Best Calming Products for Dogs

Updated November 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best calming products for dogs

Last Updated November 2019

Just like people, dogs can suffer from anxiety and emotional stress. You can usually tell when your furry friend is feeling tense because he barks excessively, trembles, or engages in destructive behaviors. Fortunately, there is relief.

Calming products for dogs, which help soothe and relax your pooch, are available in several different forms, though they all work to help relax your pet when they’re faced with some type of stressor. Some calming products are edible and can be given regularly to provide long-term effects. Other calming products are used situationally, so they usually work more quickly, but their effects are temporary.

If you want to effectively treat your dog’s anxiety, though, you have to choose the right calming products for his needs. That means determining what type of anxiety your pet suffers from, what type of calming aid would best address his stress, and what ingredients are most effective.

Our shopping guide provides all the information you’ll need to choose the best calming products for your dog. We’ve even included some specific product recommendations to make shopping as straightforward as possible.

Border collies, bichon frises, German shepherds, cocker spaniels, basset hounds, and Labrador retrievers are a few of the dog breeds that are prone to anxiety.

Key considerations

Type of anxiety

Like people, dogs can suffer from several different kinds of anxiety. Because all calming products may not help all types of anxiety, it’s important to consider what type of anxiety affects your dog before choosing a product.

  • Separation anxiety is an extremely common type of anxiety in dogs. It occurs when your dog becomes upset when he’s left home alone or his primary caregiver is away for a prolonged period. The anxiety is usually triggered because your dog becomes bored and lonely when you’re not present. Urinating or defecating in the house is often a symptom of separation anxiety, as is excessive barking and destructive behavior.
  • Rescue anxiety affects dogs who’ve spent long periods in a shelter or rescue facility. Your rescue dog may have memories of being abandoned or suffering a traumatic event before they wound up at the shelter. A dog with rescue anxiety may exhibit signs of general anxiety as well as separation anxiety.
  • Illness-related anxiety is triggered by a health issue in your dog. Hypothyroidism, Graves’ disease, encephalitis, and prediabetes can all bring about anxiety in dogs that previously exhibited no symptoms. If your dog is experiencing vision or hearing loss, he may also become more easily startled and show signs of anxiety in unknown environments.
  • Fear-related anxiety occurs when your dog is made anxious by certain trigger sounds, visual stimuli, or situations. Many dogs become anxious when they hear thunder, fireworks, sirens, or construction noises. Visits to the veterinarian, car rides, and encounters with strangers can also provoke stress. In most cases, the anxiety passes once the trigger is no longer present, but some dogs may require a recovery period. Symptoms of fear-based anxiety usually include whining, panting, drooling, pacing, shaking, and restlessness.
  • Generalized anxiety is anxiety that doesn’t have an obvious cause. Like people, some dogs are simply prone to anxiety, while others may have experienced a primary onset event that was unnoticed at the time. The symptoms for generalized anxiety are usually more subtle than those for other types of anxiety, so it often goes unrecognized. Depression, compulsive behaviors, and restlessness are often signs of generalized anxiety.

Natural and delicious calming chews

If you’re looking for a treat that can help calm your furry friend, the Zesty Paws Stress and Anxiety Calming Bites are a great option. They’re made with natural ingredients, such as chamomile, passionflower, and valerian as well as the proven calming agent suntheanine. They’re available in a tasty turkey flavor that your pooch is sure to love, too. We also like that they don’t cause a drowsy effect.

Type of calming aid

Calming products for dogs are available in several different types, which often correspond to the type of anxiety that your dog suffers from.

  • Supplements usually come in the form of chews or tablets that your dog can eat. The supplements contain natural ingredients that help relieve anxiety and stress. Some supplements are meant to be given specifically when your dog is suffering from anxiety, while others are given daily to provide a long-term effect on your dog’s anxiety. They can work well for separation anxiety, rescue anxiety, illness-related anxiety, and generalized anxiety.
  • Aromatherapy sprays contain a blend of essential oils that help calm and relax your dog. They can work well for separation anxiety, rescue anxiety, illness-related anxiety, fear-related anxiety, and generalized anxiety.
  • Pheromone products mimic the natural pheromones that a mother dog gives off when puppies are nursing. These pheromones can help calm your dog and make him feel safe. These products usually come as a diffuser, spray, or collar.  They can work well for separation anxiety, rescue anxiety, illness-related anxiety, fear-related anxiety, and generalized anxiety.
  • Music products play tunes that can relax an anxious dog. The music is specifically selected and arranged to provide relaxing auditory information for your dog, so he’s more likely to be relaxed than he would be with standard classical music. These products are available in CD form, digital downloads, or as wireless speaker systems that are outfitted with preloaded micro SD cards that contain music. They can work well for separation anxiety, rescue anxiety, illness-related anxiety, fear-related anxiety, and generalized anxiety.
  • Wearable aids are items that your dog can wear when he’s feeling anxious to help calm him. Most come in the form of snug shirts that have a similar effect to swaddling a baby; your dog receives just enough pressure to feel like he’s being hugged, which can help soothe him. Caps are also available, which block your dog’s eyes to prevent him from seeing visual stimuli that might make him anxious. Wearable aids work especially well for fear-related anxiety.

Which is easiest to use?

When your dog is anxious, you want to help him calm down as quickly as possible. For many pet owners, supplements can be difficult, because some dogs may not want to eat them. They also take some time to work, so if your dog is extremely anxious, you may have to wait for him to get relief.

Aromatherapy and pheromone-based products are extremely easy to use because they’re usually just sprays or diffuser items that you use in the room where your dog is. They can take a little time to have an effect but usually not as long as supplements. Music and wearable calming aids are also easy to use and tend to show results more quickly than the other options.

EXPERT TIP

Aromatherapy and pheromone-based calming products can be especially helpful for senior and sick dogs because there’s no added stress put on the animals when you use them.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Ingredients

When it comes to supplements and aromatherapy calming products for dogs, you want to be sure that they contain effective ingredients that can actually soothe your dog’s anxiety. Here are some ingredients to look for:

  • L-theanine (suntheanine) is an amino acid that can help your dog relax and focus.
  • L-tryptophan is another amino acid that can help boost your dog’s mood and supports his stress response.
  • Melatonin is a natural hormone that animals secrete while they sleep. It can also help calm anxious dogs.
  • Valerian is an herb that can act as a sedative to help soothe anxious or tense dogs. It’s best given to dogs before they’ll be in a stressful situation.
  • Passionflower is an herb that can help reduce brain activity while increasing GABA levels in dogs. GABA is a chemical that helps improve a dog’s mood.
  • Chamomile is an herb that can help calm your dog’s nerves and even encourage sleep.
  • Lemon balm is an herb that can help soothe your dog’s nerves and reduce anxiety.

If you’re purchasing aromatherapy calming products for your dog, keep an eye out for these ingredients:

  • Lavender is a calming, soothing scent that not only reduces your dog’s anxiety but also helps him fall asleep.
  • Chamomile is effective in reducing emotional stress and anxiety in your dog.
  • Marjoram works well for soothing your dog’s nerves and relaxing his nervous system.
  • Neroli is effective for reducing stress and anxiety as well as helping your dog fall asleep.

According to the American Kennel Association, separation anxiety affects approximately 14% of dogs.

Flavors

If you opt for supplements or chews to help calm your dog, take the flavor into account. Your dog is more likely to eat the supplement if the flavor appeals to him. Fortunately, most calming supplements and treats are available in a variety of dog-approved flavors, including turkey, chicken, roast beef, and peanut butter.

Calming products for dogs prices

Calming products for dogs vary in price based mainly on the type.

Calming supplements and chews for dogs usually range from $7 to $40. The price can vary based on the size of the bag or container and how many active ingredients they contain.

Calming aromatherapy products for dogs typically cost between $10 and $30. They usually range in price based on the size of the bottle and how many essential oils are used in the product.

Pheromone calming products for dogs usually cost between $13 to $42. The prices generally vary based on how large the bottle is or how many diffuser plug-ins a package contains.

Wearable calming products for dogs usually range from $12 to $45. In many cases, the price is affected by the size of your dog, because a larger animal requires a larger shirt or cap.

Calming music products for dogs vary in price based on the type. CDs or digital music downloads cost between $9 and $20. Wireless speakers with micro SD cards that contain music range from $50 to $100.

EXPERT TIP

In cases of severe anxiety, over-the-counter calming products may not be enough to calm your dog. Consult with your vet about prescription medications that might help.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Before using any calming product for your dog, consult with your veterinarian, particularly if you’re planning to use supplements or chews.
  • When you’re using a new calming product for your dog, it’s important to be patient. It may take up to eight weeks before your pet responds to the product.
  • For an extremely anxious dog, you might try combining multiple calming products. For example, mist a wearable calming product with an aromatherapy spray or play some calming music in a room where you already have a pheromone diffuser.

Vet-recommended aromatherapy spray

The ThunderEssence Natural Dog Calming Spray contains a blend of essential oils that can help calm and soothe your dog, including lavender, chamomile, and Egyptian geranium. Because it comes in a convenient spray bottle, you can spritz it in the air around your dog, directly on your pet, or on his favorite blanket or toy. We also love that it travels well, so you can bring it with you on car trips, to the vet, or for kennel stays.

Another product we considered

PremiumCare Calming Treats for Dogs are all-natural calming treats that feature organic passionflower, chamomile, valerian, and l-tryptophan to soothe separation anxiety and fear-related anxiety. The treats are duck-flavored, so your pooch is sure to love them.

If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, taking him for a walk before you leave the house can tire him out to increase the effectiveness of any calming product you use.

FAQ

Q. Are calming products for dogs safe to use?
A.
Most calming products are perfectly safe for your dog. In particular, aromatherapy, pheromone, wearable, and music calming aids are safe because they don’t actually enter your dog’s system. Calming treats, chews, and supplements, though, should be used with a little more caution since your dog will eat them. To make sure that the ingredients won’t affect any health issues your dog has or interfere with any medication he’s taking, check with your veterinarian to make sure they’re safe for your dog.

Q. How long will it take to see results with a calming product for my dog?A. It depends on the type of calming product that you’re using. Some supplements and chews can calm your dog within 30 to 60 minutes. A wearable calming product can often have an instant effect on your pet. Music, aromatherapy, and pheromone calming products can often calm your dog within a matter of minutes. However, depending on how severe your dog’s anxiety is, it may take days or even weeks before you get the desired result.

Q. My dog is a picky eater. How can I get him to eat calming supplements or chews?
A.
If your dog won’t eat the treats or tablets on his own, try breaking them up and mixing them with his food. If he still won’t eat the calming supplements, hide them in a small piece of cheese or a spoonful of xylitol-free peanut butter.

The team that worked on this review
  • Angela
    Angela
    Editor
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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