Will Mothballs Keep Dogs From Peeing On Plants? (Explained)

will mothballs keep dogs from peeing on plants
will mothballs keep dogs from peeing on plants

Surveys suggest that more than 80% of Americans have a lawn, and over 75% consider it an important consideration when purchasing a home.

Studies estimate that a well-maintained lawn can increase your home’s value by as much as 15%. In addition to that, it produces oxygen and improves the air quality of your home.

With that out of the way, pet owners would know how pets can damage plants. Pets see your plants as fragrant and easy-to-access toys and can hurt them big time. No one likes seeing their pets damaging the lawn, especially when they have invested so much time in maintaining it.

dog pee is harmful to plants

It’s no secret that dog pee is harmful to plants. It is full of nitrogen, urea, and uric acid, which causes your plants to dry quickly. Not only does this lead to leaf burn, but it also alters the pH of the soil.

There is no denying the importance of the right pH for plant growth. Too alkaline or acidic pH will disturb the number of nutrients in the soil. Over time, this will cause severe damage to your plants.

Mothballs are widely used by many landscapers to prevent dogs from peeing on plants. There is much to debate when it comes to their role in keeping dogs away from plants.

Some believe that they work well, while others are of the opinion that they cause additional damage to plants. So, can it keep dogs from peeing on plants? If not, what are other effective ways to repel dogs? That would be the premise of our discussion today.

Will Mothballs Keep Dogs From Peeing On Plants?

First things first, mothballs are small balls kept in garments to repel rats, snakes, and other insects. They emit a strong, distinctive odor as they sublimate from solid to gas. They come in many shapes, including balls, cubes, powder, and many others.

No one finds the smell of mothballs pleasing, but dogs particularly hate it. So, if you are sick and tired of seeing your dog peeing on the plants, using mothballs would be an effective way to keep them away from plants.

Risks of Using Mothballs

Having said that, it is important to note that mothballs are harmful to pets, kids, and insects. It must be used in confined spaces, as it is dangerous to human health.

They were made of camphor back in the day, which was relatively less harmful. Nowadays, most of them are made of naphthalene, which is a harsh chemical.

Whether mothballs are made of naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, both are toxic and become a gas when exposed to air. Inhaling it can lead to breathing problems, especially if you are allergic to pungent smells. This is why some mothballs are illegal in many states.

Inhaling or consuming mothballs can cause severe harm to pets and humans. Since they are round and colorful, kids may mistake them for candies and eat them. Therefore, it is recommended to always keep the mothballs away from the reach of both children and dogs.

reaching out to a doctor immediately

If your dog or kids consume them, consider reaching out to a doctor immediately. Breathing difficulty, vomiting, dark urine, and irritation on the skin are the common symptoms often associated with mothballs consumption. If you notice any of these symptoms, consider seeking medical help.

If possible, put the mothballs in a plastic bag and take them to the doctor so they can check their type and treat accordingly. As mentioned earlier, mothballs come in different types and are treated differently depending on their chemicals.

Using Mothballs Safely

Using Mothballs Safely

When used with caution, mothballs are relatively safe to use. However, it would be better not to use them to keep dogs away from plants. This is because mothballs are not made to be used in open areas and lawns.

As mentioned above, they turn into a gas over time. So, their vapors will spread in the atmosphere and cause numerous health problems.

If you want to use mothballs in your garden anyway, consider placing them inside the pots of your plants. This way, their vapors won’t spread as much, and they will be away from the reach of your dogs and kids.

In addition to that, it is recommended to split the mothballs into tiny pieces and place them a few feet apart from each other. In case your dog swallows, a tiny piece will cause relatively less harm.

And yes, it would be a good idea to remove them after a day or two. This will leave their smell in your plants while reducing the risk. Their smell will dissipate after a few days, and you can put them again to keep your dog from peeing on plants.

Never mix it with other insecticides or other chemicals. Instructions are usually given on the package. So, make sure to go through the instructions before using mothballs.

Other Ways to Keep Dogs From Peeing on Plants

Other Ways to Keep Dogs From Peeing on Plants

It turns out that there are better and safer methods to keep your dog away from the plants. If your lawn is big enough, you can build fences. The good thing about fencing is that it also improves the overall look of your yard. Decorative fences of many types are available nowadays.

Aside from that, if the dog pee has distributed the soil pH and made it alkaline, using some acidic substance or compost will bring the pH back to normal.

Mulching can also keep dogs from peeing on plants. For this purpose, you will need to mulch your plants with materials your dog doesn’t like. This will make the area less inviting for your dog.

Ideally, the dogs should be given the training to prevent the problem in the first place. So, designate a specific area and train your dog to pee in that area only. When it does, reward it with its favorite candies to encourage it. Make sure to reward it only when it is done peeing.


Vinegar has also shown great results when it comes to repelling dogs. It is relatively safer and is found in most households. All you need to do is spray some vinegar around your plants, and it will drive your dog away. However, make sure to dilute it before applying.

Apart from vinegar, orange peel, peppers, and ammonia also have strong smells that dogs hate. You can place them in your yard to keep the dog from peeing on your lovely plants.

The Bottom Line

We all love our furry companions. However, it is important to keep them away from plants as dog pee can damage grass and plants. Mothballs are an effective way to repel dogs.

Their smell is not pleasurable even for most humans, and the dogs definitely don’t like it. However, using mothballs is risky as they turn into toxic gases. Fencing and using other deterrents, such as vinegar, are viable options.

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