Do Dog Calming Treats Really Work to Reduce Anxiety

It’s more common than you might think for dogs to develop conditions like anxiety.

While some are naturally more prone than others (due to their breed, environment, and conditions of their birth as just some examples) dealing with that anxiety is something else entirely.

You have to learn what contributes to their anxiety, how they express it, and determine how to help them. 


While some countries have opted for prescription medication for their pooch, and in extreme cases it might be needed, there are other potential treatments that have shown promise. Among these are calming treats. But is it the right choice, and do they actually work? Well, the good news is that you get to find out in this extensive guide on calming treats for dogs.

1. Editors Pick

2. Runner Up

What is Canine Anxiety?

Anxiety in dogs can be described simply as a natural fear response that’s gone a little wild. The fight or flight reaction they experience, just like humans, is completely natural. 

However, when it is caused by something like thunder or fireworks, as well as other loud noises, this is when it becomes anxiety. The reason? These things cannot do any harm, but the brain says otherwise. 

There are several factors that can cause anxiety in dogs, one of which is a lack of socialisation as a puppy or a string of bad experiences when they are young. Additionally, it can be caused by conditions such as dementia, traumatic experiences, and even genetics. 

Ageing, in general, can also increase the anxiety levels in your pup, it can just be part of becoming a senior. 

However, there is another form of anxiety that is incredibly common in dogs – separation anxiety. Some breeds, especially spitz dogs, are particularly prone to become anxious and distressed when separated from their owner. 

However, it is also seen in rescue dogs, those who have been rehomed a lot, as well as pups who have recently experienced a massive change in their lives.

How Does Anxiety in Dogs Present Itself?

Unfortunately, our dogs cannot tell us when they feel anxious by using their voices. Instead, we are left having to determine what’s wrong through their behaviour and body language. Here are the key signs to look out for with regards to canine anxiety:

  • Aggression
  • Urinating or defecating in the house
  • Drooling
  • Panting
  • Destructive behaviour
  • Depression
  • Excessive barking
  • Pacing
  • Restlessness
  • Repetitive or compulsive behaviours

Sometimes, treating your dog’s anxiety can be incredibly simple and the triggers easy to avoid. Additionally, there are some dogs who can learn to become calm around their trigger. 

However, there are also times when it is out of your control entirely. In situations like this, you might want to see if your dog responds well to calming treats.

What are Calming Treats and Do They Work?

The first thing to note about calming treats is that they are not medicinal in any way. They are made up of natural herbs and vitamins that are used as a remedy to help ease their symptoms and make them feel more relaxed. 

In many ways, they are similar to the nutritional supplements that many humans take, but the issue with calming treats is that they are loosely regulated. 

This doesn’t make them dangerous per se, it’s just important to be vigilant and check what you are buying carefully as well as pick them up from reputable brands. 

A lot of the commotion around calming treats is the fact that they use ingredients such as chamomile, ginger, and lavender. These are all proven to make humans feel calmer and more relaxed, but there have not been extensive scientific studies to show that it works the same way on dogs. 

So, do they work? If you ask most dog owners that use them, they will tell you that their pup definitely seems more relaxed once they have kicked in. It can be trial and error finding the best calming treats for dogs, but for many pups, it is the right way to go for a calmer night with a lot less stress.

1. Barking Heads Nitie Nites

Editor’s Pick

These baked treats are ideal for puppies and adults alike, with ingredients that are designed to relax and help them to feel sleepier. This is especially handy for zooming puppies that don’t want to fall asleep at three in the morning, or adult dogs who feel stressed and anxious. 

It contains chamomile, skullcap, and valerian as just some of the examples of the soothing herbs that are used to help your pup relax. Handcrafted and baked in small batches, these tasty treats are the perfect way to settle down for the night and keep the whole household calm.

  • Key Ingredients: Oats, Rice, Vegetable Shortening, Cinnamon, Apple, Mixed Herbs, Chamomile, Skullcap Extract, Valerian Root
  • Texture: Hard
  • Life Stage: Puppy/Adult
  • Suitable For: Calming, sleep

Should You Buy it?

Yes, you should buy these treats. They aren’t just delicious, but also an excellent way to keep your dog or puppy calm as well as help them get a good sleep.

Sample Buyer Review

2. Pooch & Mutt Calm & Relaxed Natural Dog Treats

Runner Up

These baked goodies come in the shape of little bones to add something a little different to these calming biscuits. Made with lamb and chamomile, they have that meaty appeal while also being packed with soothing herbs that will help them to feel safer and more relaxed. 

Adult dogs who struggle with things like fireworks and separation anxiety are sure to benefit from a few of these before it starts. They can be used as a little treat to keep things calm before bed, during noisy events, and even to make the journey to the vet a more tranquil one.

  • Key Ingredients: Rice, Rye, Oats, Lamb, Oils & Fats, Yeast Extract, Chamomile, L-tryptophan, Valerian Root, Rosemary Extract.
  • Texture: Hard
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable For: Calming

Should You Buy it?

Definitely. These natural treats are a tasty little snack, but also one that will lower your dog’s anxiety and make them feel more relaxed in stressful situations.

Sample Buyer Review

3. Scrumbles Nibbles Calming Training Treats for Dogs

These treats are hand baked in the UK, but they are also free from grains and common allergies to make them suitable for dogs with sensitive stomachs or conditions like colitis. They are packed with tasty turkey for a tempting aroma and taste, as well as calming herbs. 

This includes chamomile and lemon balm, helping your dog to feel more relaxed without making them so tired that they don’t want to train. Made for puppies and adult dogs alike, these irresistible treats are also low in fat to help stop the pounds piling on from all that training.

  • Key Ingredients: Turkey, Sweet Potato, Gram Flour, Cold-pressed rapeseed oil, Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Slippery Elm, Glucosamine
  • Texture: Hard
  • Life Stage: Puppy/Adult
  • Suitable For: Calming

Should You Buy it?

Definitely. These are great treats because they aren’t just for helping keep your pup calm, they are also fantastic for helping with training. Not to mention low in fat!

Sample Buyer Review

4. Forthglade Grain Free Baked Calming Treats

Lovingly baked by hand in the UK, these hard treats are completely free from grains and other common allergens to help your dog enjoy something relaxing without later stress caused by an upset stomach or abdominal discomfort. Additionally, they are low in fat and calories. 

These calming treats contain classic ingredients to help your dog become more tranquil – including chamomile, skullcap, and lemon balm. They have a meaty taste to keep your dog interested, and are sure to help them feel more relaxed in anxiety-inducing situations.

  • Key Ingredients: Chickpea Flour, Sweet Potato, Chicken, Dried Pumpkin, Seaweed, Linseed, Parsley, Nettle, Rosemary, Minerals, Camomile, Chicory, Prebiotic MOS, Lemon Balm, Skullcap, Yucca Extract
  • Texture: Hard
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable For: Calming

Should You Buy it?

Yes, you should buy these treats. They are highly effective at keeping your dog calm, and are also free from grains so that you can avoid upset stomachs and bloat as a result.

Sample Buyer Review

5. Lilys Kitchen The Famous Organic Bedtime Biscuits

These biscuits come from one of the most reputable names in the business, providing your pup with a delicious treat that will help them to feel less anxious as well as safer in their environment during stressful situations. Additionally, they are certified organic for your peace of mind. 

They contain an array of calming ingredients to make your pup feel better, namely chamomile and passion flowers. These will help them to feel calmer, but also prepare them for a long and restful night – hence they are perfect for giving your pup just before bed.

  • Key Ingredients: Light Rye Flour, Oat Flour, Whole Oats, Probiotic Yoghurt, Sunflower Oil, Honey, Nutritional Yeast, Chamomile, Passion Flowers
  • Texture: Hard
  • Life Stage: Adult
  • Suitable For: Calming, sleep

Should You Buy it?

Absolutely. These treats are a perfect bedtime snack, helping your dog to feel more relaxed before settling down for the night. Whether to keep them calm or help them sleep, these treats can help.

Sample Buyer Review

What are the Alternatives to Calming Treats?

Calming treats aren’t going to work for every dog, and that’s normal. After all, not every human benefits from the same treatment. But if your dog isn’t feeling relaxed, what else can you do? 

The first thing you can try is a Thundershirt. These little jackets feel like a snug hug that actually works really well to comfort your dog and help them feel less stressed. Think of a weighted blanket for people with anxiety – that’s what a Thundershirt is like, but for dogs. 

Sometimes distraction is the best method, and there are two ways you can do this. The first is through puzzle toys that contain treats. They will need to solve the puzzle in order to get the reward, and it can be a great way to take their mind off their anxiety trigger. 

If puzzle toys aren’t the right distraction, you can try something like a white noise machine or a hairdryer to provide them with something else to focus on. White noise can actually be exceptionally calming, something that has already been proven with infants and children.


How Long Do Dog Calming Treats Take to Work?

Dog calming treats can take anywhere from 30-90 minutes to take an effect, and you should give them the maximum amount of time before you doubt they are working. Once they have kicked in, they should last between four and eight hours.

When Should I Give My Dog Calming Treats?

Calming treats should be given to your dog at least 30 minutes before the stressful event takes place. This gives the treats ample time to start kicking in so that your dog can benefit from the full effect.

How Often Can I Give My Dog Calming Treats?

How often you can give your dog calming treats depends on what you are giving them. There will be an allowed daily amount on the packet, and you should not exceed this. Similarly, you should not exceed double the daily amount within a 12-hour period. This is because it can cause your dog to become unwell.

Can CBD Treat Anxiety in Dogs?

Yes, CBD can be used to treat anxiety in dogs but it should be done with great caution. This is because there has not been nearly enough testing to determine whether or not it is harmful to their health in the long run, or if it is as effective as current evidence suggests.

Final Thoughts

Anxiety in dogs is a very real thing, and something that they commonly suffer from for a number of reasons. Sometimes, finding a solution can feel impossible, but the good news is that you don’t need to worry any longer – calming treats are here to help.

Whether you choose the sleepy treats from Barking Heads or you decide to go with Pooch and Mutt’s calming blend, each of the treats we have chosen for this guide are carefully selected for their price, quality, and effectiveness. 

Do calming treats work for your dog or are they ineffective? Your experiences are important to us, and we would love to hear more in the comment section below.