Anxiety doesn’t just affect people. Dogs and cats can experience anxious feelings, too. Some pets develop anxiety over time due to life changes like a new home or shifting schedules. Others only experience anxiety at specific times, like during firework shows or thunderstorms. Regardless of the source of your dog’s stress, there are plenty of products out there you can use to calm anxious pups. It may take some trial and error to figure out the best fit for your dog, but peace of mind for you and your pet is totally worth it. Here are 30 places to start.
30 Products Made Specifically to Calm Your Anxious Dog
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How common is dog anxiety?
Based on recent data, dog anxiety is pretty common. A recent Pro Plan Veterinary Supplements online survey by Relevation Research found 63 percent of dog owners have pups who display some type of anxious behavior. About half of those respondents (47 percent) said loud noises are the primary culprits.
Rover, the world’s largest network of pet sitters and dog walkers, also recently conducted an online survey of 1,000 US-based dog owners to find out more about their pet concerns. Similar to the Relevation Research respondents, just over half (51 percent) of this group said their pets are afraid of fireworks. Alarmingly, 84 percent reported signs of separation anxiety in their dogs! This is crazy high and we feel badly for those pups who become stressed when left alone.
If you fall into one of these groups, chances are you’re also part of the 45 percent of Rover survey respondents desperate for new ways to combat their dog’s anxiety.
Types of dog anxiety
It’s worth noting the difference here between general anxiety and situational anxiety. Sharon L. Crowell-Davis, DVM, PhD, of Vet Folio says generalized anxiety in dogs means they “chronically exhibit signs of anxiety regardless of their situation.” Basically, they are always stressed even when their environment is calm and they should feel secure. Situational anxiety means anxious symptoms like hiding, shaking, whining, pacing, panting or becoming destructive are only present during specific scenarios. Determining when and why your dog becomes anxious is key to developing the best treatment regimen.
Pro tip: Take notes on your dog’s behavior throughout the day if you think she’s got some anxiety going on. Note what’s going on environmentally when she’s most distressed. Then, discuss your findings with her vet. Severe cases may warrant a prescription diet or medication.
Finally, don't give up if the first few products you try don’t work right away! You’ve got to find out what your dog prefers for each situation that causes her stress and adjust accordingly. Administering CBD chews and snuggling with your dog during a storm is very different from leaving your pup home alone with an interactive toy on the 4th of July. She might need different tools for different circumstances—but hey, who doesn’t?
It’s important to experiment with several different types of calming products, since each dog will respond differently. Combine a few strategies if necessary. Keep in mind, many supplements begin working best after about four weeks, so don’t give up!
This is basically a weighted blanket your dog can wear. It gently applies consistent pressure to the torso, without causing discomfort. Put it on before a scary car ride or as a thunderstorm approaches and leave it on for up to an hour (it’s recommended you check your dog’s comfort level every hour or two). It’s washable, colorful and comes in many sizes.
One alternative to the official ThunderShirt is the AKC’s Calming Coat. The organization, which probably understands performance- and crowd-based anxiety in dogs better than anyone, compares the soft garment to swaddling a crying baby. It comes in three soothing colors and easily wraps around your pup. It’s also machine-washable, which is a plus.
This collar emits a drug-free scent designed to smell just like a mother dog’s pheromones during nursing. Activated by your dog’s own body heat, the collar is adjustable for different sized necks. The brand boasts a 90 percent success rate, so it’s definitely worth a shot for any kind of canine anxiety. It’s vet-recommended and lasts up to four weeks.
The Calm Paws Behavior Support Collar Disk Collar attaches to existing collars (including cones for post-surgery pups) to alleviate stress without putting an additional item around your dog’s neck. It contains natural essential oils that are safe for dogs (but not for cats) and the disk lasts up to three weeks. A budget-friendly alternative to other calming collars.
If your pup hates wearing clothes, but doesn’t mind hats, this is the hoodie for you! This is an ideal product for dogs who fear loud noises, get nervous at the groomer or regularly go for walks in cold environments. A snug fit is ideal for anxious pups.
Made with vegan fur, this blanket is built to feel just like a mother dog’s fur. Wrap your pup in it, let her sleep on it, cover her crate with it—the calming possibilities are endless. Bonus: It protects your furniture, too.
Or, plop your pup in her calming bed and toss her Best Friends blanket right on top! This bed is deep enough for your dog to curl up and feel secure in and wide enough for her to stretch out and relax. There are four colors to choose from and eight inches of height all around the perimeter to ensure dogs feel secure. Plus, an anti-slip, waterproof bottom
Some dogs really crave warmth when trying to soothe themselves (or relieve stiff joints). When this is the case, invest in a warming pad. They can lay directly on top of it or you can place it under a favorite blanket. Since it relies on your pup’s body heat to activate the bamboo and charcoal inside, it requires no electricity.
Puppies (and adult dogs!) that respond well to pheromones or faux fur that remind them of their mothers may also enjoy a heartbeat mat. This is an ideal product for puppies who are crate-training or dogs with separation anxiety. All you need are two AAA batteries and you’re good to go.
For dogs with general anxiety, a slow feeder is a great way to encourage them to slow down and enjoy a treat. Not only is repetitive licking soothing on its own, but slow feeders can also help your pup form a positive association with a scary event if you bring them out whenever there’s a loud storm.
Interactive toys are terrific for dogs who grow afraid or apprehensive when left alone. Using their brains and brawn to earn a treat is a good way to entertain and reward them for a job well done. This dispenser is dishwasher safe (in the top rack) and also works to clean teeth as your dog chews it.
Another solution to constant or chronic nervousness is a diet dedicated to calming your dog. Royal Canin’s Calm Formula includes alpha-casozepine and L-tryptophan, two amino acids known for their relaxing properties. Vitamin B3 is added for its ability to directly calm the central nervous system.
Oh, your dog only eats wet food? No problem. This recipe is particularly helpful for dogs experiencing heightened emotions due to changes in environment or routine.
For dogs with severe noise aversion or chronic stress, it’s worth discussing this oral gel with your vet. Though it’s the only FDA-approved treatment for dogs with noise aversion, you need a prescription from a vet to purchase it. According to the brand, this gel “works by blocking norepinephrine, a brain chemical similar to adrenaline that pumps up anxiety.”
Spraying the backseat with this drug-free, pheromone calming spray roughly 15 minutes before hopping in the car for a ride to the vet does the trick. It also works indoors and lasts roughly two to three hours. Note: Per directions, do not spray this on your dog like perfume.
If you find the scent of pheromones aren’t working to soothe your pup, reach for this mist. Lavender, chamomile, and Egyptian geranium essential oils naturally calm your dog (and the spray is vet-recommended). This can be dabbed directly onto your dog’s fur or spritzed onto blankets, car seats or even a Thundershirt.
If you already own an essential oil diffuser, this concoction will specifically target your pet’s stress. The drops contain jojoba, orange, lavender and chamomile, all of which PetChatz says have been proven to be safe for canine inhalation by the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population & Animal Health (DCPAH).
Dietary supplements are excellent ways to make sure your dog stays—and feels—calm in trying situations. This supplement from Purina uses a probiotic strain, BL999, to help dogs maintain even temperament. Since it is meant to be mixed in with food daily, it’s ideal for dogs with consistent anxiety.
For more in-the-moment stress relief, calming treats like these with organic hemp, chamomile, valerian root, L-theanine and a pet-friendly form of ashwagandha are great options. These are peanut butter-flavored, so your pup thinks she’s just getting a treat.
These chews also contain chamomile, hemp seeds, hemp oil and valerian root, but they also contain ginger and flaxseed. Ginger has been known to reduce cortisol levels, which decreases stress.
Melatonin is the key ingredient in these chews. They also contain ginger, which, in addition to lowering cortisol levels, eases upset stomachs. Soft chews like these can also be more easily hidden in wet food, if that’s your dog’s preferred meal and they aren’t keen on supplements.
Whether it’s the duck flavor or the passionflower extract, these treats are the number-one best-selling calming chews for dogs on Amazon. They’re recommended by vets, too.
These dog chews contain 2mg of organically grown, broad-spectrum CBD (no THC involved here), flaxseed oil (for healthy joints) and Vitamin E (to combat inflammation). Emisha is a plant-based wellness brand for pups focused on mental and physical health. Did we mention these taste like bacon?
If, for some reason, your dog refuses to eat calming treats or has an adverse reaction to them, try incorporating an oil-based supplement into her diet. Mixing in several drops (which contain lavender extract, hemp seed oil and chamomile extract) with each meal can drastically decrease your pup’s stress.
28. Classic Kong Toy
There’s a reason these Kong toys are so popular. Not only are they fun for dogs to chase, they work wonders when it comes to alleviating anxiety and boredom. Simply fill one up with a treat your dog loves (peanut butter, kibble, etc.) and let them relax by licking or chowing down.
Sometimes, a little mental stimulation is all your dog needs to take their mind off of the stress. Interactive puzzles not only stimulate your pup’s brain, they reward them for a job well done. Pro tip: Try putting calming treats (as many as are safely allowed in one serving) into this puzzle!
Dogs may benefit from soothing tunes—at least that’s what iCalmDog says. This bluetooth speaker comes with three hours of pre-uploaded music clinically proven to alleviate canine anxiety. This product has vet and trainer recommendations behind it, so you know it’ll create a calming environment for your anxious pup.