How to Keep Dogs Out of Flower Beds (Cheap and Humane Solutions)

by Reader Contributors

How to Keep Dos Out of Flower Beds photo

Once a dog has marked your planter as their turf, it can be tough keeping them away. Here are some humane, affordable solutions for discouraging dogs from doing their business in your flower beds.

Dear Dollar Stretcher,
I have a big island flower bed in my front yard full of azaleas, perennials, etc. We live in a small neighborhood right outside of city limits. There are 4 dogs across the street, no fences, chains, etc. And, guess what? They are males and they love to come into my flower bed and do their business. The urine is burning up my plants.

I have small white fences around all my other individual bushes because they were damaging them but I hate to put a fence around this large bed. Anyone have any suggestions on a deterrent? I know you can buy the granules at the home stores, but they are usually expensive and don’t last once it rains. Any humane suggestions for how to keep dogs out of flower beds and gardens inexpensively?
Debbie C.

Inexpensive Ways to Keep Dogs Out of Flower Beds

We asked our frugal readers for suggestions and received many helpful responses. See if one of their solutions will help keep dogs out of your flower beds and planters.

Try Jerry Baker’s Recipe

I got the following recipe from Jerry Baker on PBS:

2 1/2 parts Flour
1 part Cayenne Pepper
1 1/2 parts Dry Mustard Powder

Sprinkle around the area as needed. If it rains, it will have to be replaced

I have noticed that the cats do stay away from my deck. Am not sure how it will work with dogs, but Jerry Baker’s ideas are usually very good.
Carol D.

‘Stickers’ Will Keep Dogs Out of Flower Beds

After cleaning the flower bed of grass and weeds, prune back your rose bushes. Cut the trimmings into six to eight inch pieces and scatter over the bed. The dogs do not like walking on the thorns on the rose bush clippings. The sticky leaves and trimmings from a holly bush will work also.
John W.

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Talk to the Owners

I know you were looking for some type of homemade remedy to rectify your dilemma. Instead why not try speaking to your neighbors about the situation? Is there a leash law in your area? Perhaps if speaking to your neighbors does not help, a call to the local police or animal rescue would.

Another inexpensive way to deter the dogs from entering your yard would be to spray them with your garden hose each time they enter your yard. I have a dog myself, and I am an animal lover. I do feel it’s your neighbor’s responsibility to prevent the dogs from entering your yard and destroying your beautiful flowers.
Deb T.

Try Clothes Hangers

My mother’s dog did the same thing to her flower beds until she made this deterrent: Take a wire clothes hanger and unbend it, leaving the rod part still bent. Stick the straight part into the ground, with the bent part pointing out and at the approximate height of the dog in question’s bottom.

When the male dog lifts his leg, he gets poked just a little. Works for her!

A Pepper Protectant Will Keep Dogs Out of Your Flower Beds

Go to the bulk barn and get black pepper (still intact, not ground up already) and an assortment of chili peppers, cayenne peppers, and anything else that makes your eyes water when you open the big bulk lids!

When you get home, grind up the black peppers as you use them (they will be fresher and more effective). Mix the black and various other peppers together in a sandwich bag, and then spread it in your garden wherever the dogs/cat go. They always sniff first, and they will get a nose full of pepper and go away unhappy. You will have to repeat every few days for about two weeks. The dogs remember not to go to your lawn because of the peppers after a few times.

You will end up spending as little as $5.00 or less. A little goes a long way.

Use Moth Balls

One way she might try as a dog deterrent in her flower bed is to put moth balls around the edges. It will take away the sweet smell of the flowers, but once the dogs are broken of using the flower bed, they seldom return and the moth balls will dissolve with watering after a couple of weeks.
Richard G.

Detergent Solution That Is Also Good for Plants

One of the best ways to keep dogs out of anywhere is to put a small piece of their poop in the spot that you want to protect. A dog will naturally avoid digging, etc. in its own poop. Your problem is that you have several dogs visiting you and you don’t have access to their individual deposits.

You might try neutralizing all of their odors by spraying the entire area with a mixture of 1/3 dish washing detergent with 2/3 water. This is good for your plants and is used routinely by organic gardeners.

Really…It Works

Here in Australia, it’s common to see water-filled soft-drink bottles on lawns and gardens. People swear that this keeps dogs away. (Don’t ask how, but I’ve seen it work).

Just take an empty 1 1/2 liter or 2 liter soft drink bottle (clear plastic), take off any wrappers and fill it with water. Put it out on the flower bed (just lay on side) and see if it works on US dogs!

Ammonia Mixture

Want to know how to keep dogs out of flower beds? All you have to do is to spray ammonia mixtures into the flower bed. The smell will keep the dogs away.
James K.

Hair Can Keep Dogs Out of Flower Beds!

You could try this and it is free.

Take your hair clippings and sprinkle over the beds. You may need to get other members of your family to “donate” hair for this. The theory is that as dogs sniff around, the hairs irritate them to make them go away (and possibly sneeze too!) and they learn to stay away from your flower beds.

Worked for me!
Nancy L.

Reviewed October 2021

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