Are Anxiety Supplements for Dogs Actually Helpful?

on October 12, 2021

anxiety supplements for dogs

Doggie anxiety can create serious problems for pet owners. Often, we turn to calming supplements as a natural means of addressing anxiety. But are anxiety supplements for dogs actually helpful?

In this article we will take a look at how dog supplements for anxiety work, how they differ from medications, and what you can do about an anxious pet.

How Can You Tell If Your Dog Has Anxiety?

Dogs can get several forms of anxiety, including fear of noises, separation anxiety, travel anxiety, confinement anxiety and more. But some of the classic symptoms of anxiety look different in dogs than they do in people.

In dogs, common anxiety symptoms include:

  • Cowering,
  • Growling,
  • Barking or lashing out,
  • Whining,
  • Hiding,
  • Chewing up your shoes, house, plants or other non-toys,
  • Acting aggressive in stressful situations,
  • Peeing on the floor (called submissive urination),
  • Compulsive behavior, such as licking and getting “hot spots.”

Just like a person, when you see a change in behavior in a dog, it’s good to first get it checked out by a professional. For example, what might seem like anxiety might actually be an infection. A vet can tell you.

Some dogs, though, are anxious since puppyhood. Others develop anxiety as a result of a change, upset, or even just aging. 

Regardless of the reason, dog anxiety is treatable. 

What are the Side Effects of Anxiety Medications for Dogs?

After receiving a diagnosis of anxiety, your vet might recommend anxiety medication.

Like all medications, these drugs come with side effects, which may include:

  • Vomiting, diarrhea or other digestive issues.
  • Confusion, depression, hyperactivity or other altered behavior.
  • Difficulty walking, trembling or seizures.
  • Rapid breathing, rapid heart rate or increased body temperature.
  • Difficulty breathing, loss of control of movements, paralysis, coma or even death.

Age, dosage, and liver and kidney health can all affect the severity of side effects, so no medicine should be given to a dog except as prescribed by a veterinarian. Certain other medications and supplements can also adversely interact, so it’s important to tell your vet everything your dog might be taking.

Why use Calming Supplements?

Some pet owners see that list of scary-sounding side effects and want to avoid them for their beloved furry family member. Others just have a preference for natural solutions if medication can be avoided. 

You can also combine treatments--pet anxiety medication with supplements (nutraceuticals), as long as your vet checks for potential negative interactions.

What are the Side Effects of Anxiety Supplements for Dogs?

Most supplements for dogs are extracts from food. Indeed, they are classified as dog food by the FDA. This classification, however, means that they are also unregulated and only removed from the market if proven unsafe and ineffective.

For this reason, pet owners must do their own research.

Most food-based supplements will have very few, if any, side effects. However, there are a few important things to consider:

  1. Correct dosage,
  2. Formulated specifically for dogs, as some human ingredients can be toxic to dogs,
  3. From a reliable vendor, so that labels and ingredients are correct.

Herbal supplements, in particular, can also interfere with medications or have other side effects. For example, kava kava may cause dog liver damage. So as discussed above, be sure to disclose all supplements your pet takes before beginning any new medication.

In general, since side effects for most supplements are quite rare, it might be worth trying to treat your dog’s anxiety naturally.

What to Give Dogs for Anxiety

So if you want to give your dog supplements, and you heed the warnings above, now what supplements should you give your dog for anxiety?


CBD comes in treats, chews or oils and is often regarded as the most effective supplement for anxiety. Side effects are generally mild, but can include drowsiness or dry mouth, particularly in higher doses.

Fish-oil or Omega-3s

Human and animal studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in fish oil, may help with anxiety and depression.


Melatonin is a hormone supplement which may help dogs with sleep disorders, non-allergic hair loss, and mood issues.

B vitamins

Many dog supplements contain B vitamins, since they may be beneficial for nervous system function, hormone regulation, and other important functions.

Valerian Root

While the exact mechanism is not known, valerian root may help neurotransmitters in dogs. Particularly for pets with anxiety and sleep disorders, supplementing with valerian root may provide a natural solution.


An amino acid, L-tryptophan is another supplement which may help dogs with anxiety.


Why might probiotics help with dog anxiety? A growing body of research suggests that there’s a strong gut-brain connection associated with mental health.

What’s the Best CBD for Dog Anxiety?

At Bad Dog CBD we carry only the most effective, pet-formulated dog CBD.

Hip & Joint with CBD Tincture


Hip & Joint for Dogs Tincture