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15+ Ways to Repel Dogs and Cats from your Garden

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Cats and Dogs can wreak havoc on a garden or landscaping by digging and/or defecating near your plants. It can be frustrating trying to keep them out, particularly if they happen to be strays or your neighbors’ dogs and cats. There are a variety of inexpensive methods for repelling dogs and cats from your garden, naturally.

Why you Shouldn’t Allow Dogs & Cats in your Garden

As a pet lover myself, I can certainly understand when people ask, “What’s wrong with letting your pets play in the garden?”. Well, for starters, domestic animals can transmit a variety of illnesses to people. 

Allowing them free access to the garden where food is grown can allow those illnesses to spread. Dog and cat feces is not a healthy fertilizer and allowing them to defecate in the garden can spread parasites.


The high protein diet that dogs and cats consume creates highly acidic excrement that is unhealthy for plants, often burning them.

Both cats and dogs like to dig. This in itself can be extremely damaging to plants in all stages of growth. Imagine spending an entire weekend planting, only to find the seedlings entirely uprooted by an overzealous dog.


15+ Ways to Repel Dogs and Cats from your Garden

1 Citrus is extremely effective at repelling cats and dogs, to use it simply dry citrus rinds such as grapefruit or lemon, then grind it into a powder. Spread liberally over the soil in areas you wish to repel animals.

2 Use any thorny plant clippings like rose or raspberry canes to spread on the soil.

3 Plant some catnip or catmint in an out of the way area to keep cats away from other garden spaces. This is an effective way to naturally draw cats’ attention away from the garden without spraying potentially harmful chemicals. The catmint will automatically reseed itself every year, so it’s cost-effective as well.


4 Combining apple cider vinegar and water at a ratio of one to one is very effective against cats. Mix the ingredients in a spray bottle and apply it where cats prefer to hang out. To increase the repelling capabilities, add 10 drops of citronella, lavender, or lemongrass essential oil as well.

5 Make a tea from rue and spray the boundary of the garden. Cats absolutely abhor rue.

Try planting rue throughout the landscaping and at the edging of gardens to repel them as well as to have enough fresh rue to make your own natural repellent sprays. Rue is a pretty perennial herb with blue, green leaves and yellow flowers. Be aware that it can cause contact dermatitis in some people.

6 Also try planting a thick groundcover like sedum acres, hardy ice plant etc. The thick perennial groundcover makes it more difficult for animals to dig. 


7 Another effective interesting trick is to place mouse traps with the trap side down on the soil. When they are disturbed they will pop into the air and scare the intruder. The trap is already sprung when it jumps so it won’t cause any actual harm to the cats (or any other animal)

8 If you can get seeds from a sweet gum tree try using them as a barrier. These seeds are often referred to as gumballs and are naturally abundant in the fall.

These natural gumballs can be gathered and applied to the garden to create a natural barrier. While non-toxic to animals, the sharp bristles are quite annoying on the feet. Animals of all kinds will avoid contact with them.

B101-repel dogs and cats with Sweetgum seeds
Source: Wikipedia Jim Evans, CC BY-SA 4.0

9 Dogs and cats: Some folks have had success by sprinkling blood meal on the soil. This creates a sensory overload to pets’ sensitive noses.

They’ll immediately seek less offensive areas to roam. In addition to being a great natural repellent, blood meal is also a wonderful fertilizer, rich in nitrogen.

10 Spread pinecones around, creating a complete barrier between plants. While this one is effective on cats, it can actually attract playful dogs.


11 Sprinkle red pepper, cayenne pepper, or black pepper as a barrier to deter cats, dogs, rabbits, groundhogs and squirrels.

Also, try spraying the perimeter of the area with hot pepper spray. Repeat the treatment after a rainfall. Avoid directly spraying plants with this mixture, as it can and likely will burn the plants.

12 Try spraying full-strength lemon juice where animals get in the garden.


13 Plant calendula (pot marigold) which repels dogs. Calendula, in addition to repelling dogs naturally, also tends to repel mosquitoes and other pests, whilst attracting beneficial insects.


14 Sink some plastic bottles into the soil, filled with water in several places in the garden. Dogs and cats supposedly respect freshwater resources and will use other places to do their business.

15 Use chicken wire or plastic mesh disguised under some mulch in garden beds. Cats can’t dig so they won’t (hopefully) poop.


In short, there are a number of effective, inexpensive remedies for naturally repelling dogs and cats from the garden and adjoining landscaping. If you’ve discovered an affordable repellent idea, we’d love to hear it! Please feel free to share it in the comments below.

Tried these ideas? Mention @Budget101com or tag #Budget101

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Cats and Dogs can wreak havoc on a garden or landscaping by digging and/or (Worse!) near your plants, here are 15+ ways to repel dogs and cats from your garden #Gardening #Budget101 #Pets #DirtCheap

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