Dogs are reputed for their strong sense of smell which makes a significant part of their survival traits. After reading this article, you will learn the certain smells that dogs hate most.

Studies have shown that dogs have superior sensory organs owing to the unique anatomy of the smell-sensing components of the brain. This gives them a competitive advantage in the typical ecosystem as they can explore their world more effectively.

In the open where dogs have the freedom to roam, smell and even feed on what they perceive to be safe for their bodies, it’s easy to see them turn off from certain plants, fruits or even perfumes.

Their scent glands are so acute that they can detect a weird smell from a distance as far as 20 meters. This explains why certain dog breeds have been trained for drugs and bomb detection.

Here’s a list of smells that dogs hate:


Smell from citrus fruits; lemons, grapefruits, limes, and oranges may smell great for humans but this isn’t always true for dogs.

Majority of dog breeds cannot withstand the smell of citrus fruits not because they are dangerous or poisonous but because the sharp scent irritates the sensitive scent glands.

These fruits are often used to keep dogs away from restricted areas or from playing with certain items. Spraying citrus, lemon or orange juice on such areas often serves the purpose.

Again, some dogs will be more sensitive to citrus compared to others as it largely depends on the breed and at times some unique personality traits.


Vinegar is one of the most popular cleaning agents made up of 5 percent acetic acid and 95 percent water. The pungent smell in vinegar is due to the acetic concentration and this odor is not only unbearable for dogs but also unpleasant for humans.

Unlike citrus, which some dogs can tolerate, vinegar is a total turn off and a distant scent is enough to make your dog change direction.

Pet owners will spray vinegar on certain areas, especially outdoors, to restrict dogs from accessing or causing destructions. Vinegar’s natural smell isn’t appealing to humans and using it indoors may cause discomfort.


Chili pepper is a common spice notable for their hot flavor. They can be cooked, dried or processed into powder form. The main bioactive compound that’s responsible for the pungent taste is Capsaicin. The latter is also responsible for the red color.

Dogs can accurately distinguish the several types of pepper and would shy off from the hotter varieties. To keep your dog away using chili pepper, all you need to do is hold them next to their nostrils and they will back off almost instantly.

Puppies who are just coming to terms with their acute sense of smell will often experiment with nearly everything. Their first contact with a chili pepper will leave a burning sensation and this is enough to bring in the much-desired skepticism.

Ground pepper also comes with a distinctive smell that’s unbearable to the sensory glands.  Although all the forms of chili pepper are non-toxic, there are chances that they can cause sneezing and other respiratory complications.

The strong fuming scent can also irritate your dog’s eyes, hence it’s recommended to use chili-pepper dogs repellant with caution.


Apart from chili peppers, certain spices such as cayenne and paprika have strong smells that dogs hate. It’s often the level of concentration of the bioactive compound that determines how your dog will perceive the smell.

In most cases, cayenne pepper and its derivatives will have higher capsaicin content. Paprika comes in different types and grades each coming with a distinct flavor.

Regardless of the type, your dog will be sharp to back off from these spices. Instead of using potentially harmful dog repellents such as Ammonia, dog owners prefer to sprinkle these spices on the dog restricted areas- often outdoors.


Alcohol as a beverage will have a certain percentage of ethanol, the compound giving it a distinctive odor and taste. The smell of alcohol will vary depending on the ingredients and the type; whether it’s beer, vodka or the ethanol-based liquids.

Rubbing alcohol is the common culprit with a pungent smell enough to give you and your dog a dropping headache. A distant smell of rubbing alcohol cannot be confused with anything else and it’s easy for dogs to dodge it.

If you’re to use any alcoholic beverage to control the behavior or restrict the freedom of your dog, it’s necessary to choose that alcohol with high-ethanol content.

Since ethanol is very volatile, using them for a long term will require that you freshen the smell and concentration from time to time.


Ammonia is one of the compounds you won’t tolerate for more than a minute before you start sneezing and choking.

While ammonia is one of the waste products excreted by the body through urine, laboratory-made ammonia is more concentrated compared to the naturally occurring ones.

Dogs may seem comfortable smelling the urine of other pets and even humans but exposing Ammonia to your dog isn’t a good idea. The high-level of chemical concentration and the pungent smell can cause more harm than good.

Dogs and other pets, often breathe faster than humans and their sensory organs are more sensitive and vulnerable to toxic exposure.

Before using Ammonia as a cleaning agent or as dog repellent in your home, think about the well being of your dog and other pets.


Majority of cleaning products and detergents are made from chemical compositions, most of which have some distinct scent.  If your dog has the habit of hiding or avoiding you when you’re cleaning, your detergents could be the deal breaker.

Certain soaps and shampoos have been labeled pet-friendly, while others contain chemicals such as ammonia and vinegar as disinfecting agents.

The latter are often toxic and could cause respiratory complications to your dog. Those with high ammonia concentration will smell like another animal’s urine and your dog will find it uncomfortable.

Some dogs will even choose to urinate in your home to dismiss the perception that there’s another animal in the house. While the majority of home cleaning products don’t contain the harmful compounds, not all of them qualify as pet-friendly detergents/shampoos.


A number of body sprays, personal care, and beauty products have some unique fragrance. Perfumes, for example, come with a number of ingredients and chemical compositions, formulated to obtain a given scent.

The intention of coming up with such unique fragrances is to appeal the buyer and make the users smell good. Unfortunately, some of the perfumes don’t appeal to certain individuals and this is also true for our four-legged friends.

Not all dogs will hug you when you’re wearing certain cologne and others will do exactly the opposite- they will hug you and appreciate your refreshing smell.

As a survival instinct, most dogs won’t find the perfumes comfortable since it masks off the natural smell of the owner and even their adjacent environment. Certain dogs used to strict grooming schedule where small quantities of dog perfumes are used often don’t find perfumes as a problem.


Mint and herbs are some the common spices and beverage ingredients you’ll find in most homes. What most people don’t know is that mint and certain herbs are natural dog repellents.

Mint herbs are found in varying compositions and concentrations. Those available as minted tea would often be less effective compared to the purely occurring ones available as crushed mint leaves.

Since mint has no detrimental health effects on your dog, it can comfortably be used to keep them away from certain areas such as your favorite garden on the backyard. Here, you’ll have to make a mint herb solution before spraying on the plants.


These are small balls with chemical substances and deodorant used when storing clothes and other materials susceptible to moth and mold damage.

These substances have long been used for keeping clothes safe and over time, dogs have shown strict avoidance due to the stifling smell. Unlike the other substances in this list, mothballs are highly toxic both for humans and dogs.

According to veteran vets, mothballs are more poisonous than ammonia and your dog can suffer serious health complications if he accidentally eats even a piece of mothball.

To avoid dog poisoning, it’s advisable to avoid misplacing mothballs or using them as dog repellent.


Your dog’s health is often dependent on the level of care you give to them. Dieting and proper exercising are often the most important aspects of keeping a strong, healthy and active dog.

Poisoning is often overlooked since most dog owners believe in the integrity of their pets’ sense of smell. This is true, however, it’s better to avoid some problems in the first place. A number of the above substances can be used as dog repellents and those that don’t qualify are probably hazardous to your dog.