Calming Treats for Dogs: How To Help Your Anxious Dog
by Taylor Hogan
Much like us, our furry friends can experience anxiety. And if you’ve ever used CBD to help you with feelings of stress and support peace of mind, you may be curious if your dog can benefit from it as well. Rest assured, CBD oils and treats can make an excellent addition to your pet’s wellness routine.
In this guide, you’ll learn what anxiety in your dog looks like, reasons your dog may be distressed, and ways you can help calm an anxious dog. From extra playtime to picking up calming treats for dogs, discover how you can help your four-legged family member feel more calm and relaxed.
Signs of Anxiety in Dogs
While some signs of anxiety are obvious, others may not be. After all, not all dogs will display the same behaviors when they’re anxious. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with some ways anxiety may present itself in your pet.
Destructive Behavior: Some dogs will engage in destructive behavior if they’re experiencing a stressful situation. If you’ve ever come home from work or errands to find gnawed shoes or shredded papers, there’s a chance your dog could be experiencing anxiety. Excessive chewing may be a sign your dog needs some help managing stress.
Hyperactivity: When your dog is hyperactive, they likely have an abundance of energy and need an outlet for releasing it. They also might be more likely to engage in chewing and other destructive behaviors, or you may notice they bore easily or appear restless.
Accidents: Mishaps can stem from excitement and fear. Perhaps you’ve noticed your dog urinating when they meet new people, or maybe they defecate in frightening situations. If you’ve determined your pet’s accidents aren’t from an underlying medical condition, it could be anxiety.
Drooling, Trembling, and Breathing Patterns: Keep an eye out for other physical signs your pup is in distress. Drooling, shaking, and excessive panting all point to a dog that needs some TLC. Excessive barking or howling are other signs.
Withdrawing: Another sign of anxiety may be withdrawing. Does your dog tuck themselves away in their crate or sneak under the bed? If your dog is nowhere to be found and it only happens in certain circumstances, it’s likely your dog feels stressed.
Reasons Your Dog Might Be Anxious
Even though your pet is as individual as you are, some commonly stressful situations could explain why your dog feels anxious. Here are are a few:
Loud Noises: One of the most common stressors in dogs, loud noises can be a scary experience for your pet. Thunderstorms, fireworks during holidays (like 4th of July and New Year’s Eve), and even everyday noises from vacuum cleaners or coffee grinders can send your pooch looking for cover.
Separation Anxiety: Something as simple as leaving the house can stress out your doggie, especially if they’re used to having you home. Separation anxiety can also apply to other pets. If they’re used to having company and the situation changes, your pet can feel stressed.
Environmental Changes: Any environmental changes can trigger an anxious response in your pet. Family members leaving or passing away, the addition of a new baby or other pets, as well as a change in living arrangement can all create anxiety in your pet. Even minor changes like car rides can be stressful, especially if your pooch suffers from motion sickness.
How To Calm An Anxious Dog
Fortunately, there are several natural remedies and options you can try to manage your pet’s anxiety. Nervous dogs may benefit from calming treats, consistent routines, and other simple adjustments to help them (and you) feel more relaxed and at ease.
1. Calming Treats for Dogs
One of the easiest ways to reduce a dog’s anxiety is with treats or a calming supplement. Soft chews often come in chicken flavor or peanut butter flavor, so you’re sure to find one your pet will enjoy.
When selecting calming treats for dogs, pay close attention to the ingredient lists. Not everything you see on the label is safe for dogs. Ingredients such as chicken liver, organic hemp, and probiotics are safe for your pet, but others, such as xylitol, can be harmful.
Also, look for products with active ingredients. Some treats will have amino acids such as L-theanine and L-tryptophan, which may reduce anxiety. Other ingredients, such as passionflower, chamomile, valerian root, and St. John’s Wort can influence serotonin and GABA production in the brain, helping your dog feel calm.
If you’re traveling, consider calming treats for dogs made with ginger root to help with motion sickness or melatonin to minimize anxiety. While melatonin may cause drowsiness, it will also help your pet manage stressful situations.
The wholesome (and tasty) natural ingredients include:
Hemp seed oil, which provides vitamins and minerals
Wild Alaskan salmon, a terrific source of amino acids and omega-3s
Apple, which boosts the antioxidant content even more and helps your dog get extra fiber in their diet
Alternatively, you can try Populum’s Zen Pets Calming Hemp Oil. Made with hemp oil, hemp seed, and coconut oil, this calming treat for dogs makes it easy to add CBD oil directly to your pet’s food. While side effects are rare, you’ll want to follow dosage instructions on the packaging.
Customers have reported Populum’s CBD chews have helped their pets feel less anxious and experience fewer aches and pains.
2. Compression Wraps
Another safe option for calming your canine companion’s nerves is a compression wrap, like one from Thundershirt. These wraps fit snugly around your pet (similar to a T-shirt or vest) and can provide anxiety relief and promote relaxation.
Compression wraps are perfect for car rides, trips to the vet, exploring new environments, or when your furry friend is exposed to loud noises or other stimuli. Pet parents can combine chewy treats as a supplementary calming aid to compression wraps for extra support when needed.
3. Find a Consistent Routine
Having a consistent and predictable routine can have a calming effect on your dog. They know when to expect meals, playtime, and most importantly, when they can share quality time with you. If your pet knows they can expect a mid-morning walk around the neighborhood or cuddles on the couch after dinner, they’ll be much more likely to relax.
Don’t underestimate the calming effect petting your dog can have on their well-being. Taking 10-15 minutes throughout your day if you work from home may be all you need to help your pet feel secure.
Trips to the dog park are essential if you have a large dog. While a small dog can benefit from socialization, larger breeds need more room to run and play unless you have enough outdoor space. Your doggie can burn off excess energy and the exercise will boost endorphins, making it easier for them to feel happier and calm throughout the day.
If your pet’s anxiety is tied to you leaving the house, see if you can begin a desensitization process. Start slowly by only stepping out for a few minutes at a time until you can gradually build up to being away from home longer. If they’re in a comfortable environment and learn that you’ll be back, leaving the house for work or errands may become less stressful.
Fun Fact: Spending time with your pet is good for you too. Both pet owners and dogs produce more oxytocin and dopamine, which are neurochemicals that leave you and your pet feeling happier and more bonded.
4. Consult a Professional
Dog owners who feel as though they have tried everything to help alleviate their pet’s anxiety may want to consider speaking with an expert. An animal behaviorist is trained in understanding an animal’s behavior and can help you know what’s contributing to your pet’s stress. Behavior modification is a science-backed way to create new habits, assisting dogs in feeling calm and leaving anxious behavior behind.
Another option is to look for a veterinary behaviorist. These professionals carefully consider a pet’s relationships to their environment, health, and experiences. These experts also know about psychotropic medications, so your dog can find relief.
Help Your Dog Find Relief From Anxiety
Even though learning how to calm an anxious dog may feel like a challenge, there are many ways you can help them through stressful times. Learning to identify anxiety in your pet and what may trigger it is the first step to finding a solution.
Calming treats for dogs can work wonders in helping manage their anxiety — and combining them with other remedies such as compression shirts and new routines — could give your pet (and you) peace of mind.
Don’t forget, if you have other furry friends in your home, they can benefit from calming treats too. Check out our guide to using CBD for your cat, and be sure to consult a professional if you think your pet has anxiety.