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Dogs Hate These Tastes & Smells: Can Be Used as Good Dog Repellents

By Aviram K.
September 11, 2022
4 min read
Dogs Hate These Tastes & Smells: Can Be Used as Good Dog Repellents
✏️ This article has been reviewed in accordance with our editorial policy.
🏥 The information in this article is not a substitute for professional help.

You slide your key into the lock, turn it and exhale as the front door opens wide. You smile and step inside your living room…it’s the end of another long day, and you couldn’t be happier to be home!

Immediately you’re greeted by your favorite sight: your dog’s tail wagging as they jump up and cover you with licks of joy.

You’re basking in the moment until you notice something out of the corner of your eye. The living room behind your pup is littered with trash. They’ve gotten into something they shouldn’t have…again!

Your dog is pretty much famous for getting into the wrong things and making a total mess. There’s got to be an easy way to keep them from doing this.

Thankfully, there is!

Dogs hate many tastes and smells that can be used as repellents to keep them from getting into things or out of specific areas. Smells like citrus, certain herbs, spices, and vinegar, as well as tastes like bitter apple or hot and spicy flavors, can all help keep dogs away.

In this article, I will reveal the tastes and smells that dogs hate the most, teach you how to make your own homemade taste deterrent, and also offer alternative methods to prevent or discourage chewing.

If you’re at your wits-end with your dog sticking their nose in place, it doesn’t belong and wreaking havoc, read on! Employing the use of a few specific tastes and smells can easily deter him from this behavior.

Join me as I explain how to do exactly this.

Let’s go!

Table of Contents
Tastes (& Smells) Dogs Hate the Most
How to Make Your Own Homemade Taste Deterrent
Other Methods to Prevent or Discourage Chewing
Sorry Sparky, but It’s for Your Own Good!

Tastes (& Smells) Dogs Hate the Most


Gooey cookies straight from the oven. Fresh laundry. Your significant other’s cologne or perfume. Mom’s home-cooked lasagna… there are certain tastes and smells you simply love and even cherish.

But the polar opposite is also true: there are some tastes and smells you can’t stand!

Think of the vilest scents you’ve ever had the displeasure of encountering. Envision eating some of the nastiest meals you’ve ever had to choke down. One taste or whiff can send you running in the opposite direction.

The same is true for your pup! And you can use the smells and tastes that gross your pup out to your advantage. Sprinkling these substances over places you don’t want your pup to go can ensure they stay far, far away.

So, what smells and tastes repulse your pup?

Interestingly, while humans can vary heavily on what tastes or smells are icky, dogs are fairly consistent with their dislikes.

Most dogs can’t stand the following smells:

  • Citrus including oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes
  • Herbs like rosemary, mint, basil, and thyme
  • Spices such as cinnamon, ginger, cayenne pepper, and allspice
  • Produce and plants such as chili peppers, onion, and garlic
  • & man-made substances like perfume, household cleaners, nail polish, and remover

Regarding tastes, there’s a short list of a few that pups seem to universally loathe. Generally, pups tend to hate the flavor of bitter apple spray or anything too hot or spicy.

How to Make Your Own Homemade Taste Deterrent

Now that you know what tastes and smells turn your pup off let’s put them to good use! Creating your own homemade taste deterrents is a low-cost and efficient way to keep your pup away.

Before you get started, you’ll want to confirm that your pup doesn’t like the substance you will be using. To test this, pour a generous amount of the taste deterrent onto a cloth and place it directly into your dog’s mouth.

If they wince, cough, bark, whine, or spit it out, these are all good indicators that they hate the taste. When you receive this reaction, you can rest assured you’ve found the perfect taste deterrent!

Let’s take a look at two very easy-to-make taste deterrents:

Apple Cider Vinegar Mixed with White Vinegar

Dogs tend to hate this bitter combination! Simply mix two-part apple cider vinegar with one-part white vinegar for a taste your pup will be sure to steer clear from.

Note: this mixture is best used on household items, not outside in the garden, as this vinegar mixture can adversely affect your plants.


Citrus fruits of all types are a great, all-natural taste deterrent for your pup. You can simply fill a spray bottle with lemon juice, add a few drops of any citrus oil or sprinkle some citrus peels around places inside or outside where you want your pup to keep out.

There are other flavors dogs don’t like, such as things that are too hot or spicy. Spicy things like cayenne pepper can also technically be used as taste deterrents. Still, many find this to be an inhumane tactic. For this reason, I have not included any homemade taste deterrents with spicy substances.

Other Methods to Prevent or Discourage Chewing

While homemade taste deterrents will certainly work to keep your pup’s chewing at bay, other methods can help discourage them.

First, take your dog to the vet to rule out any physical or emotional problems your pup could have. Sometimes dogs can chew out of compulsion, pain, or boredom, so it’s good to ensure no underlying issue is causing the chewing.

Once you’ve determined that your pup is healthy, try employing the following methods to prevent or discourage their chewing:

  • Work to keep your home tidy and place objects your pup likes to chew out of their reach
  • Aim to supervise your pup whenever possible
  • Crate your dog when you’re not home, so they don’t have free range to chew
  • Use dog puzzles to keep them mentally occupied if they seem to chew out of boredom
  • Provide treats and toys with treats inside to channel their chewing in a safe direction
  • Add some extra exercise and adventure to their day to help them cope with excess energy
  • Give your dog some more attention and quality time in case all they need is more TLC
  • Use homemade and store-bought chew deterrents
  • See a dog trainer or dog behavioral specialist if the problem persists

Sorry Sparky, but It’s for Your Own Good!


It never feels good to discipline your pup or tell them no for any reason. And it may be particularly hard to watch their face curl up as they get a good, hearty lick of one of these icky taste deterrents!

But it truly is for their own good.

Your pup’s sweet curiosity can, unfortunately, lead to their downfall if they get into something around that house that is toxic or harmful to them. It can also cause strife in your relationship if they constantly tear up your favorite shoes or flower garden.

Strong tastes and smells like vinegar, herbs, spices, and citrus can be highly effective tools to help your pup stay out of places they shouldn’t be.

While it may hurt to see your pup wince with disgust when encountering one of these nasty taste deterrents, it’s all truly for their own good!

Dog Repellents
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