In the world of pet care, there always seems to be some emerging technology or tool that is designed to aid pet-owners in their animal management. One of the more recent fads has been to adorn a dog or cat with a “calming collar” to lower stress levels and end destructive behaviors. Some collars emit hormones or aromatherapy herbs that seem to relax dogs and cats, quell anxiety and even settle queasy stomachs when car-traveling becomes too stressful.

What are calming collars and how do they function?

Calming collars are thickly padded bands infused with dried herbs or hormones (such as Feliway for cats and D.A.P. or Dog Appeasing Pheromones for dogs) that help neutralize an animal’s stress. By wearing the scents as a collar, the animal inhales the relaxing fragrances repeatedly as it is near his nose.

  • Anti-stress collars: Using helpful dried herbs such as lavender and chamomile, these de-stressing collars soothe a cat or dog’s raw nerves when loud noises, storms or other fear-triggers occur near the pet.
  • Anti-motion sickness collars: Even the most determined homebodies have to go to the vet and groomers every once in a while. Traveling generally makes pets nervous and in many cases nauseous and uneasy; motion collars contain herbs and ingredients which clear the head and steady the stomach.
  • Cool-down collars are used for dogs that become stressed when overheated. The polymer crystals inside the collar retain water and become gel-like, keeping a cool band around the pet’s neck while the temperatures are high. This is most useful for heavier coated dogs, or pups that live in arid warm climes and need to monitor their body temperature.

Are calming collars effective?

Not every product is a perfect fit for each dog or cat, but though the use of herbs might seem like a “weak” last resort, many pet owners have found the results to be very effective when the collar is used correctly. The product designers advise users to put on the collar 20-30 minutes before a stressful event. Because of the aromatic nature of calming collars, most manufacturers recommend also putting the collar away after the tumultuous time has passed. By storing the collar in a plastic bag when it is not in use, the fragrance of the herbs or pheromones may be contained, allowing the product to last around 9-12 months. In comparison, collars that are worn constantly or stored in open air usually only last around 3-6 months.

Several companies even offer “potent collars” filled with a stronger combination of herbs, which for many dogs have a sedative effect causing them to get drowsy and dose off. While this may not be ideal, for dogs that have severe phobias of thunderstorms or gardeners, it could prove a helpful tool in causing the pup to deeply relax when necessary. Numerous product reviewers have raved about how effective the calming collars are with regards to their pet. Whether soothing a pup’s fear of taking walks at night, a cat’s nervous meowing, the fear of meeting new people, or daily suffering from separation anxiety; calming collars do seem to lessen the effects of crippling anxiety, allowing the creature to mellow out. For pet owners whose cat or dog have been prescribed anti-anxiety medication, this is a more natural alternative!

Products like anti-motion sickness bands and calming dog collars do not promise to remove all symptoms of stress and anxious behavior, but they certainly seem to bring balance or take the edge off a difficult situation.