Citronella Dog Collar: Side Effects & Instructions

Citronella Dog Collar Side Effect and instruction
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Citronella dog collars are a popular bark collar used to manage excessive barking in dogs. In this article, we will learn the side effects of citronella dog collars and provide clear instructions for their safe and effective use in training for recall.

What Is It and How It Really Works

A citronella dog collar is a type of no-bark collar for dogs, It is also known as a spray collar. It operates by spraying a substance i.e. citronella, (there are versions that also use water or lemon juice) in the dog’s face when they bark. Sometimes, it is also used for recalling.

People consider the citronella dog collars to be less cruel than the electric shock dog collars, and they have been proven to be more effective than shock collars in some instances.

How Do You Use It?

Anti-Bark Spray Collar Instructions

Spray collar comes with the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use or set it up. However, this is how to use it:

  1. Trim your dog’s fur around the neck area  If it is long. This provides good contact between the collar and your dog’s skin.
  2. Open the collar and the insert citronella canister, make sure it’s securely in position and won’t fall out during use.
  3. Activate the device, most spray collars have an on/off switch. Turn the collar on according to the manufacturer’s instructions (it can be in the form of a manual or even a pdf).
  4. Test the collar manually before using it in a real situation to be sure it’s working. The collar will release a burst of citronella spray.
  5. Then put the collar around your dog’s neck, fasten it and make sure it is not tight. The citronella canister should be facing downwards and placed on the front of the neck.
  6.  The collar responds with a spray of citronella whenever it senses bad behavior like excessive barking.
  7. The spray works as a disciplinary step. The dog associates the unpleasant smell with the behavior, and over time, this can discourage them from repeating the behavior.


YouTube Video

The following are YouTube videos that explain how to use or set an anti-bark spray collar:

  1. Everything You Need to Know About Citronella Dog Collars
  2. Anti-Bark Citronella Spray Collar Test

For Recall

Using a citronella dog collar for recall training can be an effective method to reinforce your dog’s answer to the “come” command. Here’s how you can use a spray dog collar in recall training:

  1. Load the citronella canister and place it on your canine neck. Make sure it is comfortable and fits properly.
  2. Set up the training in a quiet place with minimal distractions and have treats ready. Now let’s get started.
  3. Start by calling your dog’s name followed by a recall command like ‘come’. If your dog answers and comes to you, reward her with a treat and praise like ‘good girl’.
  4. When your dog ignores your recall command or delays coming to you, use the it immediately as a corrective measure. This provides a mild deterrent through the burst of citronella spray. The idea is to make an immediate association between the unwanted behavior and the citronella spray.
  5. Continue practising recall training sessions always. Use the it only when required, and always reward your dog for positive comebacks with treats, playtime or a show of affection.
  6. Increase distractions as your dog becomes more responsive, and gradually raise controlled distractions to simulate real-life scenarios.
  7. Over time, as your dog’s recall improves, you can reduce the dependence on the spray. The goal is for your dog to respond to the recall command without needing the deterrent.

how to use citronella collar for recall

An alternative way to use it for recall is to PAY someone who is skilled in the use. Let him/her start the process until you develop an eye for it.


Do Citronella Collars Work For Barking

Yes, citronella collars work for barking because they are marketed as a safe way to control your dog’s barking. They contain only small amounts of citronella, so unless your pup chews the collar and ingests the oil, he is unlikely to experience symptoms of toxicity.

Do Citronella Collars Work For Barking

Safety Concerns


  1. It is suggested it should be used for the pups that are above 6 months old and weigh 8- pounds.
  2. Before you play with your furry friends please turn off or remove the collar.
  3. Do not let your wear canine the citronella collar for a long period of time. Your pup shouldn’t wear it 12 hours continuously within a 24-hour period
  4. The collar should not be stored in hot places or close to any devices that produce a lot of heat.
  5. If your pup has total revolts or dangerous reactions against the citronella dog collar and the guide is not working, stop using it immediately.
  6. Monitor your dog after wearing it for 1 -2 days to find out about their reaction to the collar;
  7. Make sure the collar is not too tight.
  8. There must be a finger width of clearance between the collar and your furry friend’s neck.
  9. Wash the dog’s neck and the sensor probe every week.

Are Citronella Collars Safe For Dogs?

Yes, citronella collars are generally considered safe for dogs when used correctly and according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It is not cruel to dogs. It is more humane than electric shock collars but might not be suitable for every dog.

Side Effects

Citronella collars can be effective tools for training dogs, but like any training aid, they come with potential long-term side effects. Here are some common side effects associated with citronella collars:

  1. Skin Irritation:  Some pups may experience skin irritation from the citronella spray or the material used in the collar.  It’s essential to observe your dog’s neck area for any signs of redness, itching, or discomfort and it is essential to consider this and stop using it if it occurs.
  2. Fear or Anxiety: Repetition exposure to the citronella spray, particularly if not paired with positive reinforcement, might result in fear or anxiety in some dogs.
  3. Depression
  4. Hypothermia, Vomiting, Weakness and diarrhea when ingested in large amounts.

Do Vets Recommend Citronella Collars?

Veterinarians have varying views on the use of citronella collars for dogs. Some veterinarians recommend it as a possible means for handling excessive barking in dogs.

Is It Toxic

Citronella oil would be toxic if ingested into the stomach. With the collar, the dog is not ingesting the spray of a toxic amount at one time via the mouth and very little may be inhaled. If the dog ingested or punctured the cartridge that held the citronella spray then I would seek Veterinary help.

That being said , I do agree with you that these collars do have a small amount of pesticides as citronella is a pesticide, and it would not be my first choice. I can only imagine what it may do over the long haul to the lungs. There are collars that spray just water and there are barker breakers that can be placed outside or inside the home that emit a noise the dog does not like and they are safer to use.

So when they say it is toxic, they basically mean toxic amounts ingested all at once, not over a long time period such as you get from a collar is according to the ASPCAL it is safe in small doses. But I am not sure if a dog that is on its life long has ever been tested for ailment due to the product.

Some people make the mistake of using citronella as a pest repellant and spray it on the dog’s fur or skin. This could cause respiratory illness and could be considered a toxic amount, especially if the dog begins to lick the fur sprayed.

Answer by Pet specialist Sally G.

How Long Do Spray Collars Last?

The refill canister holds up to 10 refills and each refill will emit up to 70 sprays making this Citronella bark collar very cost effective. The battery life is commonly 3 to 4 Months.

Can You Use Water In A Citronella Collar?

Yes, it can be refilled with water. while water can be used in citronella collars but this might be less effective. You can give it a try.

How Do you fill a Citronella Dog collar YouTube video?


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