Does Pepper Spray Work on Dogs?

Dog attacks can be a real problem, especially if you are a runner and enjoy going out for a jog early in the morning or late at night.

The number of people who have complained about being forced to give up jogging because they encountered too many stray dogs is staggering.

Many dog owners can be irresponsible and do not follow leash laws. There are also many places where such laws do not exist and stray dogs are abundantly found.

Does pepper spray work on dogs?

We’ve received many questions asking, “Does pepper sprays work on dogs?” The answer to that question is yes pepper spray can be an effective means to disable a dog.does-pepper-spray-work-on-dogs

However, it most likely won’t work if the dog has been trained to be resistant to oleoresin capsicum, the main ingredient in pepper spray. You can check out the effects pepper spray had on a police trained K-9 here.

Since dogs have highly sensitive noses, if you can get a full spray into a dog’s face, you can make it retreat. It takes hours to get over the effect of pepper spray for dogs and this will give you plenty of time to get home to safety.

What should I do when a dog starts chasing me?

Pepper spray should be used as a last resort only. Most dogs will stop pursuing you if you slow down. Others can be scared away with a loud and strict voice or by showing authority.


Attack dogs however will not respond to such tactics and by showing aggression or throwing things at them will only enrage them.

Pit Bulls in particular can be very vicious and if you are chased by one or for that matter any violent dog, your best bet is to climb to a high rise location such as a tree. Immediately call the police as the dog might endanger someone else.

Use a pepper spray for dogs if you cannot run or hide, and make sure that the wind is blowing away from you, because you don’t want to accidentally get any pepper spray in your face.

Top 3 Pepper Spray for Dogs

There are special pepper sprays that are available which are specifically designed to be used on dogs. Professionals who walk around a lot generally encounter stray dogs on a daily basis and prefer to keep a pepper spray for dogs with them.

Although any pepper spray should work here is a list of our top 3 pepper spray picks specially formulated for dogs.

1. Sabre Red Protector Dog Pepper Spray

Sabre Red is one of the leading brands that manufacture pepper spray products. This particular model is specifically designed for use on all types of aggressive dogs yet is a humane deterrent that only induces temporary pain.

The Sabre Red dog attack deterrent carries a rating of 1 % Major Capsaicinoids which is the maximum strength approved by the Enviromental Protection Agency (EPA). The stream delivery pattern means there is low risk of wind blow-back. Added features include an integrated safety lock to prevent accidental discharge and a belt clip so you can carry it with you while jogging or going for a walk.

 2. Guard dog security pepper spray

The guard dog security pepper spray acts as a convenient protection against dogs and human assailants. With its 18% OC percentage it carries the ability to put a punch into each and every shot.

You can get the guard dog security pepper spray in the keychain size or a full size 3 ounce canister.

3. Pet safe animal deterrent

Although this animal deterrent is not made from oleoresin capsicum, it’s special formula is able to effectively control aggression in dogs. Instead of OC it uses a special citronella formula that delivers a powerful scent and acts as a spray shield to prevent any further aggression out of the dog.

One of the great upsides to this spray is it will not hurt the eyes and is safe yet effective at the same time. It works great for both inter-dog and dog to human contact and is small enough to carry in your  pocket.

This citronella based spray manufactured by pet safe is capable of spraying of up to 12 feet and is formulated to force the dog to retreat without harming or making the dog more aggressive. The downside is it can only be shipped to certain states.

Quick note: Citronella based spray are most effectively used on small-medium sized dogs. If you’re looking for protection against larger attack dogs such as a German Shepard or Pit-bull your best bet would be to stick to a good sized can of an effective pepper spray.

Are there any alternatives to pepper spray?

Loud noise is also a great deterrent for an attacking dog. You can use the following products to protect yourself from stray dogs:

  • Air horns: An air horn is a simple device that releases a very loud and shrill noise when you use it. It uses pressurized air to create a sound that will make any stray dog stop in its attack and flee.

  • Pet Parade Dog repeller: This product has proven itself to be very useful at times. It emits a shrill ultrasonic noise which we humans cannot hear. It is very shrill-sounding for dogs and most dogs will avoid coming close to you when you have this device turned on.

Sound based dog repellents may not work on trained attack dogs though. They are given special training to ignore any distracting noises.

If you ever find yourself in the middle of a dog attack you’ll want to use any object in your near surrounding to protect yourself. You can also climb to a higher rise such as a tree in order to put distance between the dog and you.

The most important thing is to report to the police if a trained dog attacks you or someone you know. By reporting careless dog owners and helping stray dogs get captured, you will make the streets and parks safer for everyone.



  1. Mark says

    I carry mace in my fanny pack when I go for walks. And my “walking stick” is actually a fiberglass shovel handle that I rigged as a pretty brutal ass whooping stick. Only had one encounter with a dog. Having that shovel handle made me feel safe and the dog retreated after I took a few swings at him (never hit him).

  2. Ignorance says

    As you so ignorantly stated that “Especially Pit Bulls are violent”….. The writer of this article, page or whatever it is, is a total moron.

    • Me says

      Yeah, by the context of the information being presented, it seems to mean to say that pit-bulls are particularly difficult to deter from whatever they’re doing, not that they’re particularly aggressive.

      And in reality, they are hard to deter. If you’ve ever seen a pit bull, especially one not strictly controlled by it’s owners, you can see that they are indeed difficult to deter from whatever it is they want to do, whether it be sniffing another dog’s butt, running around in the house, jumping a fence, or simply jumping around in excitement due to someone showing up.

      Pit Bulls almost seem to get so focused on what it is that they want to do that they seem to not even hear you at times. More than even rottweilers. That’s why it’s important that if you ever own a dog like that, that you consistently insist that it must do as you say, and that you are the leader in the relationship, not him/her . . . as if it’s strength and size wasn’t enough to demonstrate the reality of that need already . . . however again, most people seem to lack certain kinds of common sense.

  3. Once Bitten says

    Ignorance, the direct quote was “Pit Bulls in particular are very vicious ” and this is true of the ones that attack. I have been bitten by a dog while walking in my neighborhood and I have no patience for people who don’t control their animals. Any dog with teeth will bite and don’t tell me otherwise! I don’t want to hear how friendly your dog is – keep it under control and away from me, period.

    • says

      Yes any dog has the potential to be overtly aggressive, especially toward humans. Aggression in certain breeds such Pitbulls and Rottweilers can simply stem from genetic predispositions but a lot of the time at least in cases where I’ve come across violent dogs the aggression is due to frustration and fear. Aggressive dogs can actually perceive you as the threat even though you may be the vulnerable one in the situation, or become frustrated with a particular situation and decide to lash out.

  4. Ben says

    I’ve heard that Raid wasp spray is good to use on threatening people because it can shoot 30 feet away and is a real nasty agent to get sprayed with! But I would make absolutely sure the person is an imminent threat to you and that you can prove it (or at least convince police/court). Otherwise you might be getting the hell sued outta ya! It wouldnt be a good feeling being sued by your attacker but it has surely happened before

  5. Abhay Kulkarni says

    Three Rottweilers have moved in recently in our locality along with owners. Often their door is left open and the dogs have attacked almost all the dogs in the area including my GSD. My GSD only got a small wound while my GSD and me defended ourselves till the owners arrived. Though I felt that their intentions were only to establish their territory and had no intention to kill my GSD, it was scary. Would pepper spray help in such situation? If yes, which is the best one that would deter the Rottweilers while not harming them seriously? If not what other measures can be adopted?

    • says

      Hi Abhay, pepper spray would be an effective means to protect yourself and your German Shepard. In terms of which one is the best choice, take a look at our above recommendations. Other products such as horns, citronella sprays, and shrill sounding repellers are also all good options to deter aggressive dogs.

  6. Romy says

    This is a very interesting article. Me and my three labradors were attacked today by two German Mastiffs, one of my dogs has a wound and I was knocked over by it and hurt my back. Eventually the owner came and we managed to save our dogs. I do not want this dangerous situation to happen again, so y policeman BF said he is now going to take the police spray he takes to work on dog walks. All I know is it makes people cry and cough for a while…this wont kill another dog will it? I want to defend myself but I don’t want to kill a dog unless it is an absolute necessity. Thanks for your time.

  7. kala says

    I never post but I find myself needing to post tonight, Im upset and oh so mad so please bare with me, dog lovers will like this, the ones who carry pepper spray and sticks might find this good information. I would like to say this is my opinion and something I have been forced to deal with because of fear and ignorance from people of certain breeds of dogs. I am the very proud owner of an Italian Mastiff, commonly referred to as the Gentle Giants. I guess if walking on a path if someone ran into my mastiff who is as big as a small horse with a head the size of a cow and weighing in at 140 pounds, who would think she would walk up to you and lick you to death? Right away from reading the post here some people would assume shes aggressive and would hit her, pepper spray her ect. same as with pit bulls, Rottweilers ect. This IS NOT THE CASE!!! dogs are not born aggressive, HUMANS make dogs the way there are!! PLZ STOP and learn it takes the owner and the life the dog is FORCED to live that makes the dog, not the breed. How many people have been bitten by a small dog of any kind? German Shepherds are quicker to bite then a Rottweiler thats why police are starting to train Rottweilers for the forces as well. before you grab a stick or pepper spray for your walks spend some time learning about dog behavior its worth the time. Yes i agree there are bad owners, lots of them, but there are a lot of us good ones out here that get caught in your guys cross fire as do our dogs, which leads me into my nightmare tonight. My mastiff is the most important thing to me in the world, shes never out of my sight, I have not nor do not train with a heavy hand. Her and I have spent every moment of her life together (no kidding) I do not keep her on a chain for i do not want that for her, shes a house dog. I recently moved onto property and am training her to stay in her yard (Mastiffs do not have wondering tendency & train fast to there property) the other day a lady walked by with a dog she walks for a friend, My dog ran up to meet them with me close behind, i told the lady my dog was friendly she stated to me that the dog ‘she’ walked was aggressive towards other dogs, I took my dog back into our property. Tonight I am still in shock and angered from what happened, the lady again walked the friends aggressive dog by our house, my dog again when to greet the dog followed this time by my boyfriend. when my dog was face to face she was blasted with pepper spray for NO REASON!! my boyfriend was so close he seen the bottle! and also got affected by the spray my dog came running to me I to became affected by the spray and we all still 5 hours later are still very affected. my dogs eyes are puffed right up, nose is running, shes pacing, foaming at the mouth, wants in and outside because of the burning im sure. my boyfriend and I are coughing, our skin is red and burnt, nose is burnt inside and out eyes are bright red and burning and we are just all around uncomfortable. i would say animal abuse? yes there is protection yes for sure but before you go buy pepper spray or carry a stick to hurt a animal people you better do some research on what you do to someones beloved pet because one day you might hit or pepper spray a dog with a owner like me and all hell will brake loose on you, let me give all you people out there that think its cool to spray a dog with pepper spray or hit a dog with a stick, it took me about 5 mins on the comp and 1 phone call to get all the information I needed to raise all the hell I need to stand up for the one who can’t speak for herself. there are alternatives to pepper spray = citronella spray concentrated made for dog attacks also a air horn will stop a dog in his tracks (unless its a trained attack dog, then even pepper spray wont help you & these dogs need to be reported to animal control) these methods will not cause major harm to the animal or the owner trust me plz we suffer right along with our pets and tonight nothing my dog or we did to deserve 15 hours of burning, coughing, potential respiratory problems. right now the lady who thought she would “teach” my dog, might end up slapped with a hefty law suit…not to mention what its going to cost this lady if the trauma of this event causes my dog to show signs of aggression towards anyone now. So in short what im saying, think before acting, every action has a reaction. I would say always try and use the less invasive method, think about it things happen in life, sometimes dogs get out on there own, sometimes the owners are training to stay in there yard and just as you thump the dog in the head with your stick theres the owner, what if it was a therapy dog that became spooked? the dog just ran up to you but because your fearful of bigger dogs you hit it in the head, now the dogs messed up or worse…. dead! Think you wont get charged for hitting a therapy dog? Tonight at my place was a prime example of someone scared of big dogs and my dog payed the price. Thats got to stop, Take the less harmful way, learn about dogs and stop hating dogs hate the people who own and create mean dogs! thanks for hearing me. FYI – Pepper Spray can only be used in extreme situations for self protection against attacks you can not use pepper spray if a dog is just running up to you displaying no signs. know your rights because you hurt our pets you bet we will know ours ; ) see ya on the paths

    • Michelle says

      You didn’t have your dog on a leash- how can that be anyones fault but yours. My dog is not friendly towards other dogs either but I keep mine on a leash. If I saw a big dog running towards us, I’m not going to wait and find out if he’s nice. I’ve tried that and my dog almost died. Keep your friendly dog on a leash and there won’t be any problems.

      • K says

        Exactly, i won’t wait until it’s too late. that’s why there are leash kaws. I was attacked by 4 dogs while trying to walk my own 2. Do you think I’m going to wait until they get that close again and wait to see if they are nice?

    • Jenn says

      Everything you described is your fault! The leash laws state your dog must be confined to your property if not on a leash. That means a fence. Not just you thinking your dog knows it’s imaginary boundaries. You can’t know 100% your dog won’t cross the line. If your dog was able to leave the property you are breaking the law. My dog was mauled two weeks ago when we were walking on the sidewalk in my neighborhood. I was chased by a vicious dog last week. I will do anything to protect myself and my dog at this point, including carrying pepper spray now. I don’t want to ever have to use it but I will. The first attack happened in seconds. There was no time to find out if the dog was nice. There is no reason I should ever be approached by your off-leash dog. It’s not an equitable situation for an unleashed dog to approach a leashed dog. My dog doesn’t want to be approached. Basically what you are permitting your dog to do off leash caused the problem. Nobody knows what your dog’s intentions are. If my dog sees an off leash dog approaching he’s going to get defensive. It’s your fault the dog was sprayed. Ppl have a right to walk safely and the lady that sprayed your dog was within her rights. You need to wake up! You and your dog are not above the law. Never allow your dog to approach others off leash. It will end badly, as you’ve seen. Please take what happened as a lesson and an opportunity to change your ways. You can’t be mad at something when it’s your fault. your dog is in pain bc of what you allowed him to do.


      Leaving your dog running loose in a yard with no fence is a danger to your dog and all dogs walking by your home. I have been in 3 situations where my dogs and I were attacked. The owners all claimed their dog was friendly, but then attacked my dogs. You can NEVER guarantee that your friendly dog will not attack. Dogs no matter how well trained or size of dog are still a threat when unleashed or in a yard with no fence.

      Also, dogs being walked on leashes while your dog is off leash, will make your running dog appear aggressive. Your ignorance of this is the reason your dog might be put down when your dog attacks another dog or person. Your comments prove you have no understanding of dog behavior. When ever a dog off leash is running toward another dog, the leashed dogs see this as a sign of aggression. You are also not taking into account the leashed dog’s past experiences. It could have been attacked by another dog (regardless of size) and is fearful of any dog running towards it. Please do everyone a favor and get a fence.

      There are leash and fence laws for a reason, to keep all dogs and all owners safe. Also, remember all dogs have the potential to attack another dog, especially when your dog is not leashed and the other dogs are leashed. Don’t let your false trust endanger your dog. If you really love your dog, you will fence your dog’s yard.

      Your comments show your lack of knowledge that dogs will do 1 of 2 things, flight or fight. An owner can tell from their dog’s body language if their dog is feeling threatened. Do you know anything about dog behavior? Get a fence and information from a qualified dog trainer. You’re right in stating that dogs that are mistreated will be aggressive. But a dog like yours that is not leashed or in a fenced yard is going to get sprayed again. I don’t feel sorry for your dog, you or your boyfriend. Your running dog is a threat, so you all got what you deserved. Get a fence and your problems will be solved.

      An air horn, why would a responsible dog owner who leashes and controls their dog, use an air horn? The air horn might stop your dog, but why would the owner expose their leashed dog and scare their own dog with the sound of an air horn. Once again I questioned your logic, if you have any logic or knowledge. Do you really think a responsible owner who leashes and fences their dog would use something as stupid as an air horn which would result in harming their own law abiding dog?

      It’s uneducated, naive and irresponsible dog owners like yourself that whine about bad things happening to them, when the fault all lies with you. Just as people who mistreat their dogs create aggressive dogs, your ignorance endangers your dog, other dogs and their owners. Also dogs will attack and give no warning signs like barking or growling, running is a sign of aggression for dogs.

      By the way, my dog are very well socialized (doggie day care, leashed on all walks and have attended obedience and advanced obedience classes, fenced yard). All my dogs passed at the top of their classes and my dogs were still attacked by dogs owned by irresponsible owners like you and your boyfriend, who do not have their dog fenced and who do not have their dog leashed while being walked.

      Prove you are human! If you are a human who loves her dog so much get a fence, leash your dog on walks and get your dog properly socialized (obedience/training classes–which are more for ignorant dog owners than the dog). Also get some information for yourself on dog behavior.

      Wise up and get a fence. That way you won’t be whining on a blog about how you got sprayed.

    • says

      I don’t care if a dog is aggressive by nature, by breed, by human doing or not. I’m not going to wait and find out if one is charging me with obvious aggression. I don’t care if a dog is trained to be off-leash or not, in their yard or not. If an owner allows this, then they are opening themselves up to potential liability and accident and I will not apologize. People that refute all statistics about dog attacks are apologists in my mind … it’s far to easy to simply say “they’re not true”. As far as pit bulls go, whether it’s the breed or the owner, I don’t care. Owners who purchase pit bulls because of the fear factor, because of perception, etc. are furthering that perception. I’ve seen plenty of extremely well socialized and friendly pits. I would never own one, never truly trust one nor would I ignore one being in the neighborhood. But this goes for many dog breeds including chows, rotts, etc. It’s just the way it is and I’m a dog person.

      Dogs are animals and as much training as they are given them won’t completely remove all instinct or territorial behavior. They are a domesticated ANIMAL.

      Just so happens today that our neighbor and her dog were attacked by a new pit bull living across the street who escaped the yard. It made a bee line for her and her dog. Thankfully they both we not seriously injured (one bite did occur), yet the owner was an a$$ to them about it after they fought it off by kicking it and yelling.

      I’m purchasing pepper spray for my wife and our killer Australian Labradoodle for their walks/runs. Hope you don’t live in my neighborhood if/when we’re attacked.

      Another study that was released (Yes I know, all studies are lies) say that 2/3 of fatal or serious-injury attacks were an animals first aggressive episode. You defend yourself FIRST and ask questions later.

      Not defending yourself vs. a dog because it has a “mean” owner is beyond ridiculous. I can get behind your stance for proper dog ownership and will applaud you for properly training your dogs, but a good owner doesn’t set their pet up to fail either. They aren’t people.

    • Ryan says

      You are insane. I was almost attacked by a pitbull today. None of the other dogs on my walk barely noticed me.

      You are the ignorant one.

    • says

      You are an imbecile. I do not care if your dog is friendly or not, big or small. If it is unleashed and runs up to me & my dog I will do whatever is necessary to protect us BEFORE it has a chance to attack.

      I am sick and tired of lazy trailer park dog owners that think they’re dogs are friendly and allow them to roam free. PUT YOUR DOG ON A LEASH OR KEEP HIM INDOORS.

      My dog was already attacked by a “friendly” pit mix and had half of his ear taken off. Now I carry a lax stick and mace and will not think twice before using. You have been warned careless dog owners!

    • Sandy says

      I have been bitten by a Doberman, chased by a Saint Bernard, and treed by a pit-bull……….so yes, I am very scared of dogs that run up to me. I do not care if it’s a 20 lb dog or a 200 lb dog, I have know “gentle giants” and “ankle biters”, yes I am more afraid of the proclaimed meaner breeds just because I have had bad history with them. And before anyone goes ballistic……..I have nothing against those breeds, I have known some to be the sweetest dogs, but the key word is “known”, I do not know if this strangers dog is running full throttle at me to knock me down to lick me to death or to maul me! So……..I WILL carry pepper spray with me (that will not kill the dog, just cause it discomfort) and WILL use it if I feel threatened by a dog not on a leash. I have had animals all of my life and I love them just like they were members of my family (actually like my animals better than some of my family) but that’s beside the point. I live out in the country where there are no leash laws and I try to avoid places where I know there are larger or aggressive dogs when I am out running………….I will even do a drive thru if I plan on running in a new area to see if I see any “chaser” dogs or larger dogs.

      There was a runner in New Jersey that was just mauled and killed by 2 dogs this week…………I bet his family wishes he would have had some sort of protection with him that day.

    • says

      Wow. You are an idiot. I own 2 male pitbulls, and they are very aggressive towards other dogs. Are they aggressive to humans? No. If another dog ran up to one of my pitbulls while I’m walking him, aggressive or not, I would be scared MY dog would attack your dog… giant or not. I would pepper spray your dog to protect your dog!! And of course your dog is off it’s leash so you have no case with your “hefty law suit”…lol and a service dog wouldn’t just run up to another dog like that…they are actually trained. Unlike yours.. Idiot.

  8. Lee says

    Pepper Spray is uncomfortable and irritating- it’s not lethal. I personally will not and do not tolerate ANY dog, ANY size, ANY breed charging, trotting, or sauntering into my personal space uninvited.

    People who allow their dogs to do so are selfish and ignorant and have no idea what impact that can have on the receiving tethered dog. A loose dog invading another dogs space is and can be a lot of pressure for the dog.

    No one with 100% certainty can guarantee what any dog will do (even your own) in every circumstance.

    Any dog off leash approaching me is met with a verbal warning “NO”, if the dog does not move away from me – it gets maced until it retreats period end of story.

    Zero tolerance for invasion of my space and it’s not my obligation to “assess” the other dogs intent you invade my space you are moved with whatever means necessary to do so.

    Zero tolerance.

  9. Gail says

    OK, a little background. I have a Norwegian Elkhound and two Pomeranians. My daughter has the Elkie’s full brother. Tonight we all had our dogs out for their bedtime walk at the same time. The four dogs met in my yard ( all on leashes). While they visited the neighbors three pit mixes charged across the street and attacked my daughter’s Elkie who was busy telling my male pom how much he loved him. This is not the first time this has happened. They have attached the dog across the street from them ( we are around the corner). They have charged me and my granddaughter on numerous occasions.
    This was one time too many. I found this site while looking for information on defensive sprays. I have had it. If she won’t do something about restraining her dogs then I feel no guilt about protecting my dogs. Tonight I shouted and they backed off a little but they do not stay gone.
    I have no problem with pit bulls my grandson has two of the sweetest dogs you will ever meet. My problem is with untrained, unrestrained, unsupervised dogs of any breed.

  10. says

    I have a Rottweiler that charges me on occasion. Luckily, I have been able to stop it with yelling ‘no’ in a loud fashion. I have also sprayed it with pepper spray, and it barely affected it. Anytime the dog is close enough to spray it in it’s face, whether or not it is making aggressiveness stances, I spray it.

    I have seen videos of police shooting pit bulls with a taser. It seems to work like magic.

    Of course, in the future I will carry my .45, which also prevents issues with these types of dogs.

    If you are going to be killed by a dog, it will likely be a pit bull, and a distant second is a Rottweiler.

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