These Dog Anxiety Products Can Help Calm Your Anxious Pup
"Some dogs simply can't shut [their anxiety down]," Jim Dobies, DVM, president of UrgentVet, says. "They get jittery and almost hyperactive and distressed … and it's time to take some steps to help calm them."
Over-the-counter products like anxiety beds, thunder shirts and other anxiety vests, over-the-counter dog anxiety medications, and even anxiety treats and toys can be helpful for relieving your dog's anxiety. They should be used in combination with good environmental management, positive reinforcement training, desensitization and counterconditioning, and possibly medication. Dobies suggests talking to your veterinarian about medication to address severe anxiety.
Jenn Stanley, CPDT-KA CBCC-KA, a certified canine behavior consultant and founder of Awesome Pawsabilities Pet Training & Behavior Consultations, always recommends combining anti-anxiety products with rewards-based training for maximum effect.
"Most of the anti-anxiety products … will reduce the dog's stress so that there is a level of exposure that [your dog] can experience without panic," Stanley says.
Keep in mind that it will take patience, trial and error, and time to find what works best for your dog, but one of these dog anxiety products could help your pup stay happy and calm in stressful situations.
Purina Pro Plan Calming Care Canine Formula
Sprinkling probiotic supplements on your dog's food could help keep her calm. The pet experts at Purina developed a probiotic formula that is reported to reduce anxiety symptoms like barking, whining, jumping, and pacing while keeping their heart rate steady. Bonus: Dogs like the taste.
Shop now: Purina Pro Plan Calming Care Canine Formula, $50; chewy.com
Snuggle Puppy Heartbeat Stuffed Plush Dog Toy
Install two AAA batteries in the felt heart and slip it inside the stuffed puppy for your dog to snuggle. The puppy is supposed to mimic the feel of a mom's heartbeat, instilling a sense of calm. The popular Snuggle Puppy also has a heat pack to provide additional comfort.
Shop now: Snuggle Puppy Heartbeat Stuffed Plush Dog Toy, $40; amazon.com
ThunderShirt Classic Anxiety Vest for Dogs
Dress your dog for relaxation. The veterinarian-recommended vest has a snug fit and straps that were designed to put gentle pressure on specific parts of the body, mimicking the effect of a gentle hug to calm anxious behaviors. In research published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 89 percent of dog owners felt that the vest was effective. The vests are made from breathable, washable fabric and come in sizes XXsmall to XXlarge.
Shop now: ThunderShirt Classic Anxiety Vest for Dogs, starting $45; chewy.com
Multipet Aromadog Therapeutic Essential Oil Squeaky Plush Puppy Toy
Combine playtime with a relaxing aromatherapy experience. Each time your dog squeaks the plush toy, lavender essential oil is released. The scent, known to be calming, can help your pet feel less stressed. The fleece "aroma-dog" toy comes in multiple characters and colors.
Shop now: Multipet Aromadog Therapeutic Essential Oil Squeaky Plush Puppy Toy, $5; chewy.com
Sunglow Calming Cuddler Doughnut Bed
Your dog may retreat to her bed when she's feeling stressed. A special doughnut bed made from faux fur fiber has a deep bolster around the edge that allows your dog to sink into the bed and feel protected on all sides.
Shop now: Sunglow Calming Cuddler Doughnut Bed, $30; wayfair.com
Licks Pill-Free Dog Zen
Herbs like chamomile and ashwagandha root have been shown to alleviate anxiety. Give your dog a single packet of the tasty gel made from these calming herbs 30-60 minutes before a stressful event to help them feel more relaxed. The gel has a higher absorption rate-hello, increased effectiveness-than pills and chews. Be sure to run this by your vet before giving to your pup, especially if they are taking other medications.
Shop now: Licks Pill-Free Dog Zen, $30; target.com
Zesty Paws Calming Bites
Toss your dog a treat made with ingredients like melatonin, ginger root, valerian root, organic passion flower, and hemp that can help reduce stress and promote sleep; treats are grain-free and contain no artificial flavors or preservatives and earn rave reviews from pet parents.
Shop now: Zesty Paws Calming Bites, $30; petsmart.com
Adaptil Calm Home Diffuser & Refill
Plug the diffuser into the wall, insert a cartridge containing "dog appeasing pheromones" that mimic those a momma dogs emits for her puppies. It's hailed as an option to provide a sense of comfort and calm. The cartridge covers up to 700 square feet and lasts one month.
Shop now: Adaptil Calm Home Diffuser & Refill, $40; petsmart.com
BuddyRest Soothe Anti-Anxiety Weighted Dog Blanket
People use weighted blankets to relieve anxiety and promote relaxation-and now dogs can benefit, too. The fleece and faux suede weighted blanket is filled with sand and the extra weight creates a soothing pressure that helps dogs feel calm. Choose the amount of weight in each blanket (from three to eight pounds) based on the size of your dog.
Shop now: BuddyRest Soothe Anti-Anxiety Weighted Dog Blanket, starting at $42; target.com
iCalmDog Bluetooth Speaker
Veterinarians and trainers have been recommending this portable home speaker loaded with three hours of calming classical music to help anxious dogs for more than a decade. The Bluetooth speaker operates on batteries and offers continuous play for up to 24 hours. Place it near the dog bed or crate during stressful situations and watch your dog relax.
Shop now: iCalmDog Bluetooth Speaker, $90; amazon.com