What Scents Do Dogs Hate?

What Scents Do Dogs Hate?

As a proud dog owner, you know what makes your pup’s tail wag, but have you ever wondered, “What scents do dogs hate?”.

When you consider that a dog has 50 times the amount of scent receptors humans have, and their sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times more acute than ours (yes–you read that right!), it only makes sense to take your pup's scent-itivities into account when filling the room with your favorite aromas. If you’re as eager to please your pup as they are to play ball or go for a walk, then you’ll take note of these top scents dogs hate and replace them with ones they love.

What Scents Do Dogs Hate?

Hot Peppers & Ground Spices

While it may not come as a surprise, dogs aren’t big fans of hot peppers or spicy smells. The main reason is that hot peppers and spicy herbs contain capsaicin, a compound irritating to pups. While capsaicin isn’t necessarily toxic to dogs, it can cause burning, irritation, sneezing, and digestive issues (especially if they find your Taco Tuesday leftovers!). While your pup may not be sniffing the spice rack regularly, perfumes and home fragrance products may contain these spicy or pungent scents, so double-check those labels!


It’s hard to believe that dogs crave whatever’s rotting in the trash but can’t bear the smell of fresh herbs. However, it’s true! Pungent herbs like rosemary, mint, and basil are enough to make a dog crazy. Despite their distaste, these scent aversions can come in handy when reinforcing good behavior–especially when you want to keep your dig-happy dog out of your garden.

Citrus Scents

For many, citrus scents indicate a clean home. For dogs, citrus scents are the enemy. Citrus scents like lemon, lime, oranges, and grapefruit–especially in high concentrations often found in household cleaners or essential oils–can cause irritation to your pup’s respiratory tract, so keep any fresh citrus fruits out of your dog's reach. You know–just in case.

What Scents to Try Instead

We’re not fans of focusing on the negative. So now that you know what scents dogs despise, here are some uplifting facts about pup-approved scents you and your canine companion can enjoy together.


Mmm, vanilla–what’s not to love? If your dog could talk, he’d tell you vanilla is a sniff-worthy scent he can’t get enough of. How do we know? Because science said so! 

A study published by Applied Animal Behaviour Science discovered that vanilla actually has a calming effect on rescue dogs. The study found these pups barked less and exhibited fewer nervous movements. So, go ahead and treat your pup (and yourself!) to the calm and luxurious scent of vanilla by popping a few of Happy Wax’s  scented wax melt scents like Vanilla Orchid or Vanilla Bean Latte into your wax warmer!

Coconut & Ginger

Another scent dogs can’t get enough of is coconut. In fact, the aforementioned study also tested coconut and ginger on rescue dogs, and found both helped reduce feelings of anxiety, and improved sleeping behaviors. Even if your dog isn’t a rescue or spending time in a kennel, scents of coconut and ginger are two pup-approved aromas that also smell fantastic throughout your home.


Did you know that dogs are more likely to play with toys that smelled like lavender? While herbs and spices will have your dog turning up his nose, lavender-scented toys were actually found to significantly reduce stress-related behaviors and increase play with the scented toy. Aside from these findings, lavender is one of the most popular aromatherapy scents for humans and pets alike, helping to calm feelings of stress, fear, and agitation. Not to mention–it smells fantastic.

Discover Pet-Friendly Soy Wax Melts at Happy Wax® Today!

At Happy Wax®, we take pride in creating natural soy wax melts infused with high-quality essential oils for every two and four-legged family member to safely enjoy. Browse and shop our new soy wax melts and best-selling wax melts today to find your furry friend’s favorite scents! New to Happy Wax®? Our wax warmer kits come with a wax warmer and your choice of wax melts, making it simple to melt the stress away right out of the box. Shop today!

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