If you have a road trip coming up, family in town, or other plans on the horizon, you've probably thought about how these events will impact your dog.
Some of our furry friends can roll with the punches, but more anxious dogs may not respond as well. As a result, pet owners are often interested in products like hemp calming treats to relieve their dog's nerves.
In this article, we'll discuss dog anxiety relief, the safety of calming treats, natural ways to reduce your dog's anxiety, and more.
Signs of an Anxious Dog
Because we can't ask what our dog is thinking, we have to learn to spot anxious behaviors. Anxious dog behaviors range from mild "warning signs" to potentially dangerous behaviors like aggression (1).
Potential signs of anxiety in dogs can include:
Fearful posture (ears back, stiff body, tail tucked under belly, crouching)
Excessive panting when not exercising
Sniffing, yawning, or stretching in an unusual situation
Turning the head away
Urinating indoors when potty trained (separation anxiety)
Destroying furniture (separation anxiety)
Aggressive behavior (excessive barking, growling, lunging, bites)
There are many potential causes for your dog's anxiety, including health problems. Work with your veterinarian to determine the diagnose and treat health issues affecting your dog's behavior. If no underlying health problems are identified, consult a board-certified veterinary behaviorist (2).
Dog Anxiety Prevention Tips
Fortunately, there are also many options for pet parents to reduce their dog's anxiety (3). Some of the most effective methods stop anxiety before it starts.
Strategies to prevent or reduce anxiety in dogs include:
Socialization and exposure to new situations as a puppy
Regular, predictable home routines
Appropriate exercise and mental stimulation for age and breed
Understanding dog body language
Positive reinforcement training
"Behavioral therapy" (retraining around anxiety triggers)
Regular vet visits
Keep an eye out for misinformation and unscientific approaches to dog training. For example, "alpha" dominance methods are not effective and can make anxiety worse.
Are Hemp Calming Treats Safe for Dogs?
In general, calming treats are safe for most dogs. Still, calming treats work differently for every dog.
It's crucial to discuss any new supplements with your veterinarian before getting started. That way, you can make sure calming treats will be a helpful part of your dog's routine.
Dog Calming Treats Side Effects
Most dogs do not experience side effects from calming treats. However, some dogs may "zone out" or become very sleepy. Each dog will be affected by calming treats slightly differently, so it may take time to find the best fit for your pup.
If you're concerned about side effects of dog calming treats, stop giving the supplement and contact your veterinarian.
Types of Calming Aids
Calming aids are over-the-counter supplements meant to keep your dog comfortable during stressful situations. These products are available in a variety of forms. Available types of calming aids include treats, chews, pills, and powders that can be sprinkled on your dog's food.
Each calming formula is different. However, many calming treats contain herbal remedies, nutritional supplements, or a mix of both.
When Should You Use Calming Treats for Dogs?
Stress Relief for Mild Anxiety
Calming chews are the most useful for dogs with mild anxiety symptoms. If your dog dislikes car rides or is mildly nervous at home, a calming treat may help.
In contrast, dogs with moderate or severe anxiety are unlikely to respond to calming treats. These pups will benefit more from a comprehensive veterinary treatment plan.
How Often Should Calming Dog Treats be Used?
It depends! Some calming treats are made to be given as-needed before a stressful event, such as fireworks or other loud noises. Others are formulated to be given daily.
Refer to the product label's instructions to find the best calming treat for your dog.
When Should I Feed my Dog a Calming Treat?
The best time to give your dog a calming treat will depend on the type of product. The best calming treats will have specific instructions about dosage and timing.
In general, as-needed calming treats are given an hour or so before a stressful event, such as a car ride or thunderstorm.
Daily calming treats are usually given once a day when your dog eats a meal. However, some calming products will have instructions to be given twice per day.
Calming Treats Dosage
Dosing for dog calming treats will depend on the product's unique formula. For pet parents with small dogs, you may need to cut calming treats in half or switch to a powder formula.
Follow the package instructions closely, and go with a smaller dose to start. From there, you can increase the dose if needed.
If you're planning to use calming treats for an event, make sure you test them out at home beforehand. That way, you'll know what to expect for your dog on the big day.
What to Look for in Calming Treats for Dogs
All Dogs Are Unique
Not all calming treats will be a good fit for your pup. First, all dogs cope differently when it comes to stress and anxiety. Second, every dog's body will process calming treats differently depending on their age, breed, health status, and other factors.
It make take a little trial and error to find a calming treat that helps your dog cope. For this reason, talking to your veterinarian is a great place to start. Your vet can recommend calming dog treats that suit your dog's unique situation.
How to Find High-Quality Calming Treats for Dogs
As we mentioned above, your veterinarian may have recommendations to share. You can also look for calming treats that consulted veterinarians to create their formula.
Positive customer reviews for calming dog treats can provide a mark of quality. Still, online reviews can be changed or removed. It's best to check independent review websites for unbiased information.
Calming Hemp Treats
For dog calming treats that contain hemp or CBD, look for independent third-party testing on the manufacturer website. These tests confirm the concentration of CBD in the product matches what's on the label.
Check the Food and Drug Administration website for up-to-date safety recall information for all types of calming treats.
Choose the Right Calming Treats for Your Dog
Many dogs need a little extra support during stressful situations. As a result, many pet owners are interested in dog calming treats, calming chews, and other products. With the increase in popularity of CBD, there are also more calming products with natural ingredients like CBD oil, hemp oil, and hemp seed.
Calming chews can be an easy way to help dogs cope with loud noises, fireworks, or other anxiety triggers. Remember, calming supplements are mainly useful for dogs with milder anxiety. If your dog's anxiety is more pronounced, talk to your veterinarian. Your vet can prescribe prescription medications if needed, suggest changes to your dog's environment, or refer you to a behavior specialist.