The 6 Best Dog Digging Repellents Australia: Tested 2023
Imagine spending a lot of money and time on making your lawn and garden perfect, only to have it destroyed the second your back is turned.
Unfortunately, for many dog owners, that scenario is an all too common occurrence.
But, there are ways you can put an end to such behaviour.
We teamed up with veterinarians, canine behaviourists and dog parents to form a panel of independent experts and test the best dog digging repellent Australia offers. We tested the most popular options alongside our canine companions before coming together and agreeing on the contents of this guide.
In this article, we have dug up the best dog digging repellent and its close follow-ups which could solve your problems. So, let’s dive straight in.
Quick Picks - The Top 3
Our Number 1 Pick -
Aristopet Home and Garden Repellent Spray
- Non-toxic and plant-based
- Comes in 127 mL and 500 mL packaging
- Can also work on furniture and hard surfaces
- Rather affordable
Runner Up -
Homarden Transparent Deterrent Outdoor Scat Mat
- Long spikes
- Adjustable size
- Can be overlapped for additional coverage
- Very flexible
- 30-day satisfaction guarantee
Third Choice -
Bonide Go Away! Rabbit, Dog, & Cat Repellent Granules
- Safe for use near water sources
- Smell pleasant to humans
- Reapplication twice a month
Australia's Best Digging Deterrents For Dogs Reviewed
Now, let's get on to our list and reviews of the best dog digging deterrents out there. These are the products hand-tested and chosen by our team of independent experts that you, your dog, and your lawn will appreciate most.
What sets this product apart from the rest?
What makes this spray by Aristopet Home so great is its versatility. You can use it on plant pots, flower beds, lawns and even gardens to prevent your pooch from digging in that area. And not just that, but it also works for keeping dogs off furniture and away from walls.
What’s the magic behind it, you might ask? Well, there’s no magic. The product contains methyl nonyl ketone, which is essentially an oil derived from plants such as ginger, guava, wild-grown tomatoes and rue. It’s perfectly safe for both your pets and plants.
To the members of our panel of independent experts, the product didn’t really have a scent, but it affects the animals’ scent receptors and deters them from hanging around.
Unlike our deterrent granules in the number three spot ahead, this repellent comes in liquid form and is packed into a spray bottle, which makes application rather simple and quick. To do so, I simply held the spray about 20 cm to 30 cm from the area and applied.
The manufacturer recommends reapplying it every 12 hours and after the rain, until your dog quits digging. While doing that two times a day may seem like quite a task, it shouldn’t take long before your pooch learns to keep their paws off the prohibited area.
Can’t keep your dog from digging up your plants or crops? Seems like your pooch is unaffected by the scent of our number one choice, so you’ll need a physical deterrent. Well, that’s where this scat mat by Homarden comes in handy.
The scat mat features plastic spikes which are 2.5 cm long. While that seems extreme, our team of independent experts want to assure you the spikes won’t pierce your pooch’s paws or skin. With that being said, stepping on them will be rather uncomfortable and will deter your dog from trying to do that again.
The Homarden Transparent Deterrent Outdoor Scat Mat being tested by our independent expert team.
The scat mat is 2 m long and 28 cm wide, but I was able to cut it with scissors to the desired size and attach the pieces with built-in clips. This allowed me to easily modify the mat to make it suitable for the area I was trying to keep my dog away from. And if needed, I could even overlap the pieces for more thorough coverage.
To keep them in place, you also get eight staples that you simply stake into the ground. That’s more than enough to keep the scat mat stable even on an uneven surface. The spikes are slightly opaque in colour, which makes them somewhat visible from the distance. However, you can sprinkle some soil on top of them to make them less noticeable.
For scat mats with more colour choices, be sure to check out our number five product choice ahead!
While safe for humans, plants and animals, most digging deterrents are harmful to live organisms found in water sources. However, that’s not the case with Bonide Go Away! Granules, which can be used on practically any area you want to keep free from holes. They’re biodegradable and won’t harm the environment.
These granules contain only natural ingredients: cinnamon and thyme oil. I appreciated that these are the scents we people find enjoyable, but that our pets hate, so they’ll stay away from treated areas. Now, what’s great is that I only needed to reapply the product every two weeks or after it rains when used outdoors. This makes it a great option if you live in a dry part of the country.
One thing our team of independent experts noted is that you need to cover not just the area you want to protect, but at least one meter around it as well. If you plan on using the product on a big portion of your yard, then expect to use a good portion of the product. But given that the packaging contains 0.45 kg, we think you should still have spare granules for several applications.
If you live in wetter regions of the country, then reapplying a repellent after every rainfall can become quite tedious. Luckily, digging deterrents also come in crystal form, like this one by Multicrop.
Basically, all I had to do was scatter the crystals over the garden, lawn and any area I wanted to keep my furry digger out of. The crystals turn into little jelly blobs when it rains, as they absorb water. As the weather gets dry and warm, the crystals dry out, but the active ingredient remains inside. But even though it doesn’t get washed off, the crystals lose their potency after around four days, so you should reapply the product frequently.
The compound these crystals contain is methyl nonyl ketone, the same as a our number one pick though in crystal form. It is a non-toxic compound derived from natural resources. The smell is citrusy and orris-like, so it’s pleasant for humans. However, your canine companion won’t like it and will avoid digging in an area sprinkled with crystals.
Just keep in mind that, while it doesn’t affect humans, animals and plants, the crystals are toxic to fish. So make sure to not apply it in an area that’s right next to a pond, canal or any water source nearby.
Whether it’s lawn, garden or flower bed, if you need to keep a large portion of your outdoor area protected from digging, then this scat mat by Pomeat is a good choice for you.
The product is actually a set of ten scat mats which are 40 cm x 30 cm in size. Each piece is covered with spikes and features clips for locking onto other pieces, kind of like our number two product above. You can also further adjust the shape of each scat mat by cutting it with scissors. Finally, the set includes seven staples that allow you to keep the mat attached to the surface.
The scat mat, including the spikes, is made of polypropylene, which is a type of durable, non-toxic plastic. Everyone on our team of independent experts appreciated that the spikes aren’t sharp enough to hurt our pooches, but aren’t comfortable to step on. That’s why your dog will think twice before trying to dig over the scat mat.
What’s great about this scat mat is that it comes in two colours: black and beige. Depending on the colour of your landscape, you can blend it into the surroundings without being too obvious. That way the scat mat won’t deter too much from the aesthetics of your yard.
If your fence has no concrete foundation, that can be a weak spot for digging a tunnel. But even if your dog is an escape artist, that doesn’t mean you need to invest too much in altering your fence. There are products, like this No Dig wire fencing by Letersu that are affordable and easy to install.
The design of this wire fencing is simple. The set contains ten panels, each 33 cm wide and 43 cm long. To install the fencing, I didn’t need a shovel but a hammer to easily stake the panels into the ground. Each panel features clips, which allowed me to attach them to other panels for additional stability. Aside from preventing my dog from digging a tunnel through, this fence also prevented small animals and rodents from passing underneath the fence as well.
No matter how big of a chewer your dog might be, our panel of pros believe that you don’t have to worry about damaging the fencing. Since the panels are made of thick metal, it’s practically impossible for your dog to destroy them. The metal is also treated with baking paint to prevent rusting, so it’s not affected by weather elements.
Why Do Dogs Dig In The First Place?
In order to effectively deal with your dog’s digging, you need to understand the actual cause of such behaviour. Sometimes, a digging deterrent for dogs isn’t enough to deal with the problem, so you need to consider the root of the issue when figuring out how to deal with it.
Now, our team of independent experts note that there are many reasons why dogs may resort to digging.
Related: Why Do Dogs Dig?
It’s Their Instinct
Many dog breeds were historically used for hunting animals and pest control (1). Dachshunds would burrow into the ground to hunt badgers, while Miniature Schnauzers would chase rodents into dirt and holes.
So, while your pooch might never have chased anything else but a ball, this behaviour is simply instinctive. Even for non-hunting breeds, digging is simply in their DNA.
To Get Out
The grass is always greener on the other side, or at least that’s what your dog might think. Now, maybe your intact pooch senses a potential partner on the other side of the fence (2). Or maybe your dog is suffering from separation anxiety and can’t stand the thought of being home alone when you’re at work.
Whatever the reason, digging a tunnel underneath the fence is a much easier way out for your pooch than going over it.
To Make a Safe Shelter
Dogs need to feel safe and secure in order to enjoy a carefree nap. Inside, they would usually scratch and dig in their beds, so that’s what they’d do outside as well. You see, the ground can be pretty uncomfortable to sleep on - luckily, your canine companion knows a few tricks to make it softer.
To Cool Down
The weather can get rather warm here in Australia, especially for your furry friend. If there’s no adequate shade around, your dog might resort to digging a hole to cool down.
Now, this makes sense. As you probably know, the temperature goes down the lower you go into the ground. Northern breeds do this all the time to deal with non-nordic weather. So, the deeper your pooch’s hole is, the cooler the soil will be.
To Bury Stuff
This is yet another reason that comes instinctively to dogs (3). Dog’s wild ancestors would bury leftover food for later, as they never knew when they would find another meal.
Now, your pooch can rest assured that the next meal will be at the same time as every day. Still, that ancestral instinct in your dog may be too strong. What’s interesting is that it doesn’t have to be food that’s buried. Your canine companion may also bury something “important,” like a bone or a favourite toy (4).
A dog burying stuff is double trouble for your yard. Why? Well at some point, your pooch will want to retrieve the “hidden stash,” which will lead to more digging.
They’re Stressed Or Bored
Finally, some dogs may resort to digging as a way of relieving stress or boredom. Whichever the reason might be, what’s clear is that by digging, they’re channelling their negative thoughts into making a nice hole in your backyard.
The Types Of Dog Digging Repellents
Undoubtedly, the most effective way to deal with digging is to create some kind of barrier between your dog and the soil. Our panel of experts are happy to share that you have a few options available, all with their advantages and disadvantages.
If you’re dealing with a dog that digs underneath the fence, then wire fencing is your best option. This is essentially a smaller metal barricade that consists of metal rods welded together with small gaps in between. The rods are usually between 20 cm and 40 cm long, and you can stake them at the bottom edge of the yard fence.
The great thing about wire fencing is that it’s quick and easy to install. You don’t even need tools, as you can use anything sturdy to hammer the fencing down into the ground. Once hammered down, the rods prevent your dog from creating a tunnel underneath the construction.
Scat mats, also known as prickle strips, are mats with upright spikes that prevent animals, including dogs, from digging out. They’re made of plastic, so they’re not sharp enough to hurt your dog when stepping on the mat. To be fair, it might pinch a little, but that will typically be more than enough to keep your pooch from trying that again.
These mats are usually adjustable, so they’re easy to tailor to your backyard’s shape. You need to stake them down to anchor them in place, which will prevent your dog from getting around them.
Finally, we can rely on dogs’ noses to keep them from digging. You see, dogs have a sense of smell that’s between 1,000 to 10,000 times stronger than ours (5). So they can zero in on and identify a scent that is undetectable to our noses.
Liquid repellents contain certain ingredients with scents that dogs find repulsive. Those ingredients can be either natural or synthetic, but they’re always non-toxic for pets. That’s what makes them different from other pest repellents, which can often be harmful to many animals, including dogs.
However, not all liquid repellents contain ingredients that are just as safe for plants, insects or fish. That’s something to keep in mind when choosing between different products.
Prevention Is Key: Channel Digging Into A More Appropriate Activity
If you think that a digging repellent will magically solve all your problems, it won’t. And while your pooch might not be able to dig your backyard, that destructive motivation may be directed towards something else.
If your dog is digging because of boredom, that’s an easy one to fix. Keep your dog mentally and physically stimulated throughout the day, through walks, playtime and even some trick learning. If the reason for digging is cooling down, then provide your dog with a shaded spot to rest during the warmer hours of the day.
Finally, if your pooch finds digging to be simply an instinctive and fun behaviour, then why not embrace it in a more appropriate way? You can do that by allowing your canine companion to dig in a specific area. The best option is to build a sandbox, which is less messy and easier to upkeep.
My Final Thoughts
There are many great products that can help in keeping your dog from digging the yard.
Hands down, our team of independent experts could all agree that the best spray to stop dogs digging is Aristopet Home and Garden Repellent Spray. It’s plant-based and non-toxic, and can be used on a variety of surfaces. This is basically a training tool, as after a few weeks your dog will learn to stay away from treated spots.
However, if you need more of a “physical barrier,” we think the Homarden Transparent Deterrent Outdoor Scat Mat will do the trick. It’s adjustable and easy to set up, so you can make it fit the area you need to protect.
Dogs that were primarily bred for hunting down vermin and other animals are most well-known for their digging behaviour. Northern breeds, like Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes, are also diggers, although they do it for denning purposes.
Aside from potentially being caused by anxiety, digging can also be harmful to dogs in a physical sense. Obsessive digging can cause broken nails, paw lacerations and even the formation of ulcers. Furthermore, dogs digging their way out are at risk of getting hit by a car or injured by other animals they encounter.
Since dogs have such a strong sense of smell, some strong fragrances can potentially work as a digging deterrent. Ingredients like vinegar and lime juice are a few examples of scents dogs find repulsive. However, the problem with natural deterrents is that they’re often not strong enough to keep the dogs away.
- Gibeault, S. October 25, 2019. “Why Do Dogs Dig?”. American Kennel Club. Retrieved March 12, 2023. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/why-is-my-dog-digging/
- Agadoni, L. “Why Dogs Try to Dig Out of the Yard” The Nest. Retrieved March 12, 2023. https://pets.thenest.com/dogs-try-dig-out-yard-9743.html
- Jeske, R.J. and Kuznar, L.A., 2001. Canine digging behavior and archaeological implications. Journal of field archaeology, 28(3-4), pp.383-394. Retrieved March 12, 2023. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1179/jfa.2001.28.3-4.383
- Strassburger, J. February 15, 2023. “Why Do Dogs Bury Bones?”. Whole Dog Journal. Retrieved March 12, 2023. https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/behavior/why-do-dogs-bury-bones/
- Llera, R; Buzhardt, L. “How Dogs Use Smell to Perceive the World”. VCA Animal Hospital. Retrieved March 12, 2023. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/how-dogs-use-smell-to-perceive-the-world
- Horwitz, D; Landsberg, G. “Dogs and Destructive Digging”. VCA Animal Hospital. Retrieved March 12, 2023. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/dogs-and-destructive-digging