What is Bitter Apple, and How Can It Help Pet Owners?

Picture of a dog with shoes and socks

If you’ve got a dog with a penchant for chewing, you know how difficult it can be to keep your pooch away from the object of his affection. Since licking and chewing can be an irresistible attraction for your dog, trying to get Fido to stay away from something that’s caught his attention can be nearly impossible. If your dog seems to have an endless fascination with licking and chewing his paws, you might be able to keep your dog away from them by using a cone. But cones can restrict your dog’s ability to do some of the things he most enjoys, and you really can’t keep a cone on indefinitely. Unfortunately, teaching your dog to stay away from things that pique his interest is another mission impossible when it comes to biting, licking, and chewing. A “leave it” command will only be effective if you can be there to supervise your dog all the time as often the actions of licking and chewing can become habit. After a long tradition of doing it, it becomes instinctual for your dog, adding another layer of complication to the problem. But Grannick’s Bitter Apple offers dog owners the perfect solution. What is Bitter Apple, and how can it help pet owners?

The Facts About Bitter Apple

Developed in 1960, Grannick’s Bitter Apple is a topical spray designed by a pharmacist. Originally intended to be a taste deterrent, Bitter Apple’s flavor accurately reflects its name: a bitter apple. The unique formulation is packaged in an atomizer bottle, allowing owners to spray the product on things their dogs seem to be drawn to lick or chew.

Bitter Apple takes its flavoring from what is known as “extract of bitters.” Extract of bitters is an alcohol-based compound which is then flavored by plant materials to achieve the desired result. Typically used as a flavor enhancer in alcoholic beverages or even foods, Bitter Apple instead functions as a repellent to help train dogs to avoid anything it is sprayed on. Among the top uses for Bitter Apple include:

  • Hotspots
  • Fur licking or chewing

Though alcohol is a key component in creating extract of bitters, it is only a minute amount for preservation purposes. The remainder of the Bitter Apple spray is simply water. The product is 100 percent safe for dog use, but care must be taken not to get the spray directly in your dog’s eyes as it will sting.

In addition to providing protection from licking skin and fur, Bitter Apple can also be safely sprayed on plants, furniture, and fabrics.

Does Bitter Apple Actually Work?

Experts agree that yes, Bitter Apple does work! As intelligent creatures, dogs quickly learn to avoid things that taste unpleasant. But for the first little while, you must be consistent in coating the area with Bitter Apple spray as your dog may make repeat attempts to lick his paws or other things before his memory of the terrible bitter taste kicks in. Over time, it will be unnecessary to continue with daily applications of the product. Your dog will remember what happened the last time he decided to lick the area and will avoid it all costs!

Are There Other Types of Taste Deterrent Sprays You Could Use?

If you’ve tried Bitter Apple and the results haven’t worked out that well for you, there are other brands with different flavoring agents you could try. All of them operate on the same principle: the use of an unpleasant taste, whether bitter or hot, to keep your dog at bay!

Here is a list of some of the other taste deterrent sprays you could consider for your pooch’s pesky licking problem:

  • Veterinarian’s Best Bitter Cherry Spray
  • ChewGuard Spray
  • Yuk-2e Anti-Lick Gel
  • Bitter YUCK! No Chew Spray

Wanting to try a more natural approach? You can make your own taste deterrent spray by using a few items you like already have around your house! If you’ve got apple cider vinegar and some plain, ordinary white vinegar at home, grab a spray bottle, and you’re in business! Simply add two cups of apple cider vinegar to one cup of white vinegar. Give it a good shake then spray on any items you want your dog to avoid. Since this mixture can be somewhat caustic, it is best to dilute it with water if you plan to use it on your dog’s skin.

It is also important that you not spray any taste deterrent on an open wound. It will certainly sting, but it may also irritate the skin, preventing healing. If your dog has open sores from licking, your best course of action is to make use of the dreaded “cone of shame” until the skin has healed sufficiently for Bitter Apple to be applied.

Most taste deterrent sprays are quite inexpensive and easy to source. Ringing in at around $10 per bottle, it is a cost-effective approach to a painful problem.

To find a bottle of taste deterrent spray, simply visit your favorite pet store or local veterinarian. Since nuisance licking, biting, and chewing is a common dog problem, most high quality pet retailers and veterinary clinics keep the product in stock at all times.

Got a persistent chewer in the house? Bitter Apple can help! Pick a bottle today. Your dog’s licking woes could be a thing of the past after just a few applications.



One Response

  1. Hello,
    Thank you for the very useful and helpful information. I purchased this product several years ago. I have an older dog that chews/licks her front paws, mainly when she’s lying around and, I think, bored. My question is, how long does Bitter Apple last? I’d like to be sure I am not going to use it if it has spoiled or the potency has expired.
    Thank you for your help!

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