There are occasions when a dog's superior sniffing abilities are literally life-saving. However, his tendency to chase smells outdoors, trample plant beds and dig holes are much less pleasing, and if he manages to escape next door, it could quickly lead to a frosty atmosphere between you and the neighbors. Happily, there are a few pantry items that will put him off the scent.
Chili powder is sold in every supermarket, is essential for a great chili con carne and other spicy dishes, and absolutely hated by your pooch. Commercial dog repellents often contain chili because the capsaicin that gives the pepper its spice irritates the dog's nose, eyes and throat. However, don't bother to buy a branded repellent as sprinkling chili powder on your lawn or newly planted flower beds will do the trick. If you want to keep him off furniture or rugs, make a spray by dissolving the powder in water. It is non-toxic for your pup, but if there are children around, make sure you don't put chili powder in places where little hands can come into direct contact with it.
The scents of lemon, lime, tangerine and grapefruit are uplifting, and in aromatherapy the citrus oils are among those that energize people. Your puppy takes a very different view of them: they're a horrible stink, as far as he's concerned. Add squeezed citrus juice to water and spray your furniture. Alternatively, hide pieces of citrus fruit peel beneath a cushion or around your yard, although you will need to remember to replace the peel once it has lost its scent. Reader's Digest suggests mixing used coffee grounds with orange peel as a way of both repelling dogs and fertilizing your plants. Again, citrus repellents are non-toxic for your dog.
Vinegar is a rather less fragrant repellent, unless you love the smell. Your pooch certainly won't like it. You probably won't want your home to smell like a pickle factory, so while mixing vinegar with water and spraying it around the house may keep your dog away, it may have the same effect on your friends. It's more suited to outdoor use, but don't pour vinegar straight onto the ground around your plants because it will kill them. The website Garden Know How advises soaking cotton balls or old rags in vinegar and placing them around your yard.
Ammonia and Mothballs
These are both strong-smelling substances, however, compared with the other homemade repellents these are more dangerous. You should only use ammonia in a well-ventilated area if you're using it indoors because the smell is an irritant for many people. Use it in the same way as the vinegar by soaking cotton balls in it and placing them in outdoor areas. Mothballs may have kept granny's clothes free of holes and people of a certain age can probably remember the smell. Dogs don't like them, but if you do use mothballs, make sure they're well hidden because they'll poison your dog if he discovers them and eats them. Mothballs also poison people, so if you also have young children around, mothballs are the least safe of the dog repellent solutions.
By Eleanor McKenzie
About the Author
Based in London, Eleanor McKenzie has been writing lifestyle-related books and articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in the "Palm Beach Times" and she is the author of numerous books published by Hamlyn U.K., including "Healing Reiki" and "Pilates System." She holds a Master of Arts in informational studies from London University.