Dogs experience anxiety and stress just like humans do. There are common triggers for anxiety and stress in dogs, and some breeds are more predisposed to these conditions than others. Identifying what makes your pet pal anxious and stressed will enable you to find effective ways to keep her calm and even prevent future occurrences.
Medications should be the last resort, particularly when treating severe cases of anxiety and stress. There are a number of effective remedies that are focused on conditioning and training and providing emotional support to your pet. Another great option are calming treats for dogs which are specially formulated to soothe their nerves.
Learn more about common anxiety and stress triggers and how you can manage them with the best dog calming treats.
What causes anxiety and stress in dogs?
Some dogs are naturally chill; others become restless and wound up during a thunderstorm, when there are fireworks, when you take them for a car ride, every time you leave the house, or when somebody’s at the door. Below is a list of the common anxiety and stress triggers that can turn your furry friend into a bundle of nerves.
- Fear-related anxiety is a reaction to various triggers, from visual stimuli like umbrellas or a hair dryer, to loud noises, new or strange environments, strangers or other animals, or even certain surfaces like grass or sand.
- Age-related anxiety is often associated with the cognitive dysfunction typically experienced by older dogs. As their awareness, learning, memory, and perception gradually decline, they also become more confused and anxious.
- Separation anxiety affects an estimated 14 percent of dogs. As with humans, separation anxiety in dogs is caused by being left alone at home or being separated from their humans.
Symptoms of Anxiety in Dogs
If your dog exhibits any of the following behaviors, particularly in response to certain situations, he may be suffering from anxiety:
- Excessive barking or howling
- Aggression toward people or other animals
- Destructive behaviors, such as attempts to get outside or break out of their crate
- Urinating or defecating in the house
- Repetitive or compulsive behaviors, such as chewing on their tail
Once you’ve determined that your dog becomes anxious when exposed to certain stimuli or situations, you can formulate a solution to address his condition when it happens and to minimize or prevent future anxieties. Read on to learn more about how calming treats for dogs can do wonders for Fido’s jitters.
How do calming treats for dogs work?
Calming treats for dogs are non-medicinal remedies that are specially formulated with ingredients that help soothe the nerves. Dog calming bites can contain any of the following:
- Passion flower
- Hemp oil
- CBD oil
- Thiamine or vitamin B1
These ingredients are known for their calming effects. As they are used in dog treats, you can easily feed these to your furry friend as a preventive measure, when you know that his anxiety will be triggered; or you can incorporate them into your pet’s anxiety-prevention training.
Calming chews are categorized as nutraceuticals, which are similar to supplements, and they are available in a variety of tasty flavors, so Fido will surely enjoy them. Take note that nutraceuticals are not regulated and their safety and efficacy when used to treat animals are yet to be determined by scientific studies. While the individual ingredients are commonly used to treat anxiety in humans, there is only anecdotal evidence that supports their benefit as a calmative in dogs.
The best calming treats for dogs
Here is a list of the best calming treats for dogs, chosen based on brand quality and customer reviews.
Vet’s Best Comfort Calm Soft Chews
- Veterinarian-formulated, once-a-day supplement that helps promote calm and balanced behavior and soothe nervous, hyper, or restless dogs. The treat can also be given as needed.
- The plant-based blend of ingredients include ocean kelp to provide antioxidants and prebiotics for digestive and immune support and to reduce normal environmental stress; tryptophan; natural thiamine; chamomile; ginger; and valerian root.
- The blend promotes non-drowsy relaxation, and can also remedy motion-sickness.
- Safe for puppies over 12 weeks old.
Maxxicalm Natural Calming Aid for Dogs
- A non-drowsy formulation that helps relax dogs during stressful situations while keeping them alert.
- Contains safe and natural ingredients, including Taurine, Inositol (vitamin B8), L-Theanine, and chamomile.
- Can be given as a daily supplement; an additional dose can also be safely administered when needed.
- Can be enjoyed by Fido as a treat or mixed with food.
- Composure’s calming formula includes ingredients that support calmer behavior and relaxation: colostrum, L-Theanine, and Thiamine.
- The formula is non-drowsy and has been clinically proven to take effect within 30 minutes and to last up to 4 hours.
- Prevents aggression, destructive behaviors, excessive barking and grooming, hyperactivity, and abnormal urination around the house.
- A safe and effective long-term supplement, given daily, or in double or triple doses during stressful situations.
NaturVet Quiet Moments Calming Aid Plus Melatonin
- Soft and tasty calming chews that promote normal nervous system function and reduce stress and anxiety.
- Wholesome formulation that includes ginger, melatonin, Thiamine, and L-Tryptophan.
- Safe for dogs over 12 weeks of age.
SmartBones Calming Care
- Wholesome ingredients include vegetables, chicken, chamomile, and lavender, as well as Thiamine.
- 100% rawhide-free, but with a gummy texture to help clean teeth.
- Formulated to help maintain your dog’s calm and happy lifestyle.
PetHonesty Calming Hemp
- Formulated to promote calm and reduce anxiety, hyperactivity, and stress within 30 to 45 minutes of intake and without the drowsiness.
- Contains non-GMO and all-natural herbal ingredients, including organic hemp powder, chamomile, ginger, and valerian root.
- Contains zero corn, soy, wheat, and preservatives.
Zesty Paws Calming Bites
- A non-drowsy and drug-free formulation that contains L-Theanine, vitamin B1, organic hemp, chamomile, valerian root, and L-Tryptophan.
- Soothes aggressive, hyperactive, or agitated dogs and promotes calm and a balanced temperament.
- Contains zero corn, soy, wheat, and artificial flavorings or preservatives.
Zesty Paws Hemp Elements Calming Nutrastix
- Dental sticks that contain a blend of calming ingredients, including hemp, melatonin, chamomile, valerian root, and suntheanine.
- A safe and effective supplement that helps relieve stress, aggression, anxiety, and hyperactivity.
- Also contains taurine, kelp, and peppermint oil for oral health.
- A non-drowsy and holistic formulation that stimulates relaxation of the brain.
Pet Naturals of Vermont Calming Dog Chews
- Supports overall wellness and encourages calm and relaxation without sedation or behavioral changes.
- Veterinary-formulated with L-Theanine, vitamin B1, colostrum calming complex, and Thiamine for everyday management of anxiety, stress, and behavioral issues.
NaturVet Hemp Quiet Moments Plus Hemp Seed
- Canine soft chews formulated with hemp seed oil and powder, L-Tryptophan, melatonin, Thiamine, chamomile, and ginger to calm the nerves and stomach during mild- to high-stress situations.
- Safe for dogs over 12 weeks of age.
- Can be given as a treat or mixed with food.
Hill’s Prescription Diet Digestive Care i/d Stress
- A prescription diet specially formulated for small dogs with stress-related digestive issues.
- Contains highly digestible, low-fat, and prebiotic-enriched ingredients to help manage stress and improve digestion by restoring microflora balance and healthy intestinal movement.
- Ingredients include rice, vegetables, chicken, ginger, prebiotic fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamins.
- Requires veterinary authorization.
Waggedy Calm with Melatonin
- Melatonin dog supplement to help calm stress and relieve anxiety.
- An all-natural formula that supports your dog’s nervous system.
- Contains melatonin, L-Tryptophan, chamomile flower, passion flower, and ginger.
YoPup Chill Out Biscuits
- All-natural, wheat-free biscuits with special yogurt drizzle that delivers 20 million probiotics per biscuit.
- Promotes calm and reduces stress and anxiety.
- A delicious way to boost your dog’s diet with good bacteria.
- Also contains flaxseed and cranberry for a good dose of fatty acids and antioxidants.
Bonies Calming Formula
- Calming chews for small dogs made from all-natural ingredients, including brown rice, chamomile, and lavender to help ease nervousness and anxiety.
- Contains no wheat, gluten, corn, soy, gelatin, or animal glycerin.
- Low in fat and contains zero saturated or trans-fats, salt, sugar, and artificial preservatives, flavors, and colors.
- Firm and tasty chews that also help keep teeth free from plaque and tartar.
NutriVet Pet-Ease Soft Chews
- A veterinary-formulated blend of herbs and amino acids to help promote calmness and relaxation, as well as curb aggressive or destructive behavior.
- Contains chamomile, ginger, taurine, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, flavonoids, and essential oils.
Ark Naturals Happy Traveler
- An all-natural formula that includes chamomile, valerian root, St. John’s Wort, and L-Tryptophan.
- Helps promote calm and reduce anxiety naturally.
- Contains no corn, soy, wheat, or artificial colors or preservatives.
- An all-natural formula that eases stress and tension and promotes calm and a healthy nervous system.
- Contains passion flower, chamomile, valerian root, and L-Tryptophan.
- Eases stress-related behavioral problems.
If calming treats don’t work for your furry pal, you can try some of these alternatives.
Pheromone products mimic the hormones released by nursing dogs and are available as sprays, collars, or plug-in diffusers. The scent of the pheromones are easily detected by dogs and can effectively remedy anxiety and stress. Adaptil ThunderEase Calming Diffuser Kit is a popular brand that is good for 30 days. This can be used as a constant, daily calmative, or on an as-needed basis.
Pressure wraps work by mimicking calming hugs. These are a popular drug-free option for dogs who become anxious during certain situations, such as thunderstorms or car rides. ThunderShirt Classic Dog Anxiety Jacket is designed to apply gentle and constant pressure to calm anxiety, fear, or over-excitement.
Puzzle toys engage Fido’s brain, providing not only mental stimulation but also a healthy distraction so that he becomes less bothered by his anxiety triggers, or even completely unaffected by them. Toys, like the Puppy Treat Dispenser Interactive Dog Toy, provides an effective diversion from separation anxiety or triggers such as having strangers in the house.
Calming Treats for Dogs - Final Thoughts
If your dog has anxiety, whether it’s a chronic condition or an occasional occurrence, should you always have calming treats ready?
You will definitely have to do some experimentation to figure out what works best in calming your dog’s nerves and, perhaps, even preventing his anxiety from getting triggered. Calming treats may provide relief, but you may also have to try different products until you find one that gives you the results you want.
Employing a varied approach is always best, particularly if your dog suffers from moderate but chronic or severe anxiety. You should always have all the right tools handy - calming treats, wraps, puzzle toys, and medications, if prescribed by your vet.
Anxiety in dogs should not be ignored; if left untreated, it can affect your pet’s overall well-being and quality of life. As a responsible pet parent, you should realize that because your dog is not able to adequately express what he’s going through, you’re supposed to be mindful of his needs and proactive about addressing any indications of distress.
If calming treats for dogs do not work, you can try other non-drug solutions. If all else fails, consult your vet so Fido can be prescribed the proper medication and he can get some much-needed tranquility.