The Dog Pheromone Site
From ADSA-AMPA-ASAS-CSAS-WSASAS Joint Annual Meeting, July 15-19, 2012 in Phoenix, AZ
G. Thompson* and J. J. McGlone
Texas Tech University, Lubbock.
Pheromones are species-specific odors used in communication. Interomones are pheromones in one species, but have diverse effects on other species. The objective of this study was to assess efficacy of pheromones/interomones to modulate heart rate and behavior in adult anxious dogs (trembling, cowering, shy). The dogs (8.1 ± 0.18 kg; estimated 5–12 yr intact males) were obtained from a local research facility. Body weights and feed intake were recorded. Each dog was housed in a separately ventilated room with a minimum of 12 m2 of floor space. Heart rate (HR) and surface temperature was measured using a telemetry system (Data Science International, St. Paul, MN). Behavior was recorded on a DVR and later reviewed by a trained individual. A scan sample was used with a recording interval of 5 min over 24 h. At the end of 24 h with a given pheromone collar, each dog was startled with a 110 db foghorn 12 cm from the dog’s head while behavior and heart rate were recorded. Each dog received each treatment in a Latin square design with repeated measures over time. This model allowed evaluation of effects of treatment, dog, treatment by dog, time, treatment by time and dog by time. Treatments were given in the form of a collar containing each pheromone/interomone and included placebo (collar without pheremone), Sergeant’s (SERG), 2-methylbut-2-enal–Rabbit Pheromone (RP), or a SERG+RP combined collar. Baseline HR did not differ among treatments (avg = 110.1 ± 13.3 bpm). After startle, the RP lowered (P < 0.01) HR compared with placebo (124.5 ± 7.2 vs. 157.8 ± 7.2 bpm); however, the treatment by dog interaction (P < 0.01) indicated certain dogs were more responsive than others. Dogs with RP collars spent more time lying down (87.4 ± 5.4 vs. 63.2 ± 4.8% of time, P = 0.01) and less time pacing (3.0 ± 0.2 vs. 3.8 ± 0.02%, P < 0.05) than placebo-treated dogs. Pace/walk changed differentially among treatments and dogs (dog by RP and SERG effects for pace/walk, P = 0.05). In summary, RP lowered HR while SERG and SERG+RP did not change dog HR. However, pheromone/interomone treatments had differential effects on individual dog behavior and HR. Pheromones/ interomones can cause meaningful changes in dog behavior and HR among certain anxious dogs.
Key Words: pheromone, behavior, dogs