Updated On

October 25, 2023

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    You’ve poured time, money, and hard work into having a beautiful lawn. The last thing you want is for your property to lose curb appeal with unsightly brown spots, messy holes, and animal droppings. 

    Dogs are common culprits of turfgrass damage, whether they’re strays or on seemingly harmless leashed walks. No matter what type of pup is trespassing on your property, you can take steps to repel it and maintain mess-free, green grass.

    This article will show you how to keep dogs off your lawn with:

    • Commercial products
    • DIY and all-natural dog repellents
    • Alternative methods
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    Why You Want to Keep Dogs Off Your Lawn

    You love patting your neighborhood dog on the head as it strolls by. Regardless, you still might want to keep it off your lawn. As precious as our furry best friends are, they can still cause a great deal of damage to the grass you work hard to maintain. 

    Perhaps the most common reason you’ll want to repel dogs is to keep your front lawn free of poop. 

    Dog piles in your front yard are unattractive, smelly, and ultimately bad for the grass. Dog poop contains high nitrogen levels, which can leave fertilizer-like burns on the lawn. This is not the type of fertilizer you need to grow a healthy lawn. Dog urine is similar in its high nitrogen content. Dogs repeatedly mark their territory in the same spot, which causes severe burns to specific areas of your yard. 

    Dog waste can cause more than just damage to the eye – especially if you have children or pets of your own exploring the yard.

    Canine feces contain parasites and harmful bacteria while also attracting disease-carrying flies. According to WSU’s Water and Natural Resources Program, dog feces can contain parasites like salmonella, campylobacter, giardia, roundworms, coccidia, and parvovirus.

    Keeping dogs from pooping on your lawn is critical to the health and safety of your guests, family, and turf.

    Digging is an instinctual canine behavior dating back to ancient wolves. Dogs dig to pursue a smell, bury toys, or create a refreshing bed in the dirt. Dogs also kick up grass after pottying to mark their territory. 

    These behaviors are as innate to dogs as they are harmful to grass, so you’re justified in your desire to keep your yard dog-free.

    How To Repel Dogs

    Jack Russell in the garden with a purple flower in its mouth
    Photo Credit: Adobe Stock, © vilma3000

    Now that you understand why it’s important to keep dogs off your lawn, we’ll go over some commercial and DIY products to do the trick. We’ll also list a few canine-repellent plants you can add to your garden to double down on reinforcement.

    Commercial Dog Repellents

    Nature’s MACE Dog Repellent

    Nature’s MACE is an animal repellent brand accredited by the Better Business Bureau. 

    The company sells Dog MACE animal deterrents to help you keep pets and stray dogs off your lawn. According to the company’s website, Dog MACE is “100% biodegradable, fully natural, and incredibly easy to use.”

    The product comes in granular pellets, liquid concentrates, and ready-to-spray solutions.

    Dog MACE ProductAvailable SizesAverage CostActive Ingredients
    Ready-to-Use Spray40 ounces treats 1,000 square feet
    1 gallon treats 3,000 square feet
    $20-$30Castor oil
    Potassium sorbate
    Sodium lauryl sulfate
    Granular Formula2.5 pounds treats 1,400 square feet
    6 pounds treats 3,500 square feet
    22 pounds treats 14,000 square feet
    $22-$100Peppermint oil
    Cinnamon oil
    Citronella oil
    Dried blood
    White pepper
    Liquid Concentrate40-ounce container makes 5 gallons and treats 15,000 square feet
    1-gallon container makes 16 gallons and treats 48,000 square feet
    $30-$85Castor oil
    Potassium sorbate
    Sodium lauryl sulfate

    Repellex Animal Repellent

    Repellex makes animal repellents for dogs, cats, deer, rabbits, moles, and squirrels. The brand’s website says Repellex “keeps animals off your lawn without harming them” and “controls pests without endangering your environment.”

    Repellex’s dog repellent comes in a spray, granule, and tablet form. The ready-to-use spray formula contains several spices, including cinnamon and garlic. The granular and tablet formulas are made of capsaicin, a component of chili peppers.

    Repellex Dog and Cat RepellentAvailable SizesAverage CostActive Ingredients
    Ready-to-Use Spray32 ounces treats approximately 500 square feet$13Cinnamon
    White pepper
    Systemic Granular1.5 pounds 3 pounds$18-$25Capsaicin 
    Systemic Tablets50-count150-count300-count$20-$100Capsaicin 

    Go Away! Rabbit, Dog, & Cat Repellent

    Go Away! by Bonide is a cost-effective and accessible animal repellent. 

    Since 1926, the Bonide brand has developed organic pest control products that are now available in hardware stores and garden centers across the U.S.

    Bonide’s dog repellent is available in a granular formula made of spices that irritate pups’ noses to keep them away.

    Go Away! Rabbit, Dog, & Cat RepellentAvailable SizesAverage CostActive Ingredients
    Granular1-pound container treats up to 300 square feet
    3-pound container treats up to 900 square feet
    $10-$20Red cayenne pepper
    Cinnamon oil
    Thyme oil

    I Must Garden All-Natural Spray

    I Must Garden was founded in 2004 by an avid gardener frustrated with animal repellents on the market. She developed products dedicated to helping fellow gardeners protect their plants through safe, all-natural pest control.

    I Must Garden’s liquid spray repellent stops dogs from chewing on your plants, and the granular formula keeps them from digging holes in your yard.

    According to the company’s website, its products are completely biodegradable and contain “natural ingredients and botanical oils that smell and taste bad” to dogs. 

    Available SizesAverage Cost
    Liquid32-ounce container treats 1,000 square feet
    1-gallon container treats 4,000 square feet
    Granular2-pound container treats 150 square feet
    20-pound container treats 1,500 square feet

    Active Ingredients

    • Garlic 
    • Citronella oil
    • Cedar oil
    • Thyme oil
    • Geranium oil
    • White pepper
    • Potassium sorbate
    • Xanthan gum
    • Peppermint oil
    • Lemongrass oil
    • Clove oil
    • Castor oil
    • Cinnamon oil
    • Wintergreen oil
    • Citric acid
    • Fuller’s Earth

    DIY Dog Repellents

    You can make your own dog deterrent at home using a few of the ingredients in standard commercial products. Dogs’ senses of smell are approximately 100,000 times more powerful than ours, so filling your yard with harsh, irritating scents is a harmless way to keep canines away.

    You can scatter or spray these substances around your lawn and flower beds to deter pesky pups:

    • Cayenne Pepper – Mix one teaspoon of cayenne pepper with about 10 ounces of water. Spread the mixture around problem areas using a spray bottle. Be wary not to use this remedy excessively; cayenne powder can irritate a dog’s eyes, nose, and skin.
    • Vinegar – Mix vinegar with water and use a spray bottle to spread the solution around the perimeter of your yard. Avoid spraying the liquid directly on your grass; instead, form a “scent fence” around your lawn.
    • Coffee grounds – There are several ways to use coffee-grounds in gardens, one of which is Sprinkling coffee grounds around your garden to repel dogs with the robust and bitter fragrance.
    • Baking soda – Mix a cup of baking soda with a gallon of water and spray on areas where dogs are urinating. The solution will decrease the urine’s scent, making dogs less likely to continue marking there.
    • Orange and lemon peels – Scatter citrus peels around your flower beds. The intense fragrance will overwhelm dogs’ noses and discourage them from visiting. 

    Plants that Repel Dogs

    Adding aromatic plants to your garden is another home remedy to try. This method gives you the chance to grow some new greenery while keeping dogs out of your garden. 

    The following plants are fragrant and pleasing to humans, yet stinky and overwhelming to dogs. Plant a few throughout your flower bed to pack a perfumey punch.

    • Citronella is one of the plants that repel insects, but the flowering variety of the plant has a citrusy, floral fragrance that dogs detest.
    • Lavender plants have a distinct smell that is soothing to humans and irritating to canines.
    • Curry Plants have a spicy aroma that is often used to deter cats and dogs.

    Still Having Trouble?

    If commercial repellents and DIY remedies haven’t done the trick, you can try several other methods to salvage your lawn care efforts.

    Talk to Your Neighbor

    If you know your neighbor’s dog is the culprit behind your littered front lawn, the first thing you should do is talk to them about it. 

    Chances are, the dog’s owner isn’t intentionally letting their pet trash your lawn. They might not know their pup has been exploring the neighborhood or simply don’t understand proper pet owner etiquette.

    Nicely ask the neighbor to pick up their dog’s droppings. If confrontation isn’t an option, you can put up a sign in your yard asking passersby to clean up after their pets. You can also put out a container of pet waste bags so that people have no excuse not to pick up the poop.

    If you’ve asked around the block and no one knows the repeat offender, you can contact animal control services to report a stray dog.

    Stake a Fence

    Putting a fence around your yard is a more expensive method of keeping dogs off your property. 

    Installing a fence can cost thousands to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the size of your yard. Fencing may be a viable option if you’d like to put one up for other reasons like gaining some privacy or giving your pet a safe space to roam. 

    If keeping dogs off your lawn is your main objective, you should first try different, lower-cost options. Even if you stake a fence around your yard, determined canines could still jump over it or dig under it.

    Consider Sprinklers or Flashing Lights

    If you’re still having trouble with dogs and other animals wrecking your lawn, try a motion-activated sprinkler tool like the Critter Ridder. This small machine uses an infrared sensor to detect nearby animals and “releases a startling surge of water to scare them away.” 

    Other motion-activated animal repellent tools emit high-frequency noise to frighten animals without harming them. These products are often designed to repel raccoons and rodents. They do not only serve as deer deterrents for yard safety, but they can also irritate and deter dogs. Human ears can’t detect the sounds generated, making these gadgets less startling than sprinkler sensors.

    Final Thoughts on Keeping Dogs off Your Lawn

    With the tips we’ve shared with you on this page, you’ll have a much better chance of keeping your lawn beautiful, healthy, and pest-free. Even though you can accomplish a lot by yourself, sometimes the damage is too great. 

    But a professional can restore your lawn for an affordable price. If your lawn is damaged by dog urine or excessive foot traffic, don’t hesitate to contact a professional lawn care company. A lawn care company can advise you on the best steps to take to improve the health and quality of your yard. Professional lawn care technicians will also provide you with the most suitable products that will get your lawn back in shape in no time.

    If you’ve been wondering why your yard is turning brown and you suspect it’s due to dogs on your lawn, taking the above-mentioned measures will help keep them off your lawn.

    Top Pick: TruGreen

    When it comes to professional lawn care companies, TruGreen ranks best overall. After reviewing the best lawn care companies in the country, comparing prices, user reviews, and many other factors, the review team’s choice comes down to this service. TruGreen is affordable, reliable, and offers a wide variety of lawn care services that cover everything from fertilization and overseeding to tree and shrub care. 

    TruGreen is available nearly nationwide, excluding Alaska and Hawaii, and is the nation’s largest lawn care company.  

    Get Lawn Estimates in 30 Seconds
    Connect with local experts to get the help you need.

    FAQs About How To Keep Dogs Off Your Lawn

    Will cayenne pepper deter dogs? 

    Because of its spicy nature, cayenne pepper will keep dogs from approaching the areas where you apply it. Though it’s not toxic for dogs, it can irritate their eyes and other sensitive areas that come into contact with it. Cayenne pepper will keep dogs from your lawn but is certainly one of the more extreme solutions compared to other homemade dog deterrents.

    What is the best dog repellent for lawns?

    Commercially made dog repellents are the most effective, although the home remedies we shared will also go a long way into keeping your lawn pristine. But you’ll need to be cautious when applying a mixture as a dog repellent. Certain repellents can harm your dog. Pest repellents like mothballs, detergents, coffee grounds and excessively applied garlic and pepper solutions can endanger your dog’s health. Always do your research before you apply a repellent to keep dogs off your lawn.

    How can I get dogs to stop pooping on my lawn?

    The simplest way to keep dogs from pooping on your lawn is to erect a fence or a hedge barrier. Commercially made repellents, natural smells from plants, fertilizers and homemade ingredients can also help in preventing your dog or the neighbor’s dogs from pooping on your lawn. Also, make sure to create a “poo zone” for your pup, and train your dog to go only on that area instead of using the entire lawn as his toilet.

    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for Elisabeth Beauchamp

    Elisabeth Beauchamp

    Senior Staff Writer

    Elisabeth Beauchamp is a content producer for Today’s Homeowner’s Lawn and Windows categories. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with degrees in Journalism and Linguistics. When Elisabeth isn’t writing about flowers, foliage, and fertilizer, she’s researching landscaping trends and current events in the agricultural space. Elisabeth aims to educate and equip readers with the tools they need to create a home they love.

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    photo of Lora Novak

    Lora Novak

    Senior Editor

    Lora Novak meticulously proofreads and edits all commercial content for Today’s Homeowner to guarantee that it contains the most up-to-date information. Lora brings over 12 years of writing, editing, and digital marketing expertise. She’s worked on thousands of articles related to heating, air conditioning, ventilation, roofing, plumbing, lawn/garden, pest control, insurance, and other general homeownership topics.

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