Plants That Keep Dogs Away: Natural Repellents and Their Effectiveness

· 5 min read

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Plants the best organic dog repellent

Chili Pepper

Chili pepper plants are not just a fiery addition to your culinary garden; they are also an effective natural deterrent for dogs. The capsaicin in chili peppers, responsible for their heat, is highly unpleasant for dogs, causing a strong burning sensation if they come into contact with it. When planted around your garden boundaries or among other plants, chili peppers can create an invisible barrier that keeps curious canines at bay. However, while they are a potent deterrent, gardeners should be cautious and ensure pets don't ingest the peppers, as they can cause significant discomfort.


Citronella is widely known for its mosquito-repelling properties, but it also serves as an excellent dog deterrent. The strong citrus scent, which is pleasant to humans, is highly offensive to dogs' sensitive noses. Planting citronella around your garden or in pots near entry points can help create a perimeter that dogs will find uninviting. Additionally, citronella is relatively easy to grow and can thrive in various climates, making it a versatile choice for those looking to protect their gardens from canine intrusions without resorting to harsh chemicals or physical barriers.


Lavender, with its soothing fragrance and attractive purple flowers, doubles as a beautiful garden addition and a dog repellent. Dogs typically dislike the strong scent of lavender, which can deter them from areas where the plant is present. Beyond its deterrent properties, lavender is known for its calming effects on humans, making it a popular choice for gardens and landscapes. Planting lavender along garden borders or near pathways can help keep dogs away while adding aesthetic and aromatic benefits to your outdoor space. It’s a natural solution that combines utility with beauty.

What plants are considered dog repellents?

Scaredy Cat Plant

The Scaredy Cat Plant, also known as Coleus Canina, is a well-known deterrent for dogs due to its strong, unpleasant odor. The plant emits a scent that is repulsive to canines, making it an effective natural barrier. Gardeners often utilize this plant to create a dog-free zone without resorting to chemical repellents. The low-maintenance nature of the Scaredy Cat Plant, combined with its effectiveness, makes it a popular choice for those looking to protect specific areas from curious dogs.

Citrus Trees

Citrus Trees are another excellent option for keeping dogs at bay, thanks to their natural aroma. Dogs generally dislike the scent of citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, and limes, making these trees a natural deterrent. Planting citrus trees around the perimeter of your garden or in areas you wish to protect can help keep dogs away. Besides their repellent properties, citrus trees also offer the added benefit of producing delicious fruits, making them a dual-purpose addition to any garden.

Curry Plant

The Curry Plant, with its distinctive aroma reminiscent of curry powder, is yet another plant that can help deter dogs. While the scent is pleasant to many people, it tends to be off-putting for dogs, who will often avoid areas where this plant is present. Native to the Mediterranean, the Curry Plant is hardy and thrives in well-drained soil, making it a practical choice for gardeners looking to keep their spaces dog-free. As a bonus, it also adds a unique touch to the garden with its silver foliage and yellow flowers.

Are dog repellant plants effective?

Effectiveness of Different Plants

While many plants are known for their ability to deter dogs, their effectiveness varies significantly based on species and environmental conditions. For example, plants like rue, citronella, and chili pepper are often cited as being particularly effective due to their strong, unpleasant odors which dogs find repellent. On the other hand, some plants like lavender and rosemary, although aromatic to humans, do little to deter canines. It's also worth noting that the effectiveness can depend on the individual dog's sensitivity and previous experiences with these plants. Thus, when selecting plants to keep dogs away, it's crucial to consider both the specific species and the context in which they will be used.

Scientific Studies

Scientific studies on the use of plants to deter dogs are limited but growing. Research often focuses on the chemical compounds found in certain plants that can act as natural repellents. For instance, studies have shown that the essential oils in citronella and rue contain compounds that are unpleasant to dogs, making these plants effective natural deterrents. However, much of the evidence remains anecdotal, and more rigorous scientific research is needed to confirm the efficacy and safety of these plants. The existing studies provide a promising foundation but highlight the need for further investigation into the mechanisms and long-term effects of using plants as dog repellents.

User Experiences

User experiences with using plants to repel dogs are mixed, reflecting the variability in effectiveness. Many gardeners and pet owners report success with plants like marigolds, rue, and citronella, noting a significant decrease in dog-related disturbances in their gardens. Others, however, have found these plants to be less effective, suggesting that individual dog behavior and environmental factors play a crucial role. Online forums and gardening communities are filled with personal anecdotes and tips, but the consensus is that while plants can be part of a strategy to keep dogs away, they are not a foolproof solution. Combining plants with other deterrent methods often yields the best results.

Different barriers to keep dogs away

Chicken Wire

Chicken wire is an effective and affordable solution for keeping dogs out of specific areas in your garden. By creating a physical barrier, chicken wire can be placed around plants and flower beds, preventing dogs from digging or trampling on them. Its versatility allows for easy installation and customization to fit different garden sizes and shapes. Additionally, chicken wire is durable and resistant to weather conditions, ensuring long-lasting protection for your plants. While it may not be the most visually appealing option, its practicality makes it a popular choice among gardeners looking to safeguard their plants from canine interference.

Motion-Activated Sprinklers

Motion-activated sprinklers offer a humane and automated way to deter dogs from entering your garden. These devices detect movement and release a sudden burst of water, startling the intruding animal without causing harm. The unexpected spray conditions dogs to avoid the area, as they associate it with the unpleasant experience. Motion-activated sprinklers are easy to install and can cover a wide area, making them suitable for large gardens. Their sensitivity and range can be adjusted to target specific zones, ensuring that your plants remain untouched by curious or mischievous dogs. This method is both effective and environmentally friendly, using only water to maintain your garden's safety.

Ultrasonic Devices

Ultrasonic devices are a modern and discreet solution for keeping dogs away from your garden. These gadgets emit high-frequency sounds that are inaudible to humans but uncomfortable for dogs, prompting them to steer clear of the protected area. Ultrasonic devices can be placed strategically around your garden to create an invisible barrier that deters dogs without the need for physical fences or barriers. They are often solar-powered or battery-operated, making them energy-efficient and easy to maintain. By using sound to create a dog-free zone, ultrasonic devices offer a non-invasive and humane method to protect your plants from unwanted canine visitors.