The best calming product for dogs
It's common for dogs to have anxieties or fears -- for example, around 50% of dogs are afraid of fireworks and close to 15% suffer from separation anxiety. You can find a variety of calming products for dogs that can help manage stress, anxiety, and fear.
Our buying guide will aid you in finding the best calming products for your dog. Our number one choice is Zesty Paws' Calming Bites for Dogs. These palatable treats contain hemp, chamomile, and L-theanine, all of which have a calming influence on your four-legged friend.
Considerations when choosing calming products for dogs
Types of anxiety
Before choosing a calming product for your dog, you should identify the type of anxiety they're suffering from, as this may affect your choice of product.
Separation anxiety is extremely common in dogs and can have an effect on their well-being, since most dogs are alone for at least an hour or two each day or much more if you work full-time.
Fear-related anxiety can be related to all kinds of fears, from strange people and dogs to travel, but noises are perhaps the most common fear in dogs. Thunder, fireworks, and sirens are common sources of anxiety.
Dogs can also have generalized anxiety (anxiety with no obvious cause) or symptoms of anxiety due to certain illnesses.
Types of calming products
With so many types of calming products available, you may wonder which is right for your dog. You can choose just one, but a combination of at least two is often more effective.
Calming supplements are usually in the form of chews, though tinctures and tablets are also available. Some of these are designed for long-term use, which is great for separation anxiety or generalized anxiety. Others are for use before an event that might cause stress and, therefore, are helpful for fear-related anxieties.
You can also find wraps and jackets, sprays, plug-in diffusers, and music products all designed to calm your pet.
There are some common ingredients contained in many calming products for dogs. L-theanine and L-tryptophan are both amino acids that help reduce the stress response and promote relaxation. Valerian and chamomile are both naturally sedative herbs often found in calming supplements. Some sprays and plug-in diffusers contain synthetic versions of calming canine pheromones. You can also buy CBD products for dogs in areas where it's legal.
If choosing an edible product, make sure your dog likes the taste, so they don't mind eating it.
Calming products for dogs vary widely in price depending on the type of product. At the low end of the price spectrum, you can find calming treats or sprays for less than $10. At the high end, calming jackets can cost more than $50.
Q. Should I see my vet before using a canine calming product?
A. Unless your dog has an ongoing medical condition or is on any medication, you shouldn't need to contact the vet before trying out any calming products for dogs. However, if your dog suffers from serious anxiety, it's worth taking a trip to the vet, as there are medications that may help your four-legged friend more effectively than over-the-counter options.
Q. Will calming products cure my dog's nervousness or anxiety?
A. Calming products aren't a complete cure for nervousness, fear, or anxiety, but they can help your dog cope with stressful stimuli. Ideally, you should use these calming products in the short term alongside training techniques that help your dog long-term. For instance, if your dog is afraid of thunderstorms or other loud noises, desensitization training is extremely effective.
Calming products for dogs we recommend
Best of the best: Zesty Paws' Calming Bites for Dogs
Our take: A natural anxiety formula in a tasty chewy treat designed to take the edge off those stressful moments.
What we like: Available in both turkey and peanut butter flavors. 90 soft chews in a pack. Naturally reduces stress levels.
What we dislike: Only a helping hand to calm dogs, not a miracle cure.
Best bang for your buck: ThunderEssence's Dog-Calming Essential Oils
Our take: This blend of calming essential oils helps keep your dog from getting too stressed in worrying situations, all at a reasonable price.
What we like: Great for traveling, vet visits, thunderstorms, fireworks, and more. Made from entirely natural ingredients. Cruelty-free formula.
What we dislike: May not work alone in extremely stressful situations, but useful as part of a mixture of techniques.
Choice 3: Thundershirt's Sport Dog Anxiety Jacket
Our take: By applying gentle pressure to your dog's body (a bit like a weighted blanket), this jacket provides a calming effect to 80% of dogs.
What we like: Available in two colors and seven sizes from XXS to XXL. Can be used indoors or outdoors. Calms dogs with all kinds of anxiety.
What we dislike: Not much use if your dog is one of the 20% it doesn't work for, though you can get a refund if this is the case.
Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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