Pheromones or Fear-omones?

Adopt a Pet Pet Care Pets Pet Health Animals Posted Dec 1, 2020
No matter how hard we try there will always be stressful situations for our pets. A very simple, yet effective thing we can do for our dog or cat in these situations is to provide them with species-specific stress relief using pheromones.

Pheromones are chemicals released naturally by dogs and cats that act as invisible communication. The pheromones are smelt by the nose and then relayed to a special device called the vomeronasal organ. From here these secret messages are deciphered by the portion of the brain that controls emotions such as fear and anxiety. By synthesizing these pheromones, we can provide stress relief cues to our pets in the form of sprays, diffusers or collars.

Adaptil, Dog Appeasing Pheromone

When pups are nursing on a mother dog, she releases a reassuring and calming pheromone from between her nipples. This appeasing pheromone has been synthesized and can be effective in a number of stressful situations. Adaptil is available at RSPCA World for Pets.


When a new puppy comes home for the first time it can be very stressful. The Adaptil collar, which continuously releases a calming stimulus, can help to make this transition easier. The collar can also help puppies to engage more in positive interactions and adapt to new situations faster during socialisation.

Dogs that exhibit separation related behaviours can also benefit from this constant release of assurance. One study found that dogs away from their owner at the vet, showed a marked decrease in behaviours such as excess licking and pacing when exposed to Adaptil.


Storms can really terrify some dogs to the point where they often escape the house or self traumatise. The plug-in Adaptil diffuser can be used throughout your house providing constant support for such dogs. When combined with behavior modification training, this pheromone can significantly reduce the anxiety associated with these unpredictable forces of nature.


When travelling, visiting the vet or groomer, the Adaptil spray version can be a versatile way to provide stress relief on the go.


When a cat rubs its face and cheeks along objects, it is actually marking that object with a homing pheromone that reassures them they are in their own safe space. A Feliway diffuser or spray can be used when bringing a new cat home, moving house, travelling or for vet visits. Some cats, despite not being in a new environment, can be highly anxious. Use of the Feliway facial pheromone can provide a sense of security helping reduce urine spraying and hiding while increasing food intake and normal grooming behavior.


When cats scratch objects they leave a pheromone from between their toes that marks that object as ‘good to scratch again.’ By applying the synthesized pheromone pipette to an appropriate scratching post, your cat is drawn to not only the visual blue lines left by the liquid, but also to the pheromone scratching cue. This can help redirect your cats from scratching furniture too! Read more here about why cats scratch here.

To find Feliway products for your feline, check out RSPCA World for Pets, where all profits go towards animals in need.

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