What Is Bitter Orange for Dogs?

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Wooden furniture can be irresistible to an unsupervised bored or teething puppy.
Wooden furniture can be irresistible to an unsupervised bored or teething puppy. (Image: puppy image by Waseem Ghattas from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Dogs, like people, have taste buds to distinguish different flavors, and dogs usually reject things that taste bitter, notes the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Armed with this knowledge, dog owners can use taste deterrents like Bitter Orange to assist in modifying dog behavior.

Significance

Bitter Orange, manufactured by ARC Laboratories, is an intensely bitter-tasting cream intended to act as an aversive aid in preventing unwanted chewing or licking in dogs.

Function

Some dog owners apply Bitter Orange to an object they don't want the dog to lick or chew on. Bitter Orange is often applied to such things as furniture legs to prevent a puppy from chewing on them, or bandages to prevent a wounded dog from licking or nibbling at them.

Chewing on bandages should be prevented.
Chewing on bandages should be prevented. (Image: gimme image by Guy Verville from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Features

Bitter Orange is sold as a cream in 1 or 2 oz. bottles. It is made up of water; isopropyl alcohol; oleoresin capsicum, a pepper plant extract; sucrose octa acetate (more often referred to as sucrose octaacetate), the extremely bitter result of acetylating sucrose; propylene glycol, a liquid approved by the FDA as an additive in cosmetics and medications; and polysorbate 60, an emulsifier.

Considerations

Keep in mind that while many dogs find the taste of Bitter Orange abhorrent, some dogs actually seem to enjoy the flavor, defeating its intended purpose. When using Bitter Orange, always test it on a small, hidden area of the object first to be certain it does not stain.

Warning

Bitter Orange should not come into contact with eyes, broken skin or mucous membranes. If contact occurs, immediately wash the area with warm water. If the dog consumes significant amounts of Bitter Orange, call a veterinarian. If a human consumes Bitter Orange, contact a poison control center or physician.

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