by Ruth Tuccio
Of the five greyhounds with whom I’ve shared my home I have been lucky enough only to have to deal with mild separation anxiety. This past year, however, there were many changes in my life; my daughter left for college and our home went on the market in order for me to downsize. Beauty, my lurcher who has overcome numerous issues due to abuse before I took her into my home, still has a fear of men and a fear of the unknown. With Amy being out of the house and workman coming and going to prepare the house for sale, Beauty’s insecurities surfaced in the way of urine accidents.
A urine culture and a trip to the vet showed no infection and both my vet and I agreed this was probably behavior related. Because the accidents seemed to be the only issue we decided not to use medication. Dr. Laubstein, however, suggested an alternative treatment with which I was not familiar. He suggested something called D.A.P. (Dog Appeasing Pheromone).
Pheromones are the substance that all lactating mammals release to reassure their offspring. They are secreted by the bitch three to five days after the puppy’s birth. The substance is produced by the sebaceous glands in the inter-mammary cleft and enhances attachment between the puppy and its mother and provides comfort and reassurance. Research has shown that the properties of appeasing pheromone persist even into adulthood.
With adult dogs D.A.P. has helped stop fear and stress related behavior such as destruction, vocalization, excessive licking and house soiling. D.A.P. also helps comfort dogs during thunderstorms, visitors and fireworks. In clinical trials destructive behavior and vocalization were improved or resolved by 72% and 85% respectively.
D.A.P. is an easy to use plug-in diffuser that continuously releases the active ingredient. D.A.P. is a natural solution. There is no sedative effect. The solution lasts about 30 days and only the solution needs to be replaced by a screw on refill. The cost is about twenty-four dollars for the entire set up and the refills are about fourteen dollars. I buy mine from my vet and find it less expensive, but you can also buy it in pet supply stores.
Almost immediately I noticed a change in Beauty. The accidents were less frequent and when my house sold and we went to an apartment temporarily I bought more D.A.P. and used it there. Beauty had a few accidents while we were in the apartment but considering we were living above a dog kennel I think that was pretty good. When our new home was ready I went there the day before and placed the D.A.P.’S in my bedroom and living room and both dogs adjusted with ease. I cannot testify to how it would work in severe cases of separation anxiety but I would certainly consider using it in conjunction with other therapies.
I have also started to recommend it to new adopters to help in the transition from kennel to home. I’ve obtained extra flyers at my vet’s office, give them to new adopters and let them make the final decision about using it or not. In any case it certainly can’t hurt. And if it’s of interest, it’s made for cats as well.
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