mild, yet annoying, irritation to the...
  • Lasts up to 2 months per application
  • Works 3 ways to repel animals and stop plant and property damage
  • Pack of 1(pack may vary)

With active ingredients like garlic, dried blood, whole egg solids, clove, fish oil, onion, and wintergreen, it’s not surprising that Repels-All Animal Repellent Concentrate is a potent dog deterrent spray. One application of Repels-All can last for up to two months. 

Safer Brand Critter Ridder Animal Repellent Granules

Safer Brand Critter Ridder Animal Repellent Granules-2 LB OMRI Listed for Organic Use
  • Repels raccoons, skunks, dogs, cats, squirrels, groundhogs, and...
  • Uses oil of Black pepper, piperine, and Capsaicin to keep...
  • Dual-action formula repels animals by scent and taste
  • Long-lasting granules provides up to 30 days of protection
  • Apply with lawn spreader or by hand

Safer Brand Critter Ridder Animal Repellent Granules repels dogs (and raccoons, skunks, cats, squirrels, groundhogs, and chipmunks) with piperine, capsaicin, and oil of black pepper. It can be applied by hand or with a lawn spreader and provides up to 30 days of protection.

BarxBuddy Anti Barking Control Device

BarxBuddy Anti Barking Control Device (The Original Bark Training Tool) Ultrasonic Sound with LED Lights and Strap - Safe for All Dogs of All Breeds & Ages
  • Dog Silencer & Pet Trainer - Dog Bark Deterrent Devices from Barx...
  • Works On All Size Dogs - The ultrasonic bark control device...
  • Handheld & Portable - Since our antibark device for dogs is...
  • LED Flashlight With Multi Settings - More than just a barking dog...
  • Safe And Easy To Use - Our bark stopper anti bark device for dogs...

Rather than assaulting your dog’s keen nose, the BarxBuddy Anti Barking Control Device attacks their equally sensitive hearing. When motion sensor spots an intruder, it triggers a painfully loud ultrasonic alarm and blinking lights.  

Uncle Ian’s Organic Dog and Cat Repellent

Uncle Ian's 100045830 Organic Dog and Cat Repellent 2.3lb, 2.3 lb, Brown/A
  • Just spread it around the yard where you want to keep dogs and...
  • It works by taste and smell and is not toxic to birds or wildlife
  • This product is made in United States

Uncle Ian’s Organic Dog and Cat Repellent is an organic and natural dog repellent which uses a mixture of dried blood and red pepper. Bloodmeal intimidates dogs, and the red pepper irritates their noses. 

What Is a Natural Dog Repellent?

There are many natural, homemade remedies if you don’t want to use commercial or ultrasonic dog repellents. Most of these can be brewed with things you already have on hand and will discourage your pet or other animals without causing them any harm. 

What Is the Best Natural Dog Repellent?

Some examples of smells dogs particularly dislike include capsaicin (pepper), citronella, garlic, and vinegar. Any combination of these scents will make for an effective dog deterrent. When you are mixing these, add a teaspoon or two of castile soap or other natural soap. The soap will help them stick better to surfaces and keep oils from separating.

Homemade Dog Repellent for Lawns

Homemade Dog Repellent for Lawns

If you want a natural dog repellent for your yard, garlic water is an excellent non-toxic choice. It will work to keep dogs away from your yard without any danger to the dogs, your family, or any other animals. To make a garlic water spray:

  1. Mince a head of garlic.
  2. Place minced garlic in four cups of lukewarm water and let it sit for 24 hours.
  3. Strain the liquid and pour it into a spray bottle.
  4. Spray your lawn perimeter or other areas you want to repel dogs once a week and after it rains.  

Does Cat Repellent Affect or Repel Dogs?

While most dog repellents will work equally well on cats, some cat repellents use fox or coyote urine to intimidate felines. While this will scare off a cat, it may pique a dog’s curiosity and encourage them to explore further. Fortunately, there are many ways to keep cats and dogs away from your yard. Here are a few natural cat and dog repellents:

  • Grind dry citrus rinds like grapefruit or lemon into a powder, then spread over the soil in areas where you wish to repel dogs and cats.
  • Spread thorny plant clippings like rose, blackberry, or raspberry canes on the soil.
  • Scatter bristly sweet gum seeds (“gum balls”) on the ground. They are non-toxic, but their sharp points deter cats and dogs from walking on them.


Dog deterrents are a humane way to keep dogs and other unwanted animals out of your yard. To do this, you could use sound technology or apply repellents like garlic in your yard. You may even wish to employ multiple tactics to better protect your family and effectively repel those troublesome dogs.

List of Sources

Baker, B. et al. Citronella & Citronella Oil Profile. New York State Integrated Pest Management, Cornell University, Geneva NY.

Kinnan, M. Stray Dogs Create Problems For Many. Mississippi State University.

Bagley, C. (2005). How to keep stray animals out of your yard. Utah State University.

National Pesticide Information Center. (2020). Problem Wildlife in the Garden and Yard.

Thomas Matthews
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