dog smells dont like

What Smell Do Dogs Do Not Like?

Dogs have a fine nose and can smell traces of drugs, truffles or missing persons for days later. Some smells, however, dogs do not like at all. You can find out which smells these are in our guide.

Dog’s nose – extraordinary olfactory organ

Maybe you are one of those people who can perceive smells very well. Then the 20 to 30 million olfactory sensory cells in your nose are working perfectly and you can distinguish thousands of different smells. Dogs, however, can only smile about even the best human “smellers”, because the four-legged friends smell much more intensively than humans. Up to 250 million olfactory sensory cells are located in the dog’s nose, so that dogs can perceive scent traces that humans cannot even detect. The sense of smell of dogs is so great that they can smell prey miles away, buried avalanche victims or explosives – just to name a few examples. Dogs can even sniff out diseases like cancer or warn of seizures caused by asthma, diabetes or epilepsy.

Overview: Smells dogs don’t like

Whether it’s certain foods, cleaning products or a new perfume, there are many scents that dogs find repulsive. These include the following:
Citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines, pomelos, limes or lemons.

Citrus fruits are found in many households because they taste delicious and are healthy. The scent of oranges or lemons is also used in numerous body care or cleaning products. The scent of citrus gives a certain freshness and the feeling of purity, which is why people like to use it. For dogs, however, the smell of citrus is extremely unpleasant. The acidity of citrus fruits can harm the sensitive mucous membranes of super noses. Dogs can get gastrointestinal problems from citrus fruits. Therefore, they usually stay away from lemons & Co.

Vinegar and food or cleaning products that contain vinegar have a very intense scent for the fine dog nose and can even irritate their mucous membranes. Dogs flee from the acrid smell.


Do not use cleaning products with a vinegar or citrus smell when you keep a dog. He will want to avoid the smell all the time.


To the human nose, ammonia smells like urine. Dogs perceive the unpleasant smell of ammonia more complex and can get long sneezing fits from it. Ammonia is found in fertilizers, for example.
Essential oils

Essential oils that are drizzled into the aroma diffuser, for example, but also aromatic herbs such as basil, lavender or mint are perceived by dogs as very unpleasant. Scented candles and anti-insect candles also contain essential oils.


Cats react specifically to certain aromas. If you’re interested in how certain scents affect cats, check out our guide “What effect do certain scents have on cats?”.

Moth balls and moth strips

Mothballs have a typical scent that is difficult to remove from clothing. This smell is caused by paradichlorobenzene. In the past, naphthalene was used for the typical mothball scent. For dogs, anti-moth products smell disgusting. By the way, paradichlorobenzene and naphthalene are harmful to health and the environment. So dogs rightly keep their distance from them.


As an alternative to the harmful mothballs, you can use lavender sachets and put them in the closet. This way you don’t endanger your furry nose.

Hot spices

Chili, hot peppers or pepper can irritate a dog’s sensitive nose and cause sneezing fits and discharge from the nose. Other spices such as cloves and cinnamon also smell unpleasant to dogs and can even be toxic to animals. After cooking or baking with these spices, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before petting your four-legged friend.
Garlic, onions and leeks

Garlic and onions, the aromatic spices, can hardly be missing from any dish. However, if you could ask dogs about it, they would want absolutely nothing to do with these smells. The reason: Garlic, onions & Co. are poisonous for dogs. They belong to the foods that do not belong in the dog bowls.

Whether it’s perfumes (contain alcohol and essential oils), cleaning products (may contain essential oils, ammonia or vinegar), hot spices or citrus fruits – dogs can’t stand all these flavors. While dogs do get used to the fact that people like to smell “nice” and use scented shower gels, creams or perfume – how much they get used to it depends a lot on the individual animal.


If you use strongly scented products frequently at home, you are creating an environment that is less pleasant for your best friend on four legs.

Drive dogs away: Keep dog away with smell – beware of toxic substances.

On the other hand, you can take advantage of the fact that dogs hate some smells and use them to drive them away.

If you want to keep strange dogs from coming into your garden, you can use scents that are unpleasant for dogs and scare them away in this way. But always keep in mind that some substances that smell unpleasant to dogs can also be poisonous to them.

Well suited for deterrence are the following means:

Aromatic herbs: You can plant herbs, such as lavender or mint, near the entrance to your yard to keep dogs from running onto your lawn or property.

Citrus peels: Crush the peels of oranges, tangerines or lemons with a knife or blender and sprinkle them in the area of the garden you want to keep dog-free.

Vinegar Spray: Mix one part vinegar with five parts water and pour the mixture into a spray bottle. You can use the spray to spray zones that are off limits to the dog. Some things (textiles, plants) are damaged by vinegar. Therefore, try the spray on a small area first and dilute it more if necessary.

TRICK: To protect even delicate things from dogs, soak a cotton ball with vinegar. Then place the soaked cotton ball in such a way that the dog does not get to the forbidden things.

What do dogs do when they don’t like a smell?

Dogs clearly show when “something stinks” to them. The following behaviors are among them:

Lifting their lips

Squinting eyes



(can degenerate into a violent sneezing attack)

Rubbing the muzzle (e.g. on furniture, on the floor or with the paw) discharge from the nose (in case of irritation of the mucous membranes)

Conclusion – what smell dogs do not like

Dogs have regular “super noses” and can smell much better than we humans. Some smells like vinegar or citrus fruits dogs can not stand at all. On some intense smells dogs react with snorting or sneezing and can even get irritation of the nasal mucous membranes on contact.

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