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Home Pet Q&A Dog Questions Does Citronella Stop Dogs From Digging?

Does Citronella Stop Dogs From Digging?

Citronella may help stop dogs digging, but it can also be dangerous to your pet. Some pet owners find that their dogs don't like the smell of citronella oil, so spraying it in areas where the dog digs can act as a deterrent. The problem is that pets should avoid contact with both citronella plants and oil as it can cause skin irritation and other toxicity issues. While it would take a significant amount to cause serious harm, you may want to find a safer method to discourage digging.

Knowing Why Dogs Dig Can Help You Stop It 

Dogs aren't digging to test your patience or to spitefully destroy your hard work in the flower beds (although it might feel like that sometimes!) The real reasons dogs dig include:

  • Boredom
  • Attempting to Cool Off
  • Hunting
  • Trying to Escape 

For the first three reasons on the list, you may have better luck addressing the cause of the digging rather than the digging itself. Here are a few tips:


Make sure your dog gets lots of playtime and plenty of interaction with his human family members. You can also try loading him up with fun, interactive toys. (Note: Make sure to check toys regularly and to discard them once they are damaged.)

Attempting to Cool Off 

If you find your dog relaxing in the holes he digs, he's likely trying to beat the heat. Any pet that spends a lot of time outside must have proper shelter where he can get out of the sun. On very hot days, consider letting your pet inside where he won't be subject to heat-related illness.


If you see signs of burrowing animals in your yard, such as moles or gophers, hire a humane exterminator who will locate and remove the animals without harming them.

What if your dog is digging to escape? In that case you need to secure the yard to keep your dog safe. Options include blocking the area around the fence with chicken wire, adding an extension to your fence, or burying the fence one to two feet.

While citronella may not be the best option to stop dogs digging, there are plenty of ways to curb the behavior and ensure your dog—and your yard—are both safe. 

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