Karie Johnson, DVM veterinarian, reviewed this article and was co-founder of VIP Vet Visit. This is a mobile vet clinic in the south suburbs.
There are products that can help calm anxiety in dogs. Getty Images
- Dog owners often have difficulty understanding how to calm anxious dogs.
- A vet or trainer can be the best way for a dog to overcome anxiety.
- Dogs suffering from anxiety might benefit from sound machines, enrichment toys, supplements and anxiety vests.
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Email adDogs may experience anxiety, stress, or fear. Some dogs are afraid of loud noises or fireworks. Some pups panic when they see strangers, or are left alone.
Dogs can become very anxious if they are afraid of certain things or are not exposed to them early enough. However, most dogs will experience milder forms of anxiety and stress at some point in their lives.
Toys, supplements, or other items may help reduce anxiety in low-grade fear. These products can’t replace a visit to a veterinarian, behaviorist, or trainer for your dog. However, they can help with anxiety when combined with training.
Two experts assisted me in creating a list that can help calm a dog experiencing mild anxiety from noise sensitivity, changes in their environment, or other triggers.
When working with anxious dogs, it is important to remember that devices that cause pain or stop a dog practicing natural but undesirable behavior are not the answer. Prong collars, e-collars/shocks collars, are not only dangerous but also more likely to cause fear than they reduce. It is best to contact an expert immediately if your dog is suffering from severe fear or anxiety.
Sueda says, “If we address anxiety in dogs early with good advice, we can address it at its milder stages.” It is much more difficult to overcome anxiety that is more severe.
Our experts do not recommend CBD products for calm dogs who are anxious. Sueda says, “Once the research is done, we might find that CBD products really do help. But the hard part about it all is that we don’t yet know any adverse effects.”
Here are 10 products that can calm anxious dogs:
Stress relief with a vet-approved supplement
Virbac Anxitane (30 counts), available at Amazon for $34.99
Dr. Karen Sueda is a veterinarian at VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital. She recommends nutraceuticals such as Virbac’s Anxiatane. It contains the green tea derivative L–theanine. She says that there is good evidence to support the use of Anxiatane. These tablets are preferred over chews or treats that contain L-theanine and other ingredients. Sueda says that sometimes, the added ingredients can alter how an individual reacts.
Natural supplement made from milk proteins that helps dogs relax
Vetoquinol Zylkene available at Chewy starting at $20.99
Vetoquinol’s Zylkene contains a high level of calming milk protein that promote relaxation. Although there is evidence to support the safety and effectiveness of Zylkene for daily or episodic use, Malena deMartini-Price a world-renowned dog trainer who wrote “Treating Separation anxiety in Dogs” recommends that you consult your vet before giving Zylkene or any other supplement to your dog.
Use a calming diffuser at home to reduce stress
Starter Kit for Dogs with Adaptil Diffuser Plug in, Chewy, $23.99
Adaptil Dispenser Refill Kit for Dogs, Available at Chewy, $21.89
Sueda says that DAP (dog-appeasing pheromone), can reduce a dog’s stress levels. DAP is a synthetic hormone that mimics the natural one produced by a mother dog. DeMartini-Price uses a plug-in diffuser to reduce anxiety at home.
DeMartini-Price says that the 30-day cartridge gives him a consistent and even amount of product. He also likes the convenience of setting his calendar for the month. The diffuser should be placed where your dog spends the most time. This will ensure the best results.
To help calm a dog while on the move, a calming collar with pheromones
The Adaptil Calming Adjustable Collar for Dogs, Available at Chewy or Amazon Starting at $13.38
The Adaptil collar emits DAP, just like the diffuser. The collar can be used for dogs that get anxious when they are outside, unlike the diffuser. Sueda recommends it for dogs who get anxious while on walks or are exposed to stressful situations.
Treat ball for dogs to distract them from their worries
Starmark Treat Dispensing Chew Ball, Chewy or Amazon, $12.08
Puzzle toys are a great way to turn a dog’s anxiety around into productive play. DeMartini-Price’s favorite is the Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball, especially for dogs who don’t want to be far from their owners.
DeMartini-Price states that if the dog starts rolling a bit too far, they can grab it and bring it back. “But we find that the dog will eventually roll down the stairs and around corners and it is having a lot of fun,” DeMartini-Price says. The dog has the option of choosing. It gives the dog a choice.
Classic toy that soothes and feeds
Kong Classic Dog Toy at Chewy is available at Chewy or Amazon starting at $7.99
This basic food toy is still a favorite of mine after almost a decade working as a dog trainer. Sueda says, “I see the Kong like a pacifier.” You can give it to your dog and then forget about it. She also mentioned that this is a great option for dogs who are strong chewers.
Remote training device to build dog’s resilience
Petsafe Treat and train Remote Dog Trainer, available at Amazon and Chewy , $141.33
This battery-operated toy can teach dogs all kinds of skills, without having to rely on humans. DeMartini-Price says, “I love all toys of the Manners Minder variety.” “Sometimes it’s really important for the dog to learn to leave us to get reinforcement. Sueda also agrees that reinforcement can help dogs learn to cope.
For stressful situations, a calming cap
ThunderCap Calming Cap available at Chewy, $19.95
Sueda says that a calming cap, similar to the blinders used to reduce the vision of working horses, can be used to help dogs relax outdoors or in cars by eliminating stressful visual stimuli. She says, “If we remove one sensory experience it may help reduce the scariness [or environment] of an object or object.” Even “having something on the dog’s face is enough to calm him.”
Although the dog can see partially through the cap it will not be able to see as clearly. Be sure to slowly introduce the calming cap. It can be dangerous to take away some of the dog’s vision without desensitizing them.