Anxiety seems like a problem that should only affect humans but animals can suffer from anxiety too. While this is often a normal and healthy emotion, it can affect each dog differently and some dogs may develop a severe anxiety disorder.
Table of Contents
- 4 Ways to Treat Dog Anxiety
- Dog Anxiety Medications and Supplements
- 12 Best Dog Anxiety Meds and Supplements
- 1 Vetoquinol Zylkene Dog Anxiety Aid
- 2 Bach Rescue Remedy Stress Relief for Dogs
- 3 NaturVet Quiet Moments Calming Aid Dog Chews
- 4 PremiumCare Calming Treats for Dogs
- 5 VetriScience Calming Supplement for Dogs
- 6 Pawlife Hemp Calming Treats for Dogs
- 7 Pet Relief Anxiety Relief Essential Oils for Dogs
- 8 Kinpur Hemp Dog Anxiety Treats for Stress
- 9 PlanoPaws Anxiety Treats for Dogs
- 10 Zesty Paws Anxiety Calming Bites for Dogs
- 11 NEXPAW Calming Treats for Dogs with Melatonin
- 12 PetNC Natural Care Calming Aid Chews for Dog
Dealing with anxiety in dogs can be difficult and pet owners have tried many methods in the past. Through trial and error, many found different approaches to be more effective than others, from anxiety vests to over-the-counter dog anxiety medication, aids and supplements.
In this article, we'll go over different dog anxiety treatments, how to recognize if your dog has anxiety issues and talk in detail about some of the best dog anxiety aids you can find to buy over the counter.
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What Is Dog Anxiety?
Dog anxiety is a common condition in dogs and, in many cases, it is perfectly normal for the dog to be occasionally anxious to some degree, just like it is for people. Some dogs will usually suffer from occasional bouts of anxiety caused by environment, and these will resolve themselves after a short period of time.
However, dogs can also suffer from more severe cases of anxiety as well as chronic anxiety, which depending on the severity, can carry many other related symptoms and cause serious discomfort and even further health problems. In some cases, anxiety can be cured completely, but in general, this is a condition that has to be managed for life.
What Causes Anxiety in Dogs?
Dog anxiety can have numerous causes, but the most common reasons for anxiety in dogs are fear, separation and aging.
Fear – Anxiety in dogs can be caused by fear of loud noises, strange animals and people, strange or new environments, unique and specific situations, visual stimuli, different surfaces like wood floors or grass, etc.
Separation – Separation anxiety is pretty common and some experts estimate that it affects around 15% of all dogs. Dogs suffering from this condition will act out when they are left alone or get separated from their family. This condition can be expressed by different unwanted behaviors, like urinating or defecating inside, chewing and destroying furniture and other things and excessive barking.
Age – This type of anxiety affects older dogs and is usually associated with cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS). This condition is similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans and can lead to confusion and anxiety in older dogs.
How to Recognize Anxiety in Dogs?
Some of the most common symptoms of anxiety in dogs include drooling, panting, pacing, depression, excessive barking, urinating or defecating in the house, destructive behavior and aggression.
These symptoms can occur as a result of an occasional anxiety-causing event but if they become repetitive and recurring, it can signal a serious anxiety problem. The most dangerous of these symptoms is certainly aggression and if your dog shows signs of aggression you need to take him to the vet to determine the exact cause.
4 Ways to Treat Dog Anxiety
Dog anxiety aids is one way of treatment, but before we go into detail about the best anxiety medications for dogs, let’s take a look at some other proven ways you can include in your routine to treat your pet's anxiousness and stress levels, especially if the dog's case is mild or moderate.
1. Provide Enough (More) Exercise
Anxiety, particularly separation anxiety, can be caused by excess energy. With that in mind, providing enough exercise to your pooch may be a good way to soothe the anxiety symptoms and create a stronger bond.
Take your dog for a long walk or play catch with him – as long as your dog is tired after the activity, he is less likely to have the energy to engage in destructive behavior. In addition to this, exercise can release endorphins and thus reduce the level of stress your dog has.
2. Use Physical Contact
A simple physical contact can provide a lot of comfort to an anxious dog. If you can identify your dog’s anxiety triggers and recognize signs early, you can prevent more serious anxiety symptoms by cuddling with your dog or providing a long petting session.
Studies have demonstrated that certain parts of the dog's body, when physically pressured, helps to relieve anxiety (this is why anxiety vests are effective). While these are only short-term solutions, dog massage can have long-term benefits on your dog’s health, especially when it comes to relieving stress and anxiety.
3. Try Music Therapy
Music therapy has proven benefits for humans and animals alike. Music can calm and relax your dog and help with his anxiety. One major benefit of music therapy comes from alleviating noise sensitivity – music can block the noise coming from the street, as well as thunder and other loud and scary noises.
Of course, if you want to try music therapy, you should stay away from loud and aggressive music. The above mentioned studies have shown that the best effects can be achieved with classical music, especially harp music. Alternatively, you can also try a white noise machine, which has been anecdotally proven as very effective among pet owners.
4. Calming Collars, T-Shirts, Coats, Vests
A number of dog anxiety supplies can be effective, depending on the dog and the cause. Special calming collars and calming coats or t-shirts for dogs can help with anxiety in dogs by applying constant but mild pressure to the dog’s torso. This can make the dog feel comfortable and secure, and may help with most any type of anxiety.
Two of the most popular brands and models of anxiety vests are the ThuderShird Anxiety Jacket and AKC Stress Relief Coat. There is nothing special about anxiety vests for dogs; they simply provide a little pressure on the body, which is why you don't necessarily have to buy these brands but can instead even make your own anxiety vests using bandages or similar, which would look something like this.
Dog Anxiety Medications and Supplements
In addition to the above mentioned methods of dealing with this, OTC dog anxiety medications and supplements can also be helpful for mild or moderate cases but it's recommended to use them only as the last resort. Also, severe canine anxiety cases require veterinary attention and will be treated with prescription medications (not over-the-counter products).
Calming Aids and Supplements for Dogs
Dog anxiety calming meds and supplements are commonly made of all-natural or semi-natural ingredients, which is why they are available without a prescription.
For example, they usually contain chamomile, thiamin, melatonin and other similar ingredients that have been proven to help with anxiety in dogs. The two most common ingredients in these supplements are L-Theanine and S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe).
It's been shown that supplements with this active ingredient work by increasing levels of dopamine, serotonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in a dog’s central nervous system, which are responsible for regulating levels of anxiety in the dog's brain.
SAMe was also shown to help. It's an active ingredient that is commonly found in supplements for humans as well, and it works in a similar way as L-Theanine. This ingredient can increase levels of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine in a dog’s brain, relieving stress and anxiety.
Although homeopathic remedies don’t have evidence on their side since there is no scientific studies to prove their effectiveness, many dog owners use them and claim to be satisfied with how they work.
Homeopathic treatments are based on the controversial theory of “water memory” that claims that water can remember the presence of different active ingredients even when the homeopathic solution gets so diluted that active ingredients can only be found in traces.
Because homeopathic solutions work on this principle, they don’t have to be approved by the FDA and can be sold as over-the-counter meds. That said, while some pet owners claim their effectiveness, it could be the placebo effect or they simply will not work for all dogs. It's a good option to try if you seek all-natural treatment, but keep an eye on the dog to make sure they're getting the relief they need.
Hemp and CBD Oil Products
Thanks to the Farm Bill of 2018, hemp oil is now legal in all US states, as well as CBD oil derived from hemp. CBD oil derived from marijuana is still illegal in many states and thus unavailable on Amazon and other online retailers.
Even though anxiety meds and supplements with hemp or CBD oil are still relatively new, early research and anecdotal results are fairly positive and encouraging. Many hemp oil brands and hemp treats are now commonly sold as treatments for canine anxiety, and their popularity has been growing rapidly over the last few years.
How to Choose the Best Anxiety Meds and Supplements?
Before we rank and review the best dog anxiety medication and supplements, it must be explained what are the most important features to consider when you shop for these products.
Since we've only considering over-the-counter anxiety medications and supplements, the most important factor are definitely ingredients.
The ingredients have to be natural, without any chemicals and substances that require thorough testing and, consequently, FDA approval. These ingredients should also have a good reputation when it comes to calming anxiety, such as proven all-natural chamomile or valerian.
There are different types of anxiety meds for dogs – some are given as pills or capsules, others take the form of soft chews and some are formulated as liquids or sprays. You should choose the formula that your dog will accept without much struggle, in addition to being effective.
Size and Price
Dog anxiety supplements come in various sizes, which means that some will give you more capsules or liquid than others, which can be particularly important if you have a large dog that requires larger doses. Also, pay attention to the price. Such anxiety meds for dogs usually cost in the range of $20-$50 but some may cost even more.
12 Best Dog Anxiety Meds and Supplements
1 Vetoquinol Zylkene Dog Anxiety Aid
These capsules by Vetoquinol are not as palatable as chewable tablets but they are pretty effective in calming anxious dogs, and Zylkene has already earned a name for itself as being very effective for anxiety. You can also mix them up with your dog’s food if he won’t take them on their own.
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They come in three different sizes that are suitable for dogs of different weights – the largest capsules being 450 mg. One capsule per day is the recommended dosage. This product is completely natural since it is derived from casein, a protein found in milk.
However, the capsules are free of any preservatives, as well as lactose-free. These capsules have a non-drowsy formula so your dog will remain as active as usual but his anxiety will tone down.
The biggest downside of these pills is the high price, especially since some dog owners didn’t find these capsules effective. However, keep in mind that this product doesn’t work instantly and you may have to give them to your dog for a few days before you get any results.
» PROS: Available in Different Sizes, Work with Dogs of All Sizes, Natural Ingredients, Non-Drowsy Formula
« CONS: Expensive, Not the Most Palatable, Some Reports of Ineffectiveness
2 Bach Rescue Remedy Stress Relief for Dogs
One of the most popular homeopathic supplements on the market, Bach Rescue Remedy is a spray that comes in 10-ml and 20-ml bottles. This solution is affordable and while there is no scientific proof of its effectiveness, the majority of reviews are pretty positive.
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This alcohol-free solution can help your pooch with hyperactivity, separation anxiety and various other problems like fear of social interactions or loud noises. The solution is made from all-natural ingredients and pheromones and the calming effect from it can last up to 10 hours. Bach Rescue Remedy can also be easily administered by placing 4 drops each on your dog’s food and water.
While this product is affordable, the bottle won’t last long if you use it on a daily basis. My dog only has mild anxiety so the bottle did last me about a month. And while many dog owners found this solution helpful, some did claim that it didn’t work on their dog.
» PROS: Affordable, Available in Two Sizes, Work with Dogs of All Sizes, Homeopathic, Easy to Administer
« CONS: Some Reports of Ineffectiveness, Could Come in a Bigger Bottle
3 NaturVet Quiet Moments Calming Aid Dog Chews
If your dog is not a fan of pills and capsules, these soft chews can be a good choice since they are basically the same as treats and my dog really enjoyed the taste. These chews come in three different package sizes that contain 65, 70 and 180 chews.
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The best thing about this product is the fact that it can work on both large and small dogs, although I have only tested them on my dog, a 30-pound Corgi. Still, keep in mind that these chews are not suitable for puppies younger than 12 weeks.
These treats combine a few different ingredients like melatonin, ginger, thiamine and L-Tryptophan, which can also help with various pains and GI issues, in addition to calming your anxious pup. However, they are pretty small, about one inch in size. The suggested dosage is 1 to 2 chews for dogs under 25 pounds, so you might need to give 3-4 if you have a large dog. I also found the chews to be a bit dry but my dog didn’t seem to mind it. Also, some dog owners didn’t see any change in their dog’s behavior, although most reviews are positive.
» PROS: Affordable, Available in Multiple Package Sizes, Palatable, Easy to Administer, High-Quality Ingredients, Work with Dogs of All Sizes
« CONS: A Bit Dry, Treats Are Small, Some Reports of Ineffectiveness
4 PremiumCare Calming Treats for Dogs
These calming chews are only available in one package size of 120 treats and they come with duck flavor to make them more palatable for your pooch. But the main advantage of these chews comes from hemp, which is the most important ingredient in the formula.
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In addition to hemp, this product also contains passion flower, valerian root, chamomile, valerian root, l-tryptophan and ginger root. All of these ingredients have a role in reducing stress and anxiety and this product can help with various types of anxiety but it can also calm hyperactive dogs.
These chews are made from all-natural ingredients, without any fillers like corn or soy and without any artificial colors and flavors. My dog did seem more relaxed when he tried these chews but some dog owners were disappointed with the effects. Also, hemp oil has a specific and a bit strong smell.
» PROS: Natural Ingredients, Palatable, Easy to Administer, Work with Dogs of All Sizes
« CONS: Only Available in One Size, Expensive, Strong Smell, Some Reports of Ineffectiveness
5 VetriScience Calming Supplement for Dogs
These small treats come in three different flavors like bacon, chicken liver and peanut butter. However, you can also get these calming supplements as a flavorless liquid so you can choose the option that works best for your pooch.
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They are made of all-natural ingredients plus the Colostrum calming complex that can reduce anxiety and improve cognitive abilities in dogs. Although these treats can help dogs of any size, smaller dogs may benefit more since the treats are pretty small.
For medium and large dogs, you may need to use more of them to get any effect out of them. The regular dose is 1 chew for dogs up to 50 pounds of weight but you can give your dog 2 or 3 of these treats in times of increased stress.
These treats come with an affordable price and if you have a small dog, they can last for at least a couple of months, depending on the package size. However, some dog owners reported that these treats didn’t work.
» PROS: Affordable, Available in Different Sizes and Flavors, Work with Dogs of All Sizes, Natural Ingredients, Palatable, Easy to Administer, Can Get the Same Product as a Liquid
« CONS: Small Treats, Some Reports of Ineffectiveness
6 Pawlife Hemp Calming Treats for Dogs
These calming treats are basically a hybrid supplement since they can also help with hip and joint health. This is why they are a good choice for senior dogs who suffer from anxiety and arthritis. These hemp treats come in a package of 120 chews. They are also palatable and have duck flavor.
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This product contains many natural ingredients in addition to hemp. These ingredients can all help with stress and anxiety, like valerian root, chamomile, passion flower, ginger root and L-tryptophan. The ingredient list also includes glucosamine for hip and joint health.
Keep in mind that although this product comes in a form of treats, it is actually a supplement that needs to be taken continuously in order to work. I haven’t tested its effects for this reason but the product has many great reviews. However, some dog owners reported lack a of results. There were also some reports of the treats making dogs sick, which is a possibility since the large mix of ingredients can lead to digestive distress if a dog has a sensitive stomach.
» PROS: Natural Ingredients, Palatable, Easy to Administer, Work with Dogs of All Sizes, Good for Senior Dogs, Helps with Hip and Joint Health
« CONS: Only Available in One Size, Some Reports of Ineffectiveness, Not for Dogs with Sensitive Stomachs
7 Pet Relief Anxiety Relief Essential Oils for Dogs
This calming product for dogs comes in the form of a spray, which is a good choice if your dog isn’t fond of capsules and pills. You can easily use this product by spraying it on your dog’s paws and ears. It is also a very affordable product that comes in a 1-oz (30 ml) spray bottle that will last for a while.
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The spray is made of essential oils that have a pleasant smell and my dog didn’t mind being sprayed with it. However, some dog owners complained about the overpowering smell. And despite being made of essential oils, the solution won’t make your dog’s fur too oily.
This product is made of all-natural ingredients like chamomile, valerian root, ginger and L-tryptophan, without grain, corn, soy or wheat. However, there were some reports of the spray not showing any results, although my pooch did seem a bit calmer on our walks in the local dog park.
» PROS: Affordable, Work with Dogs of All Sizes, Natural Ingredients, Easy to Administer, Most Dogs like the Smell
« CONS: Available in Just One Size, Some Reports of Ineffectiveness, Some Dog Owners Complained about the Smell
8 Kinpur Hemp Dog Anxiety Treats for Stress
These calming treats come in a package of 180 and they are one of the most affordable hemp-based chews you can find on the market. However, these chews are also only available in one, albeit tasty, flavor.
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The ingredients in this formula, in addition to hemp, are yucca, chamomile, valerian root and passion flower. These treats are also made without any fillers like corn, sugar or soy and they can provide other health benefits in addition to curbing anxiety. Thanks to various vitamins and minerals, this product can also help with your dog’s coat and skin health.
Although they are affordable compared to other hemp-based treats, these chews also have some downsides. For example, I have noticed a bit of inconsistency in the size of the treats, so it may be hard to determine exactly how much you should give to your dog. Also, some dog owners have found them ineffective.
» PROS: Affordable, Natural Ingredients, Palatable, Easy to Administer, Work with Dogs of All Sizes, Can Help with Skin and Coat Health
« CONS: Only Available in One Size and Flavor, Treats May Not All Be Same Size, Some Reports of Ineffectiveness
9 PlanoPaws Anxiety Treats for Dogs
If you are looking for the most palpable calming treats for dogs, PlanoPaws are definitely among the best. They are soft, have chicken flavor and my dog loves to eat them. However, they are only available in one package size of 120 chews.
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These grain-free treats are made of all-natural ingredients, including valerian root, ginger, chamomile, passion flower and L-tryptophan. In addition to their calming effect, these treats can also be useful for nausea and vomiting caused by motion sickness. If your pooch struggles during car rides, these chews can be very helpful.
However, these treats are also pretty small and while they work on dogs of all sizes, you may need more than a couple for large dogs. Also, some dog owners were unhappy with the lack of results, although many dog owners praised the effectiveness of these treats when it comes to motion sickness and car-related anxiety.
» PROS: Affordable, Work with Dogs of All Sizes, All-Natural Ingredients, Very Palatable, Easy to Administer, Good for Nausea Too
« CONS: Only Comes in One Size, Small Treats, Some Reports of Ineffectiveness
10 Zesty Paws Anxiety Calming Bites for Dogs
This is another hemp-based calming supplement with a natural formula for anxiety. You can get these treats only in once package size with 90 chews in the package. These calming chews come in two different flavors – turkey and peanut butter.
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However, there is also a third version which is turkey flavored as well but includes melatonin as an ingredient instead of L-theanine. The version with melatonin may be more effective but it may also make your dog drowsy since melatonin is often used as a sleeping aid. The rest of the ingredients in this product are all organic and natural, like chamomile, ginger root and passion flower.
The chews are palatable and my dog seemed to enjoy their taste. However, these treats are quite expensive and some dog owners reported that they had little to no effect on their dog’s behavior and anxiety.
» PROS: Comes in Different Flavors, Natural Ingredients, Palatable, Easy to Administer, Work with Dogs of All Sizes
« CONS: Only Available in One Size, Expensive, Some Reports of Ineffectiveness
11 NEXPAW Calming Treats for Dogs with Melatonin
These wheat-free calming treats use a blend of active ingredients that can help your dog with anxiety but also with stomach issues. The ingredients are all-natural and safe, with melatonin being the most important ingredient in addition to thiamine, L-tryptophan and chamomile.
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The treats come in a package of 120 soft chews and they can work on dogs of all sizes. The recommended dosage is indicated on the package and it ranges from 1 treat per day for dogs weighing less than 26 pounds, to 6 chews for dogs who weigh more than 100 pounds. However, you can double the dosage if your dog finds himself in an extremely stressful situation.
Perhaps the best thing about these treats is the 100% satisfaction guarantee, which is great since calming meds and supplements often don’t have the desired effect on all dogs. The same goes for this product since some dog owners complained that they were ineffective.
» PROS: All-Natural Ingredients, Palatable, Easy to Administer, Work with Dogs of All Sizes, Satisfaction Guarantee, Can Also Help with Stomach Issues
« CONS: Only Comes in One Package Size, Small Treats, Some Reports of Ineffectiveness
12 PetNC Natural Care Calming Aid Chews for Dog
These soft chews are available in three different package sizes since you can get the packages of 90, 120 and 240 treats. However, they are only available in liver flavor. Still, these chews are very palatable and my dog eats them without complaining.
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Some of the ingredients included in the formula are ginger, chamomile and L-tryptophan, all of which have calming effects on dogs. Since they are tasty, you can easily administer them to your pooch when necessary, especially before and during stressful times.
Keep in mind that your dog should be at least 18 weeks old before you can give him these treats. The recommended dosage varies from 1 treat for dogs that weigh less than 20 pounds to 3 soft chews for dogs between 40 and 60 pounds of weight.
» PROS: Affordable, Available in Different Sizes, Natural Ingredients, Palatable, Easy to Administer
« CONS: Small Treats, Some Reports of Ineffectiveness, Not for Large Dogs
Dealing with anxiety in dogs can be hard but there are many things you can do to help your pooch. One of them is getting him anxiety meds or supplements.
Although these products are not always effective and they only use natural ingredients so they can’t be as effective as some FDA tested prescription medicine, many dog owners have seen good results after using these meds and supplements.
I hope that my reviews were useful and that they have helped you in finding the best dog anxiety medication for your pooch.
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