What Do I Do If My Yard Smells Like Dog Poop?

Your best friend has scented your yard with its foul smelling dog poop.

You know your dog needs to poop outside but the overpowering smell can make your life miserable and embarrassing in front of family, neighbors, house guests and so on.

And now you are desperate for a solution!

What do I do if my backyard smells like dog poop?

  1. Train your dog not to poop all over the garden, but in a specific spot.
  2. Pick up the poop. Don’t leave it lingering.
  3. Eliminate the foul-smelling poop.

You want to venture out into your garden again without putting your hand on your nose and running inside with disgust. Dog poop contains undigested food, mucus, dead cells, fat, bacteria, and parasites — so, yeah, it smells horrible.

Read on, this article is all about how to eliminate dog poop odor from your yard.

Why Does My Yard Smell Like Poop?

Your yard smells like dog poop because:

  • Your dog has a sickness, imbalance, or health condition, which makes the smell of his poop strong and unavoidable.
  • You have become lazy when it comes to picking dog poop from your backyard, delaying it for hours and hopefully, not days. The awful smell will linger in the air the longer you leave it out.
  • You are experiencing extremely hot weather and the temperature has been elevating the smell of dog poop.
  • You do not have a dog, but your neighbor does. Your neighbor’s dog, no matter how cute and cuddly he is, is using your garden as their toilet.
  • You have a small backyard which, when combined with all or some of the factors above, is making your yard smell bad from the dog poop.

Next, I’m going to give your dog the benefit of the doubt.

Let’s say your yard smells like poop and you think it’s dog poop but it’s not.

Don’t blame your dog.

Look for other reasons like:

  • You (or your neighbor) have just added fertilizer or manure on the lawn or garden bed. Something like chicken poo used as fertilizer could easily make your yard smell unpleasant.
  • There is a leak or overflow in a septic tank or sewer system which is seeping into your yard or your neighbor’s.
  • Very wet and damp soil, which is not receiving adequate amounts of aeration and oxygen due to leaks or swampy areas.

Why Does My Dog’s Poop Smell So Bad?

Before we address how to eliminate dog poop odor from your yard, we need to look at “Why does my dog’s poop smell so bad?”

What’s the main reason?

Could there be a couple of reasons?

Let’s find out.

Your dog’s diet

If your dog eats too much fiber, your dog may poop in large quantities with a strong smell.

If you have recently changed your dog’s diet, it could be messing up their digestive tract.

Changes in the type or brand of food they are eating can impact the degree of smell in their poop.

dog eating food

Most commonly, switching to cheaper, low-quality kibble or canned dog food can affect the smell of their poop. Your dog ends up not being able to process all the nutrients, so it does not get digested properly and just gets pushed out undigested.

Cheaper, more low-quality dog food is made using a higher percentage of fillers (grains and meat by-products) which dogs find very hard to digest.

Better quality food for your dog should be grain-free and contain no corn, soy, wheat, or meat by-products.

Natural (raw) and organic food is best (if you can afford it).

Raw food takes up to 5 hours to digest in your dog’s stomach compared to packaged food, which can take up to 2 days!

Otherwise, a good rule of thumb is to buy dog food with moderate fats, high amounts of protein, and low carbs to make it easier for your dog to digest his meal.

Your dog has eaten something they should not have

They have ingested something they shouldn’t have.

When I’ve taken my dogs for a walk, they always sniff out something rotting like a dead and decaying mouse or dead bird, and even horse poo.

If I don’t catch them in time, it gets digested and when it comes out, it smells foul as can be.

Your dog is not in good health

Is your dog ill?

Is this affecting the smell and perhaps consistency of poop (e.g. runny vs. firm) they are excreting?

So here’s a lesson in doggy digestion…

When bacteria are breaking down food, (the gas) sulfur is produced. If a dog is unwell, bacteria needs to work harder at breaking down food, so more sulfur is produced.

It’s the excess sulfur that accounts for the bad smell in their poo.

The possible causes for bad smelling dog poo include:

Look for other signs they may not be well – appetite, thirst, energy levels. If you are concerned, don’t hesitate to have a word with your veterinarian.

What should a healthy dog’s poop look like? Firm, brown with a light smell (there will always be a smell).

9 Reasons Why Dog Poop Can Be A Health Hazard

One of the reasons we put forward to “Why does my yard smell like dog poop?” was that you’ve gotten lazy and are not picking up your dog’s crap as often as you should.

The impact of this laziness is not only that your yard smells. It’s also very unhygienic for you and your family.

Dog poop is a health hazard.

It can put you and your entire family at risk of developing medical conditions.

Unfortunately, there are dog owners who think dog poop is fertilizer for their lawn.

It’s not!

The following reasons will shed light on why dog poop is a health hazard:

  1. Dog poop is not a fertilizer. It does not benefit the soil in any way. Eating vegetables, fertilized by dog poop, can make you sick.
  2. Dog poop can contaminate drinking water if not removed.
  3. Dog poop can find its way into water supplies and kill wildlife.
  4. Children exposed to dog poop can become sick and even lose their life.
  5. Dog poop contains a protein by-product, which attracts rats that feast on the undigested protein.
  6. Having rats in your home can result in other creatures making their way into your property such as feral cats and snakes
  7. Dog poop is the ideal breeding ground for several types of flies that carry bacteria and diseases into your home and infect food, human food, and other areas that will cause people to fall sick.
  8. Dog poop pollutes recreational waterways, rivers, and lakes.
  9. Dog poop carries a variety of diseases (whipworms, hookworms, tapeworms, roundworms, parvo, corona, giardiasis, salmonellosis, cryptosporidiosis, and campylobacteriosis).

How To Eliminate Dog Poop Odor From Yard

OK, you’re desperate.

I hear you “My yard smells like dog poop, what do I do?

Here are a couple of tips for how to get rid of the dog poop smell in yard.

Use a natural, homemade spray for temporary relief 

Which natural, homemade spray do you need to get temporary relief from dog poop?  

Here is what we can tell you: You can use a homemade yard deodorizer on artificial grass, grass, shrubs, patios, kennels, dog runs, fences, block walls, swing sets, patio furniture, and any other surface smelling of dog poop. It will mask the smell and leave your backyard smelling clean and safe for your family. 

We provide a couple of recipes for homemade sprays later in this article.

Ensure you have a healthy dog

Remember, your dog’s poop can tell you about its health problems.

Do not take any chances, but take your best friend to the vet for a checkup.

You can also play your part to control the smell of the dog food by ensuring your dog drinks enough water, eats a well-balanced and nutrient-rich diet, and does not have any medical condition or infections, which is causing the smell of dog poop to be stronger than it should.

Train or re-train your dog not to poop all over the backyard

Train your dog to poop only on a certain area of the backyard if you have not already. That way you have a smaller area to focus on removing the smell.

Train your best friend to do their business on the soil patches or gardens on the side, and not the main area.

If you did train him and he is just being naughty, you need to re-train him.

Clean dog poop daily and place it in a poop containment bin

Do not make dog poop feel at home, but throw it out.

I would say do it the same day, but you can remove it with a pooper scooper and place it in a poop containment bin each week. Pick one day of the week to do it.

Investigate to see if it is your dog or your neighbor’s dog

You may be blaming the wrong dog.

Your dog may be doing his business on the designated part of the backyard, but your neighbor’s dog may be doing it all over the lawn.

But be careful.

You cannot just accuse your neighbor’s dog of crossing the boundary into your territory.

The best solution to this would be to set up a security camera to find the culprit. 

Change up their food

Switching foods can make such a difference to the smell and consistency of your dog’s poop.

Change from a supermarket brand dog food to something more organic or grain-free. Switch from wet food to a high-quality dry food – again with no fillers, preservatives, or grains.

How To Get Rid Of Dog Poop Smell Outside With A Homemade Spray

Here are natural remedies for removing dog poop odor that really work.

Think of the solution we describe as a one-two punch combination to tackle the problem of “my back yard smells like dog poop”.

Option 1

You can use these solutions as a once-off exercise. You need something really strong to break the smell which just keeps accumulating over time.

Vinegar and Baking Soda Spray


  • 2 cups of white vinegar (distilled)
  • 2 cups of water (lukewarm)
  • 4 heaping tablespoons of baking soda
  • A spray bottle


  1. Combine it.
  2. Pour it in a spray bottle.
  3. Spray it.
  4. Let it sit on the spot for 5 minutes.
  5. Blot it with a dry, soft cloth.

Baking Soda


  • One cup of baking soda
  • A small amount of water
  • A soft cloth


  1. Add a small amount of water into baking soda to make it into a paste.
  2. Spread the baking soda on the spot.
  3. Allow it to dry.
  4. Remove it with a soft cloth.

Option 2

This solution is how you keep on top of the problem of foul-smelling dog poop in your yard.

Use this homemade yard deodorizer every time you pick up the dog poop rather than as a once-off.

Homemade Yard Deodorizer

  1. Fill a spray bottle with 2 cups of lukewarm water.
  2. Add 2 cups of white vinegar into the spray bottle.
  3. Add 4 cups of baking soda into the spray bottle.
  4. Add 1/2 cup of lemon and orange peels into the spray bottle.
  5. Secure the nozzle and shake lightly to combine the ingredients.
  6. Spray your homemade yard deodorizer on various parts of your garden to eliminate the smell of dog poop. 

Buy a Pre-Made Spray

If you don’t have the time nor the inclination to make your own non-toxic dog poo deodorizer, try the Simple Green Outdoor Odor Eliminator Hose End Sprayer for Pets.

What I like about this solution is that its non-toxic formula is safe to use around pets.

It’s really simple to use: just attach it to the end of your hose. You can check the latest price on Amazon for this deodorizer.

Keeping on Top of It: How to Get Rid of Dog Poop Smell in Backyard

Leaving dog poop in the yard is not a good idea.

The only way to keeping on top of the smell is to remove dog poop as soon as it happens.

If you see dog poop in your lawn, remove it.

Why wait? It is not an ornament!

You can instruct other family members to do the same. 

You can also stay vigilant by keeping an eye on where your dog poops in the garden. If you see him pooping on different spots in the garden, you need to re-train them. Once you have trained your furry friend, use a pooper scooper and a poop bag to remove the poop.

In terms of pooper scoopers, there are two types:

  • Hand-held;
  • Rake-style.

You have to bend down to pick up your dog’s poo with a hand-held device. We recommend the Dog Buddy. You can check the price on Amazon here.

The rake style is great if you don’t want to get too close. The best rake-style poop scoop on the market is the Spotty Metal Tray with Rake. It’s lightweight and easy to use. And it’s very affordable.

Related Questions

Timing walks with poop time. Good idea?

One of my dogs always poos on a walk, no matter what time of day.

If your dog has a poop routine, perhaps you could take the dog for a walk when he typically poos? That way he doesn’t do his business in your yard and you just need poop bags and a public bin.

Is dog poop good for grass?


Dog poop is not a fertilizer.

It is very acidic which means, unlike cow or chicken manure, it’s not good for your grass.

What is the best trash can for dogs?

How to keep yard from smelling like dog poop? Get a pet waste disposal system.

If you have a yard, I’m assuming you’re OK with a pet waste disposal system that you dig into the ground that acts as a septic tank for dog waste. And that’s what the Doggie Dooley Large Pyramid Dog Toilet is.

You did a big hole, place the dog toilet in the hole and cover it with soil until the opening is protruding.

Over time you just add water and enzyme tablets that break down the dog poop naturally and quickly.

The poop dissolves into a liquid and gets absorbed by the soil.

Does dog poop decompose naturally?

Even though dog poop does decompose, you don’t want it to decompose on your lawn because it contains too many toxins.

The side effect of this is that dog poop can burn your lawn and discolor it.

Dog poo is also toxic to humans. It can contain 23 million coliform bacteria. This bacteria is known to cause kidney disorders, intestinal discomfort, cramps, and diarrhea in humans.

And that’s why you need to pick it up off the grass and dispose of it.

How long does it take for dog poop to decompose?

Why write the answer when you can observe the answer?

A pet waste removal company took a photo of fresh dog poo and then observed its appearance week on week to see how long it would take to decompose.

If watching a dog turd decay doesn’t sound entertaining, let me reveal the answer: 9 weeks.

Can dog poop be composted?

Based on what I’ve researched, the answer would be no.

Dog poo can be too harmful to humans (especially as a carrier of roundworms).

Does using lime on dog poop work?

Some give it a thumbs up whereas others give it a thumbs down.

Should you use lime on dog poop? 

Lime contains calcium carbonate, which kills bad bacteria, especially ones found in dog poop.

Bacteria, when hit with lime, cannot survive or reproduce.

If you want to use this lime remedy, remember these pointers:

  • DO NOT use hydrated lime also referred to as calcium oxide, quicklime, or burn lime. Lime can burn, causing harm to both your family and your dog.
  • DO use agricultural lime also referred to as bio lime, aglime, garden lime, dolomite, and calcium carbonate. This lime is safe to use and will not harm your family and your dog.

You need to use the lime that will not put your family and your dog’s health at risk. Always look for an agricultural lime to kill the smell of dog poop in the backyard. 

How to dispose of dog poop in yard?

What is the best pooper scooper for dogs?

I recommend the Spotty Metal Tray with Rake.

It’s lightweight and easy to use.

And it’s very affordable.

Are there companies that pick up dog poop?

Yes, there are.

Just Google it. Here are some listings:

How to keep flies away from dog poop?

Pick up your dog’s poo shortly after it’s been dumped.

This will prevent many flies from collecting on the poo.

How to clean up dog poop in yard after winter?

Let me repeat myself again, pick up your dog’s poop shortly after it’s been dumped on your snow-covered lawn.

Otherwise, when the snow melts, you are in for a nasty surprise with pounds of poop waiting to be cleaned up.

Here are some tips to make picking up dog poo in a snowy winter less hassle.

  1. Keep a section of your yard where you shovel off the snow. Train your dog to poop there.
  2. Check this spot at least once a day.
  3. Clean that spot daily.

Don’t leave your dog in the yard if it’s too cold, especially if it’s a small dog. We’ve written an article on whether 50 degrees is too cold.


Michelle loves enjoying the outdoors with her dogs. She grew in a big house near the beach with German Shepherds. Nowadays, Michelle has down-sized her dogs to poodles, proving small dogs can enjoy the outdoors too! Her dogs enjoy playing fetch, swimming, and long walks. Michelle and her dogs enjoy escaping the city limits to hike, camp, and swim.

Recent Posts