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I bought a DAP diffuser when I first got my two rescue dogs, as I had read online that they were a useful tool in helping dogs adjust to new environments and reduce their stress. The Diffuser is similar in design to a plug in air freshener, it consists of a moulded plastic diffuser with a plug attached and you screw in bottles of the DAP liquid which is then slowly released into the room.
DAP stands for 'Dog Appeasing Pheromone' and is supposed to replicate the calming and soothing pheromones that a mother dog secretes that keeps puppies happy and calm. Some people use it when settling in new dogs, or because their dog suffers from separation anxiety or for stressful situations such as moving house or bonfire night.
Being completely honest, I have no idea whether having the DAP diffuser made any difference at all to how easily my dogs settled in to their new home. They did show some signs of stress initially, and they did settle in quite quickly and make themselves at home, but I do think that would probably have happened in the same way whether the diffuser was there or not. Some people notice a real difference in their dogs with and without DAP but I can't claim to have seen any observable effects.
I stopped using the DAP after about two months, the dogs were happy and settled and it didn't seem worth the expense of buying refills forever when I wasn't at all convinced it was having any effect. There was no noticeable change in the dogs' behaviour when the diffuser was stopped.
The diffuser itself and the first bottle of DAP cost about £35, so quite pricey for something unproven and that most likely did no good whatsoever (although it can't have done any harm I suppose). The refills were expensive too but I bought those online and got a much better price than in store. The diffusers are also cheaper online but unfortunately I bought mine on the spur of the moment rather than shopping around.
I can't really recommend this for the situation I used it for, I'm not at all sure that it has any effect. I think there are better ways and methods to help new rescue dogs settle into their new homes and I would recommend reading up on rescue dogs in general and chatting to the rescue centre staff at length about the individual dog you're getting instead. If you feel its worth a try in other situations, with a dog you already own and know, then you would be better able to judge whether it has any effect, but with new dogs, don't bother, they have so much going on that I doubt a bit of pheromone in the air will make a huge difference to how they react.
my dog had a fear of thunderstorms and fireworks which got worse as she got older. she suffered with arthritis and made it worse at these times by her unsettled behaviour. i had tried the usual things like music on, curtains shut etc. my vet recommended the D.A.P diffuser and i was willing to try. after 5 days of it being plugged in there was a storm and once i put some music on my dog settled and went to sleep. the same happened during the next few storms. sadly i wont be able to see if it works for fireworks night as she was prescribed rimadyl for her arthritis and suffered adverse reactons to the drug but while being treated at home before going into hospital she chose to lay with her nose against the diffuser. this was not her usual place to lay and i think she got some relief from it. I would recomend anyone trying the diffuser, it may or may not work for your dog but you dont know unless you try. i wish i had been told about it years ago
I tried this product as a last resort for my extremely exciteable 1 and a half year old chocolate lobrador pup. It is the most expensive of the DAP products that are meant to calm and sooth dogs using pheramones from a mother dog, coming in at a price of around £30, depending on where you got it. Recently there was an attempted brake in at our residence, but luckily the dog scared them off. He managed to wake up the neighbours with his loud barking scaring the intruders away. Since then he has been anxious when we leave the house. Any sligh noise and he'll wake the neighbours up barking. He is constantly anticipating another brake in. The DAP diffuser says that it would calm the dog of all his symtoms such as chewing, barking, unwanted licking, overly hyper behaviour - stopping him from getting wound up when left alone.
We tried the DAP diffuser as a last resort. We'd had it reccomended to us by vets, friends who worked in pet shops & other people who had used the product in general conservsation so we decided to give it a go.
The diffuser lasted about the same ammount of time as promised (roughly a month) but the effects were nowhere to be seen! If anything I think my dog was worse after we installed the diffuser. we tried moving it around the house but to no avil. Was it just coincidence that other peoples pets had calmed down with the diffuser or was mine just immune!
The diffuser was very costly and very disapointing in my experiance and we did not buy another. We found the only thing that has worked is getting our dog a friend and turning the TV up load when we go out so that he can't hear noises from outside the house that might set him off. (such as cats) .
Our 2 year old Yorkie/Shi tzu cross was left traumatised after weeks of sufffering the pain of bladder stones that were not picked up by the vet, depite several visits. His barking, scratching at the kitchen door and urinating in the kitchen overnight were all attributed to behavioural problems. Since his operation to remove 7 bladder stones he is still anxious when locked in the kitchen overnight and still scratching at the door. The behaviourist at our vets suggested the DAP diffuser which we have been using for just 2 weeks. The diffuser is a small bottle filled with liquid which is supposed to simulate the lactating bitch and when plugged in to an electrical socket it gives off a vapour which the dog can smell. You leave it plugged in all the time in the room your dog spends most time and it lasts a month. It would be a total waste of money if you don't have a suitable electrical socket because the diffuser is not to be placed behind or under furniture and is not suitable to plug into an extension socket as the bottle must be kept upright. It also needs to be kept away from children ~ one reason being that the bottle gets very hot. The smell is supposed to bring calmness to the dog, but didn't to ours? The first night he was almost as distressed as before his op and has continued to bark on and off during the night for the whole of the two weeks ~ that is until last night when he was DAP free (also on the advice of the behaviourist) and he only scratched at the door. Other reviews show that it obviously works for many dogs and if you can afford it, it is worth a try if you are in desperation and have tried everything. It cost around £16.00 per month for refils after the initial outlay of the diffuser complete, which is more. It may not be worth it if your dog only has slight anxiety problems as you could possibly end up with barking as an added unwanted behaviour.