I started researching calming treats for dogs as was asked for recommendations, and it came as no surprise most have questionable benefit when it comes to easing anxiety and de-stressing your dog.
Quite often treats for specific purposes – calming, anxiety, stress, joints, or just wellbeing – are little more than gimmicks used to convince you to buy them, and most of the time you won’t see any real benefits.
In this guide to calming treats for dogs we’ll take a look at some of the leading brands in Australia, and consider options which may be more beneficial.
- Popular brands of calming treats for dogs
- Other (better ways) to keep your dog calm?
- Final thoughts about calming treats for dogs in Australia
Popular brands of calming treats for dogs
Some brands of calming treats and chews are quite good, others are definitely not – and not worth the price tag either.
It’s important to not a treat does not fall under any regulations, and they don’t need to be healthy or beneficial for your dog.
As a general rule, avoid feeding your dog any treat made mostly from cereal grains or sugars (like dextrose), or at the least keep these treats to a minimum.
Lastly, don’t expect any treat to have any real benefit for aiding stress and anxiety, although you can consider them part of a successful strategy (I’ll discuss other options below).
Here’s a quick rundown of popular brands of calming treats for dogs in Australia. The top 3 can be considered recommendations, then I’ll add a few more so you can see how much calming treats can differ.
#1 HEMPPET Hemp Treats
I find the HEMPPET treats one of the most nutritious based on ingredients, and hemp and hemp oil is commonly associated with reducing anxiety in dogs.
These treats are designed to support joints, skin & coat, immunity, as well as anxiety, but the best thing about them is the main ingredient being organic beef liver. Our dogs are often deprived of organs, and the liver is the most nutritious organ of all.
The only other ingredients are hemp (hempseed oil, hempseed nectar, hempseed hearts, and hempseed protein), which means these treats are 100% good for your dog.
#2 Vetalogica Hemp Clinicals Calming Treats
I consider Vetalogica as a good brand, but like many treats most of the ingredients won’t address the condition they’re marketed for.
In the case of the hemp treats, the main ingredients are a combination of fish meal, sweet potatoes, and chickpeas, possibly in equal amounts. The 4th ingredient is sugar (dextrose) which is something I don’t consider beneficial for our dogs, especially in significant amounts.
The ingredients included for anxiety are way down the list, such as hemp seed powder as the 7th ingredient, and hemp seed oil way down in 11th after salt (less than 1%?).
As a treat the Vetalogica hemp treats aren’t too bad, but the benefit they’ll have for calming your stressed out dog is questionable.
#3 Doggylicious Doggy Butters & Calming Cookies
As a brand sold in Woolworths and other retailers, I wouldn’t have any concerns giving the Doggylicious treats to my dog.
You’ll find a Doggylicious Doggy Butter tub for “Calming”, but it’s basically peanut butter (made from 100% peanuts), with L-Theanine thrown in. You probably don’t know what that is, but it’s an amino acid from tea and certain types of mushroom and research has shown it to reduce anxiety.
The Doggylicious Calming Cookies also contain L-Theanine, but as a treat they’re mostly made from seeds (sunflower seeds, pepita seeds) and coconut flour. I’m not sure I consider seeds overly beneficial for my dog, but as an occasional treat these should be fine – if you think they’ll help calm your dog.
The best thing I find about the Doggylicious Doggy Butter is all dogs love it.
Other brands of calming treats for dogs in Australia
Without further ado:
- AniPal Sea Dreams Relax & Restore Hand Baked Treats – These sound fantastic from the name and claims on the packaging. “Organic & Nutritious Australian Seaweed Protein”, with “Relaxing Valerian Root & Chamomile”. In reality, the main ingredients are tapioca and chickpea flour which aren’t associated with anxiety in any way.
- Vitalitie Calming Biscuit Dog Treats – Another brand of calming treats with elegant packaging and attractive claims – “Superfood biscuits for dogs” amongst others. What isn’t on the front of the pack, however, is the main ingredient being wheat flour – not something I consider good for any dog.
Other (better ways) to keep your dog calm?
If your dog suffers anxiety or stress, either in general, during thunderstorms or fireworks, in the car, or disrupting changes to their environment, you’ll have the most success tackling it in the following ways.
You should see these methods of calming more efficient, and more effective than the range of calming treats for dogs in Australia.
By all means give your dog calming treats as well (good ones if you can), but consider these as well:
Dog Appeasing Pheromones
When a mother dog has puppies they let off a chemical signal to keep their puppies calm. This magic of nature is known as pheromones, or more specifically dog appeasing pheromones or DAPs.
We can’t produce magic ourselves, but the reputable brand Adaptil offer a range of products which have the same pheromone effect – pheromone spray, pheromone calming collars, and a pheromone home diffuser which you plug in to a spare socket.
The Adaptil products work, with great feedback from many dog owners who testify to this, and given they’re side-effect free they’re well worth considering.
The pheromone spray is the most common option, and even though it’s marketed specifically to calm your dog during travel, it also works around the home. It’s also very handy to have in case of thunderstorms.
Addressing anxiety issues in puppies or adult dogs will never work if they’re not comfortable in their home environment. There are many ways to achieve this, and you’ll find many suggestions if you research.
Some good starting points are a cosy nook or dog bed where your dog can relax away from other noise and causes of stress (i.e. away from children, noisy televisions and appliances, and other loud noise or bangs).
Great tip – Dogs like tight closed in spaces which in the wild would keep them safe from being attacked. A dog crate or even a table with a blanket over the top can achieve this. Better yet, if they can jump on top of the crate or table and have a view of life outside the window this can greatly ease anxiety and keep your dog calmer.
I got this tip from the excellent Boredom Busters post on DogZone, so check that out for great ways to keep your dog active and occupied.
Behavioural training starts with understanding the root cause of your dog’s stress and anxiety, which most of the time we fail to understand. Speaking with a local dog behaviourist or trainer is a good idea if you feel like you’re not getting anywhere.
There are many reasons a dog suffers anxiety, and without addressing those reasons you won’t have much luck with calming treats.
It’s a big topic to cover, but thankfully there’s a great deal of information on the world wide web!
Final thoughts about calming treats for dogs in Australia
If this information has been useful, I would really appreciate if you let others know in your dog community. In my experience there are many poor quality treats sold in Australia, and many dogs can suffer.
There are little regulations when it comes to pet treats in general, and many brands take advantage of that, and the simple fact most consumers trust the marketing claims on the packaging.
I know I haven’t covered the worst calming treats for dogs or treats in general, but hopefully this guide has given you the information you need to help calm your dog.
Feel free to add any comments, thoughts, brands, or useful information in the comments below!