Do Dog Calming Collars Work? What Are Some Alternatives?

BehaviorDo Dog Calming Collars Work? What Are Some Alternatives?

Dog calming collars work wonders for some dogs but are completely ineffective for others. The only way to know if a calming collar will work for your dog is to test it out. If the collar doesn’t work, there are plenty of other options to calm your dog, such as CBD.

If you have an incredibly anxious or nervous dog, you may find yourself at a loss of what to do. There are many different ways to approach this issue. Getting your dog used to new surroundings or strange environments can take a lot of work.

There are, however, some ways to make this easier. Calming collars are one example of this. Manufacturers and loyal users swear by the pheromone-releasing collars to calm your dog, but do they actually work?

What are Calming Collars?

You should always do your research on new products. It’s important to know how something works and what it does before trying it on your dog. In the case of calming collars, it’s actually pretty simple.

How Do Calming Collars Work?

Calming collars could be compared to a type of aromatherapy. The collars release a pheromone that is proven to be calming. It is a drug-free way for your dog to be calmed down by a specific scent.

Calming collars contain a special type of pheromone designed for dogs. It’s a synthetic version of a “dog appeasing pheromone,” or DAP for short. DAP is secreted by a lactating female dog. It has been shown to calm down puppies and adult dogs alike.

The synthetic version attempts to mimic this effect.

What Do These Collars Aim to Do?

The point of calming collars is to appease an anxious or nervous dog. This is often in cases where a dog is exposed to a new environment. It might help a dog that gets riled up at certain sounds, such as fireworks on the 4th of July.

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The natural version of DAP has been proven to make the puppy form an emotional bond to the mother as well. However, the way this works with calming collars has not been explored.

When to Use Calming Collars

There are many different contexts in which calming collars could be helpful. The first thing you can do is identify situations in which your dog seems anxious. This is more obvious in some situations than others.

Signs of Anxiety

There are many ways dogs express their anxiety. Some common signs include barking or whimpering excessively or at a time when they usually do not bark. Suddenly destroying furniture or increased chewing could also be signifiers. Your dog may also be restless and pace.

You have noticed that your dog is anxious. Now, you should try to narrow down what is making them anxious.

Anxiety-Inducing Situations

Calming collars work very well with situational anxiety. Some common stressors for this include thunderstorms or exposure to a new surrounding. They can also help dogs with mild separation anxiety.

If your dog is extremely anxious for most of the day, calming collars alone will not immediately fix things. In that case, you should pair it with behavioral training.

Benefits of Dog Calming Collars

There are many benefits to calming collars! Here are a couple of the biggest pros of using pheromone collars so that you can see if it is a good fit for your dog.


Because calming collars use a synthetic pheromone that is naturally found in dogs, no drugs are used. This means that it is unlikely to cause any side effects. You can use it with other medications without issue.

Natural solutions are also less invasive to dogs. It will not harm your dog at all when used correctly. Additionally, if it is not well suited for your dog, there will still be no harm.

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With a medicated solution, there is a higher risk of adverse effects if the solution does not work. There is none of that danger with a pheromone-based solution!


Another big pro to calming collars is that they are very easy to bring with you. They can be used easily in almost any situation. All you need to do is put the collar on your dog, and you are good to go. No need to bring anything else with you.

Most calming collars are a similar size to your dog’s regular collar. This means it will not be an inconvenience to your dog.


Calming collars are a very affordable solution, too! Depending on the size your dog needs and the brand you choose, the price will differ. However, most options go for a very reasonable price. A common one, the small-sized Adaptil collar, is offered for $25 at PetSmart.

There are many options offered at a similar price point. There are ones offered for less than $20 if you want a slightly less quality version to try out before committing to a more durable one.


The best thing about calming collars is that they are easy to buy. You do not need to have them prescribed to you. However, you should consult your veterinarian if your dog is chronically anxious, even with the collar. You can buy the collars online or at pet stores.

Some options are also sold in multi-packs. This is a great way to make sure you always have calming collars on hand.

How to Best Use Calming Collars

Pheromone collars are straightforward to use. It’s almost impossible to use them incorrectly. You should use it alongside your dog’s regular collar. Make sure you never attach a leash to the calming collar.

Calming collars should be kept dry, so they should not be used in the rain and must be removed before your dog gets in the water.

Until you use the collar, you should leave it in the wrapper. This will make sure the collar works for as long as possible.

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Explore The Options

Because there are so many options on the market, you might have to try a few to figure out what works best for your dog. There are different scents, sizes, and concentrations, so you should find what fits your dog and your lifestyle best.

Essential Oils

Some of the collars also have essential oils in them. A common one is lavender. You should pay attention to this, especially if your dog has sensitivities. Some dogs might react badly to scented products. In that case, you should be using one without essential oils.


There are numerous sizes available. The ones designed for larger dogs tend to be a little more expensive. Just make sure it fits your dog well without being too tight. It should fit how a regular collar fits.


There are different percentages of dog appeasing pheromones in different collars. Start at a lower percentage to make sure it’s a feasible solution for your dog. However, higher percentages are likely to work a lot better.

Smaller dogs, or dogs with milder anxiety, will probably respond to a lower concentration. If your dog is more anxious or larger, a higher DAP percentage is most likely a better option.

Calming Collars Work For Most Dogs – But Not All

Calming collars are natural, affordable, and easy to use. This makes them an excellent solution for many dog owners. They are especially useful for general anxiety that is situational. For more severe anxiety, you may have to pair the collar with behavioral training. It works for most dogs to calm them down in stressful situations.

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Bryan Harkins
Bryan Harkins
Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.

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