Home Remedies To Keep Dogs From Pooping in Your Yard

Keep Dogs From Pooping in Your Yard

Poop Be Gone! The Best Home Remedies To Keep Dogs From Pooping in Your Yard

keep dogs from pooping

Dogs are often called “man’s best friend,” but your furry companion can also be your worst nightmare if you’re trying to keep a pristine garden. BBQs and parties are no fun when your yard resembles a doggy park full of poop. 

Whether it’s your lovable pooch or the neighbors’ dogs tres-pooping, let’s take a look at the best home remedies to keep dogs from pooping in your yard.

The Dangers of Dogs Pooping in Your Yard

If you’re a dog owner, you should be used to picking up your pet’s poop when you’re out for walkies. You scoop it up in a doggy bag to dispose of responsibly, but what about when it’s in your yard?

It’s not just about the look or the foul odor. Too much dog poop in your yard can cause serious illness to many humans (and animals too). Plus, when untreated, it’s not particularly great for the garden either.

If you leave dog poop in your yard, when it rains, the waste can run off into storm drains and eventually make its way into waterways. This can contaminate the water supply. A canine's caca may also attract rats and other pests, which can spread disease.

If you want to dispose of that waste safely, there are many dog waste composters that will turn the poop into a safe compost for your lawn and take away all those smells too. But what if you’d prefer your dog not to poop in your yard?

How To Keep Dogs From Pooping in Your Yard?

Luckily there are many things you can do to deter your own or a neighbor’s pooch — from pooping in your yard without reaching out for nasty chemicals that may be hazardous to a canine’s health.

As you’re probably aware, most dogs have a great sense of smell — so, use it to your advantage. 

Spraying strong-smelling liquids around your yard can quickly stop dogs from overstepping your boundary. Although commercial dog repellent for yards exists, you probably already have many equally effective odors in your home.


Vinegar as dog repellent for lawns

Something found in most kitchens, dogs don’t like the smell of vinegar. It’s cheap and it’s non-toxic to dogs. The naturally strong odor is an irritant to a pooch’s sensitive nose, so they will generally stay away from an area where vinegar has been applied.

However, vinegar can kill plants and flora in your yard, so be careful to only spray your solution on non-organic surfaces. Never pour undiluted or a vinegar solution directly onto your garden bed.

For an effective dog repellent for lawns:

  • Mix one cup of white vinegar and two cups of apple vinegar.

You can mist this solution around your garden. Be sure to reapply frequently, especially after rainfall. You could also dowse some cotton balls with vinegar and lime juice and place them around the perimeter of your lawn.

Citronella Oil

Citronella Oil for dog repellant

Citronella oil is recognized as a natural repellant for most dogs, often it’s applied to furniture to stop dogs from scratching. And, it’s used in training aids such as dog barking deterrent collars and products designed to curb aggressive behavior.

While not as cost-effective as vinegar, Citronella oil is much more yard/lawn friendly. An all-natural product made from citronella grass, you can even spray it on your plants or the lawn (although water it down first). Being an oil, citronella will coat the surfaces and plants and linger for a short while after rain, meaning less frequent application.

Note, although small doses of citronella vapor are non-toxic, if your pooch should ingest the oils from any leftover puddles it could cause stomach problems for the pup — always mist rather than pour citronella.

Essential Oils

Essentials oil for dog repellant

Similar to citronella, essential oils can be a great way of keeping your dog away from your yard. Not all essential oils are safe for dogs, so check with a vet before applying any to your garden. Always use therapeutic or food-grade oils that don’t have any harmful chemicals added to them. And, ensure you dilute it beforehand.

Essential oils that work best for repelling dogs include:

  • Eucalyptus.

  • Lemon.

  • Sour apple.

  • Orange.

  • Lemon Eucalyptus.

Mix a few drops of oil with some water in a spray bottle and mist over the specific areas of your yard or around the perimeter where you want to keep out dogs.

What Not To Use To Keep Dogs From Pooping in My Yard

Whether you’re trying to prevent dogs from urinating or pooping in your yard, you must avoid any mixtures or methods that can be harmful to a dog. More aggressive repellents that you should never use include:

Cayenne Pepper/Chili Powder or Oil

What Not To Use To Keep Dogs

A dog will certainly regret sniffing an area before they poop if they get some chili or cayenne up their nose. Chili may be non-toxic to plants, but if your dog is daft enough to sniff too much it can burn their noses. And, although not poisonous, if your pup were to lick or eat cayenne or chili, it would cause irritation and a stomach upset.


Often when asked, is there something I can put in my yard to keep dogs from pooping, many people will instantly suggest ammonia/bleach. However, products containing ammonia or chloride are toxic for dogs. 

What’s more, ammonia is naturally present in dog urine and can often have the opposite effect of deterring a pooch — they will mark an area more often, believing another dog is in their territory.

The smell will irritate their noses but can also cause damage to a pup’s throat and stomach if they should consume any.

How To Stop Neighbors Dogs From Pooping in My Yard

Creating a natural barrier with plants or shrubs that give off dog-repellent scents can be effective in deterring your neighbor’s pooch from entering your yard for a toilet visit. 

Plants you can put in around the perimeter of your lawn as a dog poop deterrent include:


dog poop deterrent

Humans may love the smell of lavender, but it's a strong odor that dogs don’t. Lavender is an easy plant to grow, it looks pretty and gives off a scent that dogs will not want to go near. Other dog-repelling herbs or shrubs include rosemary and marigolds.

Curry Plant

Part of the daisy family, the Helichrysum italicum, gives off a strong aroma of curry which can be effective in deterring dogs from pooping in the area. The curry plant is susceptible to frost though, so should be planted in a well-protected spot for a year-round dog poop deterrent.

Citrus Fruit Trees

Another well-known smell that canines don’t like is citrus. Although citrus trees can take a longer time to establish and are not a quick fix, along with that doggy-repelling aroma you’ll get the bonus of fresh lemons or oranges too.

Scaredy Cat Plant (Plectranthus Caninus)

It may be known as a plant for deterring cats in your garden, but the scaredy cat plant gives off a scent that is also said to scare off dogs. The smell isn’t noticed by humans unless they rub up against the plant.

What To Do When Neighbors Dog Poops in Your Yard

What To Do When Neighbors Dog Poops

Alternatives to spraying your yard with homemade or store-bought dog repellants also include — building a physical barrier that keeps dogs out, installing sprinklers, or even the most simple, speaking to the neighbor about any pooping problems.


Make a note of when your neighbor’s pooch comes to your yard for their daily poop — then set the timer on your sprinklers for around that time. 

Most dogs dislike walking on sodden grass and will soon find another location to do their business. The other option is to install motion-activated sprinklers. These will startle the dog, who will soon learn to go elsewhere to poop.

Make Your Lawn Less Inviting

Dogs typically seek out soft, comfortable surfaces to perform their business and won’t particularly like the idea of walking over random rocks or anything that doesn’t feel good on their paws. 

Install a sizable run or trench of decorative stone, a minimum of a few feet wide, between the sidewalk or the boundary of your neighbor’s property to deter the dog from entering your yard.

Build a Fence

When all else fails, it may be necessary to fence off your yard. It’s perhaps the most time-consuming and expensive solution, but putting up a full privacy fence or a smaller picket-style fence can help keep unwanted dogs and their poop out of your garden. If you’re having problems with stray dogs or those who like to wander, fully enclosing your yard will ensure they don’t have access.

Living fences such as hedges or tall plants may look more appealing. And, while larger dogs can often break through, they’re more likely to walk alongside the hedge especially if they’re being walked on a leash. Although, they may make a quick pee stop instead.

Final Thoughts

Using homemade remedies and preventive measures to maintain a dog-poop-free yard is more humane, and an eco-friendly way of addressing the poop problem than many commercial dog repellent for lawn solutions. Some may even save you money too. 

Hopefully, one of these home remedies to keep dogs from pooping in your yard will work for you. So, here’s to you maintaining a clean, green space, not a doggy toilet.

How To Stop Dogs From Pooping in Your Yard? FAQs

Is There Something I Can Put In My Yard To Keep Dogs From Pooping?

Yes, dogs pooping where they shouldn’t has long been recognized as a problem and there are many commercial solutions designed to discourage dogs. 

However, household items — such as vinegar can also act as a dog repellent for yards and lawns. Generally, it will be less toxic to your grass and pooch, and considerably more cost-effective.

Can Coffee Grounds Be Used as a Dog Repellent for Yards?

Many people will swear by the fact dogs don’t like the smell of coffee, and it can be a good fertilizer for many plants. However, coffee is toxic to dogs in the same way as chocolate or onions. Hence, it’s not recommended to scatter coffee grounds on your flower beds, even if your dog does want to poop there.

Will Mothballs Keep Dogs From Pooping in My Yard?

Yes, most definitely. However, the use of mothballs isn’t advisable as they contain toxic chemicals, including naphthalene that can be fatal if consumed by your pooch. Mothballs are also harmful to humans, so should be kept securely stored in a place where children or pets can’t access them.

What To Do With My Neighbor’s Dog Pooping in My Yard?

You may be able to train your pooch not to poop in your yard, or at least have a separate poop zone. Yet, it can be more difficult with a dog you aren’t familiar with.

Although speaking with your neighbor can often resolve the issue, your main priority should be keeping the pooch out of your yard. Natural barriers and fences can be the ultimate solution, but often many homemade dog repellents can deter a stray pup from wandering in for a poop.

Is it Illegal for My Neighbor’s Dog to Poop in My Yard?

This depends on the laws enforced in your area, so you should check with your local authorities. Some homeowner’s associations or neighborhood watch schemes may also impose certain rules on the issue.

In some parts of the US, for example, California, it’s technically illegal for a dog to relieve themselves on somebody else’s private property without the permission of the property owner. Other states, like Florida, don’t have any specific laws relating to the issue of dog poop.

How Do You Get Rid of Dog Poop in Your Yard?

Prevention is only part of the battle against dog poop, but what should you do if some dogs are not deterred? If your garden looks like a doggy toilet, there are ways to safely get rid of the offending poop, including:

  • Enzyme-based poop cleaners and dissolvers.

  • Using agricultural lime.

  • Installing a septic tank or dog waste composter.

  • Break it down with a vinegar solution.

All these methods will remove any dog poop without having to deal with the odor or scooping up any more stubborn remnants.