Best Dog Calming Collars
Dog calming collars rely on the potency of pheromones, herbs, or essential oils to provide much-needed relief to anxious dogs. Read on to learn more about symptoms of stress and anxiety in dogs and what dog calming collars are most effective for treating it!
Some dogs are simply more sensitive than others and certain situations can make them extremely anxious – such as a routine visit to the vet’s office or holiday celebrations that include fireworks, for example. In those situations, it can be difficult to find a way to soothe your pooch once the fear and anxiety take over. Some dogs while whine, shiver, or drool, others will bark or become destructive, but in whatever their anxiety symptoms might be, seeing your pet in distress is heartbreaking. While there are anxiety medications for dogs, many pawrents try to avoid their pets using drugs to manage their behavioral issues, especially if their anxiety is not severe or related only to particular situations and stressors rather than being an everyday mental state. Instead, they rely on natural remedies and products that can help lower their pet’s stress levels without requiring a vet’s prescription.
Dog calming collars are one of the most popular anti-stress and anti-anxiety products for dogs because they are easy to use, completely non-toxic and non-harmful to dogs, and the best ones are very effective on moderate anxiety issues. Most dog calming collars use pheromones, chemical substances naturally produced by mammals, that are known to affect the behavior of the animals within the species. In other cases, calming collars for dogs use herbal blends known for their relaxation properties, dog-safe essential oils, or the combination of these natural anti-stress compounds. Naturally, not all of these are equally effective – a lot will depend on the severity of your dog’s anxiety. For some pooches, the potency of natural pheromones or the soothing effect of herbal and essential oil scents are enough to reduce their situational anxiety and make things such as car drives or introduction to a new family member less stressful, but the trick is finding the type of calming agents that has the desired effect on them- and that’s not always easy.
Luckily, you won’t have to do all that research on your own – because we did it for you. Our list of best dog calming collars includes only the most popular choices with raving reviews by other pet parents so you don’t have to worry about the ineffectiveness and wasting your money on something that won’t work for your pet. Additionally, if you’re unsure about the severity of your pet’s anxiety and what types of dog calming collars would work best for them- read on, because our buying guide will help you find all the answers you need to make the right choice.
1. Editor’s Choice: Howan Dog Calming Collar
This eco-friendly and non-toxic calming canine collar uses only natural ingredients and homeopathic extracts to reduce your pet’s anxiety. It contains one percent pheromones, so it’s right in the “goldilocks zone” of effectiveness – it will help treat moderate anxiety issues and can be of great help for pets that get nervous in certain stressful situations including reducing unwanted behaviors. To boost the effectiveness of the pheromones, there are also essential oils of lavender and chamomile in the collar, too which will help to calm your pooch and ease their worries and tension.
The collar is waterproof and will be effective for up to 30 days once you put it on your pup. In fact, it even starts working fast- within the hour after putting it on them. The Howan Calming Collar is 25 inches long and fully adjustable – it will fit most dogs with ease and is comfortable because of the flexible material. It will help your sweet, furry friend feel more comfortable and less stressed with this simple tool.
2. Runner Up: Relaxivet Calming Pheromone Collar for Dogs
The combination of lavender and maternal pheromones (1 percent, to be exact) is perfect for helping stressed-out dogs cope better with triggering situations such as a visit to the vet or fireworks during the Fourth of July celebrations. Once you put it on your dog, it will start working within the hour and continue delivering the soothing effects for up to four weeks. The 26 inches of length make Relaxivet calming collar suitable for most dog breeds small through large – you can easily adjust it to fit your pet.
3. Best for Large Breeds: ADAPTIL OnTheGo Collar for Dogs
This popular dog calming collar uses dog appeasing pheromones to keep your anxious pooch at ease – it contains between 2.5 and 5 percent pheromones, depending on the size you pick. This particular size is meant for large breed dogs as it is 27.6 inches long and will fit most canines that weigh up to 110 pounds. One of the great things about ADAPTIL OnTheGo collar is that it is odorless, so if your pet (or you) dislikes the strong scent of essential oils usually found in these collars, this is the one to go for. It will be effective for up to 30 days.
4. Best Value: BINGPET Calming Collar for Dogs
The BINGPET Calming Collar for Dogs is a great value for those looking to extend their dollar. Each pack comes with two calming collars (either in blue or teal- you can choose). It fits dogs with a neck girth up to 24.5 inches, which is big enough for most dogs. It is perfect for any pup who is anxious, stressed, or hyperactive. The all-natural ingredients work to help reduce anxiety and stress-related behavior in just about an hour, and each collar will last up to 60 days. In addition, the natural ingredients are non-toxic so they won’t harm your sweet furry friend. The BINGPET Calming Collar is also waterproof so it is still effective even after a bath, a swim in your local river, lake, or ocean, or even after getting caught in the rain.
This two-pack calming collar from BINGPET will help your pup feel more comfortable and less stressed throughout the day- what more can you want for your anxious doggo?
5. Best Essential Oils: Calm Paws Dog Calming Collar
This calming collar contains no pheromones- instead, it relies on a mix of essential oils of valerian and lavender, extracted in French fields. The premium essential oils have a soothing effect on dogs, but the overpowering scent might bother some pooches and cause the opposite of the desired results. However, if your dog is among the minority of canines that don’t react to pheromones, this essential oil calming collar might be worth a try. The anti-anxiety effect of the collar will last up to 30 days.
6. Best Basic: BIGTHUMB Calming Collar for Dogs
Adjustable and effective, this calming collar lasts up to 60 days and can help soothe an anxious dog during stressful situations or on a day to day basis. BIGTHUMB Calming Collar for Dogs works by releasing good behavior pheromones when activated by your pet’s body heat- it’s fast acting, too, as the effects of the pheromones can already be noticed within the first hour of wearing. The pheromones that the calming collar releases are completely natural, safe and mimic those that a mother releases when nurturing her litter, so any pooch would be brought back to that feeling of complete safety and love.
This collar is easy to use and can be cut to fit your pet’s neck measurements- there are two finished lengths available, 15 inches and 24 inches. As a result, this calming collar is a better fit for medium and small dog breeds, as a large pooch might feel that the collar is too snug even if it fits. To boot, BIGTHUMB Calming Collar for Dogs is also waterproof, so you won’t have to take it off during swimming or when your pet takes a bath- which is particularly great if it’s bath time that triggers your pet’s anxiety!
7. Best Natural: leQuiven All-Natural Dog Calming Collar
The leQuiven All-Natural Dog Calming Collar is an economical three-pack of natural calming collars that will help ease your dog’s anxiety and stress, and reduce unwanted stress-induced behaviors. It is made completely free of any chemicals using essential oils like lavender and chamomile to help your furry friend feel more at ease. It is also completely hypoallergenic so it is safe to use with your pet and around other humans.
The leQuiven All-Natural Dog Calming Collar starts working rapidly like other calming collars. In just about an hour you may notice that your dog is less tense and their stress-related behaviors have decreased. However, be sure to open the packaging and allow it to “breathe” for about 15 minutes before you put it on your dog as it may have a strong initial odor after opening it. The leQuiven All-Natural Dog Calming Collar lasts for about 30 days and is easily adjustable to fit small dogs (even some puppies) all the way to large dogs.
8. Most Powerful: ThunderEase Calming Dog Collar
If you need something a bit more potent, ThunderEase calming collar comes to the rescue. With five percent of natural nursing pheromones in the collar, it is one of the more powerful calming collars on the market and it promises to ease your pet in times of distress without relying on essential oils to boost its potency – eliminating overpowering scents from the mix. The size of this collar is suited for large dogs and it will last for up to 30 days. For best results in cases of severe anxiety, combine it with a Thundershirt.
9. Best for Marking: Sentry Calming Collar for Dogs
With only 0.02 percent dog appeasing pheromones in its composition, this calming dog collar is one of the mildest on the market, and as such, it can only really be effective for dogs that experience mild stress in certain situations, for instance when driving in a car or during a thunderstorm. The effects will be fast, though, and are expected to last up to a month. The pack of three calming collars will have you set for some time, though- if your pet fits the category of up to 23-inch neck diameter.
10. Best Fabric: Calm Me Down – Calming Collars for Dog Anxiety
In case your dog among those that are not affected by pheromones but you still want to give calming collars a try, these highly-decorative bow tie collars rely on the power of aromatherapy to help your pet’s anxiety symptoms. The collar is actually filled with dried herbs – lavender, chamomile, and balsam- so the scent won’t be as strong as it is with essential oils but the effects will still be there. If the collar is worn constantly, it will last for three to four months, longer if you use it only for certain stressful situations. This collar comes in 13 designs and five different sizes.
Signs of stress in dogs
Despite how much you think you know your pet, it’s not always easy to decipher their behavior. Our four-legged best friends all have their own unique quirks, but, in general, some universal tendencies do exist in canine behavior. Sometimes, the symptoms of anxiety can be quite subtle, and in other cases look like a completely different behavioral issue – until you put all the pieces of the puzzle together. For some dogs, anxiety is an everyday occurrence and the feelings of fear, stress, and all that comes with don’t need to be “triggered” by an event, situation, or person for the pet to go into an anxious state. More often than not, these dogs have suffered abuse or trauma in their past and the anxiety disorder is a consequence of that – with medication, socialization, and a lot of love, those behavioral problems can be eliminated or at least drastically reduced to a point that they don’t influence the quality of your dog’s life.
In other cases, canine anxiety is simply a response to a certain situation that triggers your pet. The triggers range from vet visits to new people, driving in cars or being crated, having to be alone at home – any change in their routine, really. Similarly, a newly adopted puppy might find it hard to adapt to being away from their mom and siblings for the first time – it’s all situations that can be helped with natural anti-anxiety remedies that are used in dog calming collars.
The first thing that could make you suspect your dog is anxious is an abrupt change in their behavior. In case your pet is suddenly not acting like they usually do or starts doing something that they never have before, it’s usually a good sign that something’s not right. In case of anxiety and extreme stress, these are the common symptoms you might notice:
- Incessant barking
- Pacing and restlessness
- Destructive behavior
- Loss of appetite and apathy
- Scared body language (ears tucked back, tail between the legs…)
How do dog calming collars work
The way calming collars help dogs overcome stress and anxiety is by releasing scents or pheromones that the dog inhales- the soothing effect is both instant and long-lasting, as the pet will experience the benefits of the relaxants in the collar for as long as he wears it. (Most calming collars have an expiry date, though, so you’ll have to replace them if you want to make sure that everything is working the way it’s supposed to.) Your pet’s body heat will make sure that the collar emits the scent and the pheromones, as the skin-on-collar contact is more than enough to warm up the collar to ensure it releases the relaxants.
Pheromones in dog calming collars are synthetic replicas of the natural chemicals that lactating female dogs release. In other words, it will take back your dog to the moment he felt the safest and happiest- cozily snuggled up to his momma, nursing and napping. Studies have proven that this particular chemical can appease dogs and instantly relax them, hence the name – dog appeasing pheromone (DAP). For unknown reasons, though, pheromones might not work on all dogs, and while most can experience benefits from exposure to dog appeasing pheromone, some pooches might feel no effect whatsoever.
Other options for relaxation-inducing components of dog calming collars are herbal scents and essential oils, whether on their own or in combination with pheromones. These are dog-friendly, non-toxic choices such as lavender or chamomile can soothe minor anxiety and can add a bit of a boost to the effect of the pheromones.
What to look for in dog calming collars
When you’re picking out a calming collar for your stressed-out pooch, there are a few factors you need to consider before you put one in your shopping cart. There are different types of dog collars with anti-anxiety function, and if you don’t consider all of the details, you might end up wasting your money on an uncomfortable or ineffective collar.
If you are looking for pheromone collars for dogs as most pawrents do, you should pay attention to the percentage of the dog appeasing pheromone used. Depending on the severity of your pet’s anxiety, you’ll want to make sure that the levels of DAP are as high as possible. For mild anxiety, the common 0.02% content of appeasing pheromone might work, but in most cases where dogs get terrified of loud noise or petrified as soon as you start driving to the vet’s office, something more potent will be a more appropriate- look at formulations that contain circa 4% to 6% percent of pheromones.
Usually, dog calming collars lose their potency with time- depending on the primary relaxant used, the collar’s effectiveness starts deteriorating after three to four weeks in most cases. Similarly, you should also pay attention to other factors that could impact the longevity of the collar, such as exposure to water as many of them lose their potency if your pet goes for a swim or has a bath while wearing one.
A good deal of dog calming collars contains essential oils or herbal blends that are supposed to boost their calming effect. However, this also means that many of them can have an overpowering scent that could bother your pet (or you, for that matter). If you know your pet is sensitive to strong scents or suspect he might be, steer clear of calming collars with a high content of essential oils or herbal blends.
While you’re focused on the type of dog calming collars and their effectiveness, you might overlook the obvious: your pet’s comfort. If your dog won’t wear the collar or can’t do so comfortably, all is for naught. To make sure that the calming collar will have its intended effect without causing discomfort, double-check its length to make sure it will snuggly fit your pet’s neck without being too tight or too loose. Similarly, pay attention to the material of the collar – while most are made from rubber-like materials, there are alternatives made from various kinds of fabric.
How long do calming collars last?
Calming collars come in different designs and with different active ingredients so their longevity can significantly vary. As a rule of thumb, most calming collars work for about 30 days, but some of them can be effective for up to two months of active wear. To err on the side of caution, always presume that the calming collar will stop being effective at least a week earlier than promised- and have a new one on hand to replace when you see the effects wearing off.
Do calming dog collars work immediately?
Most calming dog collars work by utilizing pheromones to soothe your pet. Pheromones are activated by your pet’s body heat, and it usually takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour for the collar to start releasing pheromones. While not exactly instantaneous, calming collars start working pretty fast so you can put one on your dog an hour or a couple hours before a stressful event.
Do calming dollars help dog anxiety?
Calming collars for dogs are a great aid in reducing symptoms of anxiety and stress. However, even though they soothe and calm your pet, they are not enough on their own if they have severe or chronic anxiety issues. They are best combined with behavioral training that has a goal of helping your pooch overcome their reactions to stressors. Unfortunately, for some dogs, neither calming collars nor training will work without medication, so if your pet doesn’t respond to this type of treatment and has extreme anxiety, you will have to take them to the vet’s for a prescription drug.
We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works.
A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.
More by Angela Vuckovic