Do Dog Adaptil Diffusers Really Work?



Kelsey Leicht


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Adaptil for Dogs

Canine anxiety is a significant problem that can leave pup parents desperate for a solution. The pet supply market has responded with endless canine anxiety products, but some are more useful than others.

One canine anxiety product gaining steam is called the Dog Adaptil Diffuser. 

We’ll explain what the Dog Adaptil Diffuser is and discuss whether it may work for your dog below.

Key Takeaways: Do Dog Adaptil Diffusers Really Work?

  • The Adaptil Home Diffuser emits a fine, odorless mist containing a synthetic canine calming hormone throughout your house. This hormone is intended to help relax your pet and ease anxiety and fear.
  • While it does not appear to work for all dogs, it has proven very helpful for some. The empirical evidence collected thus far is mixed, but some studies have definitely yielded positive results.
  • Because it is completely safe, there’s no reason you shouldn’t try Adaptil with your own pet. If may not work on your specific pet, but it may be exactly what you need to help your pet chill out.

Just want to buy the Adaptil Diffuser and try it out? Just scroll down or click here.

What Is the Dog Adaptil Diffuser and What Is D.A.P.?

The Dog Adaptil Diffuser is a plug-in device that emits synthetic particles that mimic natural, anxiety-fighting canine pheromones

These synthetic hormones seek to achieve the same effect as a naturally occurring hormone, called dog appeasing pheromone (DAP). This hormone is produced by nursing canines and helps to soothe and settle puppies. 

Dog appeasing pheromones have been shown to promote a sense of calmness, which has led some owners, vets, and trainers to use them to treat canine anxiety.

These synthesized pheromones aren’t detectable by human noses, nor will they upset resident cats or other pets in your home. Instead, they’re canine-specific and designed to soothe your dog ( you can actually purchase cat-specific versions of these devices to achieve feline harmony in your home).

How Does the Dog Adaptil Diffuser Work? 

The Dog Adaptil Diffuser should be plugged into an unobstructed outlet in the room where your dog spends most of her time. You’ll leave it on continuously, so that the air retains a consistent and effective hormone concentration. 

Nothing should be within 5 feet above the plug-in to allow maximum pheromone distribution. One plug-in covers up to 700 square feet of living space, and each bottle lasts for 30 days. Once the bottle is empty, you can simply replace it with a refill. 

Adaptil also offers pheromone spray (Adaptil Travel) and a pheromone calming collar (Adaptil Calm On-the-Go) if a plug-in diffuser isn’t the right fit for you or your dog’s needs. These items are best for use during travel or continuous coverage, indoors or out, while the diffuser is best for home settings.

What Kinds of Conditions Is Adaptil Thought to Treat?

Adaptil for firework phobia

Per the manufacturer, the synthetic pheromones in Dog Adaptil Diffusers can ease a wide array of anxieties, from everyday stresses like sleeping alone in a crate to seasonal fireworks and more.

Adaptil may help easier anxieties surrounding:

  • Storms
  • Crate training
  • Fireworks
  • Being alone
  • A new family member
  • A new fur friend
  • Visitors
  • Lawn maintenance noise
  • A new home
  • Passing traffic
  • Everyday devices, like vacuums, radiators, and doorbells

Adaptil and Empirical Studies: What Does the Science Say?

evidence about adaptil

Sorting facts from fluff can be a challenge when it comes to canine anxiety treatments, but luckily, there is some data to sink your teeth into surrounding Adaptil and its dog appeasing pheromones. 

Unlike other anxiety remedies, there have been a number of studies surrounding dog appeasing pheromones and various forms of canine anxiety. Let’s dive into some of them to see if the Adaptil Diffuser may work for your pooch.

Will Adaptil Help with Separation Anxiety?

separation anxiety

The manufacturer claims the diffuser does help reduce separation anxiety, and some science seems to agree.

A 2010 study published in the Canadian Veterinary Journal found that dog appeasing pheromone is effective at easing separation anxiety in hospitalized dogs compared to canines who received a placebo. This included reducing behaviors like excessive licking and pacing. 

This sounds great on the surface, but there are concerns if you dig in a little deeper. For starters, the study was relatively small, and only examined 43 dogs in total. 

Also, there were behavior improvements in the placebo group, too. While some of the improvements,  such as reduced pacing, occurred in both groups, other behavioral improvements, such as reduced trembling, vocalizations, and destructive behavior, only improved in the placebo group. 

Personal Experiences with Adaptil for Separation Anxiety

Megan here! Just wanted to share my own experience with Adaptil since I attempted to use it to treat my foster dog’s separation anxiety (SA).

My foster dog Pirate exhibited extreme SA, barking and crying within seconds of me leaving the home and refusing to eat food or treats when I left.

While I tried an Adaptil collar to help him, it was completely ineffective. Even with the collar on, Pirate would start crying within seconds of me leaving my home. This makes me question whether Adaptil may only be effective for mild to moderate SA.

I’d still stay it’s worth trying regardless of your dog’s SA level, but for us it didn’t help.

Will Adaptil Help with Nuisance Barking?

dog nuisance barking

In a 2005 study, published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science, shelter dogs exposed to dog appeasing pheromone were shown to bark less loudly and frequently than those without DAP exposure. 

Dogs exposed to DAP also settled more easily and were more likely to greet visitors in a friendlier way than dogs who did not receive DAP exposure.

So, while your dog isn’t in a kennel setting, adding a DAP diffuser to your home may help her settle and reduce her anxiety-based barking.

Will Adaptil Help with Fireworks, Thunderstorms, and other Noise Phobias?

dog hiding

Dog appeasing pheromone was shown to reduce noise-related anxiety in beagles in a 2015 one study published in Veterinary Record

Similarly, a 2003 study published in the same journal found an improvement in fear-based behaviors during firework activity when a dog appeasing pheromone diffuser was in use. 

As with the separation anxiety study we mentioned previously, both of these noise-related DAP studies were relatively small. While this doesn’t mean you should discount them entirely, it’d be nice to see larger study pools and more variation in breeds. 

Will Adaptil Help with Puppies Crying at Night?

calm crying puppy

Empirical data does seem to back up Adaptil’s claims that dog appeasing pheromones soothe fussy puppies at night. 

For example, a 2008 study also published in Veterinary Record, found that newly-adopted puppies outfitted with dog appeasing pheromone collars experienced less nighttime crying than those without collars. 

It did take upwards of three days to see DAP’s full effects, but there was a noticeable difference between DAP-collared dogs and those in the placebo group.

Will Adaptil Help with Traveling Dogs?

dog car anxiety

While some dogs love traveling, others experience extreme anxiety when cruising around the country or overseas. But once again, it appears that the Dog Adaptil Diffuser may help. 

However, while Adaptil plug-ins can be used in hotel rooms during travel, you may want to opt for the Adaptil Calm On-the-Go Collar or Adaptil Travel Spray for best results.   

One 2006 study published in Veterinary Record found that dogs wearing a collar coated in dog appeasing pheromone experienced less travel-based anxiety than dogs without the collars. Dog appeasing pheromone collars were shown to reduce fear-based behaviors in new surroundings in another study, this time published in a 2009 issue of Veterinary Record.

Have a dog that gets nervous in the car? Be sure to read our full guide on how to resolve dog car anxiety!

Will Adaptil Help During Puppy Training Classes?

puppy classes

Puppy-training classes can also be a source of stress and anxiety for young doggos – especially those who’re already somewhat skittish. This has led some to wonder about the efficacy of DAP in these scenarios. 

According to some data, dog appeasing pheromone products can aid in easing training and socializing anxieties, potentially leading to more productive sessions. 

Dog appeasing pheromone was shown to promote longer, more positive play interactions in puppies with their four-footed peers in a 2008 study published Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

The dogs wearing DAP-containing collars were also found to be better socialized and more malleable to new surroundings than those in the placebo group over time.

Again, this data sounds great, but this was a relatively small study – it involved less than 50 puppies. It also relied on owner-reported data and a phone interview, neither of which are the most reliable sources of information.

There Is Some Evidence Adaptil Works; We’d Still Like More

Clearly, there are several studies demonstrating that dog appeasing pheromone products like Adaptil have produced better results than some other canine anxiety treatments. But we wish there were larger studies in home-based settings to review.

Bottom Line: Does the Dog Adaptil Diffuser Work?

does Adaptil work

While there is some science documenting an improvement in separation anxiety and noise-based anxiety with dog appeasing pheromones, results are mixed with Adaptil Diffuser users. 

Some owners report a marked improvement in canine anxiety, while others report no difference. This is often the case with any intervention, so evaluate your dog’s needs and see if Adaptil seems like a good fit. 

In the end, there’s no harm in trying the product, though we wouldn’t recommend it alone for combating moderate or severe canine anxiety – in those cases, you’d be better off working with a certified dog behavior consultant or veterinary behaviorist. 

You May Need to Use Multiple Approaches to Combat Canine Anxiety

Remember: Canine anxiety is a complex problem that sometimes needs a multi-pronged treatment. Don’t shy away from combining an Adaptil Diffuser with other vet-approved remedies. Your end goal is a happier, healthier doggo.

Ready to Try the Adaptil Home Diffuser?

Again, there are plenty of pupper parents who’ve tried the Adaptil Home Diffuser and found that it had no effect on their pooch. But on the other hand, scads of pet parents have found it to be a total game-changer.

So, we’d recommend discussing the issue with your vet and giving it a try! It’s pretty affordable, so you don’t have anything to lose.

This is a sponsored placement, in which an advertiser pays a fee to be featured in this article. Learn more

Adaptil Calming Diffuser

Adaptil Home Diffuser

Adaptil’s Home Diffuser starter kit comes with everything you need to see if D.A.P. will help your anxious doggo.

How Do You Know If Your Dog Is Anxious? Signs of Canine Anxiety


Canine anxiety is more common than you’d think, with most dogs experiencing it at least once in life.

This may vary from separation anxiety in puppyhood to sudden worries as a senior. It doesn’t always reflect on training or socialization, either, so don’t beat yourself up if your dog is anxious. Some pups are just naturally nervous nellies.

While relatively common, canine anxiety isn’t always easy to spot. It manifests in several ways, with some dogs experiencing minor symptoms while others go to extremes.

Signs of anxiety in your dog can include:

  • Trembling
  • Excessive vocalizations (barking, crying, or whining)
  • Pacing
  • Excessive grooming (most commonly licking or chewing at feet)
  • Drooling
  • Hypervigilance
  • Destructive chewing
  • Restlessness
  • Indoor potty accidents

If you notice any of these signs of stress or anxiety in your dog, have her examined by your vet to rule out medical causes. Once given a clean bill of health, you can chat with your vet about her anxiety and work together toward a solution that may include an Adaptil Diffuser.

Adaptil Alternatives for Treating Anxiety

dog medications

There are a plethora of options for easing canine anxiety, including all-natural and medicated relief. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to canine anxiety, as every dog is unique, and your pup may need more or less intervention than others. 

Common canine anxiety remedies include:

  • Calming supplements. Many pup parents opt for anti-anxiety products containing soothing ingredients like melatonin, L-tryptophan, and chamomile. Often formed into treats, tablets, and drops, these dog calming supplements are available for purchase without a prescription, though you should always check with your vet before offering any supplement to your pup, as they can interfere with existing medications and medical conditions. 
  • Interactive toys. Some dog toys are great for anxiety, like plushies and puzzles. These work by comforting your dog or distracting her, particularly during high-stress times such as storms. 
  • CBD. CBD products, including CBD oil, are growing in popularity with canines. Proven effective in combating anxiety in humans, CBD is derived from the cannabis plant, though it won’t get your dog high. Most contain only negligible amounts of THC, and isolated extracts contain none at all. 
  • Compression garments. Compression garments (the most well-known being the Thundershirt) apply gentle, steady pressure to your dog’s body with a snug fit. This can ease anxiety and promote calming. They’re popular with dogs who suffer from storm and travel anxiety. 
  • Calming Caps. Dog calming caps offer a slight variation on the classic compression garment – these head caps are designed to fit snuggly around your dog’s head and ears, providing gentle compression while also dampening sounds that can trigger reactive dogs.
  • Calming collars. Like the Adaptil, calming collars use synthetic pheromones to soothe doggos. Instead of dispersing them via a diffuser, they’re concentrated around a thin collar you place on your dog in addition to her usual collar or harness. These seek to calm your pet wherever she goes, indoors or out, making them attractive choices for pup parents on the go. Sometimes calming scents like lavender are used in place of synthetic pheromones, but these appear to be less effective. 
  • White noise machines. White noise machines help cancel out anxiety-inducing sounds such as thunder, traffic, or even another dog barking. They’re beneficial for dogs suffering from storm and separation anxiety and work well for calming puppies adjusting to crate training.
  • Crating. A crate offers a safe retreat from the world and keeps your dog out of trouble, especially if she’s prone to separation anxiety. In fact, there are extra secure and sometimes darkened dog crates designed for separation anxiety. Most crate-trained dogs learn to love their crate and will often hang out inside, even when their owners are around and the crate door is left open.
  • Calming bed. Providing a safe, comfortable place to snuggle up can alleviate your dog’s anxiety, particularly if she struggles with settling at night. Specialized calming dog beds typically feature bolstered sides that help your dog feel secure, along with supportive foam and even heating elements.
  • Aromatherapy. Essential oils such as lavender and chamomile are often diffused for their calming effects. Aromatherapy is popular in all-natural circles, though special care should be taken, as many essential oils are harmful to dogs. Your pup’s nose is also far more sensitive than yours, so always use the less is more approach to avoid bothering your dog’s sniffer. 
  • Reiki. This form of alternative healing has been around for a long while, though the results are unproven – especially when it comes to reiki for dogs. The goal is for the practitioner to transfer “life energy” onto a subject and promote healing. The relaxing nature of Reiki may help soothe your pup, but it shouldn’t be used alone when combating anxiety.
  • Medication. Dogs with severe anxiety or self-harming tendencies may benefit from prescribed or over-the-counter canine anxiety medication. Always check with your vet before administering any medication, as they can interact with existing medications or conditions.

As always, consult with your vet if you’re noticing any anxious behaviors in your dog. It may be a sign of a health problem.

Adaptil Diffuser FAQ

Adaptil Relaxation

You may still have some questions about the Dog Adaptil Diffuser, but we’ve got you covered. 

Does Adaptil Diffuser smell?

No – at least, not to people. The Dog Adaptil Diffuser is made with synthetic pheromones that are undetectable to human noses. Some owners note a slight plastic smell when first plugging the device in, however, this is likely due to the diffuser itself. The scent is said to dissipate rather quickly.

How long can you use an Adaptil Diffuser for?

The Adaptil Diffuser can be safely used as an ongoing part of your dog’s anxiety treatment, though the cartridges need to be replaced every 30 days. Per the manufacturer, the diffuser takes about 24 hours to disperse the pheromone through a space and should be plugged in at least 2 to 3 days before storms. 

Does the Adaptil diffuser work for separation anxiety?

Yes, the Adaptil Diffuser can help with separation anxiety in dogs. That said, depending on the severity of your dog’s anxiety, additional interventions may be needed, and results are not instantaneous.

Does the Adaptil diffuser work for barking?

The Adaptil diffuser can help with nuisance behaviors linked to separation anxiety, such as excessive barking, whining, and destructive chewing. A study showed an improvement in excessive barking in a shelter, though no studies have been performed in home settings.

Does Adaptil diffuser work immediately?

According to the manufacturer, most pup parents notice changes in their dog’s behavior within 7 days of plugging in the diffuser. The diffuser should be used continuously for 30 days for best results, however. As we mentioned, the device should be plugged in at least 2 to 3 days before a storm, so during storm season, we’d leave it plugged in if your dog has thunder anxiety.

Does Adaptil diffuser cause side effects?

No known canine side effects are reported with Adaptil, though improper usage of the diffuser can lead to residue buildup on surfaces or furniture if items are placed within five feet above the plug-in. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid such issues.

Is Adaptil a drug?

No, Adaptil is a drug-free method of treating canine anxiety. It’s designed to gently calm your dog using synthetic pheromones, so there’s no need to worry about drug interference or medicating your doggo.

Do vets recommend Adaptil?

Yes, Adaptil is a vet-recommended product. Science also supports it as a safe anxiety remedy in some cases, though results can be mixed.


Have you used the Dog Adaptil Diffuser with your pup? Did you have great results? None at all? Let us know in the comments.

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Written by

Kelsey Leicht

Kelsey is a lover of words and woofs. She worked hands-on with dogs for several years at a boarding kennel as a shift runner and office manager before venturing into the world of writing. She lives in New Jersey with her crew of crazy canines.

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  1. Kari Short Avatar
    Kari Short

    The Adaptil diffuser has absolutely calmed my Maltipoo down and it has been less than one week! She normally sleeps in my bed with me but the last two nights has slept on her poofy bed in the living room where the diffuser is plugged in. I am thrilled with it so far and will be ordering the collar for her as well. I was at my wits end trying to keep her calm her but this most definitely turned her “overly alert” nusinace barking into cute and happy and most importantly, infrequent puppy barking! I highly recommend the Adaptil Diffuser for you fur baby!

    1. AdminLogin Avatar

      That’s so great to hear Kari! Awesome that it worked out so well fro you and your Maltipoo!