Focus on Pheromones

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Just like people, dogs and cats can get stressed. Changes like a new home, trip to cattery or boarding kennels, a new family member or just that annoying cat next door can cause unwanted behaviour e.g. destructiveness, urinating or marking in the house or excessive barking or meowing. While some drugs are available to deal with or modify behavioural issues, another option is to use pheromone-based products.

Pheromones are natural chemical substances produced and released into the environment by an animal affecting the behaviour of others of its species. A cat for example, when rubbing its face on an object, releases pheromones. This provides them with a strong sense of reassurance. When cats are happy with their surroundings they will rub their face on an object accentuating their sense of comfort or security.

Pharmaceutical companies have produced a synthetic version of one of the feline facial pheromones. When a cat is exposed to this it provides reassurance. This is very useful for stressful situations e.g. stranger in the house; conflict between cats and other pets (cat\dog) in a household; new home; thunderstorms; vet clinic visits, etc. Basically any situation which may produce stress can be relieved by this pheromone. These pheromones are available as plug-in diffusers or sprays.

Similar products are also available for dogs. Dog pheromones are available as plug-in diffusers sprays collars and wipes. In addition to the scenario where pheromones can help cats, dog pheromones can also be very useful for puppy socialisation and older dog training\retraining. Dog pheromones are not useful for aggression-related problems in dogs. Bear in mind certain behavioural problems can have medical causes, so a pet should be thoroughly checked out by their vet to ensure the particular issue is not related to a medical problem.

Pheromones do not work for all pets or for all problems but can be very useful either alone or sometimes in combination with behavioural modification or drug therapy. There are no reports of side effects to the use of pheromone products. They are species specific so do not affect people or other types of animals in a household.

If you would like further information on any of the above, then please contact your favourite vet today.

If you would like to know more please contact me:

Gavin Russell mvb mrcvs gpcertsam 

Riverview vet. Gp.

Distillery Road , Bandon

023 8841503

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