You love your dog, but you love your garden too. It hurts to see the damage dogs can do to a lawn, whether from running so much they wear pathways through it or digging holes to lie down. Protect your lawn by keeping your dog off it completely.
Dogs don’t like spices, which are biodegradable and harmless to the lawn. Sprinkle black or cayenne pepper or chili powder around the edges of your lawn in moderate quantities. Dogs generally sniff around on the grass and the spices will cause irritation to their nostrils and deter them from going any farther. Alternatively, dissolve your spice of choice in water and pour it into a spray bottle, spraying it around the lawn. Don’t make the solution strong or your dog’s nose could become inflamed and painful.
Used coffee grounds have a strong, bitter scent that dogs commonly dislike. Dry the grounds out in your oven and spread them loosely on the grass and around the edges of the lawn, using approximately one cup of grounds for every 40 square feet of lawn. You can also use them as mulch on any plant beds that border the lawn, which will stop your dog from crossing the beds to reach the grass.
Vinegar and Lemon Juice
Dogs are repelled by the smells of vinegar and lemon juice. You can’t use these directly on the lawn, however, because the vinegar may kill the grass while the lemon juice may cause the sun to burn the blades. Mix vinegar and lemon juice with equal quantities of water and spray the solution around the perimeter of the lawn, or soak cotton balls in the mixture and place them strategically around the lawn area.
Plant flowers and shrubs that repel dogs naturally around the outside edge of the lawn. Plants such as Coleus canina have a pungent odor that dogs don’t like, which will help to keep them away from the grass. (Coleus canina is sold under several common names, such as "scaredy cat plant," that refer to its repellent effect on cats and dogs.) Pot marigold (calendula), lemongrass and citrus trees all help to keep your dog away from the areas in which they grow.
Essential oils such as eucalyptus and citronella have strong odors that deter dogs, with their strong scenting ability. Eucalyptus also repels fleas, so it’s useful around your home and garden. Wipe the oils on the pathways and borders around the lawn, and soak cotton balls in them and place them in strategic positions such as the entrance to the lawn or the plant border.
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Tracey Sandilands has written professionally since 1990, covering business, home ownership and pets. She holds a professional business management qualification, a bachelor's degree in communications and a diploma in public relations and journalism. Sandilands is the former editor of an international property news portal and an experienced dog breeder and trainer.