18 Best Calming Aids for Dogs with Anxiety and Stress

Dealing with stress and anxiety in dogs is hard…. Hard on you and especially hard on your pup. While it can sometimes be very challenging, stress and anxiety don’t need to signal the end of the world for your dog. There are things that you can do and products that you can try to help ease the problem. 

Today we’ll be taking a look at some of the best calming aids for dogs with anxiety and stress.

18 Best Calming Aids for Dogs with Anxiety and Stress

Photo by Alexandra Lammerink via Unsplash

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Signs of stress and anxiety in dogs

Dogs exhibit stress in a multitude of ways and for a variety of reasons. Common behavioral signs of stress and anxiety in dogs include;

  • Pacing and restlessness
  • Hyper-salivation, hyper-vigiliance
  • Panting, lip-licking, yawning
  • Trembling, barking, whining
  • Cowering, hiding, growling, freezing
  • Tucked ears, tucked tail, raised hackles
  • Whale-eye (when you can see the whites of their eyes)
  • Baring teeth or “smirking”

In some dogs these behavioral signs (or “cues”) will be obvious, in others, they are more subtle.

In order for you to better manage your dog’s anxiety and stress (and hopefully overcome it one day), it’s really important that you recognize these cues when they occur so that you can better understand the root cause of your dog’s stress and anxiety, and inevitably develop a plan for overcoming it. 

In the meantime, there are products that can help…

Best calming aids for fearful dogs

For dogs that respond to anxiety-inducing triggers this way, creating a “safe space” that they can retreat to is paramount. 

Types of products that can help to create this “safe space” include items such as calming cuddler pet beds, doggy dens, weighted anxiety relief dog blankets, familiar toys, and smells (like mom’s dressing gown!).

Dog calming sprays and diffusers like those from Adaptil (pictured below) can also help to create a calming ambiance and environment for your dog. 

Others swear by the use of dog-friendly essential oils like chamomile and lavender (when used in a diffuser). Just don’t let your dog ingest them! Lavender can be toxic if eaten.

Nappy Puppy Weighted Dog Blanket

Weighted pet blanket that applies gentle constant pressure to help calm anxiety, fear and over excitement, while promoting relaxation in dogs. via Amazon.

Adaptil Calm Diffuser Kit for Dogs

Synthetic dog appeasing pheromone diffuser mimics mother dogs’ nursing pheromones to assist dogs to feel calm and relaxed in stressful situations. via Amazon.

Calming Cuddler Donut Pet Bed

A round fluffy bolstered pet bed creates a cozy, protective atmosphere for your dog that promotes a sense of security, rest and relaxation. via Amazon.

Best calming aids for dogs in stressful situations

Fireworks, thunderstorms, car travel, vet visits, unfamiliar people, animals, and surroundings can be stressful for some dogs. 

In addition to creating a safe space for your dog to retreat to if possible, on-the-go products like calming sprays, calming collars, calming treats and anxiety vests and jackets can also prove helpful in stressful situations for some dogs;

Adaptil Calming Spray for Dogs

Synthetic dog appeasing pheromone spray that mimics mother dogs’ nursing pheromones to help dogs feel calmer in stressful situations. Spray in dog’s environment before allowing them to enter. via Amazon.

Zesty Paws Calming Bites for Dogs

Turkey flavored chewable dog supplements with natural and organic ingredients known to help with nervous, anxious, and aggressive behaviors. Includes L-Theanine, organic hemp and chamomile. via Amazon.

Adaptil Calm On-the-go Collar

Contains a synthetic dog appeasing pheromone that helps to calm and relax some dogs. Pheromone is activated by body heat. Helps to increase focus and confidence in stressful situations. via Amazon.

Thundershirt Classic Dog Anxiety Jacket

Applies gentle, constant pressure to calm anxiety, fear, and over excitement. via Amazon.

AKC Anti Anxiety and Stress Relief Calming Coat

Applies gentle, calming constant pressure to dog’s torso (similar to swaddling a child). Can be worn in any situation. via Amazon.

Best calming aids for food-motivated dogs

Some dogs will refuse food in stressful situations, for those that don’t you may like to consider some of the below calming treat options. Common calming ingredients include hemp, valerian root, melatonin and, l-theanine.

LickiMats are also great for self-soothing (just spread something tasty on them for your dog to enjoy!). While treat-dispensing toys and long-lasting bones and chews can also provide a great distraction for food-motivated dogs during times of stress.

Daily Dose Calming Dental Chews

Dual benefit doggy dental chews help to remove plaque and support healthly teeth and gums while also containing calming ingredients Melatonin and GABA to help relieve stress and anxiety. via Amazon.

PremiumCare Calming Treats for Dogs

A natural calming aid which claims to calm 99% of dog-related anxieties. Contains organic Passion flower, chamomile, valerian root, l-tryptophan and ginger root. #1 Best Seller on Amazon in dog relaxants. via Amazon.

LickiMat Classic Slow Feeders for Dogs

Add tasty treats and spreads to the LickiMat to promote licking which in turn helps to release calming endorphins while providing a great distraction during stressful situations. via Amazon.

Kong Classic Dog Toy

Mentally stimulating dog chew toy can be filled with tasty treats and given to dogs to distract them from stressful situations (and redirect problem behavior). Great for stuffing, fun and challenging for your dog.  via Amazon.

High Potency Hemp Oil for Dogs and Cats

Given orally, in food, on treats or topically, hemp oil is known for its natural calming capabilities (among many other health benefits). Can be administered daily as part of your pet’s regular diet. via Amazon.

Deer Antler Long Lasting Dog Chew

Premium quality, 100% long lasting natural chew toy for dogs. Can be given as a tasty distracting treat during a stressful or triggering situation (i.e. during a thunderstorm or fireworks). Supervision essential. via Amazon.

Best calming aids for puppies

Anxiety in puppies is common and usually stems from being left alone (a new and unfamiliar experience for them). 

Can you imagine being taken away from your littermates and mother after 8 weeks together?! I’d be anxious too! Snuggle toys like the SmartPetLove Snuggle Puppy (with imitation heartbeat and heat pack), as well as calming diffusers like Adaptil, can also help.

SmartPetLove Snuggle Puppy Behavioral Aid Toy

Snuggly puppy plush toy with a “Real-feel” pulsing heartbeat and heat pack (which mimics snuggle-time with littermates), helps pups transition to life in their new home. via Amazon.

Adaptil Calm Diffuser Kit for Dogs and Puppies

Synthetic dog appeasing pheromone diffuser mimics mother dogs’ nursing pheromones to assist puppies feel calm and relaxed in stressful situations. via Amazon.

Calming aids and tips for dogs with mild stress and anxiety

For some dogs simple distraction is sometimes all that is needed to relieve them of their worries.

Try re-directing their anxious energy toward something fun and challenging, like a new toy or brain game. Interactive toys and activity mats are great for mental stimulation and general well-being. They also promote your dog’s natural scavenging instincts!

Outward Hound Interactive Puzzle Game Dog Toy
Starmark Treat Dispensing Bob-a-lot Dog Toy
PAW5 Wooly Snuffle Mat Feeding Mat for Dogs

Other considerations and final thoughts

Never underestimate the power of physical activity, play, and exercise for anxiety and stress relief in dogs.

Not only does it stimulate the production of the feel-good chemical, serotonin, it also helps to get rid of pent-up energy and tension which can sometimes make anxiety in dogs much worse! 

Finally, if all else fails and you feel like you have tried everything, it’s best to make an appointment with your vet to rule out any potential underlying medical conditions as well as discuss any prescription medications that might be available to you. 

Are you a cat parent, too?

If so, you may like to check out a similar read for cats over on our sister site, Whiskers Magoo;

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18 Best Calming Aids for Dogs with Anxiety and Stress
18 Best Calming Aids for Dogs with Anxiety and Stress

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