Alternatives to Bitter Apple for Dogs

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Bitter apple has long been a doggie chew deterrent.

Bitter spray for dogs 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 apple bitters for dogs on items in your home such as shoes or furniture, your dog is discouraged from chewing on them.


Bitter spray is effective for most dogs; however, it does not necessarily work for all. Check out alternatives to apple bitters for dogs that you might already have in your home.

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Listerine kills germs and chewability

Listerine — a mouthwash designed to kill germs that cause bad breath — is also an effective chew deterrent for many dogs. Get the original flavor if you plan to use it. Don't get 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 to chew. Listerine has a high alcohol content — so you would not want your dog to consume any — but this also makes it an effective antiseptic on a cut or wound. The smell combined with the flavor helps prevent the dog from biting himself and making an injury worse.


Don't substitute other mouthwash for Listerine. Some brands contain xylitol which helps fight dental bacteria in humans but can be lethal to your pet according to the American Kennel Club.

Vinegar bitter spray for dogs

White vinegar mixed with water discourages chewing.

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 the 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 the smell of vinegar 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 for kids and pets. Some people prefer this method because there is no alcohol in it. It is used the same way as bitter spray or Listerine. Just spray the mixture on items that are not supposed to be chewed and see if it is effective for your dog.



Cool chewing with hot sauce

Dogs dislike the taste of hot sauce.

Tabasco Sauce is an effective anti-chewing solution used in pet deterrents that won't harm your dog. It is better suited to outdoor use since it can potentially stain your carpeting or furniture. Its strong smell usually repels most dogs as well as wildlife.


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. However, if you water it down too much, it will also lose its effectiveness.



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