Tools of the trade: calming cap



by Dr Marika Ley, Caroline Springs Veterinary Hospital, VIC

Calming caps can be used on both dogs and cats to reduce their visual sense. It filters the visual stimulation which helps them to calm. It’s cheap and can be used again and again.

What’s good about it

We use it in the theatre and prep area for procedures such as inducing animals for an anaesthetic and taking blood samples. It’s very good at keeping animals settled during anal gland examinations or nail clipping. The back of our theatre is quite bright and the calming cap lets us see what we need to see without the animal becoming overstimulated. The idea behind it is that it will settle the sympathetic nerve response and alarm senses. Dogs and cats naturally choose to hide to calm themselves, and the cap utilises that behaviour to our advantage. The dog appeasing pheromone Adaptil can also be sprayed on the cap fabric before use. This potentiates its calming effect. It’s not a muzzle and doesn’t restrict the mouth. However, for fractious animals, it’s still possible to easily place a muzzle over the top or beneath the calming cap. It takes about two seconds to attach and can be clipped to the collar. The cap doesn’t have to be held into position and most animals settle quickly.

What’s not so good

In about five per cent of cases, the animal doesn’t like anything on their face and panics. In that situation, we take off the cap and just use a towel or gentle hand restraint. If the calming cap has been on a dog that was very stressed, it’s important to clean it afterwards. Otherwise, the next dog will pick up on the anxious dog’s pheromones and that can have a negative effect.

Where did you get it

Online. There are many different brands available.


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