Has your home become the "go to" place for all the strays in the neighborhood? Or is your own doggie suddenly marking his territory all over the house and yard? There's no need to buy expensive pet repellents -- you can make your own at home.
Determine whether you need a repellent for dogs or for cats. If it's cats, stay away from ammonia -- to them it smells like pee and it will encourage them to come around more often, peeing again and again on the spot. Dogs, on the other hand, can't stand the smell of ammonia. Go ahead and dip a few cotton balls in ammonia and throw them around the garden or yard and see the dogs take off for greener pastures. Need help indoors? The same rules apply, but you can spray the liquid on furniture instead of dropping cotton balls everywhere.
Sprinkle red chili pepper flakes in the trouble areas if the problem is outside. If your animals are going for a particular plant, create a circle around it using the pepper flakes. If not, just go around sprinkling here and there in random areas. If the animals stick around, sprinkle some more. Pepper flakes are an irritant; they cause sneezing, so any smart animal will stop coming around after his first encounter with the flakes.
Go with vinegar if your problem is with both dogs and cats. Spray vinegar on the ground but not directly on the plants, as it can damage them. You can also use vinegar indoors to keep pets off furniture and to prevent them from peeing in certain areas.
Are you trying to keep strays away from you when you're out in the neighborhood? A small spray bottle filled with vinegar can become your own "pepper spray" for dogs. Just make sure you don't aim at the dog's face -- vinegar can sting if it hits the eyes. A quick spray right into the air and the dog will get the message.
Make things "lemony." Cats hate citrus smells, and dogs are not too fond of them either. Cheapest option? Spread some orange or lemon peel around the areas you want to keep pet-free. You can also make some fresh lemon or orange juice, add some water and use that as a spray. Pets being persistent? Buy some citrus oil, which is a lot stronger than fresh juice. Add a few drops to a glass of water and use that as a spray.
- Don't discount the value of more practical deterrents. A motion-activated sprinkler system or motion-activated lights can scare animals enough to send them running from your garden.
Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.