Homemade Bitter Liquid to Help Dogs Stop Chewing

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If your dog has chewed his way through your shoe collection and has possibly moved on to your couch, it's time to put a stop to this behavior. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to prevent your pup from chewing up your home, including putting together a homemade bitter liquid that acts as a chew deterrent for dogs due to its unpleasant taste. While you can buy bitter liquid sprays in pet supply stores to prevent a dog from chewing on things, like your clothing, shoes, and furniture, you can save some money by making one yourself with items you probably already have in your home.


You can make a homemade bitter liquid to help dogs stop chewing.
Image Credit: Aleksandr Zyablitskiy/iStock/GettyImages

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Why dogs chew on things

Dogs chew on everything from clothing to carpet for a variety of reasons. Puppies may chew on things because they're teething. Adult dogs who were weaned too early may chew on things when trying to nurse on them.


Dogs who are anxious, especially those suffering from separation anxiety, may chew on things to soothe themselves while you're gone. Most commonly, dogs who are bored will chew on things because there's nothing else to do.

Before using any type of bitter deterrent as a training aid, it's best to determine why your dog is chewing on things in your home. This way, you can provide an acceptable outlet for her behavior, like chew toys and puzzle toys, while discouraging chewing on the things she should avoid.

Lemon juice spray for dogs

One of the flavors that dogs don't like is anything citrus-related, including bitter lemon-based liquids. Because lemon juice is harmless to dogs but tastes unpleasant, use it to make a lemon water spray for dogs with one part lemon juice combined with one part water.


Another option is to substitute apple cider vinegar for water and combine that with either lemon or lime juice using two parts juice and one part vinegar. Dogs don't like the smell or taste of vinegar, which makes this an excellent option as part of a homemade lemon juice spray for dogs. Plus, this mixture will deodorize things around your home too.

Cayenne pepper spray for dog chewing

For dogs who continue to chew on everything even after spraying down your home with the bitter lemon spray, you can try making a bitter cayenne pepper spray for dog chewing. Cayenne pepper isn't just bitter; it's unpleasantly spicy, which should discourage your dog from chewing on the items on which you spray it.


Create a cayenne pepper spray for dog chewing by combining 2 cups of water with 2 tablespoons of cayenne or chili pepper powder. Shake well and spray it on items on which your dog likes to chew.

Although the cayenne pepper spray may be effective, it can irritate your dog's nose and could even get on your hands and irritate your eyes and nose, so use it with caution.

Homemade chewing spray tips

To see if your dog will be repelled by the chew deterrent for dogs, put a little on a cotton ball, allow your dog to smell it, and place the cotton gently in your dog's mouth. If your dog doesn't like it, he'll spit it out, drool, and maybe even retch. This will teach your dog to associate the smell of the spray with the unpleasant taste.


Before spraying any items around your home with a homemade chew deterrent for dogs, always test a small area to ensure color fastness. For the sprays to be effective, apply them twice a day to all surfaces on which your dog chews.

For best results, use the sprays for several weeks while also giving your dog plenty of chew toys, puzzle toys, and exercise to keep him occupied and reduce his need to chew. For dogs who actually ingest nonfood items while chewing on them, visit the vet to determine what could be the cause of this condition known as pica.