HomeLIFE STYLEWhat Smells Do Dogs...

What Smells Do Dogs Hate? 12 Scents to Avoid Around Your Canine Companion

Free Subscribtion

As dog owners, we want our furry friends to feel comfortable and happy in their environment. One way to ensure their well-being is by being mindful of the smells that may bother them. Dogs have an exceptional sense of smell, with up to 300 million olfactory cells compared to our meager 5 million. This heightened sense means that certain scents can be overwhelming and even unpleasant for our canine companions. In this article, we will explore 12 smells that dogs hate and discuss how to avoid them to create a more pleasant living space for your furry friend.

YouTube video

The Power of a Dog’s Nose

Before we delve into the specific scents that dogs dislike, let’s take a moment to appreciate the incredible power of their noses. A dog’s sense of smell is estimated to be 10,000 to 100,000 times more acute than ours. They have the ability to detect even the tiniest particles in the air or on objects, allowing them to navigate the world through scent. This heightened olfactory sense is the result of having 150-300 million olfactory cells, far surpassing the 5 million cells found in humans.

Dogs rely on their sense of smell for a variety of purposes, including tracking, hunting, and identifying diseases. Their noses are so sensitive that they can even detect certain types of cancer in humans. With such a powerful sense of smell, it’s no wonder that certain scents can be overwhelming or unpleasant for our furry friends.

Understanding the World of Fragrances

As humans, we often associate certain smells with pleasant experiences or memories. However, what may be enjoyable for us can be repulsive to dogs. It’s important to remember that dogs have different preferences and sensitivities when it comes to scents. While some smells may be enticing to us, they can be overwhelming or even irritating to our canine companions.

To create a more comfortable environment for your dog, it’s essential to be aware of the scents they dislike. By avoiding these smells, you can help ensure that your dog feels safe and at ease in their surroundings. Let’s explore some of the scents that dogs hate and discuss how to avoid them.

1. Citrus

While many humans find the smell of citrus refreshing and invigorating, dogs tend to have a different reaction. Most dogs dislike the strong scent of citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits. These fruits emit a specific and intense smell that can be irritating to dogs’ sensitive noses. In fact, the smell of citrus can cause discomfort and even sneezing in dogs.

- Advertisement -

To keep your dog away from certain areas, you can use citrus as a natural deterrent. You can create a homemade repellent spray by mixing concentrated lemon juice with water. This can be safely used both indoors and outdoors. Another option is to place fresh citrus peels in areas where you want to discourage your dog from going. However, it’s important to note that while citrus can be a useful tool, it should not be used excessively or directly on your dog’s skin, as it can cause irritation.

2. Hot Peppers

Just like humans, dogs are not fans of spicy foods. The compound responsible for the heat in hot peppers, capsaicin, can irritate dogs’ noses, throats, and mouths. While dogs may not be able to taste the spiciness of hot peppers, they can certainly feel the effects. It’s important to keep spicy foods and spices containing capsaicin away from your dog to prevent any discomfort or digestive issues.

3. Vinegar

While vinegar is a common household item and often used for cleaning purposes, its strong smell is disliked by many dogs. The acrid scent of vinegar can be overwhelming to their sensitive noses, causing them to avoid areas where it is present. You can use vinegar as a deterrent by sprinkling or spraying it in areas where you want to discourage your dog from going. However, it’s important to take precautions and not use vinegar directly on your dog’s skin or near plants, as it can be harmful.

4. Alcohol

Dogs are not fans of the smell of alcohol. The aroma of alcoholic products can be off-putting to them, leading to reactions such as sneezing and avoiding the source of the smell. It’s important to keep alcoholic beverages and products containing alcohol out of your dog’s reach to prevent any adverse reactions.

5. Ammonia

Ammonia is another scent that dogs dislike. Its pungent and intense fragrance can irritate dogs’ noses and respiratory tracts. In fact, inhaling ammonia can even lead to breathing problems for dogs. While ammonia is commonly used to eliminate odors, it’s important to be cautious when using it around your dog. The smell of ammonia can linger for several days and can be detected from a considerable distance.

6. Mothballs

While mothballs are often used as a pesticide or deodorant, dogs find their strong smell unpleasant. The scent of mothballs is similar to that of gasoline, which can be particularly uncomfortable for dogs. It’s important to keep mothballs out of your dog’s reach, as swallowing even one can be dangerous and potentially fatal for them.

7. Perfume

While many humans enjoy wearing perfume or using scented products, dogs may not share the same enthusiasm. Dogs have sensitive noses and can find the strong and concentrated scent of perfumes overwhelming. It’s important to be mindful of the scents you wear around your dog and avoid spraying perfumes directly on them. If you notice that your dog is reacting negatively to a particular scent, it’s best to avoid using it altogether.

8. Cleaning Agents

Many household cleaning agents contain strong chemicals like chlorine or ammonia, along with added fragrances. While these scents may be pleasant to us, they can be overwhelming and even harmful to dogs. Inhaling strong chemicals, especially ammonia, can damage your dog’s respiratory tract and nervous system. When using cleaning agents, it’s best to keep your dog out of the area being cleaned to prevent any adverse reactions.

9. Nail Polish

The strong smell of nail polish can be off-putting to dogs. The chemical odor can be overwhelming and cause discomfort for our furry friends. When painting your nails, it’s best to do so in a well-ventilated area and keep your dog away to prevent any negative reactions.

10. Certain Essential Oils

While essential oils are commonly used for their therapeutic properties, not all oils are safe for dogs. Some essential oils can be toxic to dogs, whether ingested or applied topically. Oils like cinnamon, citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree, wintergreen, and ylang-ylang should be avoided around dogs. These oils can cause changes in behavior, adverse effects on the central nervous system, and respiratory problems. It’s essential to do thorough research and consult with a veterinarian before using any essential oils around your dog.

11. Certain Fresh Herbs

While fresh herbs like mint and rosemary may be pleasing to our palates, dogs tend to find their strong aromas unappetizing. These pungent herbs can be off-putting to dogs and can be used to deter them from specific areas. By planting fresh herbs in your garden, you can create a natural barrier that keeps your dog away from plants or areas where they may be prone to digging.

12. Certain Cleaning Products

In addition to specific scents, dogs also dislike the strong odors of certain cleaning products. Household cleaners that contain chlorine or ammonia, as well as those with added citrus fragrances, can be overwhelming for dogs. It’s best to use pet-friendly cleaning products that are free from harsh chemicals and strong fragrances. This will help create a more pleasant environment for your dog and minimize any potential discomfort.


Understanding the scents that dogs dislike is essential for creating a comfortable and safe environment for our furry friends. By avoiding these smells and opting for more dog-friendly alternatives, we can ensure that our dogs feel at ease in their surroundings. Remember to be mindful of the scents you use around your dog, whether it’s in cleaning products, perfumes, or essential oils. By taking your dog’s preferences and sensitivities into account, you can create a more pleasant living space for both you and your canine companion.

Type Keywords to Search


Most Popular


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Popular Articles

Dogs With Down Syndrome-Like Symptoms: Understanding Genetic Disorders in Canines

This comprehensive guide aims to provide a deeper understanding of genetic disorders in dogs, focusing on conditions that may resemble Down Syndrome-like symptoms.

The Pros and Cons of Clothed dog: A Comprehensive Guide for Dog Owners

As a dog owner, you may have wondered whether it's a good idea to dress up your furry friend. While some people find it adorable and enjoyable to dress their dogs in cute outfits, others consider it unnecessary or even demeaning.

Growing Pains in Puppies: Understanding the Painful Journey of Growth

Growing pains, or panosteitis, is a condition that affects the long bones of a puppy's legs. It is most commonly observed in large-breed dogs that are less than two years old.


Read Now

How to Eliminate Dog Odor in Your Home: A Comprehensive Guide for Pet Owners

As a proud pet owner, you adore your furry companion and consider them a cherished member of the family. However, there's one aspect of pet ownership that can be a challenge – dealing with unpleasant dog odors in your home.

Boosting Your Timid Dog’s Confidence: 5 Effective Strategies

Is your dog shy or fearful around new people and situations? It can be challenging to see your furry friend struggling with confidence issues. However, there are several strategies you can implement to help boost your dog's confidence.

The Importance of Lactobacillus for Dogs’ Digestive Health

Is lactobacillus good for dogs? When it comes to maintaining the overall health and well-being of dogs, paying attention to their digestive health is crucial. Just like humans, dogs can experience digestive issues that can impact their overall quality of life.

How to Prevent Motion Sickness in Dogs During Car Travel

How long does motion sickness last in dogs? Motion sickness in dogs can be a common and distressing problem during car travel. Just like humans, dogs can experience nausea, vomiting, and discomfort when they are in a moving vehicle.

Why Does Your Dog Wag Its Tail While Sleeping?

Understanding Tail Wagging, we will explore the different factors that contribute to tail wagging during sleep and decipher the emotions your dog might be experiencing.

5 Ways to Effectively Manage Respiratory Infections in Dogs

While some respiratory infections, like kennel cough, are generally mild and resolve on their own, others can be more serious and may require medical intervention.

Puppy Fence: Ensuring Safety and Security for Your Beloved Pet

A puppy fence, also known as a pet fence, is specifically designed to prevent small animals like dogs from escaping, providing them with a safe and secure environment to roam freely.

Is It Safe to Kiss Your Dog? What You Need to Know

As a dog owner, you may have wondered whether it's safe to give your furry friend a smooch. While it's tempting to think that their mouths are cleaner than ours, the truth is a bit more complicated.

The Importance of Regular Dog Health Checkups

Regular dog health checkups are an essential aspect of responsible pet ownership. These routine exams allow veterinarians to assess your dog's overall health, detect potential problems early, and provide preventive care to ensure a long and healthy life.

Introducing a Puppy to a Dominant Dog: A Comprehensive Guide

A puppy to a dominant dog requires careful planning, patience, and understanding. Introducing a puppy to a dominant dog is a gradual process that requires patience and consistent effort.

Can I Sleep with My Dog? The Pros and Cons Explained

Deciding whether to let your dog sleep in your bed is ultimately a personal choice that depends on various factors, including your dog's health, your health, personal preferences, and lifestyle.

Why Won’t Your Dog Eat? Understanding the Reasons and Finding Solutions

As a responsible pet owner, it can be distressing to see your beloved dog refuse to eat. Whether you have a new puppy or a long-time companion, a loss of appetite in dogs can be a cause for concern.