Written by Amanda Siciliano.
Think Happy Thoughts
Is your cat peeing outside the box without medical concerns? Is your dog suffering from anxiety and you do not know where to start? Are you introducing a new pet into the household? Are you moving? Visiting the veterinarian? Introducing a new baby (human, dog, or cat)? Is it storm season? The foundation of many behavior related concerns begin with the same basic building blocks, such as proper exercise, enrichment, distraction, training, and allocation of resources (food, litterboxes, hiding places, etc.). Another building block to consider is utilizing pheromones.
What are pheromones and why do we care about them?
The technical definition of a pheromone is “a chemical substance produced and released into the environment by an animal, especially a mammal or an insect, affecting the behavior or physiology of others of its species (Oxford Languages).” In summary, pheromones are natural messages shared from cat to cat or dog to dog. Pheromones are unique to each species and do not affect humans or other animals of a different species. When your cat rubs its face on your furniture it is leaving pheromones along the way. When a dog is nursing, she is also releasing pheromones to her puppies. The products we recommend mimic these pheromones and send these calming, happy messages. Many behaviors are in response to stress, anxiety, fear, inner sibling aggression or change in the environment. Therefore, when we expose our pets to pheromones in our homes, we can make them feel safe, secure, happy, and potentially reduce unwanted behaviors. Situations that pheromones can have a positive impact include but are not limited to anxiety, noise phobias, aggression between housemates, traveling, hiding, over-grooming, remodeling, training, inappropriate scratching, and inappropriate urinations.
Are pheromones the end all be all?
Sometimes pheromones can assist pets who suffer from low level stress or just need a little extra support while traveling and adjusting to new or stressful situations. Other times they are used as one of the building blocks along with medications or with other behavior modification techniques such as training. Collars need to be replaced and diffusers refilled every month for optimal benefit. The sprays need to be applied more often.
How long does it take to notice a difference in my pets’ behavior?
Some owners report noticing a difference in their pets’ behavior within 7 days, most of the companies recommend using a product for a full 30 days and monitor the pets’ progress. Many companies offer a money back guarantee if the product does not help reduce stress or curb the unwanted behaviors. Products need to be placed in an open area where pets are spending a lot of time to reap the most benefit.
How do we administer pheromones?
Pheromones come in a variety of options including collars, diffusers, sprays, and wipes. The most recommended products by our veterinarians are FELIWAY, nurtureCALM and ADAPTIL.
Do I need a prescription for pheromones?
No, pheromone products can be purchased through us over the counter, through our online pharmacy and at local pet stores.
Please note, some unwanted, unusual, or new behaviors can be indicative of a medical illness and we strongly encourage you to discuss these changes with your veterinarian during their visit. Ruling out underlying medical concerns is a very important step in keeping pets happy and healthy. If you have concerns about your pet, contact us today!
Stow Kent Animal Hospital | 4559 Kent Rd., Kent, OH 44240 | (330) 673-0049