12 Products That Could Help Your Dog’s Anxiety
Got a dog who's always jittery, barking, or aggressively chewing out of nervousness? These calming products can provide some much-needed relief.
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The answer to your pup’s problems
Don’t let the wagging tail and frenetic excitement fool you—dogs can experience anxiety, just like humans. In fact, according to one recent study in the journal Scientific Reports, more than 70 percent of dogs express some type of anxious behavior, resulting from things like noise, a fear of strangers, or distress at being away from you. There are also some unexpected things that trigger dog anxiety. Symptoms vary widely and can include aggressiveness, excessive panting, barking, pacing, or a general sense of restlessness. Some dogs will even make messes in the house despite being potty-trained. “The severity of the anxiety can really depend on the breed,” says veterinarian Jan Pol, DVM, who stars on Nat Geo WILD’s The Incredible Dr. Pol. “One recent Finnish study found that the smaller the breed, the higher the anxiety.” If left untreated, this anxiety can lead to a slew of behavioral problems.
Luckily, there is hope. We rounded up a dozen calming products for your pup to try. Find the right one and you won’t know how you ever lived without it.
Note: Prices listed were accurate as of press time; pricing fluctuations may occur.
Does your pup get anxious during thunderstorms and when fireworks start going off in your neighborhood? The aptly named ThunderShirt just might be the answer to your problems. Also good for anxious travelers and dogs with separation anxiety, it’s basically a weighted vest that applies gentle pressure around your dog’s midsection, as if you were giving Spot a great big hug. “Dogs feel calm when they sit close together, and these may help mimic that feeling in some breeds,” Dr. Pol says. The ThunderShirt is made of soft, breathable fabric that’s machine washable, so you can just toss it in the laundry, and it comes in sizes from XX-Small to XX-Large. According to the manufacturer, surveys of more than 2,000 dog owners found that 80 percent saw an improvement in their dogs’ anxiety symptoms, as did this owner whose dog had terrible anxiety until she tried it.
PremiumCare Calming Chews
Using natural ingredients like organic passionflower, chamomile, valerian root, and ginger root, these duck-flavored PremiumCare treats can relieve some dogs of stress or anxiety. The key is to give your pup the treat just before you think the anxiety will creep up, like before you walk out the door for the day. More than 5,500 Amazon reviewers have given it 4.5 stars, including one that said, “This stuff is not a miracle worker. He didn’t turn into a perfect pooch overnight. But it does give him noticeable relief (wildly understated) without knocking him out.” If you’re worried about the herbs, don’t be. All of the botanicals infused into the treats are safe for your pup.
Pooch Pouch: The Anti-Anxiety Calming Bed for Dogs
Sometimes the best thing you can do for an anxious dog is to create an environment where they feel safe and secure; that makes them less likely to react negatively to stimuli. This calming bed has a raised rim that creates a barrier between the dog and the outside world, giving your pup a greater sense of security, so they can relax and snuggle in, away from the big, bad world. Plus, it’s made with the same plush vegan fabric used in uber soft baby blankets. Only the best for your fur baby! Here are more of the best dog beds for every type of dog.
ThunderEase Calming Diffuser Kit
This pheromone-based diffuser mimics the pheromones that dogs release naturally, calming some pups instantly and putting the kibosh on barking. Just plug it into a wall outlet in a room where your dog hangs out the most and refill it every month or so. One fan said that while her dog’s barking didn’t stop entirely, it did decrease considerably; the ThunderEase also lessened her pup’s anxiety when visitors came into the house. By the way, this is the real reason your dog freaks out during a thunderstorm.
Sentry HC Good Behavior Pheromone Dog Calming Collar
Relying on the same pheromone technology as the diffuser, this collar releases the substance that can modify behaviors such as excessive barking, chewing, or jumping, helping dogs feel safer and more secure. But because it’s worn as a collar, dogs are exposed to the pheromones consistently, along with a soothing lavender-chamomile scent. One reviewer said it was especially great for long car rides and travel in general, since that’s when dogs are most exposed to unfamiliar environments. Another bonus: Some studies have also backed up the use of pheromone-based products when it comes to dog anxiety and other behavioral issues.
SmartPetLove Snuggle Puppy
Imagine giving your best friend a warm stuffed animal with a battery-powered heartbeat to love. Pets who react well to physical comforts will love this plush pup that combats dog anxiety. It will make your sweetie think he’s snuggling up to another dog—a warm, sweet, and calming dog. “Dogs are herd animals,” Dr. Pol says. “They want to be with others because they think there’s safety in numbers.” Cue the cute Instagram pics! Speaking of which, these 49 adorable puppy pictures will make your heart melt.
Warren London Calming Lavender Shampoo
There’s nothing like a warm, relaxing bath and a good massage to calm you down—and dogs apparently feel the same way! If your dog suddenly becomes anxious, some tub time might turn things around. Use this Warren London shampoo made with calming lavender, aloe vera, and coconut oil. The gentle scent, the lack of harsh chemicals, and, of course, the gentle massaging is a recipe for calm. This vitamin-rich formula also relieves itchiness without interfering with flea preventatives or other products. Make sure you know these 9 possible reasons why your dog is so itchy.
Calmz Anxiety Relief System
While the “hug” provided by other dog vests is enough for some canines, this battery-powered version emits low-frequency tones and mild vibrations that work especially well with dogs who act up during thunderstorms and other noisy events. The vibrations reportedly send a signal to the dog’s brain, prompting it to stop producing adrenalin and subsequently calming it. From extra small to extra large, the Calmz Anxiety Relief System comes in a variety of sizes, and three AA batteries are included, too.
Adaptil Calming Spray for Dogs
If sending those aforementioned pheromone substances into the air via a diffuser makes you uncomfortable and your dog doesn’t need the 24/7 effects of a collar, this Adaptil spray is a winner. Just spritz it on any surface, such as a dog bed, toys, blankets, or even the car seat when you go for a ride. The best part of this dog-anxiety solution is that you can take it anywhere, so if you’ve been avoiding even quick trips with your furry friend, having this synthetic-pheromone spray handy may be a great short-term solution. Music can also relax your anxious pup…but just know that the most soothing music for dogs is not classical.
LickiMat Slow Feeder
If your dog mainly freaks out when you leave the house, this clever mat might do the trick. Non-toxic and textured to promote dental health while also calming dogs, the idea is to put a bit of yogurt, peanut butter, or some other treat on the mat right before you leave (or whenever the dog is acting up). Because food tends to fall into the tiny cracks of the LickiMat, it takes dogs about 15 to 30 minutes to eat most treats and the remaining scent and crumbs keep your pup licking the mat long after the treat is gone. The bottom line: It keeps your dog busy, which means then there’s not a lot of time left over to remember what was causing anxiety in the first place. You might also want to try the best puzzle toys for bored dogs.
“When You’re Away” Comfort Cuddler
For dogs who suffer from separation anxiety and then smother you with kisses when you return, this plush heart is perfect. It has an easy-to-open Velcro pouch big enough to fit a T-shirt, a pillowcase, or any other personal item that is likely to have your scent, so your dog can spend all day cuddling with you while you’re not even there. The mesh window means Fido can sniff as much as he wants, and every purchase provides a toy for a dog in a shelter.
Vetoquinol Zylkene Behavior Support Capsules
These non-drowsy supplements are made with alpha-casozepine, a natural, lactose-free milk protein that has a calming effect on a dog’s nervous system. It can be used as needed or regularly, depending on whether your pet seems anxious most of the time or only when triggered by thunderstorms, door-knocking, and other stimulants. Dosing depends on your pet’s weight. Since this is something your pet will ingest, it’s a good idea to consult with your veterinarian before giving your pup Zylkene. Next, discover even more ways to calm an anxious dog without medication.
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