Alternatives to Bitter Apple for Dogs

By Michael Davidson

Bitter Apple has been a popular dog-training device and chew deterrent since 1960. It normally comes in a spray form, and while the smell can't be detected by humans, both the taste and the smell are harsh to dogs. It is non-toxic and won't stain carpet or fabric so it is frequently used as an anti-chew device. By spraying Bitter Apple on items in your home such as shoes or furniture, your dog is discouraged from chewing on them. While Bitter Apple is effective for most dogs, it does not work for all.

Listerine

Listerine is an effective chew deterrent.

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Listerine is an effective chew deterrent for many dogs. Get the original type if you use it and not the orange or mint varieties since the idea is to make the item taste unpleasant to a dog. Lightly spritz the area or item you do not want the dog chew. Listerine has a high alcohol content, so you would not want your dog to consume any, but this also make it an effective antiseptic on a cut or wound, and the smell combined with the flavor can help prevent the dog from biting himself and making an injury worse.

White Vinegar and Water

White vinegar mixed with water discourages chewing.

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Mixing three-parts cold water with one-part white vinegar in a spray bottle creates an effective solution that can help take puppy stains out of carpeting as well as discourage chewing and urinating. White vinegar is a natural disinfectant and a natural deodorizer as well. The vinegar scent will disappear within a few minutes after use and take other odors along with it. Dogs have sensitive noses, however, and they can still detect it and will generally stay away from it because it bothers their noses. The water and vinegar solution is completely non-toxic and 100 percent safe around kids and pets. Some people prefer this method because there is no alcohol in it. It is used the same way as Bitter Apple or Listerine. Just spray the mixture on items that are not supposed to be chewed and see if it is effective for your dog.

Tobasco Sauce

Dogs dislike the taste of hot sauce.

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Tabasco Sauce is an effective anti-chewing solution that won't harm your dog, but it is better suited to outdoor use since it can potentially stain your carpeting or furniture and does have a stronger smell. If your dog has a problem chewing on his own feces, pouring Tabasco over it can prevent him from attempting it. You can also mix it with a small amount of water as well to lessen the scent and the possibility of staining, but if you water it down too much, it will also lose its effectiveness.