7 Surprising Smells Do Dogs Hate Most


Dogs explore their surroundings using their sense of smell. Dogs can even find their way back home whenever they get lost by simply sniffing around until they locate familiar territory. The millions of olfactory nerves in his nasal cavities are responsible for your pet dog’s extra sensitive sense of smell. So of course, you might notice your dog wheezing and scratching whenever he comes across a smell that he doesn’t like.

By following scents, dogs can track and hunt, as exhibited by canine members of the police force. What can sniffer dogs smell? They can detect the smell of illegal drugs, currency, and explosives, as well as missing persons and signs of infection. A dog’s sense of smell is a unique canine superpower, but just like superheroes, they have weaknesses, too.

Knowledge about what smell dogs hate can come in handy. For instance, you can stop your pet from chewing a piece of furniture or make him quit playing in your carefully tended garden. You can apply some dog training techniques to encourage good behavior. At the same time, you can come up with an effective deterrent if your dog can’t seem to stop pooping in a spot where he’s not allowed. So, what are the common scents that repel dogs?

1. Vinegar

Vinegar tops any list that talks about what smell do dogs hate. A relatively safe and non-toxic household ingredient, the strong, acidic smell of vinegar isn’t pleasurable even to most humans. You can dilute vinegar in water and use it as a spray to keep your pooch off furniture or your garden. Dogs also don’t like the smell of apple cider vinegar.

2. Citrus scents

What scent do dogs hate the most? Almost every dog (and even cats!) are not too keen on any kind of citrus smell. Using the scent of lemon, orange, lime, or grapefruit is a safe way to keep your dog away from parts of the house where he isn’t allowed. You can take the skin of citrus fruits and put this on the ground and your pet will be sure to avoid the area. You can also mix concentrated citrus oil with water in a spray bottle. Spray on counters or furniture and your dog will be more than happy to stay away. Compared to vinegar, citrus scents smell fresh and clean. Members of your household wouldn’t be bothered by the smell. 

3. Fresh herbs

What plants do dogs hate the smell of? You may have noticed how your dog likes to chew or play around your garden but ignores your basil, rosemary, or mint. If he did, he might be one of those dogs who aren’t exactly fans of the smell of fresh herbs. Place these plants in strategic places in your garden to keep your dog away. You can also take some of the leaves, steep them in boiled water, and use this as a spray solution. This might not be effective for all dogs though.

4. Alcohol

A lot of dogs will turn away from the smell of rubbing alcohol. Often used as a mild disinfectant in the household, be careful with its use because it can cause possible irritation. Instead of spraying, soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and place them in areas where you don’t want your dog to stay. This method also helps for the smell to last longer. Rubbing alcohol products have different concentrations. Products with higher concentrations will have stronger scents.

Keep in mind that alcohol is flammable so be careful where you place the cotton balls. Also, avoid spraying alcohol directly to your dog’s skin.

5. Ground spices

What scents do dogs hate? Canines definitely can’t stand the smell of chili pepper and ground spices. Maybe it’s time to go to your arsenal in the kitchen to break your dog’s bad habits. You can try running dried chili powder or cayenne pepper onto surfaces you’d like your pet dog to steer clear of. You can also mix ground spices with water and use it as a spray. Be careful though because spices can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat if inhaled or ingested directly.

6. Mothballs

What smells do dogs hate to pee on? Mothballs are designed to keep insects and pests away from closets and cabinets. But if your dog has been having accidents inside the house all too frequently, it might be time to use a stronger measure. Place mothballs in a room to keep your dog out. But make sure that he can’t reach them! Mothballs are poisonous and if your dog ingests even one, it can make him sick.

7. Cleaning products

Ever notice how your dog is never around whenever you’re doing some household cleaning? Canines don’t like the smell of citrus and ammonia, which are active ingredients in a lot of household cleaning products. So, if you want to know what smell do dogs hate to poop on, you can never go wrong with chlorine or ammonia-based cleaning products.

Use this to thoroughly clean the areas where your dog has had accidents. Remember that cleaning products are toxic. Make sure your dog is outside the room while you’re cleaning up. The lingering scent after you’re done should be enough to keep him from coming back.

Dogs also don’t like the smell of perfumes, nail polish, hairspray, and strong-smelling beauty products. It’s not a good idea, however, to use any of these as a deterrent.


Your dog’s sense of smell is so much stronger than yours. What could be considered a mild scent for humans would be magnified a hundred times more for them. Because of this, you can use your pet dog’s sense of smell to deter him from annoying or potentially destructive behavior.

Not all dogs may react the same way to a specific scent. Try different scents until you find one that works best in your situation. Many of these products are readily available and safe to use. You can stop the unwanted behavior with little effort and almost no cost.


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