Dog anxiety: how can you keep your dog calm?

There’s nothing more important to us than keeping our favourite furry friends happy and healthy, which is why we choose the best food, treats and toys we can. After all, they’re just as much a part of the family as our own children. However, unlike our kids, our four-legged friends can’t tell us when they’re feeling stressed out.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that there are a whole range of things that can upset our pets, many of which may feel like mundane everyday parts of life to us. If you’re looking for advice on the things that might be stressing out your pup, take a look at our article by Marc the Vet outlining the key causes of anxiety in dogs.

But, if you’re looking for some tips to keep your dog calm when they’re feeling overwhelmed, we’ve outlined our six favourite products that could switch your four-legged friend’s temperament from scared to serene. While there are a lot of ‘pet calming’ products on the market, what works for one dog may not help another. So, while these products might be a hit with your furry companion, don’t worry if they don’t all work for you.


1. Dog calming plug-ins

Working just like plug-in air fresheners, dog calming plug-ins steadily release synthetic pheromones to help create a relaxing environment. Simply switch on a plug-in in the room where your dog spends most of their time: their sensitive nose will pick up the scent, but it’s odourless to humans. Because a plug-in can last for over a month before a refill is needed, it may help to reduce separation anxiety while you’re away and keep your pet calm during fireworks.

2. Dog calming collars

Like plug-ins, these collars release pheromones designed to settle your pet. One advantage is that a collar goes wherever your dog goes – making it ideal if they get nervous on walks or at the vet’s.

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3. Puzzle toys and chews

Toys and chews are great treats for our pets, and can be a fun way to bond with them. What’s more, if your dog gets stressed when you’re away, a toy or chew might help keep them occupied. Puzzle toys can engage your dog’s hunting and foraging instincts as they search for treats, making them a great boredom buster for pets with separation anxiety.


4. Plush toys

Many dogs love to cuddle with plush toys (and many are a little rougher with them!). It’s always a good idea to make sure your dog has plenty of toys, especially before bedtime or if you’re planning to leave them alone. Some plush toys have a ‘heartbeat’ designed to calm pets, particularly puppies and older dogs.

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5. Dog beds and blankets

Giving your dog a ‘safe space’ that they can access at all times can help relieve stress and anxiety. Make it extra cosy with a comfy bed and blankets.

6. Dog anxiety coats

You might never have heard of them, but anxiety coats are becoming increasingly popular. They’re designed to put gentle pressure on your dog’s body, which feels like a hug. Dog anxiety coats should only be worn for a short time, so they may help during stressful situations, such as car rides, visits to the vet, or firework displays. However, they’re not safe to use for long periods of time, or when you’re away.

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Dog anxiety medication

If you’ve tried a range of dog calming products and techniques without success, speak to your vet. They may be able to recommend behavioural experts or prescribe dog anxiety medication, which can be effective at treating more serious anxiety.

Beware herbal remedies

There are a range of dog calming products that are marketed as natural remedies. These products haven’t been through the same level of testing as medicinal products, and some contain essential oils, which can be very harmful to pets. Vets recommend avoiding these products.

We hope we’ve given you some ideas for helping to keep your pooch calm and happy. If you’d like more ideas and tips from our pet experts, take a look at our dog advice pages.

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