Dogs can go through a number of different situations that can make them feel anxious, such as traveling, moving houses, loud thunderstorms or fireworks. When looking up ‘what to do to calm dogs down’, every pet parent must have come across the existence of calming treats. And so, the big question that haunts most of them is: do calming treats for dogs work?
Let’s find out.
The short (and right) answer to the question if calming treats for dogs work is: yes, they absolutely do.
The next question that needs to be asked is: what do calming treats for dogs work for?
What do calming treats for dogs work for?
Every pup has their own personality, their own fears and dislikes. But there are some common situations that usually affect every dog similarly: causing them stress and anxiety. These situations tend to be traveling by car, moving houses, hearing fireworks or thunderstorms, strong winds that rattle the windows or even moments in which we’re stressed and we transmit it to our dogs.
Calming treats for dogs are an excellent and effective tool for these precise situations. They will help reduce nervousness, hyperactivity and anxiety while providing your pup with calmed and gentle behavior.
These hemp calming treats for dogs will also help counteract the usual behaviors that appear when your pup is feeling anxious, such as:
- Urinating or defecating in the house
- Destructive behavior
- Excessive barking
- Biting or licking his paws
How do calming treats for dogs work?
Let’s review some of the most common ingredients calming treats for dogs have and how they work.
- L-tryptophan and theanine: these amino acids are both capable of increasing serotonin in the brain, which causes feelings of happiness and well-being.
- Passionflower: by slightly boosting the brain’s levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), it can lessen feelings of anxiety.
- Chamomile: thanks to its mild calming effects, it helps stressed or anxious dogs feel calmer.
- Valerian root: this helps most dogs with anxiety, especially those showing compulsive behaviors such as excessive chewing and licking.
- Ashwagandha: it helps dogs to maintain normal emotional balance, and it reduces the negative effects of environmental stress.
- Hemp or CBD: research indicates that they have helped improve anxiety in 75% of cases observed by veterinarians.
- Catnip: it is used as a behavioral control method for dogs
- GABA: it tells the brain to slow down and is responsible for relaxing the nervous system and a deficiency of it may lead to anxiety and phobias.
- Magnesium: it's a key player in many of the systems necessary for a balanced mood.
Should calming treats for dogs have melatonin?
Melatonin is a synthesized version of the natural sleep hormone that is occasionally added to calming treats for its relaxing effect, but this should definitely not be the case. This is because dogs already produce it making supplementation unnecessary and harmful.
It can also have some side effects such as drowsiness, fatigue, digestive issues and, in some cases, an increased heart rate.
Supplementary tools to calming treats for dogs
Besides using calming treats for dogs, there are some more things you can do for your pup to help them feel as calmed, contained and relaxed as possible during stressful situations.
Let’s review them:
- Brain games: puzzles, Kong toys, which hand, to name a few. There are many different games you can encourage your pup to play in order to stay engaged and focused for long periods of time. You can read more in our blog 5 brain games for dogs.
- Anxiety vests: these are pressure wraps you can use to literally apply pressure to your dog. For instance, when your dog is about to be home alone, or you know a thunderstorm is coming, you can put the vest on to create a calming effect.
- Long walks/exercise: an exhausted dog has no energy left for anxiety. Make sure your dog can release all their anxiety through long walks, running, or jumping. Exercise will not only help with their anxiety, but also with their overall health.
- Music or TV: put on some soothing music, a dog show, or a TV channel for dogs, such as DogTV, to help your dog relax.
- Specific firework anxiety prevention: read our blog about specific things you can do to prevent your dog from feeling anxious and scared during fireworks
What don’t calming treats for dogs work for?
Although calming treats for dogs will help your dog relax during different anxiety triggering moments, such as being left alone, heavy thunderstorms or long roadtrips, they are not magic treats that will instantly solve the underlying problem, if there is one.
There are some severe anxiety issues our dogs deal with, such as separation anxiety and reactiveness, which won’t be solved with the mere use of calming treats. Of course, they will help calm and balance your dog’s energy, helping relieve some of the symptoms, but the underlying problem will still be there.
How should you treat these severe anxiety issues then, you may wonder. Well, the most common courses of treatment are hiring a dog trainer (always make sure to look for a professional with good reviews that uses the method you're most comfortable with, such as positive training) and in extreme cases, some dogs may even need medication (this should always only be provided by a vet).