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Pheromones for Dogs: What Are They & How Do You Use Them?

Caring for an anxious dog can feel a lot like trying to solve a complex mystery. Every dog has its own unique set of triggers and responds to stress in different ways. With so many different types of treatment available, it’s hard to know what’s best for your dog.

Pheromones for dogs have been gaining popularity for managing stress and anxiety. But what are they and how do they work? Here’s everything you need to know about using pheromones to support the well-being of your furry friend.

What are Pheromones for Dogs?

Dog pheromones are odorless, invisible, chemical signals emitted by dogs when they feel certain emotions. Pheromones convey information and trigger various emotional and behavioral responses in other dogs.

These invisible messengers are detected through the vomeronasal organ. They influence various aspects of canine behavior, including bonding, territorial marking, reproductive status, and emotional well-being. Humans and other animals can’t see or smell dog pheromones, but other dogs can. 

Most animals, humans, and even some plants give off pheromones, but they are typically only detectable within a specific species.  However, canines have such powerful receptors, they can detect human pheromones, which is how they always seem to know what you’re feeling.

Dogs release different kinds of pheromones in response to different circumstances, such as in response to nearby danger, territorial marking, or readiness to mate. Calming pheromones for dogs are synthetic pheromones formulated to mimic Dog Appeasing Pheromones (DAP), which have a comforting and calming effect on anxious dogs. 

How Do Pheromones Affect Dogs?

The world of canine communication is much more complex than you might think. Pheromones play an intricate role in their emotions, behaviors, and social dynamics. These invisible chemical signals have a significant influence over how dogs perceive and interact with their environment, other dogs, and even their human companions.

Emotional Impact

Pheromones can trigger emotional responses in dogs. For example, when a mother dog emits calming pheromones, her puppies experience a sense of security and comfort. These emotional cues play a significant role in maintaining a balanced social structure among dogs. 

Bonding and Familiarity

Pheromones also play a vital role in bonding and familiarity among dogs, particularly in the early stages of development. A mother dog’s pheromones help her puppies identify her, enabling them to form a deep bond. 

Bonding pheromones also strengthen the connection between littermates. As the puppies mature, these familiar pheromones elicit a sense of security and well-being.

Territorial Marking

Territorial marking is one of the most primal functions of pheromones in dogs. Dogs release specific pheromones to establish their presence in a particular area, informing other dogs of their claim on that space. 

Alleviating Stress and Anxiety

Perhaps the most relevant application of pheromones for dog owners is their role in reducing stress and anxiety. Anxiety and stress in dogs can be triggered by various stimuli, such as loud noises, changes in routine, or separation from their human companions.

Dogs can emit appeasing hormones that help calm other dogs. Synthetic versions of these pheromones can be used to create a soothing effect for dogs, easing anxiety and stress in challenging situations.

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How Do Calming Pheromones for Dogs Work?

Calming pheromones for dogs are created to mimic Dog Appeasing Pheromones (DAP). DAP is emitted by lactating moms to help the pups feel safe and nurtured. When released into the environment through pheromone products, these synthetic pheromones remind dogs of their mother’s reassuring presence, reducing anxiety and triggering a sense of comfort

Are Pheromones Safe for Dogs, Other Pets, and Family Members?

Pheromone products mimic the natural pheromones produced by your dog. They’re not a drug, and they’re considered to be very safe and extremely low-risk. They are also species-specific, meaning dog pheromones will only affect dogs. They should not impact other species or people, so they’re entirely safe around other pets and family members.

To ensure the safety and effectiveness of pheromone products, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. And, before incorporating any new product into your dog’s environment, it’s always a good idea to consult your veterinarian. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your dog’s health and specific needs.

When to Use Pheromones for Dogs

Pheromones can be used any time your dog is showing signs of stress or anxiety. They can be helpful when you’re introducing a new addition to the family, moving, traveling, or visiting the vet. They’re also helpful for dogs who experience stress during thunderstorms or fireworks, and for dogs who experience separation anxiety or behavioral challenges. 

Here are some common indicators of stress and anxiety in dogs to be on the lookout for:

  • Potty Accidents in the House

  • Panting

  • Drooling

  • Aggression

  • Depression

  • Separation Anxiety

  • Destructive Behavior

  • Excessive Barking

  • Restlessness and Pacing

  • Repetitive or Compulsive Behaviors

How Long Does It Take for Dog Pheromones to Work?

Just like any solution designed to modify behavior and emotions, the timeframe for seeing results with pheromones can vary from dog to dog. While some dogs may respond quickly, it may take some time for the effects to become noticeable with others.

Keep in mind that pheromones don’t always provide instantaneous results like medication can. The timeline for seeing results can be immediate, but it may also be more subtle and gradual, taking place over a period of days or weeks.

Ways to Use Pheromone for Dogs

Whether you’re dealing with specific challenges or aiming to promote your dog’s well-being overall, there are multiple ways to use pheromone products to your advantage. Let’s explore the practical aspects of incorporating calming pheromones into your dog’s routine.


Pheromone diffusers release calming pheromones into the air, creating a consistently calming atmosphere. Consider placing a diffuser in the room where your dog spends the most time, such as the living room or their sleeping area. The gradual release of pheromones can be very effective in reducing stress and anxiety over time.


Calming pheromone collars are an effective option for dogs who face stressors outside the home, such as while traveling, during trips to the vet, or during exposure to unfamiliar environments. These collars are designed to fit comfortably around the neck and release pheromones close to the nose, allowing your dog to reap the benefits on the go.


Calming pheromone sprays offer a versatile solution for on-the-spot relief. They can be applied directly to your dog’s bedding, favorite resting spot, or in their crate for travel. Spraying these areas before situations that might trigger stress can create a more comfortable and reassuring environment.

The Importance of Consistency

Pheromone products are most effective when used consistently. Regular exposure reinforces the sense of security and well-being you’re hoping to provide. Over time and with consistent use, you may see more noticeable improvements in your dog’s overall demeanor and stress response.

The Limits of Dog Appeasing Pheromones

Many dogs do get relief from dog appeasing pheromones, but others don’t see much effect. They’re a great natural solution for many issues, but they don’t work for every behavior problem or potential issue your dog may experience. 

If you know what triggers your dog’s anxiety, you may be able to combine pheromones with other approaches like positive reinforcement, situational avoidance, regular exercise and mental stimulation, or behavioral training to increase their effectiveness.

Sometimes the cause of your dog’s anxiety may be beyond your control, such as in the case of fireworks or thunderstorms. Thunder shirts and calming treats may be beneficial on their own or when used in conjunction with pheromones in these situations.

If your dog suffers from severe anxiety or stress that doesn’t respond to pheromones and other alternative methods, consider speaking to your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medications.

Wrapping Up

As with anxiety in humans, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution that works for every dog. However, many dogs can find relief from anxiety and stress with a combined approach that includes pheromones, training, and environmental modification.

If you’re looking for the best pheromone product for your dog, our veterinary team is here to help with any guidance you may need. Reach out to schedule a telehealth consultation or in-house visit if your dog is suffering from stress or anxiety.

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