Stray dogs can be a nuisance and often bring diseases to your family and your pets, unwanted behaviors, and danger to residential yards. Thankfully, there are several strategies you can implement to prevent these creatures from entering your yard.

In this article, we will cover the most effective strategies and measures you can implement right away, to protect your yard from unwanted visitors.

Using a fence

The first and most important step is ensuring that your fence is in good condition. Make sure there are no gaps or broken areas in your fence that a dog could fit through. If there are any exposed areas, repair or replace those sections of the fence.

Fence types

Fencing off your yard’s perimeter is an effective way to keep stray dogs away from your property.

The type of fence you choose will depend on your budget, the size and shape of your yard, and the type of dog you are dealing with. Fences should be at least 6 feet high and made of durable materials such as vinyl, wood, or metal.

You may also consider adding a motion-activated sprinkler system to the fence for extra protection.

Water sprinkler

How to deal with diggers

Also, you need to pay attention to diggers.

Some strays can have access to your yard by digging under the fence that is why you need to go the extra mile by taking some preventive measures, such as:

  • Burying a chicken wire or a sheet of hardware cloth along the perimeter of your fence.
  • Installing an electric fence which will provide an unpleasant shock if the stray animal attempts to dig under it.

It can also help to put additional fencing material on top of the existing fence, such as chicken wire or hardware cloth.

To have an idea about the cost of installing a fence check out this article

Using repellents

Natural / DIY repellents

there are several DIY dog-repellent recipes you can try:

1. Chili Pepper Spray: Mix 2 tablespoons of chili pepper powder, 1 tablespoon of dish soap, and a quart of warm water in a spray bottle.

2. Vinegar Water: Mix one part vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle.

3. Citrus Oil Spray: Mix 1 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of citrus-scented oil in a spray bottle.

Commercial repellents

There are numerous brands of commercial repellents, I’ll give you an overview of the three main products you can find in the market :

Three commercial brands of dog repellents include Dog-OFF, Halti Dog Repellent Spray, and PetSafe Spray Shield Animal Deterrent. The choice of the commercial brand will depend on your individual needs and the type of dog you are looking to deter.

Generally, Dog-OFF and Halt Dog Repellent Spray have been highly rated for their effectiveness in deterring most dogs. In the table below you will find a comparison of the pros and cons of those three brands.

Bodhi Dog Not Here! SprayEconomical, long-lastingGenerally ineffective against aggressive dogs
Halt Dog Repellent SprayEffective for deterring most dogsThe scent may not be pleasant for humans
PetSafe Spray Shield Animal DeterrentInexpensive and easy to useMay not be as effective as other brands
A comparison of the three main commercial dog repellents

Electronic / Mechanical repellents

There are mainly three types of electronic/mechanical stray dog repellents (ultrasonic devices, motion detectors, and electric fences):

  • Ultrasonic devices emit a high-pitched sound that is unpleasant to dogs;
  • While motion detectors can detect movement and trigger an alarm;
  • Whereas, electric fences generate an electric shock that deters dogs from entering your property.

Some common sense good practices

If you come to think of it, what is the thing that can be that enticing for stray dogs to make them take so much risk and trespass into your yard? Well, It has to be food!

Accordingly, it is essential to keep your property free of food or other items that may attract strays. If you often leave pet food or garbage in your yard, this could attract unwanted attention from stray dogs.

To deal with that, always make sure to store your waste in covered containers and pick up any spilled food after meals.

Additionally, it is important to clean up any pet waste as soon as possible, as this is a major draw for strays looking for meals.

Calling an animal control organization

Animal control is responsible for controlling and managing animals in certain areas. They are usually employed by government entities such as city or county governments.

Animal control officers typically handle animal cruelty complaints, enforce animal-related laws, and respond to calls about dangerous or nuisance animals, such as stray dogs. In some areas, they may also be responsible for animal rescue and adoption services.

You can find below a list of the main animal control in the different states of the US:

StateAnimal ControlContact
Alabama Birmingham Animal Services (205) 254-9119
Alaska Alaska State Troopers (907) 269-5588
Arizona Arizona Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (602) 542-3000
Arkansas Little Rock Animal Control (501) 376-0443
California California Department of Fish and Wildlife (888) 334-2258
Colorado Colorado Parks and Wildlife (303) 297-1192
Connecticut Connecticut Department of Agriculture (860) 713-2506
Delaware Delaware Animal Services (302) 255-4646
Florida Animal Care and Protective Services (904) 630-2489
Georgia Georgia Department of Agriculture (404) 656-4914
Hawaii Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (808) 587-4194
Idaho Idaho Department of Fish and Game (208) 334-3700
Illinois Chicago Animal Care and Control (312) 745-1407
Indiana Indianapolis Animal Care and Control (317) 327-1397
Iowa Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (515) 281-5321
Kansas Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (620) 672-5911
Kentucky Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (800) 858-1549
Louisiana Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (225) 925-3900
Maine Maine Warden Service (207) 287-8000
Maryland Baltimore Animal Services (443) 984-7297
Massachusetts Massachusetts Animal Coalition (617) 742-2550
Michigan Michigan Humane Society (313) 872-3400
Minnesota Minnesota Department of Natural Resources(218) 834-1400
Mississippi Mississippi Animal Rescue League (601) 688-7577
Missouri St. Louis Animal Care and Control (314) 645-4610
Montana Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (406) 444-6359
Nebraska Nebraska Humane Society (402) 444-7800
Nevada Nevada Department of Agriculture (775) 353-3601
New Hampshire New Hampshire Fish and Game Department (603) 271-3421
New Jersey New Jersey Department of Health (609) 826-4971
New Mexico Los Lunas Animal Control (505) 562-3757
New York Animal Control of New York City (212) 788-4000
North Carolina North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (888) 248-6834
North Dakota North Dakota Department of Agriculture (701) 328-2231
Ohio Ohio Department of Agriculture (614) 728-6220
Oklahoma Oklahoma City Animal Shelter (405) 297-3100
Oregon Oregon Humane Society (503) 285-7722
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (717) 787-4393
Rhode Island Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management(401) 222-3070
South Carolina South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (803) 734-3886
South Dakota South Dakota Animal Industry Board (605) 773-3321
Tennessee Knox County Animal Control (865) 215-2444
Texas Texas Parks and Wildlife (512) 389-4800
Utah Utah Animal Cruelty Task Force (801) 975-3366
Vermont Vermont Federation of Humane Organizations (802) 223-0034
Virginia Animal Care and Control Unit (804) 358-7387
Washington Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (360) 902-2200
West Virginia West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (304) 558-2771
Wisconsin Wisconsin Department of Agriculture (608) 224-4884
Wyoming Wyoming Game and Fish Department (307) 777-4600
List of animal control in the 50 states of the US


  • Fence off your yard;
  • Use repellents to discourage strays from entering your yard;
  • If the number of strays is important and recurrent think about calling your local animal control organization;
  • Don’t leave food outside: always feed your pets inside;
  • Use waste containers for your garbage: always Keep the trash in hermetic bags then put them in waste containers.
  • You might be interested to know how to make your yard dog-friendly, if so do check this article.

Photo credits:

Dog under the fence, by Erin Murphy, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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