The objective of the study was to assess the effects of a dog-appeasing pheromone (DAP) collar in reducing sound-induced fear and anxiety in a laboratory model of thunderstorm simulation. Twenty-four beagle dogs naïve to the current test were divided into two treatment groups (DAP and placebo) balanced on their fear score in response to a thunderstorm recording. Each group was then exposed to two additional thunderstorm simulation tests on consecutive days. Dogs were video-assessed by a trained observer on a 6-point scale for active, passive and global fear and anxiety (combined). Both global and active fear and anxiety scores were significantly improved during and following thunder compared with placebo on both test days. DAP significantly decreased global fear and anxiety across ‘during’ and ‘post’ thunder times when compared with baseline. There was no significant improvement in the placebo group from baseline on the test days. In addition, the DAP group showed significantly greater use of the hide box at any time with increased exposure compared with the placebo group. The DAP collar reduced the scores of fear and anxiety, and increased hide use in response to a thunder recording, possibly by counteracting noise-related increased reactivity.
- Pheromone treatment
- Laboratory animals
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