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.
Best Dog Anti Chew Spray Buying Guide & FAQ
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.
How to Choose the Correct Dog Anti Chew Spray
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 noise 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.
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.