what smells do dogs not like

what smells do dogs not like


What Smells Do Dogs Not Like?

As a caregiver to a furry friend, it’s essential to know not only what they love but also what they may find repulsive.

1. Citrus Scents

You might enjoy the refreshing scent of a freshly peeled orange or the invigorating aroma of lemon zest, but your canine companion doesn’t share your enthusiasm.

  • Lemons: The strong smell of lemons is overpowering for dogs and can cause them discomfort.
  • Oranges: Even though they’re less intense than lemons, dogs find the smell of oranges unpleasant.
  • Grapefruit: The smell of grapefruit is especially offensive to dogs due to its strong and bitter scent.

2. Vinegar

Vinegar is another smell that dogs intensely dislike. The strong, acrid scent is quite a deterrent for them. As a result, vinegar can be used as a natural dog deterrent, but it should be used with caution due to its potential to irritate your dog’s senses.

Vinegar Type Scent Intensity Dog’s Dislike Level
White Vinegar High High
Apple Cider Vinegar Medium Medium
Balsamic Vinegar Low Low

3. Spicy Smells

Just as spicy food can be too much for some people, the same goes for dogs. Spicy smells, such as cayenne pepper or hot sauce, can make your dog uncomfortable.

  1. Chili: Chili peppers contain a compound called capsaicin, which is irritating to dogs.
  2. Hot Sauce: The ingredients in hot sauce, especially the spices, are overwhelming for dogs.
  3. Garlic and Onions: These strong-smelling foods are not only unpleasant for dogs, but they can also be toxic.

4. Strong Chemical Smells

Household chemicals, such as cleaning products or insecticides, have strong scents that dogs find off-putting. This aversion is a good thing, as it keeps them away from potentially harmful substances.

  • Bleach: Its powerful smell can cause dogs to sneeze, drool, or even vomit.
  • Ammonia: This common household cleaner is extremely irritating to dogs.
  • Paint: The strong, acrid smell of paint is very unappealing to dogs.

5. Mint

While mint is often used in products designed for dogs, such as toothpaste and chew toys, some dogs may find the scent too strong and dislike it.

  • Peppermint: Its strong, cool scent can be too much for some dogs.
  • Spearmint: While it’s not as intense as peppermint, some dogs still find it off-putting.


Q: Do all dogs dislike the same smells?

A: While there are common smells that many dogs dislike, each dog is unique and may have different preferences and aversions.

Q: Can smells harm dogs?

A: Yes, certain smells, especially from toxic substances like certain household cleaners, can be harmful to dogs.

Q: Can I use these smells to train my dog?

A: Some pet owners use smells dogs dislike as deterrents in training. However, it’s important to never cause distress to your pet. Always consult with a vet or a professional dog trainer for advice.