Picture this, it’s New Year's Eve, you’ve just had your midnight smooch and now you’re watching the dazzling display of colourful fireworks from the balcony. You then look back for your furry bestie and see them whimpering, curled up in the corner of the living room. They’re anxious, and they’re scared. You know that the fireworks are nothing but a show, but your pooch doesn’t. It’s upsetting to watch and would make any pawrent hastily look for answers on how to calm their pooch during stressful events or day-to-day life. If this sounds all too familiar, and you’ve been scouring the internet for ways to reduce dogxiety, you may have come across dog calming collars. But what actually are they? And, do they really work? Read on to find out more.
What Are the Signs of Dog Anxiety?
Before we embark…mind the pun, on our deep dive into dog calming collars, it’s impawtent to know how to pick the signs that your dog might be anxious or stressed.
These signs and symptoms may include:
- Whimpering, cowering, or hiding.
- Restlessness or pacing.
- Barking or growling.
- Having their ears down and back and their tails lowered.
- Digging or burrowing.
- Shaking or trembling.
Dogs may exhibit a few of these traits when they come across something scary or new such as a kite, a stranger, or the scary tomcat from next door. But, if they are frequently showing these signs, or exhibiting signs of stress that are way over the top, this may be more of a sign of dog anxiety.
What are Dog Calming Collars?
Dog calming collars are infused with special scents or pheromones designed to help your dog relax. The collar is placed around your dog's neck like any normal collar, where it then gradually releases these smells over a period of around four weeks at which time it should be replaced or refilled.
Here’s some more info on how each of the two main types of dog calming collars work:
Pheromone Dog Calming Collars
Pheromones are natural chemicals produced by animals such as dogs which are useful for communicating and mating. One such pheromone is called Dog-Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) which is secreted by nursing mother dogs to help calm their puppies. Scientists have figured out how to man-make this pheromone, and this is what is widely used in pheromone dog calming collars.
Essential Oil Dog Calming Collars
If you’ve ever been to a day spa, you’ve probably come out feeling much more relaxed, not just from the amazing massages or treatments, but from the delicate aromas of incense and floral scents wafting through the room. Essential oil dog calming collars work in the same way, providing aromatherapy to your pooch. Lavender is the most common scent used in essential oil dog calming collars for its natural calming and sleep-promoting qualities.
It's impawtent to remember though, that although mild exposure to the scent of lavender such as that in a dog calming collar is generally safe for dogs, not all scents from essential oils are.
Essential oils should never be applied directly to your pooch's skin or ingested unless they are explicitly labelled for use on dogs. Always monitor your pup when starting to use something new for any adverse reactions, or consult a vet if you’re ever unsure. Essential oils are even more toxic for cats, so if your pooch has a feline brother or sister, it’s probably safest to avoid this type of dog calming collar.
Does a Dog Calming Collar Really Work?
For the case of the pheromone dog calming collar, one study from South Korea, found that pooches in doggy hospitals that were exposed to DAP experienced less separation anxiety. Another study in Australia showed a reduction in anxious or aroused behaviour in shelter dogs when exposed to DAP, music, and to a lesser extent lavender. There haven’t yet been any high-quality studies into the effects of specific dog calming collars, however, the results of these studies are promising.
Overall, the use of a safe dog calming collar may be beneficial for mild cases of dogxiety. However, it’s unlikely that using a dog calming collar by itself will be the only thing that stops your dog from becoming anxious. For the best results in keeping your pooch calm, you should pair the use of a dog calming collar with other strategies that help to comfort your dog.
Here’s a few to try:
- Reward calm behaviour with their favourite delicious dog treat.
- Introduce new things, people, or animals slowly.
- Desensitise your dog to sounds that trigger them like the jingling of your keys if they get separation anxiety, or playing sounds like other dogs barking at low volume then slowly increase it whilst keeping them calm.
- Create a safe space for them such as a comfy bed or crate where they can go to seek comfort and calm.
- Comfort them when they’re scared with lots of cuddles.
- Feed them a natural dog calming treat.
- Stay calm and don’t shout at them if they’re barking or growling. Never punish your pup if they’re anxious or scared as this may only make the problem worse.
Have You Tried Scrumbles Dog Calming Treats?
Anxious dogs go crazy…or should we say calmly, for our Nibbles Dog Calming Treats. They’re the most delicious and all-natural way to calm your stressed-out pooch safely.
Shaped like a giant chocolate button, they’re hand-baked in the UK and packed with lip-smacking and naturally calming turkey, chamomile and lemon balm.
We like to use them as doggy bedtime biscuits to whisk our pooches off to sleep quickly, or ahead of stressful situations like taking them to the vet or around fireworks season.
So go ahead and treat your pup the Scrumbles way, to calm their mind and nourish them from the inside out.