You'll need a certain amount of belief in the power of its sonic wizardy, but the RelaxoPet Pro does seem to have some proven ability to calm anxious pets – if nothing else, it's absolutely worth a try
- Compact with a long battery
- Easy to set up and use
- Can travel with you
- May not work for your pet
- Audio may irritate
There are stacks of therapeutic remedies for stress in animals, but few take the same route as the RelaxoPet Pro relaxation trainer. There are no chemicals involved here: the RelaxoPet Pro is all about calming through sound. There are four different versions available, one for cats, one for birds, one for horses, and the dog version we are focusing on here.
They all work in basically the same way: they deliver a wide soundfield of relaxing sounds, both audible and inaudible, which can (after a little acclimatization) help to soothe your pet in stressful situations.
The German manufacturer claims the RelaxoPet Pro can help with everything from loneliness to fireworks, and do so anywhere from your home to the car. But just what does it do, and can it really make a difference for jumpy pets?
RelaxoPet Pro: Features
Essentially the RelaxoPet Pro is a small battery-powered speaker. It's an all-in-one device, so there's no aux input or Bluetooth connectivity, and indeed no demand for a phone or any sort of input device to drive it – every feature and sound is built right into the unit.
Hit the play button, and it starts pumping out soothing sounds with a 242-degree audio field; enough to fill a room or catch your dog's attention. RelaxoPet claims a range of 5m indoors, or 3m if you're using it outside.
The company says the sounds are "based on the latest, subliminal vibration technology" and vary between the different versions to match the hearing range of the specific animal they're tailored for. This speaker is made especially for your dog, so its range should get through to them more effectively than relaxation sounds played through the TV or radio.
You can, optionally, add suitably spa-like audible music to the RelaxoPet Pro's output, to give your dog something extra to listen to and to give you some proof that it's actually working.
You don't need to activate the RelaxoPet Pro manually; you can set it to an automatic mode, which uses twin microphones to detect signs of stress and start the sounds for a set period. That's great for helping with separation anxiety – though you shouldn't expect it to work right away. While its output is obviously calming, it is important to associate those relaxing sounds with positive attention; Pavlov would be proud.
RelaxoPet Pro: User reviews
There will always be a certain level of natural skepticism that comes with a product such as this, but also a definite trend towards confirmation bias. So it's no surprise that the RelaxoPet's reviews jump to either end of the spectrum, with some claiming it solved their pet's anxiety problems, and others claiming it didn't work at all.
The most positive responses (and there are more of these than negative) came from those that took the time to train their dogs to the sound, with many saying that their canine companions can now sleep through anything. Many plaudits also seem to come from those who didn't actually think it would work but have been converted to the efficacy of the RelaxoPet Pro's sonic tranquilizing.
Some even talk about the effectiveness of the human-audible section of the RelaxoPet Pro's output on themselves, with one reviewer even claiming the looping, relaxing music helped with her own insomnia.
There's a lot of middle ground too, with people who aren't sure if it's worked but are willing to give it a go – realistically this is the mindset that would lead most to the RelaxoPet Pro in the first place.
In terms of the hardware itself, we struggled to find any complaints at all – but it's more about the effect than the kit itself. That said, some ears were able to detect a ghostly emanation from the speaker when used in dog-only mode, which suggests some of the frequencies it outputs may be audible to humans.
So you're going to either be listening to the same new-age music loops for hours on end or a barely-audible swirl, either of which may be a little hard on the brain.
Should you buy the RelaxoPet Pro?
We wouldn't pick the RelaxoPet Pro as the first port of call for a dog with anxiety issues. There are other, more established, solutions that rely on a little more science, including a thundervest or diffusers such as Adaptil, but they don't necessarily have the same flexibility or spiritual energy.
You may well prefer the concept and execution of the RelaxoPet Pro and, given that there's more than just a dog version, it's important to remember that there's no way to put a thundervest on a bird.
Its portability is another big plus because, once your dog is accustomed to it, you can take it anywhere. It's not the biggest investment, either, particularly when you consider the potentially expensive cost of diffusers.
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