Dog appeasing pheromones, also known as mammary appeasing pheromones or even nipple-finding pheromones, are special pheromones that are released by a mother dogs who nursing.
As the name implies, these pheromones have calming purposes, helping puppies navigate through otherwise stressful times.
A synthetic form of these pheromones has been used for quite some time to help owners of anxious dogs, but nowadays, as more research is conducted, there are several other potential beneficial uses.
First Off, What are Pheromones?
The term pheromone derives from the Greek word "pherein" which means "to transport" and the word "mone" meaning hormone.
The term is therefore utilized to depict those volatile, odorous mixtures of fatty acids that are secreted for the purpose of causing a physiological reaction in the dogs who receives them.
For sake of comparison, the mechanism is similar to an answering service system. A person leaves a message on the answering machine that is then relayed to the receiver when he presses a button.
Since dogs do not have a phone or an answering machine, they rely instead on special glands meant to emit pheromones, and a special organ, the Jacobson organ, located in the roof of the mouth with ducts leading to the nose and the mouth, meant to pick up these messages.
Dogs can emit pheromones in a multitude of ways and from various body parts and dog appeasing pheromones are a special kind.
Intrigued? Discover more about where dog pheromones are located: a guide to dog pheromones.
What are Dog Appeasing Pheromones?
Dog appeasing pheromones, often abbreviated as DAP, are special pheromones that are secreted by sebaceous glands found by the nursing dogs' intermammary sulcus (the area between the breasts).
These special pheromones are typically produced from 3 to 4 days after whelping (giving birth) up until 2 to 5 days after weaning (when puppies have shifted to solid foods).
Their goal is to provide the puppies with an over all sense of wellbeing. The pheromones basically help comfort the pups after birth.
The word appeasing is used because these pheromones have the power to provide calm, comfort and a sense of well-being to the puppies.
The Synthetic Version of DAP
The reassuring, calming properties of canine-appeasing pheromones remain in the dog well into adulthood. This is why synthetic forms of this compound have been developed with dog owners in mind.
The synthetic version of dog appeasing pheromones is DAP, also known as Adaptil, which is produced by CEVA.
There are a variety of applications for this natural product, including DAP diffusers, collars, and sprays.
The Adaptil Diffuser is an electric plug-in device that emits the synthetic version of dog appeasing pheromone. It reduces stress and anxiety in both adult dogs and puppies. The device can be used in the dog's home or daycare room, and lasts for about four weeks.
Efficacy of Dog Appeasing Pheromones
This product has been know to help reduce stress in newly adopted puppies and dogs and in other fear-inducing situations such as during social isolation, car rides, veterinary visits and firework displays.
It has also been proven that the use of DAP reduces the intensity of barking in shelter dogs.
According to a study by Gaultier E et al, DAP has been shown to be highly effective, to the point of exerting a calming effect as strong as clomipramine, a tricyclic antidepressant often used to treat separation anxiety in dogs, but in this case, without any side effects.
Further studies have shown that using pheromones can improve the socialization of puppies attending puppy classes and reduce the stress in hospitalized dogs.
- Gaultier E, Bonnafous L, Bougrat L, Lafont C, Pageat P. Comparison of the efficacy of a synthetic dog-appeasing pheromone with clomipramine for the treatment of separation-related disorders in dogs. Vet Rec. 2005; 156
- Berghe, Femke & Paris, Monique & Sarnyai, Zoltan & Vlamings, Bart & Millar, Robert & Ganswindt, Andre & Cozzi, Alessandro & Pageat, Patrick & Paris, Damien. (2019). Dog appeasing pheromone prevents the androgen surge and may reduce contact dominance and active submission after stressful interventions in African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus).
- Landsberg, Gary & Beck, Alexandra & Lopez, A & Deniaud, M & Araujo, Joseph & Milgram, N. (2015). Dog-appeasing pheromone collars reduce sound-induced fear and anxiety in beagle dogs: A placebo-controlled study. The Veterinary record. 177. 10.1136/vr.103172.