Best Calming Products for Dogs and Cats
Just like humans, our pets are vulnerable to experiencing stress and anxiety. There is no singular reason as to why pets feel anxiety, it could be due to stress surrounding loud noises, a change in environment or even separation anxiety. Each pet is different but no matter the reason, being aware of how your pet is feeling and knowing how to keep them calm is essential to ensuring they live a happy and healthy life.
Our pet experts at Direct4Pet are here to offer our advice on how to recognise the symptoms of anxiety in animals how to ease their stress and what calming products are best for your pet. Whether you have a dog, a cat, or both, being aware of what behaviours to look out for and how to reduce anxiety is important as an owner when taking care of your pet. Keep reading as we answer your most commonly asked questions about pet anxiety and calming aids suitable for your four-legged friends.
How can I keep my pet calm?
There are many ways to help calm your pet when they’re experiencing anxiety or stress, however, the most effective way to calm your pet is to ensure they have a safe and comforting environment. Here are a few of the most important ways to help keep your pet calm:
- Ensure your pet has a safe and quiet place to relax. Whether it be in a crate, on the sofa or a bed on the floor, giving your pet a soft, comfortable place to relax and sleep with blankets and their favourite toys can help ease any anxiety. Some pets, especially cats, may feel safer in an enclosed space, therefore adding a blanket over the top of a crate or investing in an enclosed bed can help to provide a comforting environment for your pet.
- Distract from outside stimuli that may cause anxiety. If your pet gets easily anxious from strangers passing the house, loud noises or seeing other animals pass by, keeping the curtains closed and providing the background noise of radio or television throughout the day can help keep your pet distracted from these anxiety-inducing stimuli.
- Engage in playful and mentally stimulating activities. Ensuring your pet has their favourite toys around or someone to play with throughout the day or providing them with a mentally stimulating treat toy can help ease their anxiety by distracting their mind. Whether you prefer to engage in play with games like fetch or tug of war or provide an independent activity like a scratching post or an enrichment food mat, providing them with enrichment can help relieve any stress your pet may experience at home.
- Invest in a pet calming aid. One of the most effective ways to quickly relieve stress is to buy a calming diffuser, spray or tablet suitable for your pet. Whether you choose a natural method such as catnip and valerian-infused sprays or a veterinary approved calming supplement such as Calmex, having a calming aid to hand is a great way to respond quickly to your pet’s stress.
Do pet calming products work?
Yes, an appropriate amount of high-quality calming supplements can help you to effectively manage your pet’s anxiety, especially if your chosen calming aid contains ingredients like melatonin, L-Theanine, valerian and lavender. Giving your pet calming aids with these essential ingredients has been proven to be the most effective as part of a larger anxiety management toolkit.
It’s important that you make an effort to reassure your pet when they’re experiencing anxiety and make sure not to punish them for any behaviours that may appear as a result of anxiety or stress. If you notice that your pet’s anxiety has become worse and you’re struggling to find ways to manage their stress effectively, contact your vet or a trained animal behaviourist for more advice.
What are the signs of anxiety in dogs?
Recognising signs of distress in your dog is essential to effectively treat their anxiety. The symptoms of anxiety can vary from dog to dog, depending on their general temperament and environment, some signs of anxiety may be mistaken for bad behaviour. Here are the most common signs to look out for that could signal your dog is experiencing anxiety:
- Excessive panting, drooling or licking their lips
- Ears back and tail between their legs
- Shaking or shivering
- Hiding away or cowering
- Barking excessively
- Toileting in the house
It’s important to note that it’s very common for dogs that have been adopted or rescued to generally have a more anxious disposition as they will likely have a history or trauma that has resulted in distrust of humans or other animals. It can be hard for rescue dogs to adapt to their new environment and they will likely experience a lot of the signs of anxiety outlined above, however as their new owner it is your responsibility to ensure you create a safe, calming environment that will reduce their anxiety.
If you have your dog from when they’re a puppy, exposing them to lots of new sounds, environments and people in their socialization period can be helpful in preventing any future anxiety that may arise. However, it’s important to recognise that even the most adventurous and social of dogs can still get easily anxious, therefore it’s vital as an owner to be attuned to your dog’s feelings and behaviours so that you can effectively manage their anxiety when it arises.
What is the most effective calming aid for dogs?
There is a wide array of calming aids available on the market for reducing anxiety and stress in dogs, however, it’s important to remember that calming aids aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Every dog is different and the type of calming aid you choose can vary in effectiveness, depending on your dog’s size, age, temperament and environment, some calming aids may be more effective than others. Below are a couple of our best-selling calming aids for dogs available here at Direct4Pet.
Calming chews are one of the easiest ways to ease your dog’s anxiety as the supplements are disguised as tasty treats that your dog will be excited to eat, as opposed to a calming medicine they may be apprehensive to take. These Zylkene chews contain the naturally occurring milk protein, casein, which has been shown to have a calming effect on dogs without causing drowsiness. With a tasty, soft, chewable texture these calming treats are highly palatable and great for fussy eaters to help keep them calm when travelling or at home whenever needed.
If you’re looking for a completely natural way to ease your dog’s anxiety, there are many plants that have been scientifically proven to relieve stress and anxiety in both humans and dogs. This Dorwest valerian compound contains 100% natural plant extracts from vervain herbs, valerian root and mistletoe that work together to help relax your dog’s nervous system without making them sleepy or affecting their muscles. Whether you add it to your dog’s food, sprinkle it on their bedding or drop it straight into their mouth, the calming effect of these herbs gets to work within 30 minutes of ingestion and lasts up to 2 hours.
For a wearable calming solution that works to continuously keep your dog calm, the Beaphar calming collar has been proven to effectively reduce problematic behaviour and stress in dogs of all sizes. Containing a blend of valerian and lavender, once the collar is fitted, these plant extracts will slowly start to release and cause your dog to relax within one hour. The calming effect of this collar can last up to 6 weeks and can be used in addition to other calming aids to quickly and effectively ease your dog’s anxiety.
Another calming aid that works continuously to help keep your dog calm is a calming plug-in diffuser. This Adaptil plug-in emits a synthetic copy of the natural dog-appeasing pheromone that is released by mothers after giving birth which works to soothe and comfort dogs. To get the most out of the diffuser, plug it into the room that your dog spends most of their time in, making sure that it is behind or underneath furniture or in a draughty area. Each vial of diffusing liquid should last up to 4 weeks and is great for use as an additional calming effect in conjunction with calming chews or spot-on treatments.
What are the signs of anxiety in cats?
Knowing how to spot anxiety in your cat means that you can help ease their stress by removing whatever is causing the anxiety and adapting their daily routine to create a more calming environment. If your cat is feeling anxious, stressed or insecure, they may act out and show new behaviours that you may not have seen previously, these include:
- Going to the toilet outside of their litter box
- Destroying furniture or toys
- Changes in appetite - eating less or more
- Showing aggressive behaviour such as scratching, biting and hissing
- Pacing, crouching defensively or hiding
- Meowing more than usual
- Bald patches appearing on their coat
- Vomiting or diarrhoea
- New habits such as shaking their head, twitching or rapidly licking their nose.
If you begin to notice any of these behaviours happening in your cat it’s important that you act fast on calming their anxiety as some of the behaviours may be harmful. Think back to when you started noticing these new behaviours to try and determine where the stress may be coming from and what you can do to help relieve the stress and put an end to these unwanted behaviours.
Does catnip help with cat anxiety?
Yes, catnip is a naturally occurring herb that contains an essential oil that acts as a pheromone relaxant for cats. Catnip can be used to alleviate anxiety, help stomach pain, treat skin issues, repel pests and keep them mentally engaged. Depending on how the catnip is consumed, it can either have a relaxing, sedative effect on your cat or keep them engaged and promote play, both of which can help to keep your cat from being stressed. There are a variety of cat toys available here at Direct4Pet that can be filled with catnip to promote a fun play session with your cats to keep them entertained and prevent stress.
What is best for calming a cat?
The best option for calming for cats entirely depends on the nature of your cat. Some felines may respond better to a spot-on treatment or supplement whereas a calming diffuser or catnip may work better for others. The key to helping your cat stay calm using calming products is to find which one works best for your cat. Below our pet experts have outlined a couple of best-selling cat calming products available here at Direct4Pet that can effectively relieve your cat's anxiety.
For a fast-acting, effective way to help keep your cat calm, calming supplements such as Calmex offer anxiety relief for your cat whilst ensuring they maintain a normal disposition to prevent a lethargic or drowsy temperament. This Calmex supplement contains a blend of unique calming ingredients and vitamins that can be given directly to your cat or added to food to help promote relaxed behaviour. Please note that if you are looking to use these supplements to keep your cat calm during a particular event such as a house move or introducing a new cat to the household, for optimum results we recommend giving it to your cat a couple of days before the stressful event in order for it to have the best calming effect.
If you’re looking for an effective way to alleviate stress for a longer period of time, a spot-on calming treatment is a great option for your cat. The Beaphar calming spot-on treatment is used as a way to reduce problem behaviour such as furniture destruction, scent marking and scratching, that may happen as a result of anxiety. Containing a unique blend of herbs including valerian extract, a single application of this spot-on treatment will provide a calming effect for your cat for up to 1 week.
For an all-round cat calming solution that lasts for weeks, Pet Remedy have created an all-in-one calming kit that works for pets, dogs, rabbits and birds alike. Containing a unique blend of essential oils such as vetiver, sweet basil and sage, the Pet Remedy kit contains a calming spray, diffuser and wipes that help to calm the nerves of anxious or stressed pets. Working gently alongside your pet’s own natural calming mechanisms without a sedating effect, these Pet Remedy calming products are fast-acting and easy to use. If your cat responds well to the effects of the diffuser within this kit, Pet Remedy also offers a re-fill option so that you get the most out of your calming diffuser.
Widely known to be one of the most effective ways of both calming and stimulating a cat, catnip is a popular way to help keep cats calm. There are many different catnip options available to shop here at Direct4Pet but one of our best selling options is the KONG Naturals Catnip. Whether you choose to sprinkle on toys, bedding or scratchers, this catnip can be put inside a variety of KONG toys to encourage playful behaviours that help keep your cat entertained and happy. If your cat’s anxiety is causing problem behaviours such as scratching, adding catnip to a scratching post can help to deflect this problematic behaviour onto a more appropriate surface whilst also reducing your cat’s anxiety.