This is the easiest DIY around. In fact, I almost feel guilty calling it a DIY, but here goes…
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Why use DIY bitter apple spray?
Whenever someone asks me how to get their puppy to stop chewing something, this is the recipe I pass along. It’s a phenomenal spray deterrent. But please pay attention to the instructions if you’re going to use it on any wood. I mean, pay attention to the instructions regardless but ESPECIALLY for wood.
Secondly, if your dog has a chewing/licking problem, something skin-related or a small wound that he just won’t leave alone (EMMETT) then this is the thing for you. I’ll get into the whys of it all below, but just know that chew deterrent also means for self-chewing, not just furniture/drywall (COOPER).
How to Use Taste Deterrents to Discourage Chewing
Although dogs have about one-sixth of the taste buds that humans do, your dogs sense of smell is much more advanced than peopleâs. Like humans, dogs can identify sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. Cats have only 480 taste buds, and they only have taste receptors for salty, sour, and bitter. Like dogs, cats have a strong sense of smell and dislike anything that tastes bitter.Â
Since your pet has such a strong sense of smell, taste deterrents work through your pets sense of smell. You introduce them to the taste, which they then associate with the smell. Once theyve had an unpleasant experience associated with that smell, theyll avoid it in the future.Â Taste deterrents take advantage of your pets dislike of bitter and spicy flavors by using those sensations to discourage chewing. Bitter apple sprays and spicy or hot sprays are commonly used deterrents.Â
When you first introduce a bitter apple spray to your cat or dog, apply a small amount to a cotton ball or piece of tissue. Place this directly into your pets mouth. If your pet spits out the tissue, retches, drools, or shakes their head, it means they donât like the bitter taste. These reactions are good â they indicate that your pet will try to avoid the bitter taste of the spray in the future.
Spicy-hot sprays can be introduced in the same way, but you need to remove your pets access to water for half an hour after you introduce it. If your pet figures out that they can get rid of the unpleasant sensation by drinking water, it wont be as effective. However, never take away your pets water for any longer than this, since they need fresh water to be healthy.Â
Once youve established that your pet does not like the taste deterrent and will avoid it, spray it on anything you dont want your cat or dog to chew. Youll need to reapply it every day for two to four weeks until your pet learns not to chew whatever youve sprayed.Â
Taste deterrents are one of many tools that should be used to teach your pet what they can chew and what they cant. You will need to use it combined with other strategies to control destructive chewing.Â
Provide acceptable alternatives. Give your dog or cat chew toys to encourage healthy chewing habits. Notice what they like to chew on and offer toys that are similar. Rotate your pets toys every few days and offer new toys frequently to prevent boredom. Make sure the toys you give them are safe and nontoxic.Â
Exercise your pet. Boredom is often a cause of destructive chewing, so making sure that your pet gets plenty of exercise and has opportunities to play will help prevent it. An added bonus to physical exercise is that tired dogs dont have the energy to be destructive.
Pet-proof your house. The easiest way to stop your pet from chewing your stuff is to keep your items out of reach. Place your belongings where your pet cant reach them, and make sure to praise your pet when they pick up their toys instead of your shoes.
Supervise your pet. Until your dog or cat understands the house rules, try to provide them with constant supervision. If you cant supervise your pet, you can contain them in a crate or enclosed area away from chewable objects for up to six hours. If you see your pet chewing on something they shouldnt be, say, “Uh-oh,” and exchange the object with something safe for them to chew.Â
Why homemade? Can’t you just buy it?
Yep, you sure can. There are actually several brands on the market. But here’s the thing: You’ll spend way more money on a store-bought bitter apple spray than on a DIY version. Plus, even though most say that the ingredients are harmless, I don’t feel awesome spraying rubbing alcohol (a common commercial spray ingredient) since I know that they’ll lick it at least a few times. Also, it takes less than two minutes to make–seriously–so, why not?
Here’s what you need:
Is Grannick’s bitter apple safe for dogs?
What is Grannicks bitter apple used for?
Can I spray bitter apple in my dog mouth?
Where is Grannicks Bitter Apple made?