smells that dogs hate

Smells That Dogs Hate

What are the smells that dogs hate? Our sense of smell is just a drop in the ocean compared to dogs’. With more than 300 million cells in their olfactory systems, dogs’ noses are super powerful and this is why they are very sensitive to the environment. Their sense of smell is what helps them navigate the world daily. It is, therefore, not surprising that dogs can remember everyone they meet in their lifetime by just their scent, no matter how long it has been since that time. It’s how they make memories, as opposed to humans, who only have 5 million cells and rely on eyesight instead.

We know dogs love smelling stuff around them, especially when you take them outdoors. However, certain scents irritate them and they will try to avoid them at all costs. Some may even be pleasant to us, but this does not mean your dog will like them. Some may even be harmless but will immediately leave a negative imprint in a dog’s mind when inhaled. 

In this article, we shall have a look at some of these scents so that you can keep them away from your pet canine. You can also use these scents as deterrents for stray dogs.

That said, here are some smells that dogs hate.

Citrus Fruits 

Just like cats, dogs are not fans of citrus scents. The smell of fruits like lemons, oranges, and grapefruit just does not sit right with them. Besides, some products like candles, air fresheners, and detergents are citrus-scented and we may love them, but our dogs may not. Citrus oils irritate a dog’s respiratory tract and are sometimes used in some products to stop dogs from urinating in specific areas. 

Instead of digging into your pocket to buy these products, you can make your own citrus products. All you need are oranges, limes, lemons, or grapefruits. Peel the skins off them place the skins on the ground and they will work their magic: your canine will avoid the area like the plague. Alternatively, you can make a spray from citrus fruit juices or use citrus essential oils, which can be more powerful. The thing with essential oils is that they are very concentrated, so if you want to tone it down a bit, you could dilute them with water so that they aren’t too brutal on your dog’s nose.

Fresh Herbs

Fresh herbs are also smells dogs hate. Herbs like lavender, mint, and rosemary produce very pungent scents that are repulsive to dogs. They are the best repellants for dogs that snoop around the garden because you can plant a few of them in the soil. An added advantage is that you will never run out of a fresh supply because they will keep growing. You could also opt to make a spray solution by soaking these herbs in water and extracting their oils.

Hot Peppers

Hot peppers are another one of the smells that dogs hate. You probably get a tingling sensation whenever you smell hot peppers like chilies and jalapenos because of their spicy nature. This spiciness is due to capsaicinoids, chemical compounds found in peppers. Since dogs’ noses are more than 50 times more powerful than the human nose, it is obvious that they may not take this sensation kindly. Dogs tend to show irritation by sneezing or moving away from the pepper once they smell it. If you want to use pepper as a deterrent, mix it with water, put it in a spray bottle, and then spritz it in areas you do not want dogs to snoop around.

Ground Spices

Dogs react the same way after smelling ground spices as they do with hot peppers. Dogs like digging up roots and grass in gardens when playing, which might be quite an annoyance for dog owners. You can sprinkle ground mustard, chili powder, paprika, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in your garden to stop your dog from messing around in the garden. Avoid blowing these ground spices directly into your dog’s face as some particles might get stuck in its nose and lead to irritation and burning.

Household Cleaners

Household cleaners are scent that dogs hate. When you see your dog walking out of the house once you have started cleaning it, know that he is not just trying to be polite. Truth is, the smell irritates him and he just wants another place he can stay until the smell wears off. Most, if not all household cleaners are made with ingredients that irritate dogs’ noses. Products that contain chlorine and ammonia are repulsive to your dog and are even worse if they have citrus scents. Never use these products as repellants directly as they may cause irritation and burns in your dog’s throat and nose.


Mothballs is another one of the smells that dogs hate. Mothballs are mostly used to prevent moths from destroying our clothes. They look like small white balls and can also be used to keep dogs out of rooms because of their smell. However, if not placed securely, your dog can ingest it and this can be fatal. You could hold them in a container or holder that still ensures the smell gets out.

Strong perfumes and colognes 

Everyone likes to smell good and sometimes we apply generous fragrances on ourselves to achieve this. Many people will want to hug you because of your scent and will even compliment you on it. However, your dog may not appreciate your scent and may want nothing to do with you once you smell good. This is because the chemical products and other substances like alcohol and essential oils found in these perfumes irritate a dog’s olfactory system.

What’s more, your natural scent, which your dog uses to identify you, is overpowered when you wear a strong scent. Your dog is comforted by your natural scent so try as much as possible not to wear scents while around it. Even though perfumes can be effective repellants, never use them for that purpose.


Vinegar is another one of the smells that dogs hate. Dogs are just like cats when it comes to their hatred for the smell of vinegar. Being quite a versatile ingredient, vinegar is a handy remedy in many homes. It is available in various types on the market, but white vinegar is the best option for keeping your dog from chewing furniture or messing around in parts of your house. Just spritz some of it in these areas of concern and you are good to go.

Final Thoughts on Smells That Dogs Hate

That’s all you need to know about scents that dogs cannot stand. Hopefully, you can control the different smells that your dog encounters in your household and help improve its living experience as it lives in your home with you.

If you are interested in knowing more about dogs, then you can read more about them here: The most popular breeds of dogs, Most Expensive Dog Breeds, How to Prevent Dog Fights, Poodle-Shih Tzu Mix, The German sheprador, Female Italian Dog Names, Spanish Dog Names, Female Dog Names In French, What to do if a Dog Bites You, Mexican Dog Breeds, Foods Toxic to Dogs, Canine Herpes

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top