Calming treats for dogs have been steadily gaining popularity with pet owners during the recent years as they prove themselves worthy for the treatment of anxiety in dogs. Our canine companions are clever. While any trigger might become an anxiety factor for them, they give us plenty of signs to recognize that they are suffering from anxiety.
Your pup can develop anxiety due to a nasty past experience and it can manifest as excessive fretfulness when faced with a particular situation like going to the vet, loud banging of fireworks on the Fourth of July, or taking a bath, etc.
Even routine activities become too bothersome when your furry friend fails to comply out of fear. Calming music, relaxing massages, and Dog TV don’t seem to make your pup settle down anymore. This is where calming dog treats come in.
So what really are calming dog treats and are they meant for your dog? Are they really worth the hype? Do they actually help combat anxiety in dogs? Let’s learn more about calming dog treats and tackle these questions one by one.
What Are Calming Dog Treats And What Are They Used For?
Calming treats for dogs are dog treats containing ingredients that help reduce anxiety in dogs. Calming dog treats may contain one or more natural anxiolytic (anxiety-resolving) substances that help keep your pups relaxed. These substances are specially added to treats to tackle dog anxiety problems and are not found in regular dog treats.
These treats work wonders to alleviate the signs and symptoms of anxiety in dogs including frantic pacing, howling, whining, cowering and even signs of aggression. Within no time, you will notice a difference in your pet’s behavior and routine as it starts becoming more relaxed and enjoying daily activities.
Why Prefer Calming Treats for Dogs Over Other Products?
Calming treats have an edge over other similar products like calming oils, sprays and balms. Here is why they are better.
- Dose modification is easier: Calming dog treats contain precise amounts of natural substances and their dose can be adjusted easily according to the degree of anxiety in your pup. While your dog might get anxious in response to different circumstances, they always give you plenty of signs and symptoms to quantify the degree of anxiety.
Does your dog simply start cowering when it is time for a regular bath? Does it start growling and whining, putting up a physical fight and has to be dragged to the bath? Does it go positively berserk and shows signs of aggression like biting and snapping, bounding for the door at the very prospect? Simply add another treat to the regime according to the degree of anxiety and required dose.
- They taste better: Calming dog treats are mildly flavored to appeal to your dog’s taste buds, which makes them easier to administer. Not all calming dog products like sprays have an appealing taste.
- Require no special preparation: Simply rip the packet open and give a treat to your dog right away. No hassle of disguising it in regular dog food or having to lull your dog into eating it.
Are Calming Dog Treats Safe?
Made out of natural substances, calming treats for dogs are completely safe for administration to your pet dog. They are especially designed for the purpose of combating anxiety in dogs and contain anxiolytic agents in animal doses. They are made to suit the canine bodies, so that they do not cause any side effects. Calming dog treats are, therefore, completely safe for use in dogs.
Does My Dog Need Calming Dog Treats?
Slight degree of fretfulness in response to novel circumstances is common in dogs. It is normal for a dog to be suspicious and wary of an approaching stranger or be jumpy during its first car ride. However, if your dog shows abnormally anxious response to one or more stimuli repeatedly upon exposure to the extent that it affects its quality of life, your dog is suffering from anxiety and needs to be treated.
There are different kinds of anxiety in dogs, broadly classified as below.
- Situational anxiety: In response to a specific set of circumstances or stimuli
⮚ Vet’s office
⮚ Car rides
⮚ Loud noises (car backfires, fireworks, construction sites etc.)
⮚ Taking a bath
⮚ In response to illness
- Separation anxiety: In response to being separated from its family or a particular family member your dog is fond of, even for a short period of time
- Phobias-related anxiety: Abnormal high degree of fear such as
⮚ Water phobia
⮚ Fear of heights
⮚ Fear of strangers
The signs and symptoms of anxiety in dogs are
- Excessive barking
- Whimpering, whining, howling, growling
- Non-compliance and not obeying commands
- Low appetite
- Trembling and shaking
- Panting, drooling
- Signs of aggression such as biting, putting up a physical fight, refusing to be leashed
If your dog shows any of the above-mentioned signs, it is suffering from anxiety. Calming dog treats can help control all kinds of anxiety in dogs. However, avoid putting your pup on calming products straight away and always see a vet first to rule out any other sinister cause of anxiety such as illness or gut inflammation which might be putting your little furry friend at unease. Give calming treats to your dog only after a go-ahead from the vet.
Which Calming Dog Treats Are The Best?
A lot of different types of calming dog treats are stacked in the dog products aisles at supermarkets which makes the choice a painstaking task to decide which one is best for your dog. Dog treats contain different sorts of calming agents like ginger extracts, thiamine or chamomile extracts etc. The best calming dog treats on the market right now are the ones containing a natural anxiolytic agent known as cannabidiol (CBD).
We can imagine the mental recoil you just went through. Yes, CBD is making rounds as one of the most popular alternative therapies for the management of anxiety and it is as effective for your canine companions as for humans. CBD calming dog treats are, therefore, the best option for helping your little furry friend overcome its fears and anxiety symptoms.
How Do They Work?
CBD based calming treats for dogs influence the canine bodies by interacting with the extensive endocannabinoid system that Nature has bestowed all mammals with. The cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2 receptors) are present at various locations in canine bodies, particularly the nervous system including brain.
CBD exerts its action on these receptors. Through these receptors, CBD can act as an agonist on the 5HT1AA receptors (better known as the serotonin receptors) located in the brain. CBD, thus, leads to the release of serotonin-the happy neurotransmitter- in the brain circuits. Serotonin exerts a calming effect and helps your pup settle down.
CBD-based calming dog treats are especially manufactured for the management of all kinds of anxiety in dogs, be it situational anxiety or separation anxiety. There is a lot of scientific and anecdotal data to back up the fact that CBD-based calming dog treats are effective for anxiety management in dogs.
Are Calming Dog Treats Better Than Regular Medications?
- No side effects: CBD-based calming dog treats contain natural CBD which is free of nasty side effects in contrast to the regular antidepressants and anxiolytic medications given for the treatment of anxiety in dogs. Calming treats are, therefore, better as they don’t cause your pup any harm.
- Safe for long-term use: Vets recommend avoiding long-term use of conventional medications due to their obvious side effects. Therefore, the symptoms of anxiety may return if you have to stop medications due to side effects. CBD based calming treats, on the other hand, are completely safe for long term use and can keep the signs and symptoms of anxiety at bay for longer durations till your pup outgrows its anxiety.
How Many Of The Calming Treats Does My Dog Need?
Calculating the number of CBD-based calming treats your dog needs is very easy. All you need to know is the degree of severity of your pup’s symptoms (mild, moderate, severe) and your dog’s weight. In general, the recommended dose of CBD for dogs is 0.5 – 5 mg CBD per 10 pounds of body weight twice daily. Here are some more precise formulas to calculate CBD dose for your dog to determine the number of calming treats for your dog.
Low dose: for mild symptoms
0.05mg X weight in lbs. given twice daily
Medium dose: for moderate symptoms
0.125 mg X weight in lbs. given twice daily
High dose: for severe symptoms
0.25 mg X weight in lbs. given twice daily
Let’s suppose, your pet weighs 40 pounds and is suffering from mild pain, the dose you need is 2mg (40 x 0.05) twice daily. If a single calming dog treat contains 1mg of CBD per treat, you need to give your dog two treats twice daily.
Are There Any Side Effects Of Calming Dog Treats?
Calming dog treats are completely safe for use in dogs for anxiety relief. Contrary to popular belief, CBD-based calming dog treats do not make your dog intoxicated. First time administration may, however, lead to slight side effects that resolve quickly. These include
So What Should I Consider while buying Calming Dog Treats?
You should be mindful of a few things before you decide to spend your money on a particular brand of CBD-based calming treats for dogs.
Dosage is the key
Suppose your dog needs 2 mg of calming dog treats twice daily and you come across two different type of calming treats, one containing 0.5 mg of CBD per treat and the other one containing 1mg per treat. Would it be easier to give 4 treats to your dog twice daily or 2 treats twice daily? Buy the dose which suits your dog’s needs the best and is easier to administer.
Branding is important too
Buying from a known and certified brand is extremely important. After all, you don’t buy medicines from unknown companies you have never heard of before for treating your own illnesses, right? Similar principle applies while buying calming treats for dogs. Always invest in a well-known brand that has a solid clientele base, holds a good name in the market and is known for providing reliable products.
If you are buying online, spending a few more minutes checking out customer reviews from people who have actually bought and tested the product can give you a better idea about the product. Always check out the company’s customer service. Big names offer excellent customer services on their products.
Third-party certification matters—a lot!
Spend some time perusing the label of the product you are about to buy and look for third-party certification. Third-party certification implies that the product has been tested in a laboratory for its claimed effects, is free of any harmful, toxic substances and additives and is completely safe for use.
Opt for calming treats for dogs that contain organically grown CBD. Organic CBD is grown under optimal environmental conditions and is free of any pesticides and herbicides use. It is healthier and safer for your dog.
Extraction method counts
How CBD is extracted matters a lot, so always check for the extraction method on the label before buying calming dog treats. CBD extracted with liquid solvents tends to contain leftover impurities and has lower efficacy.
CBD extracted with super critical (high pressure, low temperature) carbon dioxide is in the purest form as CO2 evaporates completely and leaves behind pure CBD, free of any kind of residue. CBD-based calming treats extracted with CO2 are the best for your dog’s health.
Calming dog treats have been scientifically proven to be helpful for reducing anxiety in dogs. CBD based dog treats are helpful for managing a variety of other dog health conditions too and help improve the overall quality of life for your pet. Make a safe choice to alleviate your pup’s fears with CBD-based calming treats for dogs.
Image Credits: James Barker