anxiety supplements for dogs

A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Anxiety Supplements for Dogs

Katelyn Son
By Katelyn Son
Medically reviewed by JoAnna Pendergrass, DVM
If you buy something from a link on our site, we may earn a commission. See our advertising disclosure.
If you buy something from a link on our site, we may earn a commission.
See our advertising disclosure.

Do Anxiety Supplements Work for Dogs?

Do Anxiety Supplements Work for Dogs

Yes, anxiety supplements for dogs work. Pet owners, veterinarians, and studies have found that calming dog supplements are quite effective in providing anxiety relief.

Some of the most effective anxiety supplements for dogs are CBD, tryptophan, melatonin, pheromones, and chamomile. The research on these remedies is still ongoing, but the results from the studies conducted so far are highly promising.

Always consult your vet before starting to use anxiety supplements for dogs. Some anxiety supplements for dogs may interact with certain medications and cause negative side effects. Also, not every supplement works the same in all dogs.

Dog Anxiety Supplements: Our Top Picks

Dog Anxiety Supplements: Our Top Picks

Honest Paws CBD for Dogs. The Honest Paws Calm CBD line is specifically formulated to support dogs in stressful situations. All the products are made with organic full-spectrum hemp oil with naturally occurring CBD.

Although there is not yet veterinary research proving CBD’s anxiety-relieving effects in dogs, pet owners have reported that CBD has relieved anxiety in their pets. CBD is safe and rarely causes any negative side effects.

The Honest Paws Calm CBD line includes oil, soft chews, bites, and peanut butter. Choose which one works best for the dog and is easiest for you to dose and administer. If needed, you can combine different Honest Paws products.

Vets Preferred Hemp Calming Chews for Dogs. This calming supplement by Vets Preferred is made with three active ingredients: hemp extract, L-theanine, and L-tryptophan.

Hemp extract contains cannabidiol, a compound that has proven to relieve anxiety.  The two amino acids (L-theanine and L-tryptophan) are excellent at balancing the brain’s neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine.

The best thing about the supplements is that they are formulated as soft chews. The chews are poultry-flavored and, because of the smooth consistency and texture, very easy to use.

Zesty Paws Calming Bites for Dogs. The Zesty Paw bites are calming aids made for anxious dogs. They help relieve the symptoms of anxiety caused by car rides, loud noises, fireworks, thunderstorms, and separation.

The calming treats contain many anxiety-relieving natural ingredients like organic hemp seed powder, organic chamomile, organic valerian root, organic passionflower, organic ginger root, thiamine, L-theanine, and L-tryptophan.

These calming bites are peanut butter flavored and have a pleasant, dog-friendly texture. Simply put, the use of the bites is straightforward and hassle-free.

What Supplements Help Dog Anxiety?

There are many anxiety supplements for dogs. Which supplement is best depends on the case. Here is a short overview of some of the best anxiety supplements for dogs.

What Supplements Help Dog Anxiety

Chamomile for Dogs

How does Chamomile help with dog anxiety?

Chamomile is a herb with natural calming properties. Its mild sedative effects can help dogs with anxiety. The main active ingredient in chamomile is a phytochemical known as apigenin. Apigenin relaxes the muscles and mind, thus promoting calmness and relaxation.

How is Chamomile given to dogs?

You can give chamomile in tea. This is done by brewing chamomile in hot water and allowing it to cool. If you prefer something more convenient, you can use chamomile supplements in the form of pills, capsules, extracts, or chamomile-infused snacks.

What are Chamomile’s side effects in dogs?

The side effects of chamomile in dogs include stomach upset (telltale signs are vomiting and diarrhea), skin irritation, and allergies. Allergic reactions to chamomile products in dogs are not very common, but they are possible.

CBD for Dogs

How does CBD help with dog anxiety?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural compound extracted from hemp. Pet CBD relieves anxiety and supports calmness by interacting with the dog’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). Through its action on the ECS, CBD is able to promote the release of feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin, resulting in a positive feeling.

How is CBD given to dogs?

CBD is given depending on the form. CBD oil can be added to dog food or incorporated into homemade recipes. It can also be applied to the skin. Finally, some dog treats contain CBD.

What are CBD’s side effects in dogs?

Side effects of CBD include dizziness, dry mouth, decreased blood pressure, and increased sleepiness. Depending on the carrier oil used in the formula, CBD for dogs may also cause a stomach upset (vomiting, diarrhea, and appetite loss).

Honest Paws Calm CBD Oil for Dogs
  • Formulated to promote calmness and relaxation
  • Full Spectrum CBD Oil 
  • Third Party Lab Tested
  • Made in the USA

l-Theanine for Dogs

How does l-Theanine help with dog anxiety?

L-Theanine is an amino acid and is well-known for its ability to stimulate the release of some neurotransmitters in the brain. L-theanine is involved in the function of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is vital for anxiety management, given that it supports calmness and relaxation.

How is L-Theanine given to dogs?

Anxiety supplements for dogs with L-theanine usually contain additional active ingredients and come in the form of chewable treats. There are also pills with L-theanine, but they tend to be trickier to use.

What are L-Theanine’s side effects in dogs?

Side effects of L-theanine are very rare in dogs. However, if the supplement is misused, it can cause shaking, drooling, excessive barking, hiding, and inappropriate urination. Some dogs can demonstrate attention-seeking behaviors.

l-Tryptophan for Dogs

How does L-Tryptophan help with dog anxiety?

Similar to L-theanine, L-tryptophan is also an amino acid. L-tryptophan works by stimulating the production of happiness-promoting hormones like serotonin. For a more potent efficacy and stronger calming effects, L-tryptophan is used in conjunction with other ingredients like passionflower and L-theanine.

How is L-Tryptophan given to dogs?

L-tryptophan is available as tablets and chews. However, you can also naturally increase the dog’s L-tryptophan intake by adding foods rich in this amino acid. Common examples include chicken, fish, and eggs.

What are L-Tryptophan’s side effects in dogs?

Side effects of tryptophan include gastrointestinal issues and confusion. Stomach upset is not an uncommon side effect of anxiety supplements for dogs and manifests as diarrhea and vomiting.

Melatonin for Dogs

How does Melatonin help with dog anxiety?

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that controls sleep. The hormone can help with anxiety by promoting a sense of relaxation during stressful moments like long road trips. It also helps to reduce hyperactivity and manage general dog anxiety.

How is Melatonin given to dogs?

Melatonin is given orally as a pill, chewable, or via a liquid dropper. The hormone comes in different forms, and it is best advised to consult with your trusted vet on the best form and strength for your dog.

What are Melatonin’s side effects in dogs?

Side effects of melatonin include itching, increased heart rate, confusion, drowsiness, and gastrointestinal issues. We must note that the hormone may cause fertility issues, so talk to your vet if your dog is part of a breeding program.

Passionflower for Dogs

How does Passionflower help with dog anxiety?

Passionflower is an herb that has been used for centuries in many traditions because of its sedative effects. It has a calming effect because it increases the levels of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps reduce anxiety. Anecdotal reports show that passionflower has a positive effect on anxious dogs.

How is Passionflower given to dogs?

You can give your dog passionflower supplements made specifically for dogs. They come in the form of pills and chewable treats. You can also make passionflower teas and incorporate the herb in homemade dog treats and recipes.

What are Passionflower’s side effects in dogs?

Side effects of passionflower in dogs are very rare, but they include dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, and increased heart rate. As with all supplements, passionflower may cause stomach upset, especially if misused.

Pheromone Therapy for Dogs

How does Pheromone Therapy help with dog anxiety?

Pheromones are chemicals animals make and release as signals. For example, mother dogs produce pheromones to soothe newborn puppies. This natural process can be replicated by spraying pheromones in your dog’s environment and is very helpful for pets with separation anxiety.

How is Pheromone Therapy given to dogs?

The most effective way of giving pheromone therapy is using a diffuser. Add the pheromones to a diffuser and set it to spray small amounts at specific intervals. Pheromones for dogs are also available as sprays and collars.

What are Pheromone Therapy’s side effects in dogs?

According to WebMD, pheromones rarely cause any side effects in dogs and cats. This is because pheromones are natural, species-specific, and very simple to use. The site mentions that pheromones are safe for skittish, sick, and elderly pets.

Thiamine for Dogs

How does Thiamine help with dog anxiety?

Thiamine is a B-complex vitamin, more specifically B1. Vitamin B1 works by promoting nerve health. B vitamins are generally essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system. Thiamine also balances the blood sugar levels, which indirectly affects anxiety levels.

How is Thiamine given to dogs?

Thiamine supplements are given orally as pills. More often than not, supplements for dogs feature more vitamins from the B-complex in the same formula. However, if necessary, you can choose a B1 formula alone.

What are Thiamine’s side effects in dogs?

Side effects of thiamine are very rare in dogs. However, giving too much or for too long can cause stomach upset. Too much thiamine can also upset the balance of other B-complex vitamins.

Valerian Root for Dogs

How does Valerian Root help with dog anxiety?

Valerian root is a herb known for its mild sedative effects. These effects can help a dog with anxiety simply because they promote calmness. Valerian root has positive effects even after a dog just smells it. However, the exact science behind how valerian root works is not well understood.

How is Valerian Root given to dogs?

Valerian root supplements for dogs come in different forms, such as pills, capsules, or drops. There are also many homemade valerian root recipes. However, the commercial options are more straightforward to get and use.

What are Valerian Root’s side effects in dogs?

Side effects of valerian root include dizziness, vomiting, GI issues, and lethargy. Valerian root can also interact with certain medications. For example, it interacts with anti-epilepsy drugs. Therefore, you need to consult with a vet if your dog has another medical condition that requires medication.

What is the Best Anxiety Supplement for Dogs?

What is the Best Anxiety Supplement for Dogs

There is no universally fit anxiety supplement. Which anxiety supplement is best will depend on the dog and its specific type of anxiety. If the dog is on additional anti-anxiety treatments (thundershirts, behavior modification, drugs), they need to be considered too.

Consult your vet on which supplement is best for your dog’s anxiety. Finding the best anxiety supplements for dogs may take some experimentation – try a few different products and determine which one works best.

In general, the best rescue remedy should be high-quality and safe, and efficient. To ensure easy use, it should feature a chicken flavor, peanut butter flavor, or some other dog-friendly flavor.