In mammals, all lactating females release substances called pheromones, within three to five days after giving birth. The purpose of which is to reassure their newborns. The mother creates pheromones that give their puppies a feeling of well-being and reassurance. Research has shown that the reassuring properties persist, even into adulthood. The diffusers contain an artificial version of this pheromone, which has been developed by vets known as appeasing pheromones. It works by the pheromones being picked up and detected by an animal's sense of smell producing certain responses. It helps to control or prevent fear related reactions in puppies and adult dogs. It is a natural, convenient and unique solution to canine stress. The various dog pheromone products on the market all claim to help comfort and reassure puppies and adult dogs in difficult situations, and prevent or reduce stress-related behaviour. These include destructiveness, vocalisation and house soiling brought on by nervousness or anxiousness.
So when is it appropriate to use pheromone diffusers?
Bringing a new puppy or adult dog home. Puppies between one to four months are at their most sensitive and of course are coming home to a whole new life and family. Being separated from their mother and siblings will be very stressful for them. An adult dog will benefit from a pheromone diffuser too. If you are rehoming a rescue dog then this will aid them in relaxing into their new life.
Travelling. The pheromone dog collar can really help with motion sickness as well as giving reassurance to the dog if the journey is a long one. Also take it with you in spray form so that you can use it in the car. It can be sprayed directly on to their bedding, inside dog baskets, indoor kennels, or in the car. However never spray directly on a dog or near a dogs face. It is not a scent that humans can detect or be affected by so is safe to use.
Vets. For a dog, going to the dreaded vets is no different to you having a dentist appointment. Putting the collar on them the day before and during the visit to the vet is ideal this should help calm them down. Alternatively put the diffuser on the day before and during the previous evening to help soothe your dog before their trip to the vets.
Older dogs As your dog gets older and their agility and health is not what it was using a pheromone product may bring them reassurance. They may suffer from arthritis or other physical ailments that stress them out so why not give them a bit of extra comfort whilst they are dealing with pain.
Fireworks. A definite must on Bonfire Night and New Years Eve. The noise for a dog is extremely frightening. They have no idea where the noise is coming from and why it's happening. It's strongly advised to use a plug in the month before and during the firework season. Most diffusers last for about 30 days. You could also combine the diffuser with a C.D for dogs - Fireworks & Noises Desensitisation.
Separation anxiety. You may find this can help your pet when you're going on holiday or if they are going into kennels. I know of a dog that was extremely stressed when the child of the household went to a two week camp in the summer school break. The dog responded very well to the diffuser and they continued to use it whenever the dog was parted from his favourite member of the family.
Pheromone diffusers are species-specific, as it is a chemical version of what the lactating mother produces. So the dog version won't effect your cat and vice-versa.