Melatonin and other calming aids for cats and dogs – top 5 picks from experts & their ratings

by | pets, sleep supplements

Over the last year, we’ve gathered the data to finally complete this guide on top calming aids for dogs and cats.

The initial 28 product picks of were made by 4 experts we consulted and we’d like to thank here – Jess and Robert from Back Bay Canine, Aaron and Jon from CAD Angel.

After narrowing down the search, we processed the data using our proprietary rating system. The results you’ll see below are fruit of this process.

cat and dog sleeping

Click below to see our top picks

puppy on bed

Best dog calming aids

zesty paws dog calming treat
  • User satisfaction 90%
see it on amazon here
adaptil dog calming diffuser box
  • User satisfaction 88%
see it on amazon here

Calming bites by Zesty Paws

Calming bites has by far the highest user satisfaction rating of all the dog calming treats we looked at – a whooping 91 %.

What’s better about it The formula is all natural and made using only organic ingredients, but that’s not what makes Calming bites the best dog calming aid among edibles. It’s not the only product out there that’s organic and safe.

Why is it better?
  1. Because the complex formula (25 ingredients) is balanced to calm them but (just as important) it doesn’t make your pet lethargic.
  2. Because the natural turkey and bacon flavor that, according to our stats, 94 % of dogs loved.
  3. Because it’s safe – GMP certified and US-made, both crucial.
calming bites dog calming treat label - list of ingredients

Bottom line – two main issues we’ve seen with lower-quality products is that they tend to make your pet drowsy or they don’t want to touch the “treat” in the first place because of the taste.


Calming bites has superior stats in both those areas – we’ve seen only 3 % of owners mention the drowsiness issue and only 2.7 % reported that their dog doesn’t like it.



read more on amazon

Adaptil – top dog calming Diffuser

Calming bites has by far the highest user satisfaction rating of all the dog calming treats we looked at – a whooping 91 %.

What’s better about it The formula is all natural and made using only organic ingredients, but that’s not what makes Calming bites the best dog calming aid among edibles. It’s not the only product out there that’s organic and safe.

User satisfaction

This Pheromone-based dog calming diffuser has a user satisfaction % of a whooping 92%.

It’s THE choice if you’re looking to calm your pet during both if you have a ornery rascal and if for specific situations (like anxiety and fear during thunderstorms, new home or visit from unfamiliar people).

It uses the calming potency of pheromones to appease them without turning them dull and emotionless.

adaptil plugged in

Adaptil was the first pick of out vet consultants and it turned to be the superior diffuser of the 4 we looked at.

According to our data, it worked as advertised in 9 out of 10 cases.

read more on amazon

cat relaxed falling asleep

Cat calming aids

Top treat

Pro Bite

Pro Bite - voted top cat calming treat
  • User satisfaction 94%
see it on amazon here

Top diffuser 

Comfort Zone

comfort zone - voted top cat calming diffuser
  • User satisfaction 86%
see it on amazon here

Top spray 

Cool Kitty

kool kitty cat calming spray
  • User satisfaction 85%
see it on amazon here

Composure Pro Bite – top pick among cat calming treats

Cats are very tricky when it comes to edibles and out of 14 products we looked at Composure ProBite is the only product among cat calming treats one with a user satisfaction rate of over 90%.

More importantly, we’ve seen no close runner-ups and we feel like Pro Bite was the only one worth mentioning. Other similar products we looked have a very high %s of the cat refusing to touch the edible because they smell and taste like medicine.

The chicken flavor of the Pro Bite seems to be the only cat calming treat that tastes like the real deal.

pro bite big isolated
read more on amazon

Cool Kitty  – best cat calming spray

Cool Kitty is a natural pheromone-based cat calming spray, it’s the the highest-rated formula with a user satisfaction rate of 86%.

You should be cautious with sprays, because some of the products have been in the market for years without any change to the formula. In those years, the body of studies about chemicals that are toxic for your pet has grown (like lavender).

This formula is very simple and safe, doesn’t contain any paraban-based chemicals and NO Lavender.

cool kitty label - list of ingredients in the spray

When looking into sprays stayed away from “blends”. Because if the ingredients are not precisely listed, a calming blend might include a harmful chemical.

Cool Kitty contains natural pheromone, jasmine & passion flower and none of the potentially harmful chemicals.

read more on amazon

Comfort Zone Feliway –
top pick among cat calming diffusers

By far the most popular among users, this non-pheromone cat calming diffuser has a user satisfaction rate of 86 %.

This diffuser is covered by a full warranty meaning that, if it doesn’t work for you simply send it back and get a refund. ThunderEase is the kind of the hill. It’s been clinically tested and proven to be effective with a 90% success rate.

It’s not pheromone-based, but on a formula designed to “mimic” the soothing effects of pheromones.

comfort zone feliway label

What we’ve seen with this diffuser is that the satisfaction rate fluctuates based on how long you’ve been using it, it significantly increases after about a month.

So, if you do decide to give it a go, we recommend getting a diffuser with at least 3 refills.

read more on amazon

pets isolated white

Some general talk

sleepy dog with cap concept ready for sleep
How do dogs sleep?

Depending on the size and breed, their sleeping requirements will vary. While some breeds seem to only want to nap and be lazy, there are also some breeds that are constantly active and you’re wondering where do they even get the energy.

Long hours

Adult canine will spend around 12 to 14 hour sleeping per day on average while a puppy sleeps even up to 18 hours per day, sometimes, even more, depending on the breed. Approximately half of their day will be spent on sleep and 30% of being awake but inactive. The remaining 20% is reserved for their most basic needs such as eating, walks, and exercise.

“Seniors” require a significant amount of sleep due to their age. As your they age, certain illnesses will begin to develop such as arthritis and other ailments. Living will become increasingly more difficult and they will naturally spend most of its time where it’s comfortable. If they are is sleeping more or less than the average it is no cause for alarm.

Every dog is different and their behavior and needs greatly depend on the breed, gender, and age as well as the environment.

Nap time

While you’re away at work and there isn’t anything to stimulate your furry best friend, the chances are they will be spending their time blissfully snoozing- or chewing the couch cushion.

It’s normal for them several short naps during the day and the duration of those naps depend on the breed and the personality. Larger breeds require a lot more rest and will generally spend up to 18 hours in total sleeping. Puppies, just like human babies, will tire out easily.

Their time is spent playing and exploring their surroundings, which is very exhausting when you’re just a small curious pup. Dogs that get enough activity and exercise in their day will also spend longer periods sleeping to recover their muscles and rest.

You will notice that your pet can not wait to slump down and sleep after a long walk or a run around it the ark. As much as they love play time, they also love to catch some Zs.

Dreams

The topic of whether or not dogs dream has long been up for debate in the science world. The behaviors and the noises that your pooch makes in their sleep seem to indicate that they do dream.

Dreaming is the state of sleep in which the brain processes all of the things it has experienced during the waking state. So for your dog that might be a dream about a walk in the park, that pesky neighborhood cat that keeps teasing him or his favorite chew toy.

Scientists have discovered similarities in brain activity in both humans and dogs during REM state, further confirming the theory that they do have dreams. During REM phase they’ll will make yelping noise, growl and sometimes even bark.

They can go as far as moving their legs as if running and make sudden jerking motions. In comparison, canine are much more active during REM phase. You might even say they “talk” in their sleep. If you see them twitching and it persists on regular basis you might consider dog melatonin to soothe them.

The importance of exercise

Dogs that do not get an adequate amount of activity and exercise during the day will often sleep a lot longer than those that do. In some cases, they may even suffer from insomnia.

Not getting enough mental stimulation can be detrimental to the mental health as well as their overall well-being. If they are active during the night when the rest of the family is asleep, it is most likely that it didn’t get enough activity and slept throughout the day.

Insomnia in dogs is most common in smaller breeds in urban environments that do not get to experience enough outside stimuli or run regularly. 30 minutes a day is a bare minimum of activity to keep them happy and healthy. Even more for the bigger and working breeds.

To combat the issue of insomnia, leave interesting puzzle-like toys around the places where the dog spends most of its time. This will mentally stimulate themand motivate him to play, instead of going to sleep.

These toys dispense a small treat if tampered with in the right way. This creates a positive association for the dog that if he finds a way around the toy he will be rewarded.

kitten sleeping relaxed in basket
How do cats sleep?

Our furry companions are true champions when it comes to putting in long hours of sleep. There is no place or circumstances that could stop a cat from getting some shuteye. But why do they sleep so much and what goes through their kitty minds when they’re asleep.

The information below will help you better understand the reason behind their sleeping habits and behavior.

It’s genetic

Depending on your kitties age, they can sleep for as much as 16 hours a day, even as much as 20 for a senior. This is a result of years and years of evolution that has affected their physiology, nutritional habits, and behavior.

Between meals, they will conserve energy with by getting a nap. A short period of rest to digest what they ate and to prepare for the next “hunt”.In the wild, they had to stalk and hunt their prey in order to survive which burns a lot of energy.

Nowadays this behavior has been adapted to play fighting, chasing toys and crazy night marathons just as you’re about to drift to sleep.

One eye open

About three-quarters of the time, they spend sleeping is reserved for what we might call “a snooze”. Snoozing is a type of a short, light sleep that will give them all the rest it needs while staying alert at the same time.

This is another evolutionary trait, should a threat appear, they are is ready to fight or flight. You can tell if they are is “snoozing” if their ears are lightly twitching or following the direction of the sound and their eyes won’t be shut all the way.

The wonderful things is that they can nap even when sitting upright. You never know when a nap might get you, and these tiny predators come prepared! If you fee like this is issue, you might try soothing them using some of the sleep aids out there that include Melatonin for cats.

Daydreamers

Naturally, cats are crepuscular, meaning they’re at their most active during twilight hours, just as the day is ending. Their wild ancestors would spend all of the hours in the day sleeping and hunt in the night when the visibility is low.

The structure of their eyes allows them better-seeing ability in low light which means they can see their prey in the dark and the prey will not know what hit ‘em.

In the case of the modern, domesticated feline the toy mouse is also none the wiser.

REM and non-REM

REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement and it’s a phase of sleep that humans experience. But it’s not only us that go through this phase, they do as well.

If you’ve noticed their ears and eyes rapidly twitching while their sleep it is most likely that they are experiencing an REM phase.

Snoring

Snoring s most prominent with the brachycephalic breeds, also known as “short-nosed” such as the Persian.

This happens when the cat is at it’s most relaxed and the airway is obstructed by the extra skin of the soft palate.

It’s no cause for alarm unless you’ve noticed discharge around the nose which would indicate an upper respiratory inflammation

Comfort

Their s natural instinct is to find the most secure spot to sleep on, and what more of an appropriate place than your lap.

Your beloved furry companion knows that when their master is around nothing dangerous can happen. The natural scent and warmth of your body is their heaven.

Since, in a way, they see you as their parent, they will seek out the comfort and heat of your body to lull themselves to sleep.

Rain, rain go away...

Just like most of us, our furry friends love a good nap on a rainy day. It comes from the same reason, they’re sensitive to changes in the atmosphere.

Don’t be surprised if you notice them t yawning and spending long hours curled up on a soft blanket when the forecast calls for a gloomy, wet day.

K9 dog melatonin

Dog Melatonin

This neurohormone occurs naturally and might be the solution to sleep problems. The body of studies suggests that it is useful, especially if the anxiety is caused by separation issues or night phobias.

Dog Melatonin – is it safe?

Although natural, melatonin is still a hormone and should be used with due diligence. The side effects are not common but when they do happen they come in the form of: stomach upset and cramps, agitation, elevated heart rate and, even less common, fertility issues.

Dog melatonin – dosage

The doses listed below are provided for reference purposes only, the exact dosage should be determined by your vet: Dosage based on weight:

  • 100+ lbs – 3.5-6 mg
  • 30-100 lbs – 2.5-3.5 mg
  • 10-30 lbs – 1.4-1.6 mg
  • Under 10 lbs – 1 mg

Cat and dog melatonin brands

Based on our research and stats, these are the 10 most well-trusted cat and dog melatonin brands:

  1. K9 Choice dog Melatonin
  2. VitaCalm
  3. NaturVet
  4. MelaVet
  5. PlanoPaws
  6. VetriScience Laboratories
  7. Elite Pet Nutrition
  8. Zesty Paws
  9. Deley Naturals
  10. Particular Paws
sentry cat calming collar

Cat calming spray, diffusers and collars – do they work?

The debate on using actual pheromone-based cat calming spray vs. the synthetic “imitations” is not put to rest and it’s not likely to happen any time soon.

The stats and studies

Over the past decade or so, pet numbers have increased by a whooping 18%. The current number is closing in on 90 million pet owners with over 55 % of them being proud to own more than one pet.

With people caring for the safety of their puppies and kittens, the numbers of owners who use pheromone-based calming products has gone down in favor of their synthetic counterparts.

A number of reputable publications like the Applied Animal Behavior Science report that cat calming sprays and collars do work and the number of physicians who recommend them is on the rise.

When to use cat calming treats?

In a stressful situation, like a storm or fireworks, cat calming treats will be of little use because you won’t be able to get the stressed pet to eat it. They are more of an option for appeasing a naturally anxious feline over a period of time.

For immediate stress, a spray will be the choice because you can spread it around the house without “harassing” your pet to eat something when their primal instincts kick in.

quiet moments melatonin for cats

Melatonin for cats – how useful is it really?

Melatonin for cats comes in the form of chews and it’s usually combined with other soothing herbs. These products are primarily made to address sleep issues in the feline, like twitching and restless sleep.

Among the blends we looked at that include Melatonin for cats, NaturVet Quiet Moments was the product with the highest ratings.

Comfort Zone vs. Feliway

Two brands of calming aids stand out and we’ve received a dozen of questions over the past year on the asking us to compare Comfort Zone vs. Feliway.

The difference is in the diffusers

To compare Comfort Zone and Feliway, we first have to understand the difference between natural and synthetic pheromones.

Feliway vs. Comfort Zone vs. Ceva

A diffuser with Feliway uses artificial, while Comfort Zone uses natural pheromones. The later is similar to the Ceva and Adaptil – they use potent natural pheromones. the main difference here is the range of products and ways to disperse the substance.