Keep Calm & Pet Parent On: The Ultimate Guide to Calming Your Stressed Pet

When you see your pet scared and shaking, your instinct as a pet parent is to soothe and calm them. But when your hugs and cuddles aren’t doing the trick, what’s the next best solution? And how do you know what is the source of the stress and anxiety, so you can help prevent it in the future? That’s where this calming guide comes in handy. 

Ahead, we’ll break down the various common causes of stress and anxiety—from separation anxiety to fears and phobias, like loud fireworks and spooky storms—and offer vet-recommended solutions to help calm your stressed pet.

Remember to consult with your veterinarian before trying any calming aid—they can help you rule out any medical causes for stress and anxiety before you pursue behavioral therapies. 

What Does Stress Look Like in Pets?

Stress in dogs may look different than stress in cats. Here are the signs to look for in your pet.

In dogs…

Is your dog stressed?

Illustration: Tiffany Egbert

In cats…

Is your cat stressed?

Illustration: Tiffany Egbert

Keep in mind that the signs of stress in pets can be easily confused with other illnesses, so schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms. 

What’s Causing the Stress? And How Can I Help?

Fear, separation anxiety and age-related changes are some of the most common causes of stress and anxiety in pets.

Click to jump to each section:


Fireworks and storms are loud, unexpected and feel like a threat to dogs and cats. But these noise phobias are not the only cause of fear and anxiety in pets. Trips to environments they’re not used to (or straight-up don’t like), like the vet or groomer, or traveling in the car, plane or train can also cause fear-related anxiety. Here are some ways to help.

How to Help

Click on the links to read about these solutions.

Separation Anxiety

In addition to being separated from their pet parent or family (due to changes in work schedules, for example), separation anxiety can also be triggered by limited enrichment at home (think playtime, exercise and bonding with the pet parent) and changes in your pet’s routine. Here’s how to help your pet manage separation anxiety-related stress. 

How to Help

Click on the links to read about these solutions.


As pets age, they can suffer from cognitive decline. In dogs, this is referred to as cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS), and in cats, feline cognitive dysfunction (FCD). This is similar to dementia in humans.

In pets with CDS or FCD, they may experience an increase in anxiety, irritability, stress and fear due to sensory, memory and awareness decline. Here’s how you can help. 

How to Help

Click on the links to read about these solutions.

Have more questions about your pet’s behavior? Get expert advice through Chewy’s Connect With a Vet service, available daily from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET.

Try These Other Solutions at Home

From pet-friendly cocktails infused with a stress relief pet supplement to playing soothing, calming music in your home, here are some other ways to help alleviate stress and anxiety in your pet—and help them find their zen.

Click on the links to read about these solutions.

With zen spaces…

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Photo: Chewy Studios

Create a Zen Space for Your Dog to Alleviate Anxiety

With toys…

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Photo: Chewy Studios

5 Toys to Help Ease Separation Anxiety in Dogs

With pheromones…

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Photo: Feliway

How to Calm a Cat Using Pheromones

With other calming aids…

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Photo: Best Friends by Sheri

The Best Dog Calming Aids to Ease Stressful Situations

With music…

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De-Stress Your Pets With Relaxing Music for Cats and Dogs

Calming Products to Shop

Shop best-selling, top-reviewed, vet-recommended calming products for dogs and cats.
Here’s to ensuring our fur babies are the happiest, healthiest version of themselves. And now that you’ve helped carve out a safe, calm space for them to thrive in, why not treat them to a special pet-friendly, vet-approved, homemade snack? 
Expert input provided by Dr. Jennifer Fryer, DVM, veterinary consultant for Chewy.

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