Why do dogs chew on wood anyway? You supply them with a pile of fun shaped chew toys, why do they choose the leg of your table instead?
If your dog has plenty of appropriate toys to chew on, then the chewing could be a result of lack of exercise or possibly even separation anxiety.
Do you ever play fetch with your dog outside with a stick? This could create a misguidance in some dogs that wood equals play/entertainment. While this scenario is less likely, it’s something to consider.
So how do we stop our dogs from chewing on wood and other household items? You have two options. Training or try a bitter apple spray.
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In my opinion, training is the best solution to stop your dog from chewing your stuff.
Time to be honest. I have never used anti-chew sprays. Yes, they can be an easy way to get your dog to stop chewing. But I believe in preventing the chewing before it happens. Prevention by training, a crate, and plenty of exercise.
Puppies are going to chew and chew and chew. They are teething, it’s natural just as it’s natural for babies to put everything in their mouths. This is why you should never leave a puppy unintended. Anytime you cannot watch your puppy, he should be in a crate or playpen.
If you have an adult dog chewing on items, then it may be a sign of boredom or separation anxiety. Make sure your dog is getting enough physical and mental exercise.
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Way back when, our 6-month-old puppy Symba, decided he liked to chew on drywall, specifically one corner in the stairway. He would chew on this corner any time we were not watching him. He also liked to chew the wood window trim. The solution was to never allow him free roam of the house while we could not watch him. And if we did catch him trying to chew, we would use a firm voice, tell him NO, and take him away from the wall.If you have an adult dog chewing on items, then it may be a sign of boredom or separation anxiety. Make sure your dog is getting enough physical and mental exercise.
I get it, you want a magical and quick solution to stop your dog from chewing your wood furniture or trim. So let’s go over your options, you could buy a product or make your own. Let’s start with…
For some dogs, the bitter taste of these products is enough to send them running in the opposite direction. But other dogs seem to have acquired the bitter taste. So it’s going to depend on your own dog.
There are several options when it comes to using a bitter apple spray. You can buy a commercially made product or make your own with household products you probably have in your pantry.
Both products are marketed to stop dogs from chewing on shoes, furniture or themselves. But which one works better? Like I mentioned above, I’ve never used any of these products personally, so I am using the online reviews as my guide.
Bitter Apple was invented by a pharmacist and the first product of it’s kind. It’s the top rated on Amazon with over 3,000 reviews and a 3.3-star rating.
The downside of Bitter Apple is that it does contain isopropanol. Their label states the ingredients are: Water, Isopropanol 20%, Bitter Principles, and Extractives.
Even though they claim all their ingredients are non-toxic and safe… I don’t want my dog consuming isopropanol.
From what I read, Bitter Yuk has a stronger, longer lasting taste which many people have said works better for their dog. Bitter yuk is alcohol-free, which I think is a huge bonus. Bitter Yuck is not as popular on Amazon, with only 300 or so reviews with a 3-star rating.
Before using any bitter apple spray, you should always test it on a small area first. Make sure it doesn’t damage the wood or material you want to spray it on.
After you know it is safe for your furniture, simply spray the bitter apple on all the items your dogs like to chew. Your table legs, wood trim, shoes… You may need to reapply every few days.
This is going to be the easiest DIY you’ve ever done. You only need two ingredients to make your own bitter apple spray.
Combine the vinegars into the spray bottle and start spraying. I really love these glass spray bottles. Of course, test a small area before going full force. You wouldn’t want to leave any damage to your expensive dining room table!
Lemon, Lime or Oranges
Adding lemon or other citrus juice to the vinegar mix is another way to add an extra sour taste. But I’ve heard of dogs that like the taste of citrus… sooo you will have to test to see how your dog reacts to this one.
Another option is to use cayenne pepper as a chewing deterrent. Depending on what your puppy is chewing, you can sprinkle the cayenne pepper, or make a paste out of mixing it with white vinegar and apply with a cotton ball. Be careful not to touch your face or eyes while handling the cayenne pepper!
There are bitter essential oils that are used for aromatherapy. You could add this ingredient to the vinegar mixture above to add another level of nasty taste for your dog.
Try soaking coffee filters or paper towels with the vinegar mixture and placing them in areas your puppy likes to chew. This could be good for inside shoes or on top of plants.
With all the options to stop your dog from chewing on wood, shoes, or whatever it is, which one is the best for your situation is up to you. Hands down, I will always recommend training and a crate before the anti-chew sprays. But I understand the frustration and wanting a quick solution. I hope one of these will help you and your puppy!
Now it’s your turn… please tell me what your puppy likes to chew on and how you are stopping him from chewing on your things?
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Debi McKee is a mom of three kids, two dogs and the creator of Rescue Dogs 101... where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She also volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society.