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Dogs, especially young puppies, chew. While some chew more than others, it is a completely natural behavior and one that is beneficial to their teeth and jaws. However, when your dog is chewing your chair to pieces or ruining your favorite shoes it becomes an issue. Dogs cannot distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate chewing, it is our job as owners and pet parents to help them do this.
One way to achieve this is with the help of an anti-chew spray. But, do you choose a noise or a taste no chew spray? And which manufacturer is the best? Our panel of pet experts and dog lovers have compiled a list of the best anti-chew sprays to point you in the right direction.
The Bitter Lemon Spray by Bodhi Dog is a safe, gentle, and human way to stop your precious pooch from inappropriate chewing. It is made from natural ingredients and is completely non-toxic. The combination of lemon extract and natural bitters create an unpleasant taste that discourages your dog from returning to the place where the spray was used.
It is ideal for protecting clothing, shoes, and furniture. The spray contains no artificial additives or harsh chemicals and is safe to use on pet areas such as their bed and for use outdoors.
Does not contain harsh chemical or additives
Safe for use on clothes, furniture, pet areas, and outdoors
The Company of Animals Pet Corrector emits a quick burst of compressed air that mimics the warning hiss of a cat or snake. The sound distracts your dog from the inappropriate behavior or chewing that they were involved in and is a humane and safe way to prevent chewing and a range of other behaviors. Recommended by animal behaviorists, the spray is an effective training aid for dogs of all ages, except very young puppies. However, care should be taken around dogs of a nervous disposition or who are made anxious by loud noises.
Safe and humane
Effective training aid as part of a wider behavior program
Grannick’s Bitter Apple is a safe and non-toxic spray that can be used on problem areas to discourage chewing, gnawing, and licking. Works through leaving a bitter taste on items that your dog is prone to chewing or licking. This discourages your dog from returning to chewing / licking that spot. Usually successful within a week of first applying the bitter apple spray for dogs. It can be sprayed on any surface including your dog’s bed, leash, your shoes, rugs, and household furniture. It is also suitable for use on wounds, bandages, and fur.
A great option for any dog owner who is looking to deter their pup from chewing is this offering from Emmy’s Best Pet Products. Extremely bitter – enough to put off even the most determined chewer – this option still manages to be non-toxic for dogs.
Indeed, it’s so safe that it can even be used on fur. Which makes it a great choice for a dog who may have undergone surgery or has allergies. It even comes with a training guide to help your puppy stop chewing, for good!
Very strong taste for deterring dogs
Training programme included with purchase
Safe to use – and can even be used on your dog’s fur
Made from grapefruit and other all-natural ingredients, this highly bitter spray is designed to stop a host of problem pet behaviors including chewing, biting, and licking. You can use it as part of your training regime when you first bring your dog home – or you may need it as a ‘refresher’ for your pup. Whatever the case, you should always combine it with a system of positive reinforcement and treats as well.
Non-acidic and non-flammable, it is perfectly safe for use around your home. You can even use it directly onto your dog’s skin if you are trying to prevent that problem licking and gnawing behavior. Use it outdoors and you can stop your dog from chewing up your plants and flower bed.
Uses natural ingredients
Safe for spraying all over the home and on your pet
This option from Rocco and Roxie is the ideal choice for those whose pups have allergies or may have undergone surgery. With soothing oils added to the alcohol-free formula, this product works brilliantly on sensitive skin, while still discouraging your dog from chewing and licking wounds.
Safe enough to be used on everything from furniture through to baby toys, this spray for dogs will keep everyone safe and happy. Best of all, it comes with a moneyback guarantee, so you can buy with the knowledge that you’re making the right choice.
Very bitter taste works on even the most determined chewers
Made using a natural formula of ingredients, the cherry scent will smell nice around your home, but rest assured that it works to discourage chewing wherever you spray it. Since it is free of alcohol, it also won’t sting your dog’s skin, so you can spray it directly on there to prevent the licking and chewing of itchy skin or bandages – which can inhibit recovery.
You can also spray it around your household, choosing items that your dog particularly favors to stop them biting into them. The solution is both non-staining and clear. You can reapply it to your dog’s skin if you think that you need to.
Smells pleasant but tastes bitter to your dog and prevents chewing
Knowing the best dog anti-chew spray is only part of the solution. It is also important to know why the sprays on our list are among the best, how they work, and how best to use noise and bitter spray for dogs effectively. In this part of the buying guide, we look at each of these points and provide answers to the most frequently asked questions about anti-chew sprays.
What is an Anti Chew Dog Spray?
Anti-chew sprays are a training tool that owners can use to stop pets from chewing inappropriate objects including household furniture and dog beds. Generally, anti-chew sprays use noise or bitter tastes to deter or interrupt chewing, allowing the owner to provide commands or appropriate items to chew, such as dog chew toys and then provide positive rewards for appropriate behavior.
Inappropriate chewing is a problem for several reasons including the cost of constantly replacing damaged items. However, more importantly, it is dangerous for your dog to think that it is ok to chew everything they come in contact with. Chewing through electrical cables could result in electric shocks, chewing through their dog bed could result on them choking on the filling, and wooden table legs could leave splinters in their mouths and potentially cause perforations in their intestines.
There are two main types of anti-chew spray, those that use noise to distract your dog and those that use bitter tastes to deter further chewing of the object. Noise-based sprays should never be used with young puppies, nervous dogs, or those who are anxious around loud or unexpected noises. Other considerations when choosing a dog anti-chew spray include:
Knowing your dog
If they are unaffected by noise, then a noise-based no chew spray is unlikely to be effective. Similarly, if they love the taste of lemon, then a bitter lemon-flavored spray is likely to be a waste of money.
How loud is the noise spray you are considering? If it is too loud you risk damaging your dog’s sensitive ears and scaring them. Check with your veterinarian if you are unsure what is a safe level of sound for your dog. In terms of taste sprays, look at the ingredients and ensure that they are non-toxic. While the idea is to deter your dog from chewing, they are likely to ingest a small amount of the spray, so non-toxic, all-natural ingredients are the best choice.
It is important that whichever type of spray you choose it is effective every time. If it only works sometimes, then your dog is receiving mixed messages about what they can and cannot chew.
Proper Use of Anti-Chew Dog Spray
Anti-chew sprays are only effective if they are used correctly and are part of a wider approach to reinforcing positive behavior. The first key part of using an anti-chew spray properly is continuity. You must have the same approach to the same items all the time. So, if you spray one pair of shoes, you must spray them all, otherwise, your dog will think it is only that one pair that are off limits. Similarly, if using a nose spray and you use it when your dog goes to chew the table leg, you must use it every time they try to chew a table leg.
Additionally, you should:
Only spray items that are prohibited. If you spray everything with a bitter taste your dog will be confused and think that chewing in itself is bad, which it is not. Similarly, with a noise spray, it should only be dispensed when your dog is chewing inappropriately.
If using a noise spray, try to catch your dog as soon as they start chewing. This makes the approach more effective.
With taste sprays ensure you respray items regularly so that the taste does not wear off.
Provide appropriate items for your dog to chew.
Praise your dog when they stop inappropriate behavior and chew the items that are meant for that purpose.
You should also avoid:
Spraying your dog directly. Noise sprays could damage their earing and taste sprays could irritate your dog’s skin and eyes. It is also ineffective. The only exception to this are sprays that are designed to be used to stop your dog from chewing or gnawing at their own skin, injuries, and bandages.
Letting your dog see you spray the item. If you are using a taste spray, your dog should think the item has suddenly become inedible, rather than it is something you are doing.
Spraying yourself or using the noise spray when a puppy play bites with you. If you associate play biting you with an unpleasant noise or taste it could affect the bond between you and your puppy. It is better to over exaggerate the pain of such biting and provide praise for gentle play to combat this issue.
Dog Anti Chew Spray FAQ:
Q: What if my puppy loves the taste of anti-chew sprays?
A: If they love the taste of a specific type of spray, then instead of deterring chewing it is likely to encourage it. The best approach is to try another flavor. Bitter apple and bitter lemon are the most common tastes, but if you shop around you are likely to find one your dog does not like. Alternatively, if suitable try a noise deterrent. Remember these are not suitable for very young puppies or nervous dogs. They also mean that you need to watch your dog carefully so that you can be there to use the deterrent when they begin chewing, however, if you can do this they are very effective.
Q: Why does my dog chew on things?
A: Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs. It keeps their jaws healthy and their teeth clean. In puppies, it helps them to cut their teeth. Dogs also explore the world through their mouths and enjoy chewing. Some dogs also chew as a way to relieve anxiety, stress, and boredom. Dogs, especially young puppies, cannot distinguish between items that are safe and appropriate for chewing and those that are not, in fact, their inquisitive natures are likely to point them towards new and interesting items, which also usually happen to be the things that are unsuitable for them to chew.
Q: How does anti-chew spray work?
A: Anti-chew spray work by either distracting your dog – noise sprays or deterring chewing by making the item unpalatable – bitter taste sprays. Both types work best when they are combined with praise when your dog stops inappropriate chewing and has plenty of items that they are allowed and encouraged to chew.
Q: Could I make my own anti-chew spray?
A: Yes, it is possible to make your own anti-chew spray using either apple cider vinegar or citrus flavors. However, you need to be careful to create a safe solution not only for your pet but also for the items being sprayed. For example, plants tend not to react well to vinegar. It is not advisable to attempt to make your own noise deterrents because of the risk to your dog’s hearing.
Q: Is anti-chew spray safe for puppies?
A: Most bitter sprays are suitable for dogs of all ages, however, ensure that you are around when you first use them to check your dog’s reaction to the taste. Noise sprays are not recommended for young puppies and you should be guided by the manufacturers’ recommendations. If you are unsure of how to approach chewing with your specific puppy then speaking to your local veterinarian is the best course of action.
Our Top Pick
The Company of Animals Pet Corrector is our top pick because it emits a quick burst of compressed air that mimics the warning hiss of a cat or snake. The sound distracts your dog from the inappropriate behavior or chewing that they were involved in and is a humane and safe way to prevent chewing and a range of other behaviors. Recommended by animal behaviorists, the spray is an effective training aid for dogs of all ages, except very young puppies.
By following the tips in our buying guide and choosing the right anti-chew spray for your pet, your furry friend will soon be able to distinguish between the toys that they are allowed to chew and inappropriate items that they need to leave alone.
A freelance writer and word nerd, Wendy is a content writer with a knack for getting into the nitty-gritty of pet ownership. For the past three years, she’s been researching and writing a huge range of different topics – but always comes back to her beloved pet articles. Lover of all things four-legged and owner of Harley, Pepper and Rush, Wendy is currently completing her MNSW at Edge Hill University.