The 10 Best Dog Calming Treats
This wiki has been updated 22 times since it was first published in February of 2017. Some dogs are creatures of habit, and any slight change in their schedule or environment can cause stress and anxiety. These calming treats are formulated with ingredients that can help soothe panicky pups in any situation, from a trip to the vet to a thunderstorm to a fireworks show. We've included both herbal and non-herbal varieties. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
June 10, 2019:
Picking a supplement for dogs can be difficult. It seems many ingredient lists are intentionally made complicated to hide possibly undesirable chemicals. You can rest easy though, as we've done the work for you, hopefully making your decision just a little bit easier. If you want an herbal option that doesn't contain any common allergens, like soy and dairy, then you should look to Mylo Pet Company Stress and Anxiety. Other herbal options on our list include Pawlife Calm Pup, Zesty Paws Calming Bites, Moe's Organics Happy Hemp, and K9 Nature Supplements Complete. Though some of these do contain soy, dairy, and gluten. Moe's Organics Happy Hemp and Pawlife Calm Pup are worth a special mention because they also include joint-supporting ingredients, making them ideal for aging pups.
While this isn't true for most dogs, for some herbal options can affect their natural personality, making them appear a little drowsy at times. This can be especially true for an option like NaturVet Quiet Moments Plus, which contains melatonin, a known sleep aid. If you are worried about this, you may prefer a non-herbal option like Pet Naturals of Vermont Calming XL and VetriScience Composure. Rather than including things like valerian root and chamomile, these have a combination of amino acids, vitamin B1, and nutrient-rich colostrum.
Licks Zen deserve a special mention for being the only option on our list that comes in a gel form, rather than a chew of some kind. This allows it to be more quickly absorbed by the body, so if you often don't know in advance when your pup will become anxious, these can be a smart choice.
Identifying Fido's Anxiety
But you can imagine that because she is a creature of habit and permanence, any change from the norm might cause a reaction, even if she comes to enjoy that change.
Anyone who owns a dog probably understands that, like humans, anxiety is inevitable at some point. Whether your pup has an upcoming trip to the vet or grooming salon, you're planning a road trip, or you have to leave Fido alone for the day (much to your dismay), he may be sensitive to these deviations from his normal routine and ordinary lifestyle.
I know from personal experience that when my youngest silver poodle, Zoey, has a grooming appointment, she'll sense that "something's up" the morning of. All she has to see is the brush (or some other grooming implement) come out early in the morning and she immediately knows that her day will be different from most others. This simple association causes her to get nervous and tremble, yet she always manages to have a great time when she's brushed and when interacting with the groomer and other dogs at the salon. But you can imagine that because she is a creature of habit and permanence, any change from the norm might cause a reaction, even if she comes to enjoy that change. The good news is for these types of situations, tasty calming aids can be used to reassure your furry friend that everything will be okay.
It's important to realize that the point of a calming treat is not to knock a pooch out or put anything in his system that could potentially compromise his health. By contrast, our list includes a range of all-natural, orally-administered supplements packed with a combination of beneficial vitamins, minerals, and herbs designed to promote healthy digestion, while also reducing anxiety. Let's dig a little deeper into the symptoms of anxiety, its root causes, and how calming aids can help address these problems or, at the very least, make the symptoms less severe.
Our furry companions show signs of stress, fear, and anxiety through many behaviors, including crying, whining, or barking, uncontrollable urination and defecation, tucking tails between their legs, excessive licking and biting, or engaging in some type of destructive behavior. Causes for such behaviors may be attributed to things like separation anxiety, pain, emotional trauma from a negative experience, or even loud noises like thunderstorms and fireworks. Dogs who have suffered unfortunate abuse, or those who have been isolated for long periods of time, will also show these types of behaviors. All of these situations pave the way for use of any combination of calming treats once an actual medical condition has been ruled out. They can be used for both short-term rehabilitation efforts and long-term benefits if a pup happens to have a phobia of some kind.
Supplementing Fear With Serenity
The hunt for a good calming treat can be accomplished in much the same way as looking for a dog food. The best calming treats are made with natural herbs as a main ingredient. Depending on the circumstances in which you'll be administering a calming aid, several popular herbal ingredients can include chamomile, valerian, passion flower, and ginger root. Ginger root is especially helpful during long road trips, as it can help prevent excessive nausea for those pups with sensitive stomachs. Another ingredient that comes highly recommended is ocean kelp, due to its support of both the canine digestive and immune systems.
Ginger root is especially helpful during long road trips, as it can help prevent excessive nausea for those pups with sensitive stomachs.
While the majority of calming treats are available as chewable supplements, don't discount gel-based formulas, either. These have an especially high absorption rate, making them quite effective for use during extended travel. Similar to chews and pills, gels can be administered through the mouth or placed in your dog's water or regular food.
If you anticipate prolonged exposure to stress, consider a calming formula with a time release function, allowing the supplement to dissolve more slowly in your dog's bloodstream while it continues to deliver its effect over a long period of time.
If your pooch does have trouble getting to sleep at night as a result of anxiety, look for a calming aid with melatonin, to promote a more restful sleep.
A Brief History Of Dog Calming Treats
The general concepts behind both canine nutrition and the dog treat (or biscuit) have a rich history, particularly within the last 150 years. The earliest treats were referred to as dog's bread and were considered food unfit for human consumption. That was until the 1850s when American electrician James Spratt visited England and noticed a group of sailors throwing discarded biscuits to stray dogs. Nicknamed “hardtacks”, these pieces of unleavened bread were made from a combination of flour, water, and salt, and baked until they became hard as a rock. Seeing this inspired Spratt to develop and patent his own biscuit formula, which he named Spratt’s Meat Fibrine Dog Cakes. By the 1890s, Spratt's biscuits made it to the United States, ultimately helping to drive the beginnings the pet food industry.
The earliest treats were referred to as dog's bread and were considered food unfit for human consumption.
By 1907, organic chemist Carleton Ellis received a request from the owner of a local slaughterhouse to find a use for all of the excess waste milk produced there. Ellis decided to turn this milk into food for his dog using a combination of malt, grain, and other products to form a dog biscuit in the shape of a bone. Ellis eventually transferred his patent to the F. H. Bennett Biscuit Company, which began mass producing his bone-shaped treat in 1915, referring to it as the Milk-Bone. Bennett's Milk-Bone dominated the industry until 1931 when the company was purchased by Nabisco.
Nabisco dominated the pet treat market until the 1970s when new products began to appear. By this time, dog nutrition was being taken more seriously and pet owners were more concerned about the behavior, health, and safety of their beloved furry friends. This ultimately paved the way for modern treats that have been specifically formulated with herbal ingredients to help keep pets calm under pressure without sacrificing immune health or flavor.