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.

Dog Chewing on wood basket

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Training Your Dog to Stop Chewing Wood

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.

Using a Bitter Apple Spray to Stop Your Dog from Chewing

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…

Does Bitter Apple Spray Work? 

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.

Dog Chewing on Shoes

Grannick’s Bitter Apple vs. NaturVet Bitter Yuck!

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.

Both of these products are about the same price. Click here to buy Grannick’s Bitter Apple or here to buy NaturVet Bitter Yuk!

How To Use Bitter Apple Spray 

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.

DIY Homemade Natural Bitter Apple Spray Ingredients

Homemade Dog Anti-Lick / Chew Spray

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.

Cayenne Pepper

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!

Essential Oils

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.

Don’t Want to Spray Your Furniture?

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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About the Author

Debi McKee

Debi McKee is the expert behind Rescue Dogs 101 where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She is a mom of 3 human kids and 4 dogs and volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society. Click here for more about Debi and her passion for helping you and your dog.

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  1. Is there anything I can spray on my outside plants to keep my dog from eating them that won’t hurt the plants or my dog ?

  2. i have sort of a unique problem, 8 4 month old puppies that could not be rehomed. they really are doing pretty good with potty training and learning not to jump on me. i have no crates of course and no other areas for them because i have 3 adult dogs in the other room. trying to teach them to sit is an exercise in frustration because they cannot keep attention span and just play around. i cannot take them outside much at all because i live on 4 undeveloped acres with many dangers. i am building a huge enclosure so the can run and play at their little hearts desire. if anyone has any suggestions on training a tribe i open to any instructions. also training with treats is out of the question. thanks in advance

    1. I’m sorry, but it will be impossible to train eight young puppies all at the same time. You need a way to separate them. Crates, play pens, even leashes. Take one puppy outside at a time to train. Hopefully you can find homes for these puppies soon.

  3. Most essential oils are very toxic to dogs, they really should not be recommended as a chew deterrent. There are a few, like lavender, that are okay but still – most are very harmful. Further, isopropyl alcohol evaporates rapidly at room temperature, most should dispense within a minute or two of using spray. Just trying to be helpful.

  4. I agree with you on the training, but have to result to sprays (hoping to find a paint), as he's chewing the edges of his wood crate (4×4 small room) while we are at work. Probably separation anxiety (especially since he's 3), but he's never done this in the almost 3 months since we rescued.

  5. My 8 month old puppy just started to destroy our woodwork and now a stairs. Only happens when we leave. He has plenty of chew toys, is exercised twice a day when I am at work and then with me after work. I see it as boredom
    He was not crate trained when we got him as an older puppy. The spray works but he finds a spot not sprayed. Is it too late to crate train when I leave? He did great until now

    1. 8 months old is too young to have full freedom of the house when alone. He’s still a puppy in so many ways. Yes he can still be crate trained, at any age in fact. Here is an article about crate training. You can also consider a tall playpen. Just make sure it’s a tall one so he can’t jump or climb out. We have one similar to this playpen on Chewy.

  6. We have a rescue pit bull that breaks out of his expensive, supposedly unbreakable cage (even tried padlocking it closed and she breaks the lock), then proceeds to chew the door frame and walls near exterior doors. She has separation anxiety, so only does this when left alone. She has destroyed the walls and trim on doors, walls, and baseboards. Any solution to stop this?

    1. Did you read our post on separation anxiety. Sounds like she has a very severe case of SA. There are FB groups that are specifically for SA dogs. I’m not going to lie, it takes a lot of time and patience to help a dog overcome SA. Especially in such extreme situations like yours.

  7. I have a dog that I took in and when I leave the house he chews the doors or blinds. If I crate him he poops in the crate

  8. My 6-month puppy is an outdoor dog, and he won’t stop biting the wood of the house and he also has his little house and he would also bite it.


  9. My 3 yr old dog rips apart packages left by delivery services. She is outside most of the day, is a quiet, gentle dog and very friendly…unless you are a brown box or plastic bag parcel. I have scolded and crated her every time she has done it but it is getting expensive (latest victim a $300 jacket) but she just does it again and again

  10. My puppy is 12 weeks old and chews on everything I tried bitter cherry spray it works for a day I’m at my wit’s end so what should I use

    1. Joy, there are many ideas in the post, but prevention is the only option that is 100% fool proof. Keep her on a leash, in a crate, in the same room as you 100% of the time. Puppies will always chew when bored and unattended to.

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