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Best calming tablets for dogs 2024: Relieve your pet of its stress and anxiety

Best calming tablets for dogs header

Discover the best calming treats and tablets to help your dog tackle stress and anxiety

Having an anxious dog can be a difficult experience for any owner. Whether your pooch gets stressed by fireworks or they have a naturally anxious disposition – something that has dramatically increased among the UK dog population since 2020 – one of the best calming tablets may be a good way to help your furry friend cope.

There are several different calming tablets for dogs on the market, each having different ingredients and coming in various styles, ranging from cooked treats to powder-filled capsules.

Some are daily supplements and others are “as-and-when” solutions, given only when the stressful situation is likely to happen. Calming tablets may be used to help with separation anxiety, social anxiety and general anxiety, as well as in specific situations where dogs are likely to become stressed.

However, it’s worth bearing in mind that using calming tablets on their own won’t cure your dog’s anxiety, and they must be used in conjunction with proper training methods, ideally in consultation with your vet and an animal behaviourist.

How to choose the best dog calming tablets for your pet

Can any dog take calming tablets?

It’s always worth consulting your vet before putting your dog on any kind of supplement, especially a calming tablet. This is not only to check that your dog will tolerate the tablet well, but also to ensure you have investigated all possible causes for their behaviour. For example, if your dog is reactive towards people or dogs, it might not always be fear or anxiety causing this – sometimes a dog’s “bad” behaviour can be related to pain, so checking with a vet can help rule this out. Your vet will also be able to tell if your dog needs proper medication instead of just the calming supplements, which might be more effective in the long term as not all calming tablets work for all dogs.

What should I look for in dog calming tablets?

Calming tablets tend to include a variety of ingredients, but often the most important is tryptophan, which is an amino acid that’s been proven to reduce stress and aggression in anxious dogs. Tablets containing tryptophan won’t be a one-stop solution, but they can be a great support when working on behavioural issues through training.

Another consideration is the ease of administration (is your dog fussy and likely to decline medication?) and cost. Some calming tablets for dogs can be expensive and when taken every day can be a considerable investment, especially as many will take several weeks to show any results. You might need to invest upwards of £40 before you begin to see some results.

If your dog’s a fussy eater, the easiest calming tablets to administer are those in treat form, which are usually crunchy or chewy pills that your dog will want to wolf down. Others come in powdered form inside a capsule, which are handy for sprinkling into wet food, while those in tablet form might be trickier to administer for fussy dogs.

Can my dog take calming tablets forever?

The calming tablets in this list are all suitable for long-term use, but you should still check in with your vet occasionally to ensure it’s still safe for your dog to take them. Your dog might not need to be on calming tablets forever, though. For example, if you administer calming tablets to help with behavioural issues around other dogs, people or other triggers, once the behaviour has been adjusted through training, you may be able to take the calming tablets out of your dog’s daily diet. Again, this should be done in consultation with your vet and, ideally, a qualified behaviourist.

How we test dog calming tablets

Over the past two years, the author, Lottie Gross has tested several dog calming tablets on her own pet Arty, who has mild separation anxiety and becomes stressed during fireworks night.

Lottie had tried everything from CBD powder to liquid supplements to find a solution that helps keep Arty calm in various situations. She’s also tested various tablets and supplements with other anxious dogs to monitor their responses over a period of three to four weeks.

It’s worth noting that each dog’s response will be different to each calming tablet, so general conclusions are difficult to determine. However, she’s shared her experiences so you can make more informed decisions and understand the practicalities of each different type of supplement.

Calming tablets for dogs should not be used for aggression, and any calming tablets should be used in conjunction with training to set your dog up for a better life. Before trying any calming tablet, consult your veterinarian to check what’s best for your dog.

READ NEXT: Best dog treats

The best calming tablets you can buy for your dog

1. NutriPaw Calming Treats: Best all-rounder

Price when reviewed: £35 | Check price at NutriPaw

Best calming tablets for dog NUTRIPAW

These calming treats were the best for Arty for several reasons, but most notably because Lottie saw a difference in his behaviour after starting to use them. These hugely popular calming tablets for dogs come as easy-to-administer treats, and Arty is happy to take them without issue.

The tablets are marketed as reducing “hyperactivity, barking, anxiety and fear”. The main ingredients are glutamine and tryptophan, plus supplementary extras such as hemp oil, chamomile, valerian root and ginger root. Tryptophan is associated with serotonin production (a neurotransmitter that affects mood and memory), and studies have shown it can help reduce aggression and stress in dogs.

The treats come in a large tub that’s easy to open and seal shut for freshness, and the dosage is easy to follow. To be most effective, these calming tablets are best given on an empty stomach around 30 minutes before food and should be used daily.

Key features – Form: Treats; Contains tryptophan? Yes; Price per tablet: 29p

2. Nutracalm Capsules: Best for occasional use

Price when reviewed: From £13 | Check price at Nutravetbest calming tablets for dogs Nutracalm

Nutracalm capsules can be used “as and when” you know your dog might experience anxiety (such as a busy Christmas day with visitors or during fireworks night) to help them cope better in one-off stressful situations. However, this medication has also been approved for daily use, so if your dog experiences regular bouts of extreme anxiety and stress, these might help make your behavioural training plan more effective if used every day.

This medication is significantly more expensive than other dog calming tablets, though, so daily use might not be the best option if your pet needs ongoing support. However, Lottie has used Nutracalm capsules for Arty during occasional stressful situations and he’s responded well.

Ingredients include stress-busting tryptophan, as well as theanine, which can have a calming effect on dogs, GABA (a neurotransmitter “that helps relax the nervous system”) and vitamin B. The only major downside is that they come as large capsules, so have to be emptied into wet food or given whole, which is tricky for fussy eaters. If your dog doesn’t have an issue with taking medication, though, these are a great effective option.

Key features – Form: Capsules with powder; Contains tryptophan? Yes; Price per tablet: 87p

Check price at Nutravet

3. Pets Purest Functional Calming Treats: Best natural formula

Price when reviewed: £7.99 | Check price at AmazonBest calming tablets for dogs Pets Purest Calming treats

Unlike many of the others, the Pets Purest Functional Calming Treats are an all-natural product. They come as small, hard, bone-shaped pills – like many dog training treats – and can be dispensed to your dog as and when you wish (within healthy diet constraints). These aren’t like a daily medication tablet and can be used in training, or simply as a treat for their good behaviour.

Ingredients in these calming treats include duck, chicken, sweet potato, peas, an omega 3 supplement, plus camomile and lavender. While they didn’t have a noticeable effect on Arty’s behaviour, he was very keen on their flavour, so they were easy to administer.

If you’re not looking for a vast change in your dog’s mood but simply want a healthy treat that might keep them feeling calm, these are a good bet. The company also produces a daily calming supplement in liquid form that can be used in your dog’s food every morning.

Key features – Form: Treats; Contains tryptophan? No; Price per tablet: 7p

4. Sealions Soothe & Calm: Best-value calming tablets

Price when reviewed: £5 | Check price at Sealionsbest calming tablets for dogs Sealions

If you’ve got a dog that’s confident in taking medication and isn’t a fussy eater, these tablets could be for you. They come as hardened tablets like a medication pill, and can be broken up or crushed into food. They’re also incredibly good value at around five pence per tablet.

Ingredients include vitamins B1, B3, B6 and B12, folic acid, magnesium and ginger, as well as theanine extract from green tea, which is an amino acid that’s said to help increase dopamine levels responsible for satisfaction and pleasure in the brain. These Soothe & Calm tablets don’t contain tryptophan, which is widely accepted as the most useful ingredient for keeping anxious dogs calm, but have plenty of others that help do the trick.

Key features – Form: Tablets; Contains tryptophan? No; Price per tablet: 5p

Check price at Sealions

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