If your pup has a penchant for gnawing on everything but her toys, you need to discourage her obnoxious nibbling. Commercial chewing deterrents from the pet supply store are effective, but you can save some dough by concocting a homemade chewing spray with ingredients you already have at home.
Once your pooch to gets a mouthful of a hot and spicy homemade chewing deterrent she's unlikely to go back for more. It won't harm her, but the taste, as well as the unpleasant sensation on her tongue, should be enough to teach her that chewing on the sofa leg is a no-no. Mix up a spicy spray using 2 cloves of chopped garlic, 1 chopped jalapeno, 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon of hot pepper sauce, 1 tablespoon of chili powder and 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap in 1 quart of water. Let your homemade chewing spray sit for a full 24 hours then strain it through a square of cheesecloth. Place your spicy chewing deterrent in a spray bottle and spritz it on anything you don't want your dog mangling with her mandibles.
Cologne and perfume smell lovely, but if you've ever accidentally gotten a squirt of some in your mouth you know that the taste isn't as pleasant as the scent. The gag-inducing flavor makes perfume useful for mixing up some homemade chewing deterrent spray, and although the taste is horrible it won't hurt your pooch to get some in her mouth. The recipe is blessedly simple: just mix one part perfume to 10 parts water and start spraying.
Associate Taste with the Odor
Homemade chewing sprays work best if your dog knows beforehand that it's not a good idea to take a treated object into her mouth. Of course, she'll find out for sure once she's tasted the spray you put on the heels of your favorite pair of shoes, but if you do a little pre-emptive work with her she'll be less likely to put her mouth on the off-limits targets in the first place. When you prepare your chewing spray of choice put a little bit on a cotton ball or a tissue, then gently put it in your dog's mouth. Don't wrestle her to the ground or pry her jaws open to get it done. If you're both nervous wait until later. Once your pooch tastes the unpleasant spray on the tissue she'll spit it out. She might sniff at it, but that's a good thing. She should associate the nasty taste with the smell so that when she detects the odor again she won't be inclined to chew on it.
Chewing Deterrent Tips
Homemade chewing deterrents aren't much good if your dog can easily wash the taste from her mouth. To minimize the chances of that, don't allow your dog to drink for 45 minutes to an hour after she's gotten a taste of spray. Just don't forget to put her water back down after an hour. When applying homemade chewing spray to objects around your home you might want to avoid light-colored objects as the spray could possibly discolor them. At the very least, do a test-spray in a spot that isn't normally visible. Initially you will probably have to apply the spray every day to objects your pup is fond of chewing. Depending on how quick she catches on you'll need to use the homemade spray for two to four weeks. During that time, encourage her to chew on her own toys by making them available -- don't put them up out of her reach or she'll place her oral fixation on your possessions -- and increase the appeal of chewing-approved objects by smearing a little cheese spread or peanut butter on them.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.