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Pheromone Sprays

By: Dr. Amy Wolff

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Have you ever heard of "pheromones"? Your dog or cat certainly knows what they are. Pheromones are substances produced by animals that act as a form of chemical communication. Some of these substances are designed to attract a mate and give information about reproductive status; others are used to allow tracking, to mark boundaries or territories, to signal danger, and promote a sense of familiarity.

Animals receiving these chemical messengers will react with in a certain way. For example, pheromones may provoke reproductive responses or encourage an animal to leave a defended territory. Pheromones are a natural form of communication that your pet uses to leave a message that remains after it has gone – a calling card, of sorts.

Pheromones and Dogs

Dogs communicate with pheromones just like other species. These chemicals act to attract mates, mark territory, and even to indicate fear, dominance, and aggression. That is a lot of information to relay without making a sound! If you have an intact female dog that goes through regular heat cycles, you have witnessed first hand the powerful effect of the reproductive pheromones she produces. It's astounding how far away other dogs can sense these chemicals. Male dogs will often follow their noses for miles before winding up at your front door.

Male dogs leave pheromone messages behind as a result of urine marking. You may have watched your dog anoint every fire hydrant, tree, and telephone pole in sight. This type of urinating is territorial marking, as opposed to just emptying a full bladder.

Pheromone sprays are used more routinely as a deterrent for dogs. There are sprays available that are designed for use around the lawn and garden to discourage dogs from trespassing on your property. This may be all that's necessary to deter your dog from eliminating, digging, or trampling your flowerbeds. Check with your local lawn and garden centers to see which products work best in your area.

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