Stop Dog Chewing with This DIY Anti-Chew Spray


Dog chewing is a natural behavior that all dogs exhibit. Dogs chew for a variety of reasons including curiosity, boredom, teething, and anxiety. While chewing can be a normal behavior, excessive or destructive chewing can lead to serious problems.

Destructive chewing behaviors in dogs result in millions of dollars of property damage every year. Common household items that dogs chew include shoes, furniture, carpets, walls, doors, and more. This type of behavior can be extremely frustrating for dog owners.

Additionally, chewing on inappropriate items can pose health risks for dogs, such as intestinal blockages or dental damage from chewing on hard objects. Dogs may also be at risk of electrocution from chewing on electrical cords.

An effective solution to combat destructive chewing behaviors in dogs is the use of homemade anti-chew sprays. These natural sprays provide a safe and humane training tool to deter dogs from chewing on certain household items. This article will discuss how to make and properly use homemade anti-chew sprays.

Why Dogs Chew

Dogs chew for a variety of reasons, including teething, boredom, anxiety/stress, and medical conditions:

Teething – Chewing is a natural behavior for young puppies as their baby teeth fall out and their adult teeth start coming in. The pressure of teething causes discomfort, and chewing provides relief. Puppies typically teethe until they are 6-8 months old.

Boredom – Dogs need physical and mental stimulation. When under-exercised or bored, they may turn to inappropriate chewing as an outlet for their energy and as a form of entertainment. Providing toys, play time, and environmental enrichment helps curb boredom chewing. [Source 1]

Anxiety/Stress – Some dogs chew when anxious or suffering from separation anxiety. The repetitive behavior provides comfort and distraction. Identifying and addressing sources of anxiety can help reduce this cause of chewing. [Source 2]

Medical Conditions – Discomfort or pain from health problems like gum disease, impacted teeth, or gastrointestinal issues may cause chewing. Consulting with a veterinarian helps rule out medical conditions as a cause.

Dangers of Dog Chewing

Dog chewing can lead to some costly and dangerous consequences if not addressed. Some of the main dangers include:

Destruction of household items – Dogs may chew on furniture, carpets, walls, shoes, wiring, and more. Replacing these items can be very expensive. According to the ASPCA, the average cost to repair dog chewing damage is around $500-$2,000 (Source).
dog chewing damage averages $500-$2,000 to repair according to the aspca.

Choking hazards – Dogs may swallow pieces of items they chew on, which could lead to choking, intestinal blockages, or other health issues requiring emergency vet care. Surgery for blockages typically costs $1,000-$5,000.

Vet bills – Chewing and swallowing non-food items often requires medical treatment. According to Injury Wisconsin, the average cost of a hospital visit for a dog bite injury is around $18,200 (Source). Costs quickly add up for exams, medications, x-rays, bloodwork, surgery, and more.
average cost of a vet visit for chewing injuries is around $18,200.

Benefits of Anti-Chew Spray

Anti-chew sprays provide several benefits for pet owners and dogs alike:

Protects belongings – Anti-chew sprays create a bitter taste on surfaces and objects to deter dogs from chewing on valuables around the home like furniture, shoes, baseboards, etc. The sprays act as a barrier to protect your belongings.

Avoids dangers of chewing hazards – Dogs tend to chew on anything, which can often be something hazardous if ingested like electrical cords or chemically treated wood. Anti-chew sprays help steer dogs away from harmful chew dangers.

Saves money – Replacing destroyed shoes, furniture, carpets, etc. can be very costly. Anti-chew sprays are an inexpensive way to avoid the expenses associated with problem chewing behaviors in dogs.

anti-chew sprays help avoid expensive replacement costs from dog chewing.

Homemade Spray Ingredients

There are several household ingredients that can be used to make an effective homemade anti-chew spray for dogs:

Bitter apple spray is a popular choice. It has a very bitter taste that deters dogs from chewing. Simply dilute bitter apple spray with water in a spray bottle and apply it to desired surfaces (see

Vinegar contains acetic acid which gives it a sour taste that dogs dislike. A mixture of half white vinegar and half water makes an effective spray (see

Lemon juice is very sour and can deter chewing when diluted and sprayed on objects. Combine equal parts lemon juice and water in a spray bottle (see

Citrus oils like orange, lemon, or grapefruit give off strong aromas that dogs dislike. Add a few drops to water in a spray bottle and shake before use (see

Chili powder contains capsaicin which gives it a spicy flavor. Mix chili powder with water or vinegar in a spray bottle. Start with small amounts and adjust as needed (see

chili powder's spicy taste deters chewing when mixed with vinegar in a spray.

How to Make the Spray

Making an effective yet safe homemade dog anti-chew spray is easy with just a few simple ingredients. According to this source, you’ll need:

  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 10-15 drops essential oil like lavender, peppermint or tea tree (optional)
  • Spray bottle

Start by pouring the white vinegar and water into the spray bottle. Next, add the apple cider vinegar. You can also add several drops of an essential oil like lavender or peppermint for additional deterrent effects. Lavender and peppermint have strong scents that dogs dislike. Shake the bottle well to fully mix the ingredients.

This homemade spray can be stored at room temperature in the spray bottle for up to 1 month. Make sure to shake it before each use to remix any settled ingredients. When applying the spray, lightly mist the desired surfaces such as furniture, baseboards, doors, etc. Avoid exposing your dog’s skin directly to the spray. Reapply as needed when you notice chewing behavior.

Using the Anti-Chew Spray

There are a few key things to know about properly using an anti-chew spray to deter dogs from chewing:

Surfaces and items to spray: The homemade spray can be applied to most surfaces and items that you want to protect from chewing. This includes furniture, walls, floors, door frames, shoes, plants, and more. Focus on spraying frequently chewed items and hot spots.

Reapplication frequency: The spray will need to be reapplied every few days or once a week in most cases. It wears off over time so regular reapplication is key. Spray down the items your dog tends to chew again whenever you notice chewing behavior starting up again.

Precautions: Make sure to test the spray on a small inconspicuous area first to ensure it does not stain or damage the surface. Avoid getting it in your dog’s eyes. Ventilate the area after spraying. Supervise your dog and try not to accidentally spray their food or toys.

Training Tips to Stop Chewing

One of the most effective ways to curb destructive chewing is through training. With persistence and positive reinforcement, you can teach your dog what is appropriate to chew on.

Here are some useful training tips:

  • Redirect chewing behavior – If you catch your dog chewing on something inappropriate, interrupt the behavior with a firm “No” or “Leave it”. Then redirect your dog to an acceptable chew toy and praise when they start chewing on that instead. This helps reinforce good chewing habits.

  • Provide chew toys – Make sure your dog has plenty of safe, enticing chew toys readily available. Rotating toys helps keep them interesting. Hard rubber toys that can be stuffed with treats are a great option.

  • Reward desired behavior – When your dog chooses an appropriate chew toy on their own, reward them with praise, petting, or a treat. This positive reinforcement will encourage them to chew only on designated toys.

With time and consistency, your dog will learn that chew toys are the only acceptable outlet for their chewing instincts. Always be patient and never punish or yell at a chewing dog, as this can make the problem worse. The above tips will set your dog up for success.

Other Remedies

In addition to homemade sprays, there are some commercial products and other techniques you can try to curb chewing:

Commercial anti-chew sprays like Grannick’s Bitter Apple Spray contain natural bittering agents that deter dogs from chewing when applied to surfaces. These ready-made sprays provide a quick and easy option.

Bitter apple strips like Grannick’s Bitter Apple Strips can be placed around furniture legs or other chew targets. The powerful bitter taste helps prevent destructive chewing.

Increasing your dog’s daily exercise can curb anxiety and boredom that leads to excessive chewing. Take your dog for longer walks, go jogging together, or engage in more active playtime.


In summary, dogs chew for many reasons including teething, boredom, anxiety, and natural instinct. While chewing is normal, it can become problematic if directed at household items. Homemade anti-chew sprays offer a safe and effective solution.

This homemade spray uses natural ingredients like apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and essential oils. It deters chewing through scent and taste, without harming your dog. Making your own spray allows you to control the ingredients and avoid toxic chemicals found in store-bought deterrents.

With proper training and by addressing underlying causes, destructive chewing can be corrected. Anti-chew sprays offer immediate relief while working on long-term solutions. This homemade spray delivers rapid results, protecting your belongings without endangering your dog.

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