Updated February 2022
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Buying guide for best calming dog collars

Seeing your furbaby shaking with anxiety is heartbreaking, and it can be destructive if your dog decides to chew on the furniture out of fear. Some dogs are terrified of natural events like thunderstorms, while others might have a fear of the vet or riding in the car. It can sometimes be hard to know what your dog is fearful of if it occasionally displays general signs of anxiety.

Since we can’t reason with our pets, and distracting them with treats or retraining with positive experiences can only go so far, so it’s a good idea to look for additional tools in the arsenal against fearfulness. The calming collar is one such tool.

The calming collar is infused with pheromones to help soothe and assuage your pup. These pheromones are clinically proven to help ease or solve the problem, and while not all dogs will react in the same way, these collars are a valuable nonmedical resource that might help your situation.

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A 2005 study showed that puppies in a training class who wore pheromone collars were later found to have fewer behavioral problems and were more sociable.

Key considerations


The use of a calming collar can help avoid or cut down on the amount of medication needed for an anxious dog. The pheromones used are natural, so there’s no worry about affecting other medications your dog might be taking or exacerbating any existing ailments. Even older or unwell dogs can use these collars without any issues.

Targeted use

There are diffusers available that aim to provide the same effect, but these release the pheromones into the atmosphere, which doesn’t target the dog. The collar will always be where your dog is. If used properly, most collars are effective for about a month.

Calming dog collar features


A pheromone is a chemical substance produced by an animal that can affect the behavior, mood, or physiology of others of the same species who smell it. (For instance, pheromones are often used in perfumes in the belief that they help make the wearer attractive to others.) In calming collars, the pheromones replicate those produced by a lactating female dog, which helps your dog feel soothed and nurtured. This “dog appeasing pheromone” (DAP) is released from the collar with the help of the dog’s body heat. DAP is unique to dogs, so it can’t be detected by people and won’t affect other animals in the house, such as cats. Other dogs might pick up the scent, but since there are no ill effects from the therapy, that shouldn’t be a concern.

Concentration: The percentage of the pheromone in a calming collar is generally .02%, but others are 2.5% or as much as 6%. Increasing the strength might be more effective, or your dog might need to detect more of the pheromone in order for it to work, so see which one works best for your dog.

Other ingredients

Some collars are also infused with ingredients that are known to be calming, such as camomile or lavender. These have a noticeable scent that may or may not be appealing to all dogs or owners. Other collars use herbal blends to simulate the pheromones rather than synthetic ingredients. There aren’t any studies that show the effectiveness of these scents or herbals, however.

Material and size

Calming dog collars are made of a soft material or pliable plastic and are designed to be used in conjunction with a regular collar. You should not attach a leash or tags to a calming dog collar. Some of these collars come in a choice of sizes, while others are a standard fit, but all of them can be cut to fit. If your dog is between sizes, always buy a larger collar and trim off any excess.

Calming dog collar prices

Smaller sizes start at $12. Large collars and premium brands can cost as much as $25. Buying the collars in packs of three lowers the price per collar and is more economical in the long run.

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Never ignore signs of anxiety in a dog. First, rule out any medical issues. If the anxiety goes unchecked, it can lead to aggressive behavior, which will be much more difficult to deal with.


  • Consider a calming collar for a new puppy. Even if your puppy seems pretty chill, the mom pheromones will be an extra boost to help your new pet settle into your home.
  • Add a calming collar to other treatments. Because calming collars aren’t medicinal, you can add them to any prescribed calming medication you’re giving your dog. You can also use them in conjunction with pheromone sprays, as well as other non-medicinal treatments, such as aromatherapy.
  • Remove the collar before bathing your dog. The calming collar is not waterproof, so it should be removed before bathing, grooming, or swimming in order to keep it working.
  • Keep the pheromone collars in their sealed pouch. Only take one out when you’re ready to use it.
  • Make sure the collar is fitted correctly. It should be snug and not too loose. Read the included instructions carefully to determine the correct fit.
  • Try a diffuser or spray. If you don’t see any results after your dog has worn the collar for a few weeks, add a diffuser or spray to boost the effect. Or you can try a different brand of collar, which could have a different strength or blend. However, some dogs are what veterinarians call “nonresponders.” In these cases, the collars won’t work at all. You can try aromatherapy collars, or consult your vet for a medicinal route.
"Dog pheromone collars are not effective at dealing with aggression problems. Consult a vet or professional animal behavioral specialist immediately to prevent a tragedy in these cases. "
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Signs of anxiety in dogs include licking the nose and lips, excessive yawning, panting, loss of appetite, diarrhea or vomiting, tucked tail, pinned ears, trembling, whining, howling, hiding or cowering, chewing and scratching at themselves or other objects, soiling inside the house, and excessive barking.


Q. Are pet pheromone products safe?
There have been no reports of any side effects or bad reactions to the calming pheromones. They’re also species specific, so they won’t affect people or other types of pets like cats in the home. Other dogs in the house might actually benefit from the pheromones as well. The collars are safe for older or sick pets because using one doesn’t stress them further. You can also use one of these collars if your dog is using other medications, including flea and tick control.

Q. How do I know whether my pet is anxious or in fact sick?
Check with a veterinarian as soon as your dog starts displaying any behavioral problems, since many of the symptoms can have underlying medical causes. Never assume the actions of your dog are strictly behavioral.

Q. What kinds of stress will this treat?
Dog pheromone products are used for general stress like separation anxiety, meeting new people or dogs, noise phobias like thunderstorms or fireworks, or when traveling. They’re also useful for occasional stressful situations, such as going to the groomers or vet – or when you bring out the vacuum cleaner! They’re also useful for life changes like introducing a new baby or moving to a new house. Animal shelters often use them to help calm stressed dogs, too.

Q. How quickly do these collars work?
Results are not instant, and they vary according to each dog, but it usually takes about one to two weeks.

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