Homemade Bitter Apple Spray

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Dogs and cats may chew up everything from your houseplants to your shoes because they're bored or anxious. Fortunately, you can stop them from chewing on your things by making a homemade bitter apple spray with natural ingredients that are safe for pets but tastes unpleasant to them.

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Bitter tasting sprays aren't harmful but taste bad.
Image Credit: Madeleine_Steinbach/iStock/GettyImages

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While you can purchase a spray deterrent in pet supply stores, such as a PetSmart bitter apple spray, you can make one for a fraction of the cost right at home. After determining why your pet is chewing up your home, you can take steps to combat that behavior, including using a bitter apple spray on items you want your pet to avoid.

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Homemade bitter apple spray ingredients

To make a bitter apple spray for dogs and cats, you'll need two simple ingredients: apple cider vinegar and white vinegar. Combine two parts of the apple cider vinegar with one part of the white vinegar to create a bitter apple spray that will deter your pet from chewing on objects around your home.

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The taste of the two types of vinegar is unpleasant for dogs and cats but won't hurt them because it is nontoxic to pets. It should reduce your pet's desire to chew on anything that the vinegar mixture is sprayed on. Even better, it can act as a deodorizer for areas around your home because of the vinegar.

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While you might be tempted to add some essential oils to your bitter apple spray to mitigate its acidic odor, don't do this if you're using it for cats. Cats are much more sensitive to essential oils than dogs, and the oils can be harmful to them.

Homemade no-chew spray for cats and dogs

If you want a spray that is more pleasant for you to smell but will effectively stop your pets from chewing on things around your home, you can create a lemon-based homemade no-chew spray for cats and dogs. Dogs and cats don't like the taste of citrus, so they will avoid items that are sprayed with the solution.

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One option is to combine two parts of lemon juice with one part apple cider vinegar. This spray smells a bit more like lemon, but pets will be repelled by the taste. Another option is to combine equal parts lemon juice and water. This will smell pleasantly like lemons to you but will taste yucky to your pet.

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Using a dog and cat deterrent indoors

Before using any dog and cat deterrent solution, you'll need to test it on a small, inconspicuous area first to make sure that it won't bleach or discolor the surface where you spray it. Spritz down objects that your pet chews twice a day to keep the taste and scent strong, especially during the first few weeks of training.

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When initially introducing the spray to your pet, apply it on a small cotton ball and let your pet smell it. Then, gently place it on his tongue, which should cause him to spit it out and drool. This teaches your pet to avoid anything that smells like that cotton ball because it will taste unpleasant.

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Training tips for chewing cats and dogs

While spraying a bitter apple spray for dogs and cats in your home will help reduce your pet's undesirable chewing, it won't solve it unless you give your furry friend something acceptable to chew on instead. For example, provide some sturdy chew toys or puzzle toys to keep your pet occupied during the day and prevent boredom. For dogs, give them edible chews, like bully sticks or rawhide bones.

When puppies and kittens are teething, be sure to provide them with plenty of frozen chew toys or even just ice cubes because their gums will hurt, and the cold will help. Also, spend time with your pet during the day and ensure that she is getting a good amount of exercise. This can help with teething because it tires out your pet, and she won't have the urge to chew on everything within paw's reach.

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