smells dogs hate

Get to Know These Smells Dogs Hate

(Last Updated On: January 15, 2021)

An insight into some smell dogs hate, and how they may affect the dog’s health.

As a pet owner, you might have noticed unexplained irritability from your dog at strange times and places. If you got worried something could be wrong with your dog, relax because it is highly likely your four-legged furry friend caught some undesirable smell.

Dogs have more olfactory cells than human beings, which enables them to perceive smells from far away, and they get irritated by smells they dislike.

In case you have a playful dog who likes to mess things up, you can use these smells to keep them away or keep certain spaces organized.

1. Vinegar

Vinegar is a strong contender for top smells dogs hate. If you live with a dog, it is advisable to avoid cleaning your house vinegar.

However, in a disciplinary instance, you can use vinegar to distract the dog from a place you don’t want. The reaction a dog gets from smelling vinegar is not necessarily an angry one, but rather, they form a negative memory of the place and will unlikely return there. Spraying some little vinegar onto surfaces can save you the destruction your pooch can bring.

According to some studies, vinegar can cause severe gastrointestinal upset to pets, even when diluted. However, you can use dilute vinegar, if your pup allows it, on its fur to keep fleas away.

2. Ammonia

Ammonia is a known toxic substance, though it is the most used worldwide as a cleaning agent. It is terrible when inhaled or ingested by humans and even more dangerous for animals.

When a dog detects the smell of ammonia, it is a guaranteed repellent, and they will keep off a space they learn has the scent. However, if you are to use ammonia as a repellent, it is advisable to know how much is safe for your dog.

If used in excess amounts, it can cause respiratory complications that can kill a dog.

3. Chili Pepper

Whenever you want a dog off somewhere in your house, you only need to sprinkle some chilli powder there. Capsaicin, a substance found in chilli, irritates dogs.

Chilli is, however, not ideal if ingested by dogs as it causes them significant digestive discomfort. Also, if the chilli lands in the dog’s eyes, mouth, or nose, it can result in a burning sensation, thereby completely repelling the dog.

It is not acceptable to blow pepper spices on a dog’s face since particles can get in the nose and lead to irritation. Therefore, whenever you contact chilli pepper when cooking, it is recommended that you wash your hands before touching your dog.

4. Citrus 

You might like the smell of citrus to the extent you buy citrus-flavoured cleaning agents. However, the citrus smell repels dogs. Therefore, if you keep your dog as a pet, you need to be extra careful what cleaning agent you use to keep your pet comfortable.

On the bright side, citrus peels or oil will help you stop a dog from peeing in the house. Citrus oil is very concentrated, and if to use to repel a dog, it should be diluted with water.

5. Cayenne pepper

Like chilli, cayenne also contains the capsaicin chemical, which is a dog repellent. It causes a burning sensation, thereby chasing dogs in certain places you don’t want them.

Spraying cayenne pepper directly on a dog is not advised. The dog’s reaction will spread the cayenne pepper to other parts of the body, which causes more irritation, which will aggravate a dog’s mood.

6. Mothballs

Mothballs are small balls with a distinctive smell used to keep moths away from staining clothes. Mothballs are used as pesticides and deodorants, but they are rendered harmful to humans and even dogs due to their chemical constituents.

If you want to use mothballs to keep dogs away, make sure they are well covered and out of the dog’s reach. In the case of ingestion, mothballs can kill a dog.

7. Rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is a cleaning agent and a disinfectant. Very useful for humans, rubbing alcohol has a smell that repels dogs.

Never spray rubbing alcohol directly to a dog as it irritates their skin, but use some well-hidden cotton balls to keep a potent smell in a place.

Remember rubbing alcohol is flammable. Use it safely, and ensure it is out of reach of pets and children.

8. Fresh herbs

Fresh herbs like rosemary produce a pungent aroma, which does not appeal to dogs. If you want your dog away from your garden or yard, you can plant some fresh, smelly herbs to keep them out. You can also distil fresh herbs in water to make sprays you can use on fabrics and furniture around the house to keep dogs at bay.

However, some dogs have no problem with herbs like mint. Therefore, before deciding which fresh herbs to use as dog repellent, observe how your dog reacts to each.

9. House cleaning agents

At times you will find your dog leaving the room immediately after you start cleaning. Dogs going could be due to the smell of the household cleaner you are using.

If you don’t mean to keep your dog away, carefully check the ingredients in your house cleaner. If your cleaning products contain ingredients such as chlorine or ammonia, your dog will get a burning sensation in the throat and immediately want to stay away. If you wish to continue use, make sure your dog is outside whenever you want to clean.

When you want to keep your dog away from a specific area, you can use these cleaners, keeping a close watch on the amount you use since ingredients such as chlorine are poisonous to humans.

10. Perfumes and Colognes

Perfumes have chemical constituents, oils, or alcohol that are unpleasant to most dogs. Since dogs usually identify people by their natural smell, you can cover up with perfumes or colognes when you don’t want dogs around you.

11. Beauty Products

While not very popular in smells dogs hate, some beauty products such as nail polish and hair sheen have chemical constituents that may repel dogs. Whenever you want to use these beauty products, you need to keep your dog in well-aerated rooms. You can also opt to purchase natural products that don’t have chemicals to avoid harming your dog or keeping them away.


Every dog is different and has varying reactions to different smells. With time you can learn the scents your dog likes or dislikes and use them to repel or avoid repelling them.

When you want to repel dogs, ensure you safely use substances for you and the dog. Some products, such as ammonia, chlorine, perfumes, etc., are poisonous if ingested or inhaled in large proportions.