Keep calm and carry on with the best pet calming products

Here are our best tips to help your dogs and cats chill out home alone with anti-anxiety pet products.

Pet calming products - take a break pets

by Caitlin Casey |

If you have a cat or dog, you know how stressful party season can be for your pets. From fireworks night all the way up to New Year, pet anxiety can be high. If your furry friend gets nervous around loud bangs and noises, there are plenty of pet calming products on the market that will ease their nerves so you can relax with them too.

Over 3.2 million households bought a pet over lockdown, so it will be totally new for many pet parents to leave their dogs or cats at home. It’s not going to be easy on you either, especially after spending the last year and a half together 24/7.

Nobody wants to see their beloved companion anxious or scared, so we’ve collated the best things to help take a little bit of stress off - while we can’t cure their fear like we’d want to, we can invest in remedies to reassure you and your pet. These remedies can also help with separation anxiety, aggression, or stress while travelling, so every possibility is covered.

Related: Ask the vet: dogs, cats and rodents

How do I know if my pet is anxious?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably looking at some of the signs of anxiety in pets and how they act when they’re feeling stressed. Some situations including separation, phobias, and illness or injury can be common causes of anxiety in cats and dogs. To make it extra clear, here are some signs of stress and anxiety in pets:

• Trembling

• Hiding

• Trying to escape

• Tucking-their tail between their legs

• Being lethargic

• Panting

• Pacing

• Seeking comfort and affection

• Barking and howling excessively

• Destructive tendencies

• Decreased appetite

• Digestive issues

What to do if your pet is anxious

It can be overwhelming to think that your pet has anxiety, but it can be common in rescue pets or those going through stressful situations. In any situation, if you suspect your pet has anxiety, you should always contact your vet. They can help suggest a course of action and find out the trigger.

If you’ve already contacted your vet and are now looking at how you can take action at home, here is our choice of popular and useful options. You'll find pet calming products such as dog calming beds and plug-ins, plus cat calming products like compression shirts and supplements.

Why are our pets scared of fireworks?

According to RSPCA, it is estimated that 45 per cent of dogs in the UK display nervousness or fear when they hear fireworks. However, there are many simple ways you can help your pet cope with the loud noises on Bonfire Night. If you do a little preparation before the fireworks begin your pet will be less scared. Here is an infographic from RSPCA which displays some useful information about fireworks and pets.

What to do if your dog is scared of fireworks

Working with premium raw pet food brand Natural Instinct, Canine behaviour expert Kirsten Dillon has some great tips for fireworks season.

Kirsten explains, "Fireworks are a dog’s worst nightmare! With more people celebrating Bonfire Night at home, it is likely there will be an increase in loud bangs from different places to terrify our dogs. We’d urge people to consider other ways to enjoy the festivities that don’t involve setting off fireworks in the back garden."

"It’s important to make sure your dog feels as safe as possible. There are lots of simple ways to do this, such as closing the windows and curtains to muffle the sounds, but there are also more unusual things you can try to help them stay relaxed and calm. Clinical research shows that reggae is the most effective musical style to soothe and calm dogs, while other studies show that audiobooks of Roald Dahl stories have had similar effects!"

Best pet calming products for dogs and cats

Check out all the details of why these are the best pet calming products for cats and dogs below.

Always consult a vet before undertaking any pet treatments.

Muswanna Calming Pet Bed

Best calming pet bed
Muswanna Calming Pet Bed
Amazon

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Amazon

This warm doughnut cushion is perfect for your pet looking for a safe space, allowing them to sink into its cushion. This is a simple way to make your pet feel more comfortable and give them a place for their own. Designed to create a sense of security, you can get this cushion in different sizes to suit your pet.

Why it's the best:

• Comes in multiple colours and sizes for all pets

• Perfect for pets who love to curl up due to its donut shape

• Easy to wash, just throw in the washing machine

• Non-slip pads on the bottom of the bed

Review: “Our Jack Russell was in this bed as soon as it came out of the packaging. He loves it! It’s super soft and cosy and he sinks right into it. He can either curl up and the sides surround him or spread out and use the sides like a pillow. He’s a happy little dog!”

Lintbells YuCALM Dog Calming Supplement

Best calming supplements
YuCALM Dog Supplement
Amazon

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Lintbells is well-known for its YuMOVE supplements, so there's no surprise that YuCALM supplements have taken place as a great anti-anxiety product for your pet. Containing L-theanine, B vitamins, natural fish protein hydrolysate and lemon balm to soothe your pooch. These are not an immediate tool as they take a few weeks to help your pet. Also available for cats for those with feline friends.

Why it's the best:

• Recommended by animal behaviourists and vets

• Only need to give your pooch one a day

• Your dog will be far more relaxed and find playfulness again

Review: “He sleeps deeper and for longer. He - mostly - ignores door knocking and visitors now. He is so much less jumpy we can finally relax when walking him. He has also found his playful-ness again; often found playing, digging, burying, shredding, rolling and wriggling around, calling out his "play" bark. This contains no synthetic drugs, just natural ingredients (think of human vitamin tablets or Omega oil supplements).”

Pet Remedy Natural Stress Plug-in Diffuser

Best calming plug-in
Pet Remedy Natural Diffuser
Amazon

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This remedy is super easy and all you need to do is plug it in! It works immediately with a blend of valerian, vetiver and other essentials released into the air to help your pet feel relaxed. This isn't just for cats and dogs though, you can use this on a range of pets including rodents, rabbits and even horses. Don't forget to pick up refills of the remedy to ensure you're always stocked up.

Why it’s the best:

• It works the same day

• Easy to use – you just have to plug it in

• Ideal for a range of pets: cats, dogs, rodents, rabbits, horses and birds

Review: “This product was amazing from the day I plugged it in! My Siberian husky would destroy the house while I was at work every day without fail regardless of what I left her to chew, eat or play with. I plugged this bad boy in and have come home every day since to not one thing touched and a happy girl asleep with the cat on the sofa. Even the cats more chilled and loving. I can smell it slightly but it’s a nice smell and not at all offensive. I would highly recommend trying this plug-in.”

Feliway Classic Kit Diffuser and Refill

Best calming plug-in for cats
Feliway Classic Diffuser
Amazon

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If you're looking for a diffuser specifically designed for cats, Feliway is the one for you. One of the top brands to pick up, it contains the natural pheromone a cat releases when they rub up against something to mark an area as safe and secure. This makes it easy to feel comfortable in their own area and is recommended by vets and animal charities. You can also grab refills for this product so you won't run low.

Why it’s the best:

• Contains the ‘feline facial’ pheromone so your cat feels comfortable

• Scentless so you don’t have to worry

• Used by vets and behaviourists

Review: “We looked into Feliway and didn't actually think it would work - boy were we wrong! After just a few days he stopped spraying/weeing where he shouldn't. He's even become more receptive to strokes (he was a miserable little bugger!) he spends most of his time indoors now, which saves us a huge amount of money as he's not outside getting attacked by other cats. I would definitely recommend using Feliway if your cat sprays/wees where they shouldn't!”

Thundershirt The Best Solution For Dog Anxiety

Best anti-anxiety dog jacket
Thundershirt The Best Solution For Dog Anxiety

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Pets at Home

Sometimes all a dog wants is a good fuss or attention from its owner. Just like swaddling a child or using a weighted blanket, anxiety jackets apply gentle, constant pressure to calm pets and make them feel safe. The jackets help your dog to feel comfortable and you can tighten up the straps so it fits perfectly.

Why it’s the best:

• It comes in different sizes to fit your dog right

• Straps to fit comfortably

• Drug free, a good alternative

Reviews: “Velcro, great as you can stretch this item as much as you want, so poochy can feel as warm and comfortable, as being with their mother. It really comforts them, especially when fireworks are going off. Would recommend.”

Thundershirt Calming Cat Vest

Best calming cat vest
Thundershirt Calming Cat Vest
Amazon

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Available in small, medium and large depending on your kitty, this cat vest also uses pressure like the dog jacket to calm your cat. Suggested by vets and proven to help anxiety because of its weight, this helps with storms, separation, travel and other anxieties.

Why it’s the best:

• Recommended by vets

• No need for training, just pop on and it should work!

• Various sizes and straps to fit your feline flawlessly

Review: “This did wonders for our stressy cat. Within an hour of having it on, he was a different boy. Completely relaxed. Nothing short of a miracle after trying plug-ins and meds with no luck. We're very lucky this suited him and did the trick. Recommended.”

Beaphar Calming Collar for Cats and Dogs

Best calming collar
beaphar calming collar
Amazon

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Made for both dogs and cats, these calming collars help de-stress your pet by releasing valerian and lavender, beginning work in just an hour. Best for a quick remedy, these collars are perfect if you're looking to travel or have guests. One collar should last up to six weeks before it needs replacing so you can use it repeatedly.

Why it’s the best:

• Perfect remedy for firework displays, kennel visits or quick remedies

• Can use this for up to 6 weeks

• Includes a mechanism so your pet can slip out of the collar if it gets caught

Review: “Purchased this collar for a semi-feral cat who is extremely territorial about one heavily used room in our house, and who launches unprovoked attacks on me (and only me) when I’m in it. Applied the collar this morning, and so far, no more attacks, my legs remain intact and scratch-free.”

ADAPTIL Calm On-the-Go Collar

Best non-herbal calming collar
ADAPTIL Calming collar
Amazon

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If you want an easy alternative but donu2019t want to use herbal scents, this collar uses the dog appeasing pheromone which a mother will naturally release to her litter having the same effect on adult dogs. This collar is aimed at larger dogs and there's also an option to include a home diffuser if you want to get a bigger package. Trusted by vets, each collar lasts around a month.

Why it’s the best:

• Recommended by vets

• Using natural pheromones rather than herbal scents

• Can also come with a home diffuser if you want

Review: “There are a lot of mixed reviews so obviously it does not work for everyone. Fortunately for us, it has proved very effective at managing our dog's anxiety. There has been a noticeable difference in him since using this and I would recommend it to anyone. If your dog is anxious, give it a go. Also, it is much cheaper here on Amazon than purchasing directly from the vet. Edit: just wanted to add that a year on from writing this review, we still regularly use this and still find it very effective.”

Dermadog Hush Calming Spray

Best natural calming spray
Dermadog Hush Calming Spray

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This 100 per cent natural blend of essential oils will work with your dog's natural relaxation pathways so that they can keep calm and relieve anxiety. This spray is infused with lavender, chamomile, and sage, working quickly and used in various anxiety-inducing situations. This can be used on puppies from eight weeks old too, so you can use it for dogs and younger pups.

Why it’s the best:

• Uses natural remedies and essential oils

• Approved by vets

• Paraben-free

Pet Remedy Calming Spray

Best for using on-the-go
pet remedy calming spray
Amazon

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This Pet Remedy pet calming spray can be used anywhere and taken with you to ensure your pet's comfort. Safe for the skin and coat of the animal, it can be sprayed on their chest or muzzle, as well as on beds. You can use this spray on various pets as it's suitable for dogs, cats, rodents and horses, it begins working immediately and can last for two to six hours, depending on your pet. If you want to try before you fully buy, you can also get this in 15ml rather than the 200ml full bottle.

Why it’s the best:

• Can use on a variety of pets including cats, dogs, rodents and horses

• Option to buy a bigger or smaller bottle

• Includes Valerian essential oil with Vetiver, Basil and Sage

Review: "Just used this for the first time tonight. I'm very surprised but happy I can say this stuff works - sprayed on beds and furniture for Marvin. We can hear the fireworks but nothing from him, no pacing, panting, crying, barking etc... nothing! He is just chilled laid by our feet. Even my other dog (crazy Doberman) seems more relaxed. He didn’t even bother to come in the kitchen while I was cooking and that is definitely a first."

Beaphar Calming Spot-On for Dogs

Best calming spot-on treatment
beaphar calming spot on
Amazon

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If you're not a fan of collars, sprays or tablets, maybe a spot-on treatment would be more effective for your pet. Just like flea treatments, the pipette is applied between the ears and will last for a week. The product activates within one hour of application and the pack contains three pipettes, so if your pooch is finding it overwhelming, you can just pop it on.

Why it’s the best:

• Easy to use with spot on treatment

• Product activates within 1 hour of application

Review: “Definitely recommend this product, our dog was so anxious on the nights leading up to bonfire night, this product relaxed the dog to some extent and was nowhere near as anxious. Have used it twice now and will be using it again. Highly recommend for anyone with nervous dogs.”

Itch Calm for Dogs and Cats

Best calming monthly subscription
itch health calm for dogs and cats

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If your pet needs a regular supplement and suffers all year round, subscribing to Itch Pet could be your next buy. It's a great option if you need to save money as it's available each month. If you're not looking to top up every month, you can also buy it as an add on, so you can see how your pet deals with it.

Why it’s the best:

• Supports natural calming pathways

• Available as a monthly subscription so you don’t have to top up

• Available for small to extra-large pets

Dermadog Calm Nourishing Balm

Best calming balm
dermadog calm nourishing balm

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Any irritation from licking, scratching or biking can be soothed with this Calm Nourishing Balm by Dermadog. With anti-allergen and expertly formulated ingredients, your dog will be relieved to be soothed with this balm. A 100 per cent natural recipe means it's safe to lick whilst working on your pet.

Why it’s the best:

• 100 per cent natural

• Helps to calm and smooth irritation

• Anti-allergen

Review: “I love this. Puppy not so much, even though I use less of it because he sneezes. I love how moisturising this is on his paws. I love the scent and the fact it's natural and lickable.”

How to treat separation anxiety in dogs

Consulting with animal behaviourist Bryony Cole from Eye to Eye dogs, you can find a guide for owners on how to avoid separation anxiety in their dogs as well as using pet calming products. For a run-down of the top tips we’ve found, here are our highlights below so that you know what to do as you head back to the office.

Five tips to prepare a dog to be left alone:

1. Test runs

Make sure you have tested out with trial runs leaving home, so that your dog won’t feel as stressed when you adjust back to office work. These runs are recommended by going through a typical morning routine, leaving them for five minutes and then building the duration of the separation up.

2. A brisk walk

If your dog struggles with any excess energy, take your dog for a brisk walk before leaving for work in the morning so any extra alertness is taken off. This puts them in the mood to relax. A 45-minute walk is what's recommended for most breeds if they’re being left indoors for a longer period of time.

3. Find a trusted dog walker to break up the day

Too intense? You can find a trusted family member, professional dog walker or someone close to you to check on your dog during the day. This also gives the opportunity to get some fresh air, exercise and relieve themselves.

Ideally, a dog must not be left alone for longer than six hours, and that’s two hours for puppies. If a dog walker isn’t in your budget, you can use sites like Borrow My Doggy to connect dog lovers with families whose pet needs attention or walking.

4. Rotate toys

If you change up your dogs' toys every day, it will reduce the chances of them getting bored. Give them different toys to play with every day and this may give them a different experience.

5. Put your dog into a separate room while WFH

If your dog is used to being by your side, this may be a cause for their separation anxiety. While you’re still working from home, spend some time with your dog in a different room to test how they’ll behave separated. This will give you a chance to see how your dog behaves while building up its tolerance for isolation. Just like the trial runs, increase your time slowly.

Dog staring out window - best pet calming products
©Photo: Getty Images

Kristen's top tips for keeping your dog calm during fireworks:

Create a safe haven. Look at where they choose to hide and turn that place into a soundproof, darkened escape, whether that’s the downstairs toilet or under the stairs!

Play some Reggae music. Clinical studies have proven that Reggae sounds will help soothe and calm anxious dogs.

Play an audiobook such as Roald Dahl stories. Studies have also shown that audiobooks can help create a calm atmosphere with Roald Dahl stories being the top pick for dogs.

Give your dog Sileo. Sileo is proven to be very effective and easy to administer at home to help dogs with noise aversion. However, please do consult your vet or other professionals beforehand for advice and guidance, and make sure you read and follow the instructions carefully.

Try plug-in diffusers, thunder shirts or pet remedies. Plug-ins typically use pheromones with de-stressing properties, while thunder shirts provide gentle constant pressure known to have relaxing effects. Pet remedies such as a calming supplement are also reported to help relieve anxiety. Once again, please consult your vet or other professionals beforehand if you have any concerns, and always read and follow instructions carefully on any pet calming products.

Use something to mask the smell of fireworks. Cordite is a trigger just as much as flashes and noises, so finding a way to cover up the smell will also help.

For more advice watch this video from RSPCA for some top tips on keeping your pets safe and calm this fireworks season. It will even teach you how you can make a safe haven for them so they can retreat to a place of comfort and safety.

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