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Under stressful situations, dogs can turn into ugly creatures. As a way to channel their frustration, they often pick up behaviors such as aggressive chewing, barking, restlessness, scratching, and even vomiting. You might have noticed these when you traveled with your dog for the first time, took a trip with him to the vet, or moved houses. Without a quick solution, an anxious dog can drive you up the wall.
Fortunately, a calming spray can be a great fix. By using one on your dog, you will make him feel safe and less anxious, thereby putting an end to any aggressive behavior.
Wondering where to get the best calming spray for dogs? Well, we’ve highlighted 8 leading ones to help you make an informed choice. Let’s first understand the working mechanism of these sprays.
How Calming Spray for Dogs Work
Dogs and other animals use chemicals called pheromones to communicate or send signals to one another. In some cases, the signals are intended to have comforting or calming effects on the recipients. A mother dog, for instance, may send calming pheromones to her puppies when she feels that they are in distress. After detecting the scents of the comforting pheromones, the puppies become less distressed and experience a boost in confidence. This kind of calming effect remains throughout the life of many dogs, helping them overcome fearful and stressful situations.
Whenever a dog smells the calming pheromones that they have associated with comfort and safety since their puppyhood, their autonomic nervous system (which controls reactions of flight, fight, relaxation, or rest) tend to respond positively, relaxing or calming them.
Calming sprays mimic these appeasing pheromones to return calm to a distressed pooch. In particular, they mimic the calming pheromones produced by nursing mothers to create a sense of belonging and safety to their puppies. Some calming sprays also duplicate the pheromones left by other dogs to send a message to their pack members that the location is safe.
Our Picks of the Best Calming Spray for Dogs
The Adaptil Calming Spray clinched the number one spot on this list because it is quite an effective product out there. If you have a dog that gets anxious during travel or any other challenging situation, consider buying this spray. It utilizes natural ingredients devoid of harmful chemicals to reduce signs of anxiety and distress. The formula is strong yet gentle with the effects lasting up to four hours. The best part is that a little goes a long way. Plus, you can apply this on a number of surfaces including the dog’s collar, shirt, bandana, leash, crate, blanket, and the car.
When your fur baby is nervous, it can be quite the task to calm him. Sure, you could tie him up, throw him at the back of the car and head over to the vet but this is a real hassle. This is where the ThunderEase Calming Spray comes in. With this product in your house, you can magically restore peace. Designed to mimic the nursing instinct of a mother, this spray will help your dog better adjust to any changes in his environment. Whether your little friend gets anxious during potty training, visiting the vet, or moving houses, the ThunderEase can prove highly beneficial.
SENTRY Good Behavior Calming Spay harnesses the effectiveness of a patented pheromone to reduce anxiety brought about by stressful situations. Whenever your dog exhibits any behaviors such as abnormal barking, vomiting, and restlessness, the pheromone in the spray will counteract the behavior. A few studies have also shown that this magical chemical can also reduce a dog’s elevated heart rate to a normal level. It works similarly to a mother’s hug giving assurance of safety when things get a little out of hand. This spray is quite easy to use and releases sweet-smelling and soothing chamomile and lavender aroma.
This is yet another excellent deterrent spray that will keep a dog from acting out in the face of an uncomfortable situation. It is vet-recommended and safe for both cat and dog use. According to the manufacturers, your pet should feel calm about 15 minutes after using it. The effects last up to 6 hours. With natural ingredients such as geranium, rosemary, and catnip, you bet this spray is big on soothing a nervous dog. It will stop any behavior such as aggressive chewing, barking, and scratching during tense moments. As soon as you notice this, don’t panic; simply grab the spray and apply it in his surroundings then watch it unleash its magic right before your eyes.
Unlike the earlier products that use pheromones to calm upset dogs, the Earth Heart focuses on the power of aromatherapy instead. The formula features pure canine calm essential oils that work together to create a serene environment. As a result, your dog will relax and cool down. To use it, spray one or two mists of this spray on your fingertips and rub it on your pup’s outer eats. Wait for ten minutes and see if it has worked. If the results are unsatisfactory, reapply. You can also spray it on the dog’s crate bedding, blanket, and clothing. Don’t worry; this formula is non-staining. Feel free to rub it on your dog’s fur or any other bright garment.
Dog Rocks is another blend of essential oils that offer relaxation and naturally calms stressed dogs. Essentially, when a dog is anxious, his nerves are stimulated thereby causing the unpleasant symptoms. The essential oils in this spray reverse this phenomenon by telling the brain to calm down. After a few minutes of applications, your pup will go from being an absolute mess to a relaxed soul. It comes in a 200ml spray bottle that will last you for a relatively long time. Aside from dogs, you can use this solution for a number of other pets including cats, horses, rodents, rats, and even birds.
Thunderstorms, traveling for the first time, visiting a friend, having guests over – all these events can wreak havoc in your dog’s mental state. To ease the anxiety, the Warren London Essential Oil Calming Dog Spray utilizes natural yet powerful ingredients. These combine efforts to change the behavior of your pup from restless and upset to a calm and well-behaved animal. Some of the oils infused include clary sage, sweet orange, lavender, and vetiver. At the onset of anxious symptoms, spray some of the product on your fingertips and massage it on your dog’s chest and lower back. This provides fast relief that is equally long-lasting. This product is made in the USA and contains no harsh chemicals.
Healex Dog Calming Spray for Dogs utilizes a superior formula consisting of both pheromones and essential oils. As soon as your dog detects the pheromone, his brain will tell him that his environment is safe thereby making him calmer. The essential oils provide soothing properties to further relax the dog. Like other calming sprays on this list, Healex can be applied to collars, infusers, crate beddings, wipes, and even your hands. Pet owners especially love the fact that this spray is long-lasting. Just one bottle can deliver great results for up to two months.
When Should You Use Calming Sprays On Your Dog?
When a dog is in a state of fear or anxiety, he may not learn or make behavioral choices that are desirable to his owner or humans in general. On the flip side, when in a relaxed and emotionally balanced state, a dog will manifest acceptable behaviors and make informed choices to perform behaviors that humans prefer. Calming sprays for dogs, therefore, come in handy in situations when a dog may not have a sense of safety and well-being. Most of these situations occur when our modern lifestyles conflict with the natural and instinctive needs of our dogs, including:
- When you are bringing an adopted dog home
- When you are bringing a new puppy home
- During chaotic or noisy events like thunderstorm seasons, fireworks, or parties
- During dog training classes to boost confidence
- When strangers come to your home
- When you are moving to a new home
- Before or during veterinary visits
- During or after an environmental change or stress
- During car rides or travels
These are the best situations to use dog-appeasing sprays to help your dog behave normally and prevent fear or anxiety from developing.
How to use Dog Calming Sprays
Spray about 4-5 squirts of the calming spray onto your pup’s bedding, collar, car upholstery or crate 15 minutes before a stressful event or situation. If you intend to travel with your dog, for instance, use the spray 15 minutes before you leave.
For ongoing effects, consider spraying your dog’s bandana and tying it around his neck. You can also spray it on the clothes you’ll use to handle your anxious dog. Alternatively, opt for calming collars because most of them are formulated with the same chemicals used in these sprays. Adaptil Calm On-the-Go Collar is a perfect example of such collars.
Considerations before using Dog Calming Sprays
- While calming sprays are great for general stress, anxiety, and noise phobias in dogs, they are not very effective for aggressive behaviors. Besides, aggressive behaviors may also have underlying causes, so ensure that your dog is thoroughly examined by a vet before trying to use a calming spray to correct his aggressive behavior.
- Like any other product for dogs, consult your vet for advice on how to use the product and get the most out of it.
- Calming sprays for dogs may not work well in severe cases of anxiety. So, if your dog is suffering from moderate to severe anxiety, consider combining these sprays with a behavioral modification plan or training and other anxiety medications recommended by your vet.
- Sometimes, you may need to use these sprays repeatedly to see noticeable results. For ongoing effects, for instance, expect to spray your dog’s collar or bandana for 2 weeks or longer.
Are Dog Calming Sprays Safe?
The short answer is: Yes, calming sprays are safe for your dog. Since the sprays don’t need to be absorbed into a dog’s bloodstream nor metabolized by a dog’s system to have an effect, they are generally safe for dogs—irrespective of a dog’s health status or age. The sprays are also safe to use with other medications that your dog may be currently receiving.
Does calming sprays affect humans?
No. They don’t. Most calming sprays are odorless and it is even difficult to tell when they are released in the air. If anything, pheromones used in these products are species-specific. This means that dog pheromones won’t affect other animals, including humans. Besides, we lack the receptors to detect dog pheromones.
That being said, it is important to note that some dog calming or pheromone diffusers may cause headaches for people who are sensitive to paraffin oil that these diffusers are formulated with. But don’t worry; if you can withstand a burning handle, a dog calming or pheromone diffuser won’t affect you that much.
The Bottom Line
Like human beings, some dogs don’t feel comfortable when they encounter new and challenging circumstances. Cuddling, yelling, and talking can only aggravate the situation. A calming spray, on the other hand, delivers great results without harming your dog. Besides, the best calming spray for dogs that we have reviewed on this post come at friendly price points, so they are worth it in the long run. Remember that the products will come in handy from time to time during your dog ownership journey.