Having an anxious furry friend can be challenging for pet parents. Thankfully, there are several tools that can be used to help ease canine anxiety.
One of these tools is known as a calming collar. Below, we’ll explain everything you need to know about calming dog collars, explain how they work, and share some of our favorite options available on the market.
Quick Picks: Best Calming Collars For Your Canine
- #1 Adaptil Calming Collar [Best Overall Calming Collar]: This calming collar is one of the best-rated options around, and it boasts both a strong pheromone concentration and lightweight design.
- #2 CPFK Calming Collar [Best Long-Lasting Calming Collar]: This collar lasts an impressive 60 days which provides additional owner convenience and makes it a great option for pups who need ongoing support.
- #3 Healex Calming Collar [Most Affordable Calming Collar]: The calming effects of this collar may be more subtle than other options, but it provides a very cost-effective way to try out calming collars with your dog.
What Are Calming Collars for Dogs?
Calming collars are anxiety management tools that emit a pleasant scent or release pheromones that mimic the soothing hormones mother dogs produce.
These collars are pretty thin and they are usually not designed to clip to a leash. So, they are usually worn along with a regular dog collar or harness (of course, you can also use a “regular” but highly unique dog collar if that suits your pup’s style better).
Some owners allow their pets to wear calming collars all the time, while others only do so before or during stressful occasions.
In either case, the soothing effect usually lasts for a couple of weeks before the collars require a replacement.
What Kinds of Problems Can Calming Collars Help With?
Calming collars are designed to reduce stress and fear in a variety of situations. Again, every dog will react differently to calming collars, but they have proven helpful for addressing a variety of different issues.
For example, some pet parents use these tools to help with their dog’s chronic separation anxiety. Others use calming collars for soothing situational anxiety, like keeping their dogs calm during fireworks or thunderstorms.
And there are some owners who’ve found calming collars helped their dogs adjust to things like social isolation or adjusting to new, unfamiliar environments.
Different Types of Dog Calming Collars: Your Basic Options
There are three main types of calming collars: Some use essential oils, some rely on soothing pheromones, and others utilize both types of substances to help calm your canine. However, as you’ll see in a moment, the vast majority are of the pheromone-releasing variety.
We’ll break down everything you need to know about the two types below so that you can pick the right style for your furry friend:
Aromatherapy-based calming collars use soothing scents like lavender to help calm your canine. Note that there isn’t much clinical research that backs these essential-oil-infused collars, but some owners swear by them and find them very helpful.
Do note that there aren’t that many on these on the market, presumably because these types of collars aren’t backed by much science. Accordingly, we do not recommend any aromatherapy-only calming collars below.
Pheromone-releasing collars emit synthetic pheromones that mimic the hormones produced by mamma doggos. We know for sure that pheromones can influence behavior, and several models of this type of collar have been on the market for a while.
The pheromones released by these types of calming collars are called dog appeasing pheromones (abbreviated as DAP). Different collars utilize different concentrations of DAP, generally expressed as a percentage on the product packaging.
Unlike aromatherapy collars, pheromone calming collars have been studied — and these studies have yielded pretty promising results. While more research is still needed, these collars have been shown to reduce fear triggered by sound, help with socialization, and reduce separation anxiety.
As explained earlier, some collars take a “best of both worlds” approach and utilize soothing essential oil scents and pheromones to help reduce canine anxiety.
Some of these have earned pretty positive owner feedback, and the dual-pronged approach appeals to a lot of owners trying out calming collars. Other owners prefer to avoid collars containing essential oils, believing them to be nothing more than snake oil.
Ultimately, you’ll simply need to decide which approach seems like the best option for you and your pooch (and in consultation with your pupperino’s veterinarian).
The 6 Best Calming Collars
Without further ado, here are some of the best calming collars for dogs. Note that every dog will react differently to these anti-anxiety tools, so it may be worth trying out other anxiety-management strategies, too.
1. Adaptil Calming Collar
Adaptil Calming Collar
A lightweight, DAP-releasing collar that’s earned the best reviews and owner feedback among calming collars.
About: One of the best calming collars available is this pheromone-release collar from Adaptil. The calming collar has a strong 5% DAP concentration and has an adjustable design for a secure fit.
- Adaptil Pheromone-based calming collar
- Lasts up to 4 weeks
- Adjustable fit
- 5% DAP concentration
- Lightweight plastic design
Options: This collar is designed for small dogs up to 35 pounds, but the brand also carries calming collars for larger furry friends.
- Features the strongest DAP concentration we’ve found
- Many pet parents found it effective for addressing separation- and fear-based anxiety
- The collar is unscented, which some dogs and owners prefer
- You need to take off this collar when your dog is being bathed
- It’s one of the most expensive calming collars
2. CPFK Calming Collar
About: This long-lasting calming collar from CPFK is another great option. And because it may help soothe Spot for up to 60 days, it’s a bit more cost-effective and convenient than some other options. This adjustable 25-inch collar should fit most furry friends and dispenses pheromones along with chamomile and lavender scents.
- Scented with lavender and chamomile essential oils
- Lasts for up to 6 days
- Waterproof design
- Designed to start working within an hour
- 0.01% DAP concentration
Options: This grey collar comes in a single 25-inch size that can be cut for a precise fit Fido.
- Several pet parents found the collar helped dogs adjust to new environments
- Waterproof design is perfect for daily use
- It’s easy to customize, thanks to the trimmable design
- This collar has a very low DAP concentration
- Some pet parents found the collar’s scent overwhelming
3. Adaptil JR
A pheromone-based calming collar that is “scaled down” to help calm down anxious puppies.
About: If you’re bringing home a precious puppy, a calming collar like this one can make the transition a whole lot easier. Moving to a new home will still be a big deal, but this collar may help your pooch rest easier at night and gain confidence while exploring his new world. This pheromone-releasing collar has an adjustable neck to grow with your pooch.
- Adjustable design
- Lightweight rubber material
- 5% DAP concentration
- Lasts for up to 4 weeks
Options: The adjustable collar is 6-inches long and comes in a light-blue color.
- One of the highest hormone concentrations available for puppy calming collars
- Several pet parents reported that it helped puppies sleep better
- Affordable price point
- Older, fast-growing puppies may outgrow the collar before 4 weeks passes
- A few pet parents reported that this collar irritated their dog’s skin
4. CPFK Calming Collar Two-Pack
About: This two-pack of calming collars is a great deal if your dog uses these collars on a regular basis. Affordable and effective, these combination-style calming collars release soothing hormones along with chamomile and lavender essential oils.
- Two-pack of 60-day collars
- Lightweight, waterproof design
- One-size-fits-all adjustable collar
- Dispenses chamomile and lavender
- 0.01% DAP concentration
Options: This two-pack comes with a light grey and black adjustable calming collars;
- Cost-effective two packs are great for dogs with chronic anxiety
- Long-lasting collars last for up to 60 days
- Several pet parents found these collars very effective
- Some pet parents found the scent overpowering
- Unfortunately, several owners found these collars ineffective
5. Healex Dog Calming Collar
About: If you want to give calming collars a try without breaking the bank, check out this option from Healex. The affordable calming collar releases pheromones as well as citronella and lavender essential oils to help your pooch relax.
- Lasts up to 60 days
- 0.1% DAP concentration
- Infused with lavender and citronella
- Lightweight plastic material
- Adjustable fit for pups 7 weeks and older
Options: This purple plastic collar comes in a single size that can be adjusted for your furry friend.
- One of the most affordable calming collars available.
- The adjustable design provides an easy fit
- A couple owners were impressed with how quickly this collar worked
- Some owners reported that the collar didn’t work for very long
- This collar has a strong citronella scent, which some dogs and owners find unpleasant
6. Sentry Calming Collar
Sentry Calming Collar
Pheromone releasing collar some owners like because it is made by a familiar, well-known brand.
About: Some owners prefer to go with products made by a manufacturer they recognize, and we get it! There is definitely something to be said for sticking to products made by manufacturers with long track records. If this approach sounds appealing to you, you may want to consider this calming collar by Sentry. Effective for up to 30 days, this DAP-releasing collar also uses chamomile and lavender scents to help calm your canine.
- Lightweight plastic design
- Adjustable design
- For use up to 30 days
- 0.02% DAP concentration
- Scented with chamomile and lavender
Options: This turquoise-colored collar comes in a single size.
- Many pet parents found these effective.
- Owners loved the smell of this collar
- This collar seemed especially effective in single-use situations (like fireworks)
- A couple dogs were irritated by this collar
- This collar only lasts for up to 30 days
One Calming Collar To Avoid: Don’t Waste Your Money
Again, there’s still a lot to be learned about calming collars and dogs. Accordingly, if you decide to try one out, you should stick to only the very best options on the market. That means sticking to collars that utilize ingredients backed by empirical data and have lots of positive owner reviews.
So, when trying to pick the perfect calming collar for your canine, be sure to avoid options like this one.
Aside from the poor reviews, there just isn’t much research that backs up the claims that lavender and valerian root will prove useful when used in this way.
The collar also appears to emit a super strong scent, so it might not be something your dog enjoys wearing. While many of calming collars have some negative reviews, the best ones are much more balanced out by positive experiences from pet parents.
A Calming Collar Alternative: Diffusers FTW!
If you’re not sure about using a calming collar, you can also check out a pheromone dispensing diffuser like this one by Adaptil.
These diffusers last up to 30 days and can work in spaces of up to 700 square feet. This could make an excellent anxiety aid for dogs who suffer from symptoms of separation anxiety or need help adjusting to a new home.
The Science of Calming Collars: Info for Inquiring Minds
As we mentioned above, there is some empirical evidence that calming collars can effectively reduce anxiety in doggos. We’ve already shared a few such studies, but here are a few more for your consideration:
- The effects of DAP in treating stress responses in dogs
- DAP for treating separation anxiety in hospitalized dogs
- A comparison of DAP and clomipramine for treating separation anxiety
- DAP for treating social isolation in newly adopted puppies
- DAP for treating a fear of fireworks
How to Pick a Dog Calming Collar
Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind when selecting the perfect calming collar for your canine:
- Proper Fit: Make sure you measure your mutt’s neck properly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. An improperly fitting collar can pose safety risks and may invite your dog to gnaw on the collar if it’s hanging too loose.
- Longevity: You might find yourself using calming collars on a regular basis depending on your dog’s needs. The best calming collars last for about two months, but many last just one month.
- Fabric: Calming collars are typically made out of rubber, plastic or fabric. Just be sure to pick what’s most comfortable for your furry friend.
- DAP Concentration: Many calming collars have a fairly low hormone concentration. The best collars have a concentration somewhere between the 4% and 6% range.
FAQS: Dog Calming Collars
Are you still struggling to decide whether a calming collar is right for your canine companion? Here are a couple of frequently asked questions and answers to expand your understanding.
Do calming collars work for dogs?
Calming collars can help soothe anxiety for many dogs, but they might not work for all furry friends. There is research that backs up the effectiveness of these collars, but every dog should be evaluated on an individual basis.
Are calming collars safe?
Calming collars are generally considered safe for furry friends. However, it’s important that you select the proper size for your pooch so that your dog isn’t tempted to chew on the collar.
How effective are calming collars?
Calming collars have different levels of effectiveness depending on the individual dog. However, there is some research that supports calming collars providing some relief for dogs suffering from separation anxiety and other anxiety-related issues.
How long do calming collars last?
Each calming collar works differently, but you can typically expect these tools to work for around 30 to 60 days. Some owners prefer to purchase these collars in multipacks for a price break.
Do vets recommend calming collars?
Veterinarians aren’t a monolithic group, but many do recommend calming collars. When in doubt, consult your dog’s veterinarian for further guidance.
Why do many calming collars have bad reviews?
For one thing, every dog reacts differently to calming collars. They need to be fitted correctly and dogs need time to adjust to the collars in order for them to be effective. Satisfied owners may not be as likely to leave reviews, whereas pet parents with a negative experience may be inclined to do so. Calming collars aren’t the right fit for every dog, but they are certainly worth considering
Hence, calming collars can be an excellent tool for helping your canine cope with his anxiety. While every dog responds differently, these affordable management tools are certainly worth a try.
Does your dog struggle with anxiety? Has he tried a calming collar? We’d love to hear all about your experience below!