Will Mothballs Keep Dogs From Pooping In My Yard?


So you’ve found dog poop in your backyard, you don’t own a dog yourself so you know that it must be that pesky mutt next door. Not only is dog poop gross It’s also technically an environmental hazard according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. 

Dog poop can pose a serious health risk to you and your family. It contains a huge range of really nasty diseases. To add further insult to injury dog poop can also cause long lasting damage to the lawn as it contains excess nitrogen.

Will mothballs keep dogs from pooping in my yard?

So what do you do if your neighbour’s dog keeps pooping in your yard? In an ideal world, dog owners would keep a better eye on their pets so this wouldn’t be an issue, but we don’t live in an ideal world. 

Unfortunately, short of making an ugly scene with your neighbours there isn’t really a solution to this.. or is there?

Recently I have been hearing that there is indeed a potential solution to this problem and that this ‘miracle’ solution would only cost you $1 a pop!

“So what is this solution?” you ask.

The answer apparently: Mothballs!

Yes, those little balls of chemical pesticide and deodorant used to repel moths can also be used to keep unwanted dogs away from your yard. Simply put Mothballs smell bad, meaning that it will put intruding animals off using your backyard as their personal potty. 

But aren’t mothballs poisonous to dogs?

Yes unfortunately and this is a pretty big catch. Perhaps the main downside of using mothballs to repel dogs from your yard is that they are in fact poisonous to dogs if they are directly ingested. In fact even a small amount can pose serious health risks to dogs and may require them to receive immediate treatment. 

So in summary, should you use mothballs to repel dogs from your property? Although it’s handy to have something that will keep dogs off your yard, you simply can’t go around poisoning your neighbours pets (no matter how annoying they may be!) 

Mothballs are so toxic that even the fumes are also poisonous to dogs. Not only this but mothballs can also be harmful to humans, especially if you are exposed to the fumes long term. It is also possible for them to be ingested by unsuspecting young children who stumble upon them! 

What are some other cons of using mothballs?

Another thing you need to be prepared for is the smell. You see, mothballs have a very distinctive odour which can work wonders in keeping animals away from your property, however it may also have the unintended side effect of keeping people away as well. In other words don’t expect the smell to go down too well with your neighbours…  The smell can also linger long after the mothballs have gone and can be a real bitch to get out!

You will also need to be constantly replacing your mothballs as they typically only last up to a year at a maximum, but also only 2 months at a minimum. They will also dissolve in the rain meaning that you could potentially be going through a lot of them if you live in a particularly rainy climate.

Are mothballs poisonous to plants and grass?

In short: Yes. As mothballs usually contain either naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, they can also be harmful to the environment. These chemicals are very toxic and can cause a lot of damage if they get into your soil and plants. Ironically, they can do a lot more damage to your garden the pests you are trying to keep out. It’s for these reasons that mothballs are actually illegal to use for any other purpose other than what is stated on the label. 

So in summary, yes mothballs will keep dogs from using your yard to poop, however you will be forever known in your neighbourhood as a smelly dog murderer. Don’t expect to get many trick or treaters next Halloween! 

What are other good natural dog repellents and why do they work?

Well perhaps the first thing you can do is to ensure that you have a tall and sturdy enough fence constructed around your property. You will also want to ensure that the fence goes around 6 inches underground to stop dogs from tunnelling underneath as well. This is probably the best way to keep unwanted dogs out of your yard.

Failing that there are plenty of natural dog repellents that can work wonders. Chilli Peppers, for example is an excellent way of keeping unwanted dogs out of your yard. Chilli Peppers irritate the sensitive area around a dog’s nose which should prevent them from singling out your yard as their dumping ground in future. 

Ammonia is another great way of repelling dogs. Dogs hate the smell of ammonia, so by placing ammonia soaked cotton balls around your garden it should keep them out. Be sure not to pour ammonia directly onto the ground however, as this can harm your plants! If you don’t have any ammonia to hand at the moment, vinegar or rubbing alcohol should also do the trick, however once again avoid pouring directly onto your garden!

If you don’t fancy the idea of leaving strong unpleasant smelling substances around your garden, dogs also don’t like the smell of citrus so cutting up some oranges and lemons and leaving them around should also deter any unwanted canine attention to your property.

There are plenty of other scents that dogs can’t stand, however make sure whatever repellent you use isn’t toxic! Whatever you use you will need to be sure to reapply after each time it rains.

Failing that there are also a good number of dog and cat repellents on the market which apparently work wonders in keeping your garden a pest free zone.

What should I do if my neighbour’s dog keeps pooping in my yard?

If, despite these measures your neighbour’s dog does keep pooping on your property what do you do? Before doing anything too drastic make absolutely sure it was their dog and instead of a stray dog or other animal. If this has been a one time occurrence it may not be worth potentially starting any unwanted drama with your neighbour over such a minor infraction. However, if you know for sure the culprit is your neighbour’s dog and this has been something that’s been happening for a while you will need to confront them about it.

Remember that dog owner’s are very protective of their little fur babies and don’t tend to take kindly to any sort of criticism so you will want to make sure you have your facts straight before heading over. Perhaps ask around at a few of your neighbours houses to see if this is an issue that they are experiencing as well or if they have seen any animals in your yard. Also keep an eye out yourself for any animals that may pass by. You may also want to consider inspecting the ‘specimen’ yourself in order to see if it was left by a small or large animal. 

Once you have done your detective work and concluded that your neighbours dog is in fact to blame find a polite way to broach the subject with them. Remember to avoid using accusatory language (use more “I” phrases than “you” phrases) for example, “I have noticed that recently your dog has been using my yard to go to the toilet, I was wondering if maybe you could pick up the mess next time?” 

Most rational people will be more than happy to oblige such a reasonable request, unfortunately however there are some dog owners who don’t believe it’s their responsibility to pick up their dog’s mess. If you continue to have problems there are some further actions you can take. Remember at the end of the day this is your property so the law is on your side. Set up some cameras and collect whatever evidence you can and then present them to the authorities. 

Whatever you do don’t lose your cool. As satisfying as it would be to put the poop in a bag and light it on fire on your neighbours doorstep or begin a shouting match at your neighbour, this is not the answer here!

I hope you found this post helpful, be sure to try each of these suggestions out and see which ones work best for you!

James Grayston

My name is James and I love dogs. have owned four Golden Retrievers in the past 15 years. Currently I own two "Goldies"- a five year old and a seven month old. The photo shows me with our youngest when she was about 7 weeks old!