OTC calmatives - what R they, Y use 'em, How they work...

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OTC calmatives - what R they, Y use 'em, How they work...

This is a discussion on OTC calmatives - what R they, Y use 'em, How they work... within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; I'm going to list various OTC calmatives i know & love - anyone who has a favorite, please jump in & add it. All contributions ...

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Old 10-27-2017, 10:20 AM
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Lightbulb OTC calmatives - what R they, Y use 'em, How they work...



I'm going to list various OTC calmatives i know & love - anyone who has a favorite, please jump in & add it.
All contributions happily accepted. Qs, observations, suggestions, past experiences, disasters...

___________________________________

I'll start with D.A.P. / Dog Appeasing Pheromone.

D.A.P. [ComfortZone for Dogs, Adaptil in the UK] is an especially good calmative; the pump-spray is extremely handy - carry it anywhere, use it as needed.
DAP goes on objects, not the dog; anything washable is fair game - so are waterproof finishes.
Don't use it on antiques, dry-clean only / Spot-clean only, garment leather, suede, or collectibles - otherwise, if in doubt, spray somewhere it won't show, wait 24-hrs, & check for discoloration, faded or running dye, etc.
Leather upholstery should be fine; i've not had any marks left by DAP, but that's not a warranty. If it's a $2K sofa-suite, TEST it. // Obviously, an antique silk or veg-dyed hand-woven wool rug wouldn't be a good risk.

DAP is a synthetic mimic of the pheromone produced by nursing Fs; it serves to calm pups so they make the most of nursing opps when Mom-dog returns, vs waste time whinging & fussing. // It lowers BP, pulse, resp, & secretion of cortisol & other stress hormones. It's a hard-wired response - no learning needed.

1 spritz is a measured application, & lasts about 90-minutes; it can be refreshed ad lib, no interactions / no dosage concerns.

I put it on collars [remove collar, spray 1 side 1x, opp side 1x, replace collar], anywhere the dog likes to lie [dog's bed, a chair, the corner of the sofa, a particular spot on wall-to-wall...], the car-seat & seat-belt harness, the LATCH / swing side of the crate door, crate door-sill, the leash a hands-length from the clip so that each time it swings past the dog's nose they get a whiff...
in the fold of a stuffed-toy, on a chew-toy in a crevice, on the exit door below the doorknob / dog's head-ht, etc.


I put it on my clothing:
the cuff of long sleeves, my gloves in cold weather, coat or jacket-cuffs, at knee-ht & ankle-ht on the outside seam of my pants, on my boots or shoes [dogs love to sniff shoes; they are rich in info about us, & where we've been].

I wear DAP when i enter the house of a dog who's reactive or turfy -
by putting it on shoes or boots / pants seams 2X / coat cuffs, & putting my HANDS in my pockets, avoiding eye-to-eye contact, i'm pretty sure i've saved myself a few bites from snappy dogs when owners weren't home, & i arrived to walk them / take them to the vet / feed them / change bandages, etc.

If it was a perfume, it would be my signature scent - Alas, it has no odor.

- terry

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Old 10-27-2017, 10:31 AM
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Arrow a word about the DAP diffuser & the DAP-collar versions



I don't use the diffuser, since it's site-specific to the house / other location, it's not useful in many of the instances where i need a calmative, plus - per other trainers - there's an average 3-week lag between plugging it in, & seeing improvement.
No vet that i know of, has used the DAP-diffuser in their office / exam rooms; some / many? vets use the pump spray, as needed for individuals.

Shortly after DAP was introduced, 4 different fellow-trainers on the USA-apdt list said the glass bottle of the diffuser overheated when it was near-empty / low liquid, & all 4 reported a smoky odor.
One trainer took it out of the wall-socket with BBQ mitts, completely enclosing it, carried it outside, dropped it in an empty metal bucket, & COVERED the bucket, in case it shattered from the heat / cold stress - she said it was incredibly hot, & wisps of smoke came from the bottle.
Plus, users of the diffuser said it took on average 3-weeks to see noticeable improvement; "in their home" isn't usually where dogs feel most-anxious, generally dogs' issues are with the wider world, & an in-house calmative is superfluous.


For feral or semi-feral or intensely anxious dogs, the DAP collar might be a very good option -
the dog wears it 24 / 7, & it lasts about a month. It's not meant to carry tags, & is only secured with a slide, which adjusts to fit.
If U crate the dog, i'd take it off & hang it on the door latch-pin so that the pheromone circulates, but the dog cannot possibly get hung-up - get a rear paw caught while scratching an itch, etc.

- terry

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Old 10-27-2017, 11:12 AM
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I have a few OTC calmatives - we've tried the DAP diffuser, the Adaptil collar, as well as Zylkene. I have Bach oils too but haven't tried them yet.

I'd be interested to know how they'd work on a mildly reactive/anxious dog. The best of the bunch was probably the Zylkene for my Chisum and it didn't really touch the issue so we just discontinued giving it. I'd like to try a few drops of the oils in his pill treats (he takes daily anxiety medication so I make him "treats" with the pills inside for easy taking), but haven't had the chance yet.
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Old 10-27-2017, 01:54 PM
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I have tried a ton of OTC "calming remedies" with absolutely no luck at this point in my life with my dogs, I feel badly that I went through so many OTC things when I should of been at the vet getting something that actually works.

So while I think OTC things might be helpful for some dogs, I would encourage anyone who has a dog who is experiencing fear or anxiety to speak to their vet as soon as possible.
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Old 10-27-2017, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoppyKenna View Post
I have a few OTC calmatives - we've tried the DAP diffuser, the Adaptil collar, as well as Zylkene. I have Bach oils too but haven't tried them yet.

I'd be interested to know how they'd work on a mildly reactive/anxious dog. The best of the bunch was probably the Zylkene for my Chisum and it didn't really touch the issue so we just discontinued giving it. I'd like to try a few drops of the oils in his pill treats (he takes daily anxiety medication so I make him "treats" with the pills inside for easy taking), but haven't had the chance yet.
Hi, don't waste your time on any Bach floral products. They're pretty much homeopathic nonsense.

Edward Bach felt that flowering plants gave off "healing energies" and that the morning dew on flowers retained those energies. So he developed a homeopathic process by which certain flowers were dipped in water, which was then diluted over and over again - supposedly increasing the healing effect with each dilution.

His premise can be found here:

http://www.bachcentre.com/centre/dow...ealers1936.pdf
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Old 10-27-2017, 04:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZoesMom View Post
I have tried a ton of OTC "calming remedies" with absolutely no luck at this point in my life with my dogs, I feel badly that I went through so many OTC things when I should of been at the vet getting something that actually works.

So while I think OTC things might be helpful for some dogs, I would encourage anyone who has a dog who is experiencing fear or anxiety to speak to their vet as soon as possible.
I agree. I think too many people are horrified by the idea of anti-anxiety medication - but it was the only thing that really worked on my dog. I switched vets because my didn't believe in it, and when she realized he had true anxiety she just wanted to give him Xanax...every single day.

Most of the OTC calming stuff I used while Chisum was starting up on medications and a little after, but really didn't see much difference whether he used those things or not.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnR View Post
Hi, don't waste your time on any Bach floral products. They're pretty much homeopathic nonsense.

Edward Bach felt that flowering plants gave off "healing energies" and that the morning dew on flowers retained those energies. So he developed a homeopathic process by which certain flowers were dipped in water, which was then diluted over and over again - supposedly increasing the healing effect with each dilution.

His premise can be found here:

http://www.bachcentre.com/centre/dow...ealers1936.pdf

Yeah, I don't hold out much hope, which is why I haven't bothered yet.
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Old 10-27-2017, 04:54 PM
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My BIL tried many a "calmative" with one of his rescues a few years back, don't know if tried the Adaptil collar but he sure gave many a real try. He didn't really see any benefit and in good spirits claimed dogs can't even get in on the placebo effect which some of us two-legged creatures enjoy at times. I suggested to him to give Benadryll ( Diphenhydramine ) a try when he was moving and had to take his 3 dogs in the car with him cross country. He noted that the dog's travel anxiety was markedly reduced and worked better than anything he had tried previously. He then would give his dog Benadryll before thunderstorms and 4th of July neighborhood fireworks displays when his dog would normally be all freaked out and it worked as well, not 100% but so much better than anything else he had tried. No hiding or all the shaking stuff the dog previously had done in these situations. I remember we both agreed that it might not be a good remedy to use on a daily basis for any extended period of time but for those particular times, it did seem to have some real benefit. It might be worth a try for some of you with dogs having some anxiety issues due to specific reasons but I'd of course check with your vet first.
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Old 10-27-2017, 05:10 PM
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Question Would U prefer studies, or personal anecdotes?



a pheromone isn't "healing energies". It's a pheromone.

Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 98, Issues 12, June 2006, Pages 114-126
A triple blind placebo-controlled investigation into the assessment of the effect of Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) on anxiety related behaviour of problem dogs in the veterinary clinic
Millsa, Ramosa, Estellesa, Hargraveb

A triple blind placebo-controlled investigation into the assessment of the effect of Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) on anxiety related behaviour of problem dogs in the veterinary clinic - ScienceDirect

______________________________________


"Barking amplitude (decibels) & the frequency of discrete behavioural responses to two temperament tests associated with fear, separation, & excitable behaviour were recorded in 37 treatment & 17 control dogs.
Mean barking amplitude & barking frequency were significantly reduced in dogs subject to DAP exposure for 7 days, though peak values were not significantly altered.
There was also some reduction in the barking amplitude of dogs during the 1 min recovery period, following a distraction.

Following 7 days of DAP exposure, there were significant differences in resting, barking, & sniffing frequency in response to a friendly stranger. There were no highly significant differences in response to a neutral stranger.
The preliminary tests indicate that DAP is a useful palliative tool for reducing some behavioural indicators of stress in dogs."
Efficacy of dog appeasing pheromone in reducing stress and fear related behaviour in shelter dogs - ScienceDirect

____________________________________

For more studies, see
https://scholar.google.com/scholar?h...ous+dogs&btnG=


For myself, I've been using it with clients' dogs, in shelters as a volunteer walker, with rescue dogs in foster-care who weren't ready for adoption & needed B-Mod, etc, since the year it hit the market under Shering-Plough's patent.

If U wait until the dog is severely stressed to apply it, it won't help much; s/he is already hysterical, whether that's 'cuz U're at agility training & Ur dog can't stand the wait & is spinning like a loon while barking non-stop, or 'cuz U're at the vet's, & Ur dog is drooling & swallowing & might puke, her pupils are the size of quarters, her eyes are white-ringed, & her legs are shaking & about to fail her.

If U use it before an expected stressor, or as soon as possible after an unexpected stressor occurs, it's quite helpful - IMO & IME.

The 1st dog I used DAP with was Dakota - he still holds the dubious distinction of being the most-damaged dog i've ever worked with, in over 40-years of client dogs.
Dakota was so shut-down, he was posable - if i picked up a paw, he'd stand 3-legged while his legs began to shake with the strain, looking more & more anxious, until he finally lost his balance & HAD to put that foot down, 'cuz he fell over.
Imagine a dog that U could pose like a jointed doll, & he'd stay in pose - not whine, not move anything but his eyes to watch U. That was Dakota on arrival.
I didn't think he would ever become adoptable - at least, not to an APO home.

I also used the Anxiety-Wrap on Dakota - again, a 1st-ever for me, & just recently released to the market.
That's the next entry in my personal hit-parade.

- terry

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Old 10-27-2017, 05:34 PM
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Arrow Anxiety Wrap



https://scholar.google.com/scholar?h...%2B+dogs&btnG=

the Anxiety-Wrap is a pressure garment that covers the dog's entire torso; it's made of a light stretchy synthetic with a fine mesh, which breathes well. It fastens with velcro along a wrap closure.

I put it on Dakota before taking him outside to sit beside me on a bench, in the shade of a tree; he had never once noticed any animal other than another dog, or a human, while in the presence of a human - because he was so terrified of ppl, he had no attention left over to look at or notice the rest of the world. This is a dog who did not SNIFF on walks - his sole focus was a careful eye on me, & his only desire was to escape if he could.
Less than 5-minutes after donning it, he was watching a chipmunk search the leaf-litter for seeds, fascinated. A few minutes later, he tracked a sparrow in flight - both of these, 1st-time behaviors while within 20-ft of any living human, let alone on a LEASH.
He was between 15 & 18-MO on arrival; he'd never worn a collar, never been on leash, never been in a car, never seen a vet, never been inside a house, in his life.
He'd been stoned, shot at, kicked, cursed, chased, had fought other dogs for food - & had the scars to show for them all.

The next day, i wasn't sure how he'd react to the Wrap - so i simply said his name, to get his attention, & held it up for him to see. He came to me, within arm's reach, & SAT - waiting to have it put on.
This is a dog who still did not know the meaning of 'come when called' or 'sit' or even his name - nothing. But he knew what made him feel better, & the Wrap was it.

The Wrap requires 2 things:
- introduction & habituation BEFORE its use under stress
- continued use under calm, secure, safe conditions, or it becomes a poisoned cue.

For every 3 to 4 uses under stress, U need to put it on the dog at home, when things are peaceful; no running kids, no Hollywood extravaganza of explosions & cop-sirens & gunfire, no quarrels, no loud heavy-metal at 80-dB.
Figure 2 to 3X per week, the dog wears it - generally the last 30-mins of the evening are a good time, when the kids are abed, & the house is quiet.

- terry

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Old 10-27-2017, 05:57 PM
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leashedForLife,

The members who have related their experiences with calmatives are simply expressing their real life experiences, nothing more and nothing less. I'll assume most everybody in this situation of trying to find a remedy for their dog's maladies would love for something like this to work, please keep that in mind. You come off like they are fabricating their experiences which of course is so far from the truth or they are not using the products properly. Kind of insulting any way you slice it.

As far as the one study I bothered to look at ( triple blind study), seriously? 15 dogs! Not what most anyone would consider extensive. In all fairness another study cited by ScienceDirect ( same source ) showed absolutely no benefit of a pheromone collar. The summary was " The results suggest that there was no reduction in observed behavioral signs of stress between the placebo and treatment groups." Evaluation of a pheromone collar on canine behaviors during transition from foster homes to a training kennel in juvenile Military Working Dogs

I like to look at the reviews at Amazon at times when researching a product and the Adaptil collar basically gets a 50/50 rating. So, I guess it works for some and doesn't for some, it's just that simple. Cheers to those whose dogs found benefit in the product.
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anti-anxiety, noise, reactive / aggro, separation anxiety, timid

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