How to Calm a Dog With Natural Remedies

By Jane Williams


Various situations can cause your dog to feel stress and anxiety, including traveling, separation from you, and loud noises such as thunder or fireworks. Dealing with an anxious, nervous or fearful dog can cause frustration, and many owners turn to their veterinarians for medications to address this behavior. Depending on your dog's anxiety level, natural remedies may work just as well as, or better than, their pharmaceutical counterparts, with no side effects or other adverse reactions. Always check with your veterinarian before starting any home-based treatment program, and use your dog's size and anxiety level to determine the best calming option for him.

Step 1

Create a safe retreat. Give your dog a quiet, safe place to retreat to, and let him calm himself in times of stress and anxiety. Place soft blankets and chew toys in a bedroom corner, a closet or a covered kennel; encourage him to go there when he's feeling anxious or afraid. Check on him periodically, but let him have peace while he's in his safe zone.

Step 2

Use aromatherapy. Certain scents, such as lavender oil, chamomile and jasmine, are known for their relaxation and stress-relieving qualities. Put a few drops of one of these oils in a diffuser or on a cotton ball and place it near your dog's safe zone to encourage calmness and relaxation. Do not place such objects where the dog can access them, however.

Step 3

Give your dog natural herbs. Herbal supplements offer the relaxing and calming effects of natural remedies in a convenient pill form. Herbs such as valerian, St. John's wort and avena offer calming effects, and you can give them directly to your dog or mix them in his food. Consult your veterinarian before you use these for proper dosage instructions and any warnings.

Step 4

Apply gentle pressure. Petting your dog can have a calming effect on him, and simply holding or hugging him can help reduce his stress and anxiety. Wrapping him in a towel has a similar effect, as does using a product called the Thundershirt, which provides constant, gentle pressure to encourage calming.

Step 5

Use stress-relieving products. Pet product retailers offer multiple forms of natural relaxation products, most of which utilize the relaxing properties of various oils and herbs. Comfort Zone uses dog-appeasing pheromones to encourage calmness, and is available in plug-in or spray delivery systems. Rescue Remedy drops offer a combination of natural scents such as impatiens and clematis to promote relaxation. The calming properties of lavender and valerian are also available in treat form, such as in Ultra-Calm Bites and Healthy Calming Chicken Fillets. Ask your vet before using natural remedies that are to be ingested.
Comments (5)
Apr 16, 2013 renkma
My 12YO Brittany Spaniel had 10 years without any thunder fears, but 2 years ago it started. It was mild to moderate in the beginning, but has worsened and it absolutely terrible now. She is not afraid of just the rain because she has made the connection between rain and thunder. She is afraid of the sound of trucks - thinking it is thunder. She is afraid of the dark and night because she thinks there will be thunder (since there has been occassionally in the past). She trembles terribly and pants very loudly and very hard. It is so bad that I am afraid she will suffer a heart attack if she can't calm down at least a little. I've tried everything. Thundershirt - nope. Comforting her - nope - makes it worse. Treats and playful distraction - nope. A loud fan (white noise) helps slightly. I just spent the night awake with her out in the brightly lit garage with a fan going - I'm exhausted and she is just starting to settle down after a 12 hour extreme panic attack. We are heading to the vet for a full exam and to try and figure out how we can help her. She can't live her life this terrified all the time. And I am so frightened for her. I hope more research is done in this area and someone figures out how to help these poor phobic dogs. I'm at a loss and feel so helpless as I watch her suffer. If anyone has any tips or advise - please comment. Thanks all.
May 3, 2013 sonyaks
Such great advice for pet parents with anxious puppies! Here are a few more herbs you can use to calm your dog's nerves.
Oct 27, 2013 /energypet
@Renkma - Did you ever find a remedy for your dog's anxiety? Were her ears checked?
Nov 20, 2013 /mcvannucci
Ive heard of desensitising techniques being used for problems with noises. The idea is to download or buy a recording of storm sounds and thunder. Play it very softly at first so it is barely recognisable and not noticeable by the dog and very slowly increase the sound so that the increments are not noticeable but over several sessions it gets louder. While the storm sounds are going ensure to give your dogs special treats and/or play games while the noise is in the background. Overtime the dog should not even notice the sounds of a storm and may even associate it with games/treats time. Plan to make the increase in sound unnoticeable but if you do accidently increase toi quickly and the dog does get frightened then ignore the behaviour and drop a few notches for the next session. Hope this helps! Ps- you could do the same with truck noises by playing games/treats and doing it progressively closer to trucks/highway or just downloading truck noises. Regards, Marina
Jul 8, 2014 /denschwindt
My dog has the same exact symptoms as renkmas dog. I have an 8yo lab/retriever and he's usually pretty calm but when he was about 2 or 3 he started reacting to fireworks one 4th of July. Then he started with thunder Then lightning or any flashes outside thinking there will be thunder. Then rain sets him off because he too made the connections of everything one thing after another. Fireworks aren't so bad but last night we had a storm. Air and fan was on hi and he seen the lightning and the panting started then he heard rain then thunder and it went to a full blown panik attack. Nothing calms him quiet place used to meds I.e xanax, benadryl, atavan, herbal stuff, ect. Comforting techniques don't work any more. He gets so bad he tries to get into walls knock over chairs scratch at the floor like trying to dig through maybe. I have a 3 month old baby and he tries to jump in his crib its like he loses his mind and snaps. All I can do now is put his leash on and sit on a chair and restrain him. I'm afraid he's gonna kill himself from fear and I feel so bad and helpless that I actually start crying myself in anxiety and fear for him. Quiet place works with fireworks now but t-storms forget about it. The last step is a med to completely knock him out like a sleeping pill or something. I even contemplated getting rid of him but I love him and I can't bring myself to do it. He's been getting at his worse the last 6 months but been building for 6 yrs or so. I am at my wits end I need help and the vets stuff don't work either. Please I need help with this because I live in Wisconsin so lots of t-storms. The only thing I didn't try is the thunder jacket but idk if that will work cuz he's to far gone now and the older he gets the worse he's getting.
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