4 Calming Treats For Dogs That Actually Work

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If your dog suffers from any type of anxiety, you’re probably always on the hunt for new products to help calm her nerves.

Calming treats for dogs can definitely help, since they include ingredients that are intended to soothe your dog’s nerves, so your pup can finally chill out a bit.

And while there are tons of these supplements on the market for you to choose from, it can get really overwhelming trying to figure out where to look — and which brands to trust.

The Dodo reached out to Dr. Jennifer Coates, a veterinarian at Pet News Daily in Fort Collins, Colorado, and Dr. Maureen K. Murithi, a veterinarian working with

Doggie Designer, to help you navigate the world of calming treats for dogs and find out which products veterinarians recommend.

What are calming treats for dogs?

​​In the veterinary world, calming treats are usually referred to as nutraceuticals. “They are nutritional supplements containing vitamins or herbs that help to relieve symptoms of anxiety,” Dr. Murithi told The Dodo. “They usually contain ingredients such as tryptophan, melatonin, Suntheanine, hemp oil, etc.”

How do calming treats for dogs work?

Many calming treats for dogs include L-tryptophan and theanine that work by increasing body hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, which are known to be feel-good hormones, Dr. Murithi said.

Other ingredients that calming treats might contain include:

Melatonin

“Melatonin is the synthetic form of the natural sleep hormone, which offers a relaxing effect,” Dr. Murithi said.

So if you give your dog a calming treat with melatonin, you can expect that she’ll get a bit drowsy afterwards.

Valerian root

According to Dr. Muithi, valerian root is also commonly used in calming treats — and is especially beneficial for dogs with repetitive or compulsive behaviors, such as excessive chewing.

Passionflower

“Passionflower helps to increase the brain gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which helps to relieve anxiety,” Dr. Murithi said.

In a study done on herbal medicine and dogs, researchers found that passionflower also had anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects on pups.

Benefits of calming treats for dogs

According to Dr. Coates, calming treats for dogs can be beneficial in cases of mild to moderate anxiety and in combination with other anxiety-relieving treatments.

They also come in handy in a ton of situations, including the following:

  • Travel
  • Separation anxiety
  • Thunderstorms or fireworks
  • Dogs with erratic sleep patterns

If you think your dog suffers from more severe anxiety, or she isn’t responding to calming treats, it’s best to talk to a professional.

Signs of severe anxiety can include:

  • Hiding
  • Trying to escape
  • Aggression

“If your dog is very stressed or anxious, schedule a consultation with your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist,” Dr. Coates told The Dodo.

Are calming treats safe for dogs?

In comparison to medications, nutritional supplements are not regulated, which makes it hard to determine which ones are safe and effective. So it’s super important you do your research before making a purchase.

“Make sure you only purchase calming treats made by reputable manufacturers,” Dr. Coates said. “This will increase the chances that the treats are free from potentially dangerous contaminants and actually contain the active ingredients listed on the label.”

Another thing to look out for when hunting for the best calming treats for your dog is the National Animal Supplements Council (NASC) Quality Seal on the label. “Products labeled with the [NASC] Quality Seal meet industry-imposed standards and pass a third-party audit,” Dr. Coates explained.

Best calming treats for dogs

“Composure, Solliquin, Anxitane and Zentrol are all calming treats that contain active ingredients with at least some scientific evidence supporting their use in anxious dogs,” Dr. Coates said.

VetriScience Composure
Amazon

These chews are clinically proven to work within 30 minutes and last up to four hours. They also come in four different flavors, so you can choose whichever one your pup will be most obsessed with.

Solliquin Behavior Supplement for Dogs & Cats
Amazon

These daily chews can be used for both dogs and cats who suffer from bouts of anxiety. 

Anxitane Chewable Tablets
Amazon

These chewable tablets can be given to your dog or cat for both long- or short-term use.

Zentrol Chewable Tablets
Amazon

These tablets use natural compounds and begin working within 60 minutes. They’re perfect for stressed out pups — and even better for those with noise phobias. 

According to Dr. Coates, there are also special formulas of food that can be given to your pup to reduce anxiety.

“While technically not treats, Purina Calming Care (a probiotic) and Royal Canin Comfort Care (a nutritionally complete and balanced dog food) may also be good options for some pets,” Dr. Coates said.

You can try Purina Calming Care from Amazon for $49.99

Or Royal Canin Comfort Care from Chewy for $38.10

Before starting any new treat or food — especially when your goal is to help calm an anxious pup — it’s always best to talk to your veterinarian, who can help you pick the right calming products for your dog.