Calming Treats–A Review

Calming Treats–A Review

Over the last year I have suggested a product called “Calming” by Pet Naturals to a variety of clients and students dealing with a variety of anxiety based behaviors.  It wasn’t until recently that I had personally used the treats.  I’ve used them with two dogs in my own household and have seen enough to write a review.

Here is what the manufacturer has to say about the product and information on the active ingredients

According to the manufacturer’s website…

PetNaturals-Vermont-Dog-ChickenLiver

Calming for Medium and Large dogs

When a big dog gets stressed, everybody knows it. To minimize his path of destruction, there’s CALMING for Medium and Large Dogs, a formula recommended for dogs exposed to increased environmental stressors. L-theanine works synergistically with the Colostrum Calming Complex to support calming and relaxation without causing drowsiness. Thiamine, a vitamin B, affects the central nervous system of anxious animals, supporting calming and cognition. Now, he can spend his dog day afternoons curled up with a good book. Maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

 

Directions for Use: 26-50 lbs: 1 chew daily. 51-100 lbs: 2 chews daily. Over 100 lbs: 3 chews daily.During times of increased stress: It is safe to double or triple the above amount, as needed.   (They also make treats for dogs 25lbs and under)

 
Active Ingredients Per 1 Chew:
Thiamine (Vitamin B1)                              62.5 mg
L-Theanine (Suntheanine® brand)                    21.12 mg
Colostrum Calming Complex                          10.56 mg
Inactive Ingredients: brewers yeast, canola oil, chicken liver flavor, citric acid,
glycerin, mixed tocopherols, propionic acid, proprietary blend (maltodextrin, sodium
alginate and calcium sulfate), rosemary extract, silicon dioxide, soy lecithin, vegetable
oil.

 

Now that are you more familiar with the product, I’ll share with you my experiences using it with two different dogs for two different behavior challenges.

Linus–27lb (when I got him) Boston/JRT/Beagle/??–Separation Anxiety

When I first got Linus, he immediately started displaying separation anxiety.  If left in a crate he would pace, rub his nose on the bars, scratch at the bars, try to push open the door, pull things into his crate, scream, bark, whine, and refuse to eat/drink for more than 2 hours almost non-stop (my camera died after 2 hours so I don’t know how long it went on but I know it lasted at least 2 hours).  When left gated in a room and hallway with the other dogs he would bark, whine, and scream for about 10 minutes straight and then only for short 15-30 second blips periodically (sometimes he’d do this and THEN eat the kibble left in a toy for him sometimes he’d eat the kibble first).  He struggled to settle–he would pace for most of the time I was gone, with moments of settling down to chew something, then get up and find something else to chew.  The floor was littered with new/rotated toys of a wide range in textures and activities but he would climb on things and reach up to get inappropriate chew items like paper, magazines, pens, lint rollers, or clickers–he didn’t destroy them, just chew once or twice then find something new (my failure to puppy proof–I’d think I had it set up so he couldn’t but sure enough he’d manage).  He’d continue to pace, whine, and periodically find something inappropriate to chew for at least 2 hours (again my camera died after 2 hours).   The other dogs in the room were settled to sleep on the couch within minutes of my departure and watched Linus but stayed relaxed most of the time.

I would come home and he would be so tired from the pacing, vocalizing, and, if crated, constant trying to escape that he woud pass out next to me almost instantly and sleep all night.

He was 27lbs when I got him so I got the Med/Large dog size Calming treats by Pet Naturals and started giving him 1 treat 30minutes before leaving the house.  The behavior change was noticeable right away (even without video).  Whereas before when I came home there was always at least 4 items out of place on the floor, there was never more than 2 items out of place and most of the time there were no inappropriate items found on the floor.  He also no longer ever barked as I left the house, he was relaxed enough to instead focus on the kong, wobbler, or kibble tossed on the floor.  Video of him backed up the change in behavior.  He no longer barked for those 10 minutes after I left (either before or after eating the kibble in a toy).  There were still moments of whining and barking (no screaming) but they were just 15-30 seconds every now and again during the first 30 minutes but only sporadically for the duration of the video.  Instead of pacing and whining for the duration of my absence, he was able to settle, lay down, and ultimately sleep within 45 minutes.  The sleep was not heavy and he did wake up periodically to check things out but he was noticeably more capable of settling.  Linus was also able to focus on chewing antlers or nylabones and being settled for a while doing something appropriate.  He also only rarely found an inappropriate item to chew–the two times I got it on film, he found the items in the first 15 minutes and then was fine.

He was still much more anxious about my absence than my dogs but it was a drastic and very noticeable difference between getting the treat and not getting the treat.  I cannot say that it was 100% the treat because he was also settling in and gaining confidence in general but it seemed to work nicely.

 

Bandit– 19lb Shih Tzu–Car Anxiety

Bandit has never been particularly good in cars but the last few years he has been a pain to travel with because of his anxiety.  While in the car bandit would start to lip-lick, yawn, pant, and drool almost immediately. He does not take treats while in the car or on the way to the car (showing stress level before getting in).  He would sit, spin, down, sit, look out the window, turn backwards, look at the floor, and be completely unable to settle. He would never sit facing forward (for whatever reason).  If he were going on a long car ride on the highway he would, almost like clockwork, finally lay down and sleep after 2 hours of driving.  On short trips, he has had an huge increase in incidents of vomiting while in the car–prior to this year he had vomited twice but now it’s almost every other car ride he’s getting sick.

I had a few left over Calming treats from Linus so I figured I’d give it a chance.  Since the treats were for large dogs over 26lbs, I broke a treat in half and gave it to him 30 minutes before our car ride.  Within the first 5 minutes Bandit was laying down nicely and within 10 minutes he was asleep on my mom’s lap (he’s wearing a seatbelt as well–we tried keeping him in the backseat but he would stress out more with the other dogs and would get vomit everywhere).  He woke up a few times, looked around, sat up (even faced forward), then laid back down and just rested.  He did not lip lick, drool, yawn, or vomit.  He started to pant but I suspect it was because he was in the sun as once I opened the vents, the panting stopped.  When we got to the farm he ran and played as normal the whole time we were out there.  On the way back home, he actually was comfortable enough to be buckled in the backseat with the other dogs.  He sat up for a while but ultimately laid down with the other two.

The change was absolutely amazing for him.  It was always hard to travel with him because the risk of vomit everywhere and trying to contain that and listening to him lip-lick, lip-lick, lip-lick and be restless was distracting to the driver (just anticipating the vomit).   He was so much happier in the car and was quite relaxed on our trip.  It was great seeing him feel better in the car and not stress out so much!

 

“Calming” treats by Pet Naturals are not a pharmaceutical but they have made a difference with dogs that showed mild to moderate levels of stress or anxiety.  They aren’t going to work for all dogs or for all situations and they are not a cure-all but they have the potential to be a great tool!  Of all the calming treats/tabs I have tried, this is the only one I’ve seen significant changes in behavior with (the others I have tried were mostly based on chamomile which may work well for more mild cases but I didn’t see big changes).  There are other great calming supplements but this is one I definitely will continue to suggest!

 

**UPDATE**

I recently tried using the calming treats during a trip to the vet for Shayne and wanted to share those results

Shayne–34lb SERIOUS anxiety/fear at the vet

Shayne has a very long history of serious anxiety and fear at the vet (you can read details in this post).  She does not lash out aggressively but she clenches her whole body which prevents the vet from truly examining her.  Before having a discussion on using an anti-anxiety medication for her with her vet, I wanted to give it one last try using other calming methods.  Her level of anxiety and fear is quite extreme, it is not mild or moderate–even after 7 years of work trying to counter condition visits to the vet (again you can read more on the other post).

So, 30 minutes prior to her vet visit, I gave Shayne triple the dosage of the Calming treats and hoped for the best.  In the waiting room there were a few other dogs, one was barking and lunging at Shayne.  She was a bit more stressed than normal, but typically there aren’t dogs in there barking/lunging at her, so I wasn’t making any judgements based on that.  We got into the exam room and she was still able to take treats and respond to cues (typical of her).  When the tech came in to take her temp, she froze up and clenched everything, like normal.  When the vet came in she did the same thing with clenching up and freezing and stopped taking treats.  He could not palpate her belly, check for range of motion in her limbs, or really examine her.

The calming treats, even at triple the dosage, were not enough to make a difference for her and her level of anxiety and fear at the vet (which IS pretty extreme).  She will be taking alprazolam, xanax, for vet visits in the future to help her to relax and actually be able to be examined.

 

I still use and suggest the calming treats–they have made a huge difference for car rides and we recently tried them for thunder with Bandit with good results as well.  They just aren’t ‘enough’ for all situations or all dogs–though they are definitely something I will try before having a discussion with a vet about psychopharmaceuticals.

2 Comments
  1. This is great – I’m going to have to pick these up asap. Your example of the Shih Tzu sounds exactly like Lexie. Thanks so much for the review.

  2. I have a 90 lb. pitbull/lab mix. He is 8 years old and recently, just the past 6 months at the most he has had a fear of loud noises like ice falling off the roof, the wind slamming a door shut, rain and thunderstorms(which are the worst). He was never ever like this until I came home one day in spring of this year(2015) and my home had been destroyed by the dog. Now he doesn’t go for furniture or remotes Ect. He goes for the walls, door handles, trim. He even broke a window and cut himself right above the eye. This was the first time and all in one day. I looked outside and noticed a large sheet of ice had come off the roof. After that day it’s gotten worse. Like I stated beforehand rain and thunderstorms are the worst. He will pace pant whine drool for hours until he tires himself out. The longest it’s gone on was 5 hours. I tried the calming chew on my vets advice. At the height of his anxiety he was taking triple his daily dose which is 6 chews. NOTHING. The DAP spray I tried also NOTHING. I ended up giving them away and the people I had given them to had success with them and their dog who has separation anxiety. Even though I did not have success with them they did. Now my dog takes Xanax. I keep his dosage as low as I can so that he still responds to commands and takes treats. He still pants but he lays down and I am able to work through the storms with him. I want him to be aware so that we can work on this problem and eventually hopefully this will subside. Like I said this is new to his behavior and I believe I can work together with my vet and him and eventually we can get back to normal.

Latest Posts

Contact Us

successjustclicks@gmail.com

412.389.0202

"Like" us on Facebook

@succesjstclicks

Professional Organizations

Professional Organizations

APDT

pet-professional-guild-logo-100x53

Pet Professional Guild

image001

Kennel Pro Insurance

Certifications

Certified Professional Dog Trainer

Certified Prof. Dog Trainer

CLASS Evaluator

Canine Life And Social Skills

Certified-Mentor-Trainer-logo-copy

ABC Mentor Trainer

Canine Good Citizen