Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
We’re reader-supported. Our team independently researches, tests, and rates the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links. We never accept free or gifted products. Learn more.
Relaxed dog sitting

Best calming aids for dogs, reviewed

Dogs, like humans, can develop anxiety. Sometimes, it’s situational — loud noises, such as thunder or fireworks, can stress out our furry friends. Other dogs are anxious more frequently, perhaps because of a previous traumatic experience.

We want our pups to be happy and healthy, physically and mentally. The best high-quality calming aids may help your dog feel less anxious and have limited potential side effects. The catch? You’ll need to find the right fit for your pup.

Don’t worry though, we’ve compiled a list of the best calming aids for dogs, helping to shorten your research time and improve your furry friend’s quality of life.

Our top pick: Vetriscience Composure

Pros Cons
✓ Vet-recommended and formulated ✕ Some pet parents report mixed results and efficacy
✓ Safe for use in pregnant animals ✕ Some pets may not like the smell or taste
✓ Clinically shown to work in 30 minutes according to research studies ✕ Style may not be suitable for dogs with sensitive teeth

VetriScience teams up with the best dog veterinarians and nutritionists, making it a respected brand by vets around the country. These calming soft chews live up to the brand’s reputation — we love the simple and safe active ingredients list. The ingredients (such as L-theanine and colostrum) have been clinically suggested to promote feelings of calmness.

Many find that the chews work best during the day and for situational anxiety issues, like car rides. You won’t have to worry about drowsiness since these chews don’t have any ingredients that would cause drowsiness.

What our vet thinks

Vetriscience consults with vets and nutritionists before putting a product on the market, so veterinarian Dr. Erica Irish and her peers feel confident recommending the brand to pet parents as an effective solution for anxiety. Dr. Irish has also seen Vetriscience’s calming chews work firsthand when they are given in alignment with the recommended amount. She loves recommending them to pet parents for daytime, event-specific use.

Our natural pick: Native Pet Calming Chew

Pros Cons
✓ Made with whole ingredients for authentic flavors ✕ Pet parents report mixed results
✓ Includes melatonin for deep, rejuvenating sleep and to calm your dog’s brain at the cellular level ✕ Some pets may not like the strong smell
✓ Formulated with no additives or fillers ✕ Not suitable for pets with sensitive stomachs

Looking for the right calming supplement for your dog? Native Pet doesn’t do long, confusing ingredient lists. Instead, the product offers natural formulations that are free of fillers and preservatives. These air-dried calming chews have eight ingredients, including soothing melatonin and L-theanine for an ultra-effective solution. The real chicken in the formula helps the treat to smell great and pups will be excited to take the treat.

One word of caution about the melatonin, though. This compound induces sleep but doesn’t help with anxiety. We don’t recommend giving these treats to your dog during the day, particularly before you want to play. Instead, give them to your pet before you need them to exhibit calmer behavior — like before a thunderstorm.

What our vet thinks

Dr. Irish notes that the safe ingredients and palatability have made these treats a favorite among reviewers. But, she does have some concerns about the efficacy of the hemp powder and the necessity of using melatonin. Save these treats for bedtime if you’re going to give them to your dog.

Best calming treat: Premium Care Calming Chews

Pros Cons
✓ Made in the USA in a cGMP facility ✕ Some pet parents report instances of aggression
✓ 30-day risk-free guarantee ✕ Some pets don’t care for the texture
✓ Wheat, corn, sugar, and preservative-free formulation; made with organic ingredients ✕ Some pets did not experience a change in behavior

Sometimes, our tummies hurt during times of stress. Dogs are no exception. That’s why it’s a good idea to have something tummy-sensitive in your calm dog arsenal. Premium Care’s Calming Chews are soothing for situational-induced stressors without causing GI flare-ups, minimizing your pet’s risk of anxiety poops and vomiting.

If you’re hesitant to spring for these chews, we have good news: You can buy them, let your pup try them, and return them if they don’t work. Premium Care offers a 100% money-back guarantee.

What our vet thinks

Dr. Irish can vouch for many of the ingredients in these calming chews (chamomile, valerian root, and L-tryptophan to encourage healthy cognitive function). However, she does point out that scientists are still studying the safety and dosing efficacy of hemp seed oil. She’s comforted by Premium Care’s money-back guarantee and stellar reviews from previous buyers, though.

If you’re looking for an alternative with hemp seed oil and L-tryptophan, these chews by Vets Preferred contain these ingredients plus L-theanine.

Best nighttime chew: Zesty Paws Advanced Calming Bites

Pros Cons
✓ Made in the USA ✕ Some pet parents report limited results
✓ Free of artificial colors, preservatives, and flavors ✕ Some pets may not like the smell or taste
✓ Certified by the National Animal Supplement Council ✕ Product may not be suitable for sensitive stomachs

These calming chews from Zesty Paws come in a fun orange container. But though the package is bright and cheery, the formula is soothing. Chamomile and L-theanine top the list, along with ashwagandha and other natural ingredients.

What our vet thinks

The melatonin in Zesty Paws’ chews concerns Dr. Irish. She says it’s acceptable in low doses for dogs and is even used to treat some skin conditions. Dr. Irish also points out that hemp oil is also unproven by science, but she notes that many of the other ingredients, like chamomile and L-theanine, are effective. Some of her clients swear by these chews, too.

Best calming bed: PetFusion Ultimate Dog Bed

Pros Cons
✓ Memory foam base for premium comfort ✕ Pet parents report product color variation
✓ Simple cleaning process ✕ Some products shipped with missing pieces
✓ Water- and tear-resistant cover ✕ Pet parents report the bed isn’t orthopedic quality

Having a designated place your dog can call its own is one way to soothe an anxious dog. This luxurious dog bed has the bonus of being one of our favorite chew-proof choices. Like other memory foam beds, it’s pricey — but balances a durable exterior with a supportive and comfortable insert. If your anxious pup is also older or suffers from an underlying medical condition, it may be a good option (and worth the splurge).

Best toy for calming dogs: Kong Extreme

Pros Cons
✓ Made in USA ✕ May not be suitable for power chewers
✓ 40+ years on the market; trusted by veterinarians ✕ Product has a strong rubber smell
✓ Virtually unlimited games of automatic fetch due to “bouncy” material. ✕ “Large” here is subjective, may not be suitable for larger dogs

Dogs often chew when they’re stressed, and anyone who has parented a super chewer knows how quickly you can go through toys. Like other Kong products, the Kong Extreme is one of the few truly indestructible dog toys we’ve put on a list, though you should always supervise your dog to make sure they don’t ingest any small pieces that might break off. Fill it with a middle of your choice: Either one of the treats on this list or a puree of your dog’s favorite filling.

Best calming collar: Sentry Calming Collar

Pros Cons
✓ Can be effectively used for up to 30 days ✕ May not be suitable for dogs with allergies
✓ Safe for all ages and stages of breeds ✕ May not be suitable for dogs with stomach issues
✓ Equipped with a lavender chamomile fragrance ✕ May not be suitable for dogs with allergies May not be suitable for dogs with stomach issues Pet parents reported that some of the products came with a chemical smell

Many pet parents have tested Sentry calming collars on dogs and cats and found them to be effective for both. Our veterinary advisors are fans, too. “The calming collars may help a dog or cat that has mild anxiety around other pets or is being introduced into a new home,” Dr. Michelle Diener says. “These collars would not be worth trying on a dog or cat that has severe anxiety.”

How we chose the best calming aids for dogs

Dr. Irish helped us formulate this list. She took a close look at the calming supplements on our list to ensure they’re safe and effective for your pup to use. Calming supplements alone may not be enough to soothe your anxious pet. That’s why we also suggested other products: such as a comfortable bed, a challenging toy, and a calming collar. Dr. Irish also recommends calming probiotics like Purina ProPlan’s Calming Care.

👉 Your veterinarian can help you make a plan for soothing your anxious dog. Severe anxiety may require anxiety medications or behavioral training. 

Does my dog need a calming aid?

Calming treats, supplements, and other aids may help dogs who experience:

Daily supplements may be necessary for dogs with persistent anxiety You may not need to supplement daily for dogs with situational anxiety. Instead, you might try a supplement 1 to 2 hours before the anxiety-causing event. Calming supplements are generally most effective in dogs with mild general and situational anxiety.

Ingredients to look for in calming chews

Calming supplements usually work best if they have a variety of ingredients that can work in conjunction to reduce anxiety.

  • Valerian root. Many researchers believe valerian root increases the amount of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain. GABA provides a calming effect on the brain, allowing your pup to relax. The supplement has a sedative effect, so expect your dog to become a little drowsy.
  • Melatonin. Melatonin can also increase the functioning of GABA in the brain and reduce the feeling of fear. Melatonin is generally considered safe by vets, but there aren’t many canine-specific studies. As always, consult your vet before giving your dog melatonin-based supplements. Watch out for ones with xylitol as an ingredient.
  • L-theanine. L-theanine works by increasing serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, which produces a calming effect. It’s the main ingredient in most calming supplements for dogs and can be used for a variety of anxious conditions. Give your dog a supplement about one hour before an anticipated anxious event.
  • L-tryptophan. Low levels of L-tryptophan in the body have been associated with anxiety, mood disorders, and depressive symptoms. So it makes sense that if you provide extra tryptophan in the body, feelings of anxiety may be reduced. Tryptophan also increases the amount of serotonin, the happy hormone, in your pup’s brain.
  • Chamomile. Chamomile is an herbal extract with anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and muscle-relaxing properties. It can help with relaxation though it has mildly sedative properties, thus helping to relieve anxiety. It can also decrease anxiety-related gastrointestinal disturbances, such as gas, pain, and bloating.
  • Hemp oil. Hemp oil and CBD oil are incredibly popular among dog owners these days. While there’s anecdotal evidence that CBD is effective, there’s still a lot of research to do. Scientific findings have yet to prove the oil’s consistent efficacy and safety profile.

👉 If you do try CBD oil with your dog, make sure it’s manufactured specifically for dogs and follow the label instructions precisely to avoid adverse reactions. Dr. Irish also recommends looking for companies that readily provide laboratory data ensuring their products do not contain THC, the compound found in marijuana that leads to changes in consciousness and perception. ElleVet Sciences would be a good option to consider for many.

  • Passionflower. Passionflower is a natural herbal supplement that’s considered to be a mood enhancer. It can produce a calming effect in your pup but is best if given before a trigger sets them off.
  • Colostrum. Colostrum is a milk protein that is derived from the first milk produced by a lactating female. The colostrum used in supplements is typically obtained from cows. There’s also evidence that certain milk proteins may help with anxiety as well.

Frequently asked questions

What is a natural calming supplement for dogs?

Natural calming supplements contain a single or combination of natural ingredients to help dogs chill. Some chews include chamomile,  L-theanine, and valerian root.

What is the best calming agent for dogs?

Ultimately, the best calming supplement for your pup will depend on your furbaby’s needs and preferences. We selected Vetriscience Composure as our top pick based on its stellar reputation and simple ingredients that are proven to aid anxious pups.

Are calming supplements good for dogs?

Generally, calming supplements are safe for dogs. But you’ll want your dog’s vet to review the product’s ingredients before giving it to your dog. Some ingredients may interfere with other medications your pup is taking.

How do I calm a nervous dog?

Calming supplements can help calm a nervous dog, but there are other methods, too. Exercise, pheromones, calming vests, and training can all help. You could also try soothing music or white noise, a comfortable bed in a dedicated space such as a (roomy) closet or basement, and, of course, snuggles from you. In some cases, a prescription from the vet may be the best solution.