The number of stray dogs roaming around towns, cities, and even out in the country has been on a steady rise over the past few years. With today’s “throw away” mentality it’s no wonder: there are those who have forgotten how, or were simply never taught, to value the things they own or the world they live in or (in the case of animals) to understand the responsibility that goes with it. Unfortunately, this mentality has even spread to living things that were once cared for. Dogs are oftentimes dumped far away from their “home” and left to fend for themselves or simply just allowed by their owners (with complete disregard to others) to wander wherever they please. I’m not trying to be a d**k. I’m well aware that sometimes a stray dog is the result of a very difficult decision. Dogs are luxuries, and sometimes people run into hard times and can’t afford to take proper care of their dog. However, proper accommodations are not always made and these dogs can end up as strays. Regardless of how a stray dog ended up on the street, they can and often do become nuisances…hence the need to get rid of them.

There is a wide range of problems caused by stray dogs. If you’re lucky, you may simply be dealing with a dog that has decided it really likes dropping bombs on your lawn. Poop is one thing, but if stray animals are peeing in your yard, that can be a little more problematic. The nitrogen burn caused by dog urine is an ugly pain in the ass. Those brown patches of dead grass can be hard to repair. Besides that, your own dog is gonna be curious about that foreign pee and will inevitably have to check it out at 11:30 at night when it’s ten below zero and you just want your dog to hurry up and take a leak so you can get outta the cold and get to bed. Even worse than a stray dog relieving itself in your yard is when they decide to tear it up in your flower beds and gardens. The worst thing, though, is when the stray dog seems like it might be dangerous. You shouldn’t have to be afraid to go out, send your kids out, or take your own dogs out into your own yard. Don’t get me wrong here. I absolutely love dogs and have had them around all my life. I’m just a fed up with the ever increasing stray dog problem.

Best Methods of Stray Dog Control

Assess the situation

Before getting all freaked out and taking drastic measures, figure out what’s going on. There’s a good chance the dog hanging out in your yard is just a neighbor’s dog who wandered away. Accidents happen. Don’t be careless, but try to figure out if the dog seems to pose any threat. If it seems harmless, check to see if it’s wearing tags with the owner’s contact info. This could save everyone a lot of unneeded stress.

Call someone

If the stray dog seems aggressive or you simply don’t want to take any chances, make a phone call instead. You can call the police (non-emergency), animal control, or even the humane society. Yes, they may come and trap the dog and if no one comes looking for it, the animal may get euthanized. But if someone cares for that animal, these are the places they will be looking for it. I know it’s an unpleasant thought, but keep in mind that euthanization is far less painful than dying of starvation

Protect yourself

Not every stray dog you run across is going to be friendly. Some are dangerous. For this reason, avoidance is your safest bet. Try to give stray dogs a wide berth and try to avoid direct eye contact. In some cases this is not an option. For those times when you might run into an aggressive or dangerous dog, you should carry some pepper spray. It hurts like hell, but it’s effective. Some people go a tad more extreme and carry stun guns or cattle prods. I can’t imagine that that’s legal . . . I’m just sayin’. You can get SprayShield from Petsafe at Amazon.

Coerce dog owners into keeping a tighter reign

It might mean I’m an ass, but I think this is hilarious. For nuisance dogs that aren’t dangerous, go to the sporting goods store and get a bottle of either buck lure or skunk spray, and keep it at the ready. When you see the offending dog, give him a couple of squirts of the stuff. The dog will stink like hell, go home, and share that stench with its owners. After this happens a few times, the owners might think twice about letting their dog roam.

Use Deterrents to Get Rid of Stray Dogs

According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are approximately 74.8 million dogs owned in the United States. Pretty staggering. That being said, it’s pretty obvious that you will at some point have to deal with a stray dog in your yard. Fortunately for you and for the companies who make the stuff, there’s pretty high demand for commercial stray dog deterrents. The most common of these dog deterrents are available in either spray or granule form. There’s even a pretty good number of electronic dog deterrents available that repel dogs with high frequency sound. See below for a few different brand suggestions.


Boundary Indoor/Outdoor Dog Repellent, Farnam B’Have Indoor/Outdoor Dog Repellent, Spray Shield Animal Deterrent Spray, Ropel Spray


Boundary Dog and Cat Repellent Granules, Repel Dog & Cat Repellent, Ropel Dog & Cat Repellent, Grant’s Dog & Cat Repellent


Dazer Ultrasonic Dog Deterrent, StrayBan for Stray Dogs, Yard Gard Ultrasonic Animal Repeller, or the Yard Sentinel Ultrasonic Repeller, sold by Amazon

Best Tips for Keeping Strays Out of Flowers

Put down a layer of landscaping rock like quartz or lava rock

The slightly sharp edges are unpleasant for dogs to walk on.

Scatter crushed mothballs around the area

The strong smell helps to deter dogs by masking the sweet smell of the flowers.

Sprinkle crushed red pepper all around your flower or vegetable garden

Buy it in bulk at Asian food markets.

Plant small cacti intermittently around your other plants

Dogs and other animals will learn quickly to avoid the area.

Best Eco-Friendly Dog Deterrents

ScareCrow Automatic Outdoor Animal Deterrent

This is a great product that causes absolutely no harm to anyone or anything. It is a motion-activated sprayer that sends a short burst of water flying when the sensor is tripped. Startled dogs will quickly go elsewhere.

Cayenne and black pepper

By mixing these two together you come up with a safe, natural, and cheap stray dog deterrent that can be sprinkled around the perimeter of your yard or gardens. The downside is that frequent reapplication will be necessary.

Put up a fence

I hate to state the obvious, but this is a nearly fool-proof method for keeping nuisance dogs out of your yard without using any strange or smelly substances. This will also help keep other critters from entering and provide a safer area for your own pets.

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About the Author

Eric Ronning