The 6 Calming Products That Helped My Dog’s Separation Anxiety · The Wildest

Skip to main content

6 Calming Products That Help My Dog’s Anxiety

Compression vests, interactive toys and pheromone sprays will be game-changers for nervous pups

by Rebecca Caplan
31 October 2023
Greyhound dog lying on top of couch looking out of a window
Briana Morrison / Stocksy

When I adopted my toothless Dachshund, Moose, I thought I was prepared for anything. I set up a pee pad on my balcony, got plenty of gum-friendly toys and treats and already loved him unconditionally. But nothing could prepare me for my biggest hurdle upon adopting him: separation anxiety.

If left by himself for even a minute Moose would bark, scream and claw at his crate. Neighbours complained, my housemate fled to her parent’s house, and I was chained to my home for months until we were able to figure out a solution. A year later, I’m happy to report that Moose and I are making major progress with his separation anxiety. I tried every product out there marketed for the condition, so I compiled a list of what actually helped him – and can hopefully help you, too. Here are the eight best calming aid for dogs with separation anxiety.

Btw, our editors (and their pets) picked out these products. They’re always in stock at the time we publish, but there’s a chance they’ll sell out. If you do buy through our links, we may earn a commission. (We’ve got a lot of toys to buy over here, you know?)

kong toy in red

All pup parents know the golden rule: Kong is king. Kong toys have long been the godsend for dog parents dealing with separation anxiety, boredom and the simple desire to watch Netflix and take a bath in peace. As much as the Kong is a solve for those issues, it’s even better for de-stressing your pup. A perfect combination of treat and puzzle, the Kong is a stress toy that all dogs can enjoy – especially as they come in different sizes and rubber types to best fit your dog’s needs.

Nicole wholeheartedly believes in the power of the Kong: “Most dogs go back to the Kong multiple times throughout the day, which I love. The shape of the Kong gives the dog the ability to hold the Kong and just lick it, and allows them to settle in a spot, while the fun shape can allow them to roll it and chase it. This helps them explore new areas that may be causing stress and anxiety.”

This diffuser contains a liquid that mimics the pheromones mother dogs emit after giving birth, which is intended to calm her new puppies. The pheromone is marketed as odorless, but does give off a faint rubbing alcohol scent that didn’t really bother me. I was happy enough that it seemed to work and did a fair job of calming Moose both in and out of his crate. However, like the Thundershirt, the pheromones on their own weren’t enough to keep Moose relaxed — but in combination with our other training, they became an important weapon in our arsenal against separation anxiety.

amazon basics crate

When I first started this training I had gotten mixed suggestions on where to leave Moose to allow him to feel most calm. Some said that a crate would be too claustrophobic, others said that allowing him to wander would make him feel too uncontained. We ended up trying three different methods: a five-foot wide pen, a crate, and a room with a closed door. Left to his devices in the closed room, I watched on camera as Moose parkoured off of every piece of furniture I owned – leaving behind nervous accidents on many of them.

Even scarier was leaving him in the pen, where Moose, a very short dog, would attempt to leap over the gate, sometimes getting his belly stuck on the pen before falling to the ground. In the end, the crate is where both Moose and I felt he was safest and calmest. A little trick that helped us even more was leaving Moose in the crate for 40 minutes before I left the house – allowing him to calm himself while I was still there.

rebecca caplan

Rebecca Caplan

Rebecca Caplan is a writer based in Brooklyn whose work has been featured in The New Yorker, Reductress, and Vulture. She lives in Brooklyn with her perfect, toothless dog Moose.

Related articles