Calming products for dogs
Just like their human owners, dogs may have anxiety, trauma and triggers that cause stress and worry. Whether it’s induced by the unknown or past experiences, dogs may shake, tremble, bark, act out or hide when in distress.
In addition to training, there are calming products that can help relieve that stress before, during and after anxious moments. Some of these products, like Zesty Paws Stress and Anxiety Calming Bites, come in the form of chewable treats. There are other means and methods as well, some of which may be combined, so as to alleviate stress and comfort your furry friend.
What to know before you buy calming products for dogs
Type of anxiety
Anxiety comes in various forms, and the first step in figuring out the best way to tackle it is to understand it.
- Separation anxiety: This common form of anxiety arises when dogs are left alone for an amount of time, often worrying that they will permanently be left behind. Excessive barking, destruction of furniture and accidents in the house may indicate separation anxiety.
- Fear: Sights and sounds may trigger anxiety, which are likely associated with past traumatic experiences. Thunder and fireworks are typically triggers. Some dogs fear brooms, vacuum cleaners or other household products, particularly if they’ve been hurt or abused in the past.
- Illness: Some anxiety is brought on by illness, where dogs don’t understand their growing limitations or ailments, which brings on concern and fear. A loss of hearing, eyesight or even strength can cause dogs to worry.
- General anxiety: Some anxiety doesn’t have a specific trigger or cause or may grow slowly over time without attention. Generalized anxiety may manifest itself in depression, compulsion or restlessness.
Types of calming aid
There are a few different ways to tackle anxiety, both as a preventative and recuperative means.
- Supplements: This common type of calming aid comes in the form of a treat, pill or chew that’s given orally to the dog. They tend to include natural ingredients to relieve stress and anxiety and typically treat all kinds fairly effectively. These are often given ahead of a planned trigger, like before an owner leaves the house or prior to a thunderstorm.
- Aromatherapy: Just like humans, dogs may be soothed with aromatherapy essential oils. However, it’s important to find non-toxic oils that are designed for dogs, as many essential oils for humans can lead to adverse reactions with dogs, especially when ingested.
- Pheromones: Similar to aromatherapy, this relief comes in the form of a mist or spray that mimics a mother’s natural pheromones to offer a sense of safety and protection. These work well for all kinds of anxiety.
- Wearables: Snug shirts or heavy coats are used to help calm dogs, offering them a sense of protection and relief. These are similar to weighted blankets geared for adults, where the compression and coziness of the product help slow the heart and calm the mind.
What to look for in a quality calming product for dogs
A variety of ingredients are used to achieve different results; it may be useful to know what each can accomplish when shopping. L-theanine and L-tryptophan are amino acids that help relax and boost stress response, respectively. Popular natural herbs include chamomile to calm, lemon balm to soothe nerves and passionflower to reduce brain activity.
Desirable aromatherapy scents include lavender that can help decompress, marjoram that targets the nervous system and neroli for reducing stress.
Some supplements and chews are offered in different flavors to better entice your dog. One of the benefits of a tasty treat is that it can create a conditioned response, where an anxiety-inducing trigger is quickly replaced by the anticipation of a snack.
How much you can expect to spend on calming products for dogs
Supplements and chews range from $10-$30, depending on the quality and size, and aromatherapy products tend to fall in the same price range as well. Depending on your dog’s size, wearable calming products can cost as low as $10 or up to $50.
Calming products for dogs FAQ
How long does it take calming products to work on a dog?
A. Depending on the product and the dog, some effects may take place rather quickly, while others can take weeks. Chews and supplements will likely inform the user of how long they take to activate and are best administered ahead of the triggering event. Wearables are likely to have an instant effect, though the full desired effect may take a few uses for your dog to fully adjust. Aromatherapy and pheromone products can vary based on a number of factors, including potency and your dog’s sensitivities.
How safe are dog calming products?
A. Calming products are safe for most dogs, though it’s recommended to monitor your pet the first couple of times you use them. You may want to consult your vet before using supplements, chews or oils, as some dogs may be predisposed to sensitivities. You should not leave your dog alone with a wearable, in case they become caught up in a piece of furniture or crate.
What’s the best calming product for dogs?
Top calming product for dogs
What you need to know: Popular and trusted chewable with a tasty flavor and natural ingredients that offer effective results.
What you’ll love: Features plant-based ingredients and key amino acids to calm anxiety. Various flavors available, including peanut butter. Does not induce drowsiness.
What you should consider: Some dogs aren’t interested in flavors; may not reduce severe anxiety.
Top calming product for dogs for the money
What you need to know: Natural, easy-to-use and inexpensive calming oil that offers a pleasant scent to both dogs and humans.
What you’ll love: Essential oil spray featuring lavender, chamomile and geranium. May be applied directly or as a mist. Balanced pH for dog’s safety.
What you should consider: Better used for mild stress.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Comfortable coat designed to calm nerves and offer a sense of protection to worried dogs.
What you’ll love: Gentle pressure, warmth and coziness provide a calming experience, similar to a weighted blanket. Available in various sizes. May aid in training.
What you should consider: Not advised to leave the dog alone in a coat. Mixed results with severe anxiety.
Anthony Marcusa 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.
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