Puppyhood is such a magical time! Except, you know, for potty training and teaching your new pup that not everything is a chew toy.
As a new puppy owner, you’ve probably purchased a vast array of chew toys in the hopes of deterring them from chewing things that they aren’t supposed to.
But try as you might, your little alligator-teethed pup still goes after your shoes, the cords behind the television, and the edges of all of your furniture.
You can try scolding them, but some puppies think that all attention is good attention and may simply ignore you.
It’s important to remember that chewing is an absolutely natural part of being a puppy (and even a dog!) and that you should always provide your pups with plenty of acceptable things to chew on.
If this scenario sounds familiar, you may need to resort to the next level of defense against chewing: anti-chew dog sprays.
But do they really work? Read on to learn more..
What is an Anti Chew Dog Spray?
Anti-Chew spray for dogs is a very handy tool for new puppy owners. These sprays, which can either be chemically based or made of natural deterrents, contain properties that make whatever you spray them on taste bad.
If your pup has a special fascination with your favorite pair of slippers, the idea is that you spray the slippers and wait for your puppy to try again. Once they do, they’ll have a bitter surprise. The slippers will taste yucky!
This method of training is actually a really effective one, as it is a form of natural deterrent for your puppy that doesn’t involve you having to scold them.
Your puppy won’t know that you sprayed the slippers; they’ll just think they now taste inedible! The theory is that then the puppy will begin to associate the slippers with a disgusting taste and won’t want to chew them any more.
You can use these types of sprays on all sorts of enticing items, as they don’t generally leave a lingering odor and dry quickly.
Since there are so many different brands on the market, we’ll do a bit of the legwork for you.
What to Look for When Choosing an Anti-Chew Dog Spray
There are two important elements in choosing an anti-chew spray for your puppy: safety and effectiveness.
Safety is always the number one priority.
Many things that dogs find disgusting are actually bad for them, so it’s crucial to choose a brand that contains only safe, non-toxic ingredients.
Remember, your dog will actually be ingesting some of the spray.
Secondly, you should find a spray that is consistently effective.
This will vary from dog to dog and may require some trial and error (my dog loves lemon, for example, so an anti-chew spray that is based with lemon definitely wouldn’t work for him!)
Proper Use of Anti-Chew Dog Spray
Anti-Chew spray is only safe and effective if used correctly. Here are some basic do’s and don’ts:
- Spray only on prohibited items that your puppy chews. Spraying the entire house will be ineffective, and it’s not a good idea to spray it over everything!
- Try and catch your puppy in the act the first time they taste the spray. You can even set up a little trap for them, if you want. Put the prohibited item in plain sight after you sprayed it. This is important because you want to make sure your dog actually doesn’t like the spray, and because you want to monitor them for any adverse reactions to the spray.
- Re-spray the items once a week if your dog keeps trying to chew them. The smell and taste may wear off.
- Spray your puppy / dog! Never, ever use these sprays to punish your dog! The ingredients that make the spray taste bad are also likely irritating to the eyes, and it can be dangerous to spray them in your dogs face or general direction. Also, it won’t teach your dog anything.
- Let your dog catch you spraying the items in question, do it someplace where your puppy can’t see you.
- Spray the spray directly into your dog’s mouth. Once again, it won’t teach them anything and can be dangerous.
- Spray the anti-chew spray on yourself to curb biting. Most puppies will play-bite for the first few months of their lives, but you shouldn’t use this spray to combat this painful puppy habit. You want to always be a source of comfort and love for your puppy, and you don’t want them to associate your body with the disgusting taste of an anti-chew spray.
What If Your Puppy Loves The Taste of Anti-Chew Dog Sprays?
Unfortunately, some dogs just don’t care about the taste of anti-chew sprays. Either they are simply insensitive to the bitter taste, they actually like it, or the item in question is so enticing that they’re willing to overlook the taste in order to enjoy the chewing.
If you do have a puppy who isn’t fazed by the taste of anti-chew spray, there are a few things you can try before throwing in the towel:
- Use a little more spray. Sometimes just a few spritzes aren’t enough. While you don’t want to completely saturate an item, especially if it’s not absorbent, sometimes a little more spray will do the trick.
- Try another brand. Some dogs don’t mind the taste of some anti-chew brands, but will be very averse to others. Don’t despair if the first spray isn’t effective, there are tons of others you can try!
Natural Anti-Chew Dog Remedies
If you’re not sold on commercial anti-chew sprays or your puppy doesn’t seem to react to them, there are a few recipes with natural ingredients you can try at home.
These are generally smellier and stickier than commercial varieties, but are worth a shot if you’re really at your wits end.
The Verdict - Do Anti-Chew Dog Sprays Work or Not?
After testing, researching, and talking with other dog owners with puppy chewing problems, we have come to the conclusion that anti-chew dog sprays do work - but only sometimes.
The key to finding the most success with these sprays is to finding the brand that YOUR dog dislikes the most.
Some of these sprays in this review works wonders for some dog owners - but then actually encourages MORE chewing with others!
For this very reason, some of these products have pretty low review scores even though they are quite efficient for certain dogs.
If your puppy / dog chewing problem is severe, you may have to try several brands of anti-chew dog spray until you find one that is effective.
However, in certain cases and with certain dogs - no spray will work. In these cases, behavioral training and constant supervision is necessary to help alleviate your dog's chewing issues.
Grannick's Bitter Apple
Grannick's Bitter Apple spray is probably the most famous natural anti dog-chew solution.
It’s non-toxic, safe for lots of different materials (fabric, wood, etc.) and is made from water and what Grannick describes as “bitter principles.”
It smells a lot like sour apple, dries quickly, and doesn’t leave a lingering odor that humans can smell or any sticky residue.
I like Grannicks Bitter Apple and used it with my first dog. He hated the smell and taste and wouldn’t touch anything that I sprayed.
Then I got my second dog, and she loves Bitter Apple! In fact, it’s practically a condiment to her- she will even try and lick the bottle.
So it goes without saying that the efficacy of Grannick’s Bitter Apple will depend largely on the dog.
However, Bitter Apple is great because it’s safe for use on your dog's fur, which can be super helpful if your dog has a tendency to chew their feet, hot spots, etc.
Check the price of Grannick's Bitter Apple Spray here.
Natural Chew Deterrent Training Aid Spray
Natural Chew Deterrent Training Aid Spray is an anti-chew spray that uses tea tree oil, which dogs generally find offensive.
It’s made of the oil from the tea tree plant which has an earthy, eucalyptus-like, disagreeable odor (even for humans!)
It also contains a “bitter agent,” which I suspect is some sort of citrus oil.
The odor from this spray is not particularly strong, but it’s still strong enough that dogs will react to it.
This anti-chew spray can be used on objects as well as directly on your dog’s fur, which is good if they tend to chew or lick themselves obsessively (though I’d only use it on a very small part of your dog's body, such as their feet!)
Tea tree oil also purportedly contains anti-septic properties, which can be a bonus if you’re using the spray medicinally.
I like this product because it doesn’t contain all of the chemicals that some others brands use, and because it can be used on hard surfaces as well as plush ones (so, your furniture and your couch.)
As with most anti-chew dog sprays, the efficacy of each product largely depends on individual dogs. This product worked great for some owners - and not at all for others.
PRO Anti Chew Spray For Dogs & Puppies
PRO Anti Chew Spray For Dogs & Puppies is an alcohol free anti-chew spray. I really like that it’s alcohol free and that it uses at least one natural ingredient: lemongrass.
Along with the lemon grass, this brand also uses the ever-mysterious “bitter agents,” and the spray comes with a handy instruction book that gives tips and hints for using it effectively.
This Pro anti chew dog spray can be used on hard surfaces and soft ones, and doesn’t leave any particular offensive smell (for humans, at least!)
PRO Anti Chew Spray For Dogs & Puppies is safe for use directly on your dog, as well, so you can use it on your dog’s fur to discourage them from biting a particular area of their body.
The only drawback with this brand is that it relies almost exclusively on taste - it doesn’t really smell bad! If your puppy learns to simply lick it off before chewing their favorite slipper, it might not be effective.
To check the latest price of the PRO Anti Chew Dog Spray, click here.
Chewfix Bitter Spray
Unlike many brands of anti-chew spray, Chewfix Bitter Spray is not safe to use on your dog’s fur! So be warned, if you are looking for a spray to deter your dog from chewing hot spots or obsessively licking, this isn’t the brand for you.
Chewfix has a pretty simple ingredient list: water, “bittering agents,” and citric acid.
Both the citric acid and the unnamed bittering agent will repel your puppy and discourage them from chewing, and I’m always in favor of limited ingredients.
Other than applying on your dog directly, this spray can be used on pretty much anything. It doesn’t stain, but does leave a little bit of a residue. It does not taste well (trust me - I tried) , so I wouldn’t spray it on the bed or any linens if there were any chance of it getting into a human mouth.
Because of its potency, I think this product is best for places like table legs, wires, and other places where your dog chews but that you rarely have direct contact with.
And careful not to get it in your hands- this stuff really “stays.”
To check the price of the Chewfix Bitter Spray, click here.
Bodhi Dog Bitter Lemon Anti-Chew Dog Spray
The Bodhi Dog Bitter Lemon anti-chew dog spray is our favorite anti-chew dog spray.
It has proven effective for the majority of puppies we used it on and contains safe, non-toxic ingredients.
Bitter Lemon Spray is another spray that, while safe for pets, isn’t recommended for spraying directly onto your pooch to discourage them from chewing themselves or obsessively licking.
It’s safe for most surfaces in the home, including carpet, microfiber, marble, plaster, suede, etc., and won’t leave unsightly stains. You can even use it on houseplants, which are usually enticing to dogs but can be very dangerous if ingested.
While it’s unclear exactly what the “bitter agents” listed among the ingredients actually are, the name of the produce makes me suspect that it’s lemon. Citrus is a pretty powerful deterrent, but it may not be effective for all dogs (my dog is a notorious lemon lover!)
The manufacturer recommends using the spray in a well-ventilated area- and we completely agree! If you use it in an encloses space, or accidentally inhale some, you’re in for a very bitter and lemony surprise.
We love that the Bodhi Bitter Lemon Spray is made in the USA with locally sourced and sustainable ingredients, as well as the fact that the manufacturer notes that it’s made with “animal cruelty-free” production.
To check the price of Bodhi Bitter Lemon Spray, click here.
Natural Rapport Anti Chew Dog Spray
The Natural Rapport Anti-Chew Dog Spray is a quite potent spray that has a high efficacy rate.
This highly concentrated anti-chew spray has a tea tree oil base, as well, though it can’t be used directly on your dog’s fur (which can actually be very useful if your dog has a tendency to bite or scratch a certain area obsessively and you want to curb that behavior.)
Natural Rapport Anti Chew Dog Spray is very, very bitter, so be careful not to accidentally inhale or ingest any of the spray when you’re using it around your house! And wash your hands after you use it, or you’re in for a bitter surprise if you accidentally rub your eyes or chew on your nails.
Although this particular formula is pretty effective, it might not work for all dogs (some dogs don’t seem to mind the bitter taste of tea tree oil.)
We like that its organic and made from natural ingredients, but it’s also true that some dogs are more responsive to products that use synthetic bitter agents, as they tend to be more sour.
Natural Rapport Anti Chew Dog Spray will last two or three days before you need to re-spray, so keep in mind that you may need to reapply the spray to the areas rather frequently for it to be effective.
Hopefully your puppy will get grossed out enough the first few times that they won’t try to chew again and you will be able to retire the spray permanently.
To check the latest price of Natural Rapport Anti Chew Dog Spray, click here.
Emmy's Best Anti-Chew Bitter Spray
We like Emmy's Best Anti-Chew Bitter Spray because it has a variety of different uses and for the fact that the company really stands by their product. (They have a lifetime guarantee)
It’s marketed as an anti-chew and anti-scratch spray (for dogs that like to dig in upholstery, I imagine) and is safe for use on objects as well as directly on your pet's fur.
If your pup chews their own feet, or obsessively tries to chew your other dog, you can simply spray a little bit of this tea tree oil based formula onto them directly.
Of course, be very careful not to get it anywhere near your dogs face, as this stuff is pretty potent and very bitter.
This spray can be used pretty much on anything from wood and plants to electrical cords and furniture.
The fact that it contains tea tree oil means it also will act as a mild disinfectant if you have to spray a tiny bit directly on your puppy to deter them from chewing or scratching themselves.
It also works well on hot spots. Along with the tea tree oil, this formula also contains a “bitter agent,” which makes it particularly disgusting (which is sort of the point, right?)
As with many anti-chew sprays, the efficacy of Emmy's Best Anti-Chew Bitter Spray will depend on your individual pup’s taste buds, and will also wear off over time, so be sure to reapply frequently until your pup gets the message!
To check the latest price of Emmy's Best Anti-Chew Dog Spray, click here.
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