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the science of adaptil®

What are pheromones? How does Adaptil® work and why is it unique?


Pheromones are natural chemical signals that are widely used for animal communication. When emitted by one individual, pheromones are then detected by other individuals from the same species and affect their behavior. 

The message released targets other individuals but is also a reminder for the emitting animal.

Different body structures secrete pheromones (which are different from hormones), associated with different functions, such as social relationships, territorial-marking pheromones, sexual pheromones, maternal appeasing pheromones, or alarm pheromones.

Diagram of dog pheromone-producing areas.

1. Facial Area.  2. Foot Pads.  3. Mammary region.  4. Anal area.  5. Urogenital region

Pheromones are detected by a specific organ located in the palate (the vomeronasal organ, VNO) through a specific “pumping” behavior (called “flehmen”), attracting the pheromones from the air into the VNO.

Video of how pheromones work on vomeronasal structure and its effect on the dogs brain.

In the VNO, the pheromones activate receptors, relaying information to the emotional center of the brain, resulting in rapid behavioral and physiological change. These effects occur subconsciously, without control by the target animal. The process is automatic and does not require any previous learning.

What is the pheromone in Adaptil?

Adaptil is a synthetic copy of the pheromone released by a mother dog from her mammary area after her puppies’ birth.  This pheromone is a comforting message, providing a strong signal of security and safety to puppies as they explore the world and face so many challenges. 

Professor Patrick Pageat explaining how his discoveries led to the invention of Adaptil.

Adaptil has been proven* to have a positive effect on puppies and dogs of all ages, helping reduce the signs of stress-related behaviors exhibited when encountering new experiences, unknown environments, and other stressful situations.

*Data on file.

Is your dog also stressed? Try Adaptil