How to Treat a Dog with Anxiety (Naturally)

As dogs age, they can become more susceptible to anxiety and stress, just like humans, and you may be wondering how to treat a dog with anxiety, without resorting to pharmaceuticals. Anxiety in older dogs can be caused by a variety of factors, including changes in their environment, health issues such as dementia (CCD), and separation anxiety. One theory has it that old dogs are subconsciously afraid of being made into someone’s dinner, being too weak to fend for themselves.

In this article, we will discuss some of the proven methods that may help calm your pup.


Thundershirts are a popular choice among dog owners looking to calm their anxious pets. These specially designed shirts use gentle pressure to create a calming effect on the dog’s nervous system, like a big hug. Thundershirts work by applying constant, gentle pressure to your dog’s torso, which can help to reduce anxiety and stress. This pressure can also help to calm dogs during thunderstorms, fireworks, and other stressful situations. Thundershirts are available in a variety of sizes and styles, so you can find the right fit for your dog.


CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in the cannabis plant that has been shown to have calming effects on dogs. Dogs are particularly sensitive to CBD, more so than humans in fact. CBD can be given to dogs in the form of oils, treats, or capsules. CBD works by interacting with the dog’s endocannabinoid system, which helps to regulate mood, appetite, and sleep. CBD can be particularly effective in reducing anxiety in older dogs, as it can help to alleviate pain and inflammation associated with age-related health conditions.


Zylkene is a natural product made from a milk protein that has been shown to have calming effects on dogs. It works by binding to the same receptors in the brain that are responsible for producing feelings of calm and relaxation. Zylkene is available in capsule forms or chews and can be given to dogs daily to help reduce anxiety and stress.

Valerian Root

Valerian root is a natural herb that has been used for centuries to treat anxiety and promote relaxation in humans. It can also be used to calm anxiety in dogs. Valerian root works by increasing the levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation, in the brain. Valerian root is available in capsule or liquid form and can be added to your dog’s food or water. Lots of calming pet chews include valerian root as a main ingredient, like Jungle Pet Dog Calming Chews and bSerene Calming Chews.

Bach Rescue Remedy for Pets

This homeopathic tincture uses natural flower essences to relieve stress in animals, and has really great reviews. I’ve used it on my dog (6 drops for 15kg body weight) and have found it calmed him within the following 30 minutes.

Physical and Mental Exercise

Exercise is one of the most effective ways to reduce anxiety in dogs of all ages. Regular exercise can help to release endorphins, which are natural mood-boosters, and can help to reduce stress and anxiety. For older dogs, low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, or gentle playtime can be particularly effective in reducing anxiety.

For dogs that are handicapped, even going out for a car ride or stroller ride will help to keep them mentally stimulated, and as a result, calmer at home.


Music can have a calming effect on dogs, just as it does on humans. Soft, soothing music can help to create a relaxing environment for your older dog. There are several Youtube channels that offer hours and hours of calming music specific for dogs (and you can loop them!). Dogs have more sensitive ears than us, so you can keep it playing at a very low level and your dog will still be soothed.

Here are some binaural beats for anxious dogs:

Special frequencies in this music for dogs:

Blue Lights

Research suggests that blue lights have a calming effect on dogs because they mimic the natural light of the evening sky. This type of lighting has been shown to reduce anxiety in dogs, which can be especially helpful in situations where they might feel stressed, such as during thunderstorms or fireworks. Many pet owners use blue lights in their dogs’ living areas, such as their crates or beds, to create a calming environment. To create a blue light, you can purchase an adjustable LED lightbulb for any of your lamps or this one that plugs into the wall and is already blue.

Your own shirt

Your dog might be comforted by snuggling up to your one of your worn shirts. The smell of you may calm them as they sleep.

How to treat a dog with anxiety: Conclusion

In conclusion, there are lots of non-pharmaceutical ways to calm anxiety in older dogs, that have been tried and tested by other senior dog owners. It’s important to remember that every dog is different, so you may need to try a few different methods and combinations to find what works best for your furry friend. Good luck!!

Disclaimer: The above post contains affiliate links to products that have been deemed helpful by myself or others in the dog parenting community. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases resulting from these links, to help me support this blog.

How to Treat a Dog with Anxiety (Naturally)

As dogs age, they can become more susceptible to anxiety. Here are some natural ways for you to help…

About the Author

Tina C

Founder of The WOOF Line, Tina cared for her rescue dogs Jen and Flapper to the ripe ages of 16 and 18, respectively. Dogged persistence led her to corners of the internet where fellow senior pet owners congregate, revealing troves of valuable experience and advice. Tina hopes that by gathering this information, pet parents will better understand the options available to them, and find solutions to thrive with their furry friends for years to come. Read our story here.

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