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9 Products to Calm Dogs During the Holidays

Stressed Beagle in front of Christmas tree

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The holidays can be a stressful time for our dogs. With the hustle and bustle of Christmas get-togethers; the festive scents that come from trees, wreaths, and candles; and traveling by car, train, or plane, your furry friend is in for some anxiety. 

Even the calmest of dogs can be thrown off by the season to come. As their routines are disrupted, their demeanors and feelings can be shaken. 

“This is often due to a dramatic shift in environment: what usually is a calm, quiet place for our pups becomes filled with the unfamiliar faces and smells of new guests, the sporadic ringing of the doorbell and constant movement as people walk in and out of rooms,” explains Dr. Danielle Bernal, veterinarian with Wellness Natural Pet Food. “This change in a dog’s territory can trigger strong feelings of anxiety and may cause them to engage in nervous behaviors.”

How to Help Your Dog During the Holidays

Woman giving dog holiday treat

Besides using calming products for dogs (which we list out below), there’s anxiety relief techniques for dogs that you can deploy. For starters, it’s important to find a safe area for your dog whether you’re in your home or at someone else’s, according to Dr. Danel Grimmett, a doctor of veterinary medicine with Sunset Veterinary Clinic. This also keeps your pooch away from holiday hazards, like human food, wrapping paper, negative encounters with other humans or animals. “It is important to not only make your dog feel safe, but to keep them physically safe,” Grimmett ads. 

If your dog suffers from anxiety—during the holidays or just everyday—consider using a trainer who is a good fit. “I find that dogs don’t need to learn about humans, rather humans need to learn about dogs and how they interpret the world,” adds Grimmett. 

An exercise plan can also help dogs shed stress, says Bernal. “Without regular exercise, stress can manifest as tension—which leads to health problems like chronic pain and digestive issues,” Bernal continues. 

If You’re Traveling

While traveling with pets can be an exciting adventure for you and for your dog, there are things you can do to make sure their journey is comfortable. Bernal suggests to skip breakfast to help prevent stomach issues, especially if they’re a nervous traveler. 

“Dehydration can also cause an upset stomach, so keep drinking water on hand,” she adds. Bring snacks though. “Stock up on healthy treats, like protein-packed [ones] to distract your pup from any stressful situations—which can lead to car sickness—and reward calm behavior.”

And if you’re truly worried about your dog being overly stressed during travel, you can discuss the situation with your veterinarian, who can help you come up with a plan, says Grimmett. “[The plan] may or may not include medical intervention, such as a mild tranquilizer to help ease the stress.”

If You’re Having Guests Over

“Before any social gathering at home, even if it’s smaller this year, it’s helpful for pet parents to train their dogs to feel comfortable around guests,” Bernal says. “As part of this, practice keeping him calm when the doorbell rings or when people enter the home. Encourage him to sit or stay when guests come over, and reward good behavior with an all-natural treat.”

As guests arrive, Bernal recommends to offer your dog treats again as distractions and rewards for calm behavior. 

“And if your pup is showing signs of anxiety or stress during an event, bring them to a separate room away from the crowd where they feel safe,” Bernal explains. “Make sure the room has items like toys they love to help them remain calm.” And if your dog is super anxious, you can use a white noise machine or turn on a radio or TV to distract.

Best Products to Calm Your Anxious Dog

To help your pet further, we also rounded up unique and innovative calming products that can help. From calming treats and supplements to comfy dog beds and toys, these products aim to distract dogs. Aromatherapy and collars are also on the list. We hope these give your canine companions some much-needed distraction or mood improvers.

Best Calming Chews for Dogs

Our Pick: The Anxious Pet Relax and Roll Soft Chews

Relax and Roll Soft Chews

If you’re looking for easy-to-use calming treats for dogs, look no further. Packed with acetyl-L-carnitine, ginger root, chamomile, and melatonin, these calming chews for dogs can also curb fear, depression, furniture chewing. The chews also contain antioxidants to prevent stress while also giving your pooch a peanut butter-y taste in delicious treat form.

Highlights

  • These calming treats for dogs promote restful sleep without drowsiness.
  • Antioxidants in the chews it can also relieve pain and act as an anti-inflammatory. 
  • Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids in it also keeps your dog’s coat shiny and skin healthy. 

Things to Consider

  • You must administer this product once per day.

Best Calming Spray for Dogs

Our Pick: ThunderEase Dog Calming Pheromone Spray 

ThunderEase Dog Calming Pheromone Spray

Recommended by thousands of veterinarians and scientifically studied for over 20 years, this calming spray is easy to use and 90 percent effective. This calming solution mimics your dog’s mother’s natural nursing pheromones. 

Highlights

  • 100 percent drug-free. 
  • Use it on-the-go or in the home.

Things to Consider

  • You’ll have to spray eight to ten pumps of this inside your car or directly on collars, kennels, leashes or blankets.
  • You’ll have to wait 15 minutes before introducing your dog to the area where it’s sprayed.
  • You’ll have to respray every four to five hours.

Best Calming Dog Bed

Our Pick: Original Calming Shag Donut Cuddler Pet Bed

Original Calming Shag Donut Cuddler Pet Bed

It’s a given that a calming bed will help your dog relax, but this one will feel more secure for your furry friend, thanks to the faux fur material it’s made of.

Highlights

  • Features a water and dirt-resistant bottom.
  • Filled with virgin AirLOFT fibers.
  • The medium and large varieties have a removable zippered shell for easy cleaning.
  • Looks great; perfect for adding to your home decor.

Things to Consider

  • There are only two faux-fur colors to choose from.
  • You can wash this in a washing machine and dry in a machine dryer, but will need to tumble dry on a low setting.  

Best Dog Jacket That Promotes Stress Relief

Our Pick: ThunderShirt Sport Anxiety Dog Jacket

ThunderShirt Sport Anxiety Dog Jacket

Did you know dog clothing can be calming? This vet-recommended dog outerwear provides a natural solution for dog anxiety. Think of it like a baby swaddle, only for your fur baby. 

Highlights

  • There are no drugs included or required for this to be effective.
  • Great for use during travel, as well as during thunderstorms, fireworks, vet visits, and separation anxiety. 
  • Comes equipped with a reflective logo to keep dog safer at night.
  • Made of durable fabric.

Things to Consider

  • This anxiety jacket comes in seven different sizes, so make sure to measure appropriately to find the right fit. 

Best Calming Collar for Dogs

Our Pick: Fedciory Calming Pheromone Collar

Fedciory Calming Pheromone Collar

This vet-recommended collar features a pheromone that relaxes dogs. It uses lavender properties, which when activated by your dog’s heat, will emit an odorless pheromone to help your frightened pooch. It’ll start working within an hour of use, and will continue to release a calming pheromone for 30 days.

Highlights

  • Made of natural ingredients.
  • Company will give you a full refund—no questions asked—if you’re unhappy with the results.  

Things to Consider

  • You’ll have to replace the calming collar every four weeks for optimal results.
  • Since all dogs are unique, results may vary. 

Best Hemp Oil for Dogs

Our Pick: The Anxious Pet Organic Hemp Oil for Dogs 

Organic Hemp Oil from The Anxious Pet

This hemp oil is among the safest CBD products for your dog to help combat anxiety. It comes in two options—400 mg and 800 mg—allowing you to adjust the dosage depending on the size of your pup. Plus, this hemp oil was formulated by a veterinarian to ensure safety and efficacy. 

Highlights

  • Dropper with a clear mL measurement for administering to your dog is included.
  • This product is also good for your dog’s immunity and brain function.
  • This product can also reduce inflammation and skin irritation if your dog suffers from those too.
  • Veterinarian formulated and third-party lab tested. 

Things to Consider

  • This product works best when given directly into a dog’s mouth. However, some dogs may not like this experience. If that’s the case, topping a treat with this oil will still be effective.  

Best Sleep Aid for Dogs

Our Pick: K9 Select Beef Flavored Chewable Melatonin

K9 Select Beef Flavored Chewable Melatonin

Melatonin is a popular natural sleep aid for humans, but dogs can benefit from this ingredient too. This chewable will not only help your dog fall asleep even when stressed, but it also tastes like a treat. This product lowers cortisol levels, which is the stress hormone.

Highlights

  • Melatonin naturally helps your dog’s sleep cycles. 
  • Melatonin for dogs can also boost immunity.
  • You’ll have to give your dog this every 12 hours when they’re stressed.

Things to Consider

  • A peanut butter flavor is also available if your dog is not into beef.

Best Calming Essential Oil for Dogs

Our Pick: ThunderEase ThunderEssence Dog Calming Essential Oils

ThunderEase Essential Calming Oil

Just like essential oils calm humans, they can also calm dogs. The therapeutic benefits of lavender, chamomile, and Egyptian geranium will help your fur baby stay stress free. While some essential oils—especially those that are not diluted properly—can be dangerous for dogs, this one is veterinarian recommended and safe for dogs.  

Highlights

  • This is an inexpensive solution to combat dog stress. 
  • Reviewers say their dogs love the smell.

Things to Consider

  • Comes in both drop or spray form. Drops are recommended for direct application and the spray is meant for a dog’s environment.

Best Calming Sticks for Dogs

Our Pick: Zesty Paws Calming Orastix for Dogs

Zesty Paws Calming Orastix

Not only does this product have calming properties, but it also doubles as a dental chew, making it a win-win during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. These sticks contain Suntheanine, which helps stimulate brain waves to promote relaxation while not making your dog drowsy. Additionally, they offer other calming ingredients like melatonin and chamomile, and beneficial oral ingredients like peppermint oil and kelp.

Highlights

  • This product contains the clinically studied ingredient suntheanine.
  • We love the 2-in-1 benefits of this calming dental stick.

Things to Consider

  • As with all dental chews and sticks, it’s important to supervise your pup while they are chewing on them.

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