According To A Vet, These Collars Will Calm Your Hyper Pup — & Here's How To Use Them

Beagle dog tired sleeps on a cozy sofa, couch, blanket

Despite their often happy-go-lucky personalities, dogs are not immune to stress and anxiety. Whether it's due to separation anxiety, loud noises, or a major change in their environment (such as traveling, moving to a new home, the addition of a new person or pet, or visitors stopping by), stress can cause dogs to bark and act out. Fortunately, the best calming collars for dogs are a great, drug-free option for helping dogs to calm down.

According to Dr. Jamie Richardson, Medical Chief of Staff at the New York City-based Small Door Veterinary clinic, calming collars work in a similar way as aromatherapy candles. “Calming collars give off a synthetic version of the pheromone that's released by a lactating female dog's breast tissue called the dog appeasing pheromone, or DAP," Dr. Richardson explains. "The collars release DAP into the air, and when your dog breathes this in, it helps them feel more secure and calm."

However, Dr. Richardson notes that calming collars are not right for every situation. "For more serious behavioral issues, such as fear-based aggression or other behavioral problems, calming collars can be a great aid along with behavioral modification techniques and pharmaceutical interventions.”

A few important things to consider before you get your pup a calming collar: Per indications on the products listed below, these are not a replacement for a regular collar and should not be attached to a leash. They also should not be used on dogs with skin lesions in the neck area. In addition, while not substantiated, some reviewers have claimed that their dogs had a possible allergic reaction to wearing one, so it's a good idea to consult with your veterinarian before using a calming collar.

See below two of the best calming collars for dogs with DAP, including one with additional aromatherapy benefits. And if you're looking to provide even more comfort to your anxious pup, you may also want to consider one of the best calming dog beds.

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The Overall Best

Adaptil is highly regarded for its dog calming products, and this Adaptil calming collar is one of the best options out there for a dog-calming pheromone collar. It boasts 5% DAP, one of the highest concentrations of DAP you'll find in a collar, and comes in three adjustable sizes: puppies, small dogs (with necks up to 14.7 inches), and medium/large dogs (with necks that are no more than 24.6-inches wide). It is also odorless and continuously releases pheromones for up to 30 days.

For best results, the manufacturer recommends leaving the collar on your dog 24/7 and only taking it off for grooming or baths. This is because the collar is heat-activated and submerging it in water is not recommended. However, dogs with neck lesions should also not use this collar.

Helpful review: “Bought this collar at our vet's recommendation for our highly anxious dog. We have been using it for about three months now in conjunction with medication and training. Our dog suffers from noise anxiety and will sometimes refuse to go outside if there are too many loud noises. Counter conditioning wasn't working because he would become too anxious to accept treats. Within 24 hours I had noticed a change in my dog's behavior. He seems to process things better and is easier to manage when the anxiety does strike. This collar is not going to completely eliminate unwanted behaviors, but it definitely helps manage the problem."


A Calming Collar With Additional Aromatherapy Benefits

This Sentry calming collar for dogs is another great option for a dog-calming pheromone collar. Per the manufacturer, it combines a low dosage of DAP (0.02%) with the soothing fragrances of lavender and chamomile. The collar comes in one adjustable size to fit dogs with up to a 23-inch neck and works continuously for up to 30 days. It's also available in a 3-pack, and, like the Adaptil collar, should not be used while bathing a dog or on a dog with skin lesions. Also note: some dogs can be sensitive to fragrance

Helpful review: “My little dog is absolutely phobic when it comes to fireworks. I asked the vet for a tranquilizer and when I read up on it I decided not to give it to my dog. A friend told me about DAP and so I decided to try it. It calmed her considerably. She was still frightened, but not urinating on herself. We recently bought a new car and the dog whines constantly because she has to ride on the backseat by herself. We put a collar on her and she just curled up in her bed and went to sleep. DAP may not be effective for all dogs, but it works well for ours."


You May Also Want To Consider: An Odorless Wall Diffuser With Calming Properties

For multiple dog households or dogs who might be tempted to chew on a collar, this Adaptil DAP diffuser is a great alternative. It's designed to be used in lieu of a collar and disperses 2% DAP into the air from a wall plug-in. Similar to an air freshener but odorless, it works for up to 30 days and covers up to 700 square feet. However, if you have other animals in your home, make sure to consult with a veterinarian first before using to ensure the use of DAP is safe for them as well.

Helpful review: “My dog literally tore completely through my walls during a thunderstorm. I've used the Thundershirt. Xanax and other calming treats all of which work, but nothing is better than the diffuser. One rainy night, I plugged it in the wall in my bedroom and then called the dog in the room. As she walked up the steps to get on the bed, she stopped, looked around and then went over to the diffuser, sniffing. Then she got up on the bed and went right to sleep. I must say, I was stunned and I didn't smell a thing. This thing is great.”


Dr. Jamie Richardson, Medical Chief of Staff, Small Door Veterinary