Homemade Chewing Deterrent Sprays for Your Dog

By Betty Lewis

If your dog's gnawed one too many shoes, or whittled your chair leg down to a toothpick, it might be time to try a chewing deterrent. There are a variety of homemade chewing sprays to choose from, but it may take a little trial and error to learn what flavors your pup will avoid.

Pucker Up With Vinegar

There are a variety of bitter-tasting dog chewing deterrents on the market, however you easily can make your own version. If your dog turns his nose up at your vinegar-flavored potato chips, chances are good a vinegar-based spray will keep him away from your favorite throw pillows. Try mixing two parts of apple cider vinegar to one part white vinegar for a tongue-curling experience. Vinegar is a good alternative for keeping your pup from noshing on your shoes, but try something else on your plants -- they're averse to vinegar as well.

Tarty Citrus

Lemons, limes and oranges are popular foods for people because of their flavor and aroma, but dogs aren't keen on citrus. Substituting lemon juice for apple cider vinegar will make a spray that your dog may find offensive but may smell a little less harsh to your nose. A few drops of citrus oil in a cup of alcohol also may do the trick. If your dog's been chewing on your plants, take a few shavings from your morning orange and sprinkle them around your plants as an additional deterrent to your dog.

Hot and Spicy

Not every dog is repelled by vinegar or citrus. If your guy is one of those, try adding a little spice to the spray in the form of cayenne pepper. One part cayenne to 10 parts water is plenty to irritate your pup's senses. Don't go overboard with the cayenne -- too much of this spice can irritate your dog's eyes and nose. Chances are if he gets a whiff of this little hottie, he'll take a pass so he doesn't irritate his senses even more.

Do's and Don't's

Just like people, dogs have specific tastes that repel and attract them, so it's no guarantee that vinegar, citrus or pepper will keep your dog from chewing. WebMD recommends introducing the flavored deterrent to your dog before you spray with it. Simply put a small amount of it on a piece of cotton wool or tissue and place it in your dog's mouth. When he tastes it, he'll likely spit it out, and if he decides he doesn't like the taste he may gag, shake his head or drool. The point of the exercise is for him to identify the scent of the spray with the bad taste so he'll avoid anything that smells like the spray. The deterrent should be applied daily for up to a month while your dog learns to stay away from specific objects. Never apply a homemade deterrent to your dog's fur without first consulting his vet.