Anxiety can be a crippling condition for pets.
Research shows that CBD, a natural compound from hemp, can offer fast, natural relief from anxiety and its symptoms without producing any unwanted side effects.
If you are considering treating your pet’s anxiety with CBD, read on.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety, stress, and fear are all completely natural responses to stimulus.
- Separation anxiety in dogs is extremely common.
- Sudden environmental changes can also cause them anxiety, like moving into a new home or the arrival of a new family member or in the presence of strange pets or people.
- Dogs that have been physically or mentally abused are prone to experience anxiety and have specific phobias and fears.
- Old dogs can have Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (or CDS), which affects a dog’s memory, learning, perception, and awareness whch often causes anxiety.
What are the Symptoms of Dog Anxiety?
Anxiety can affect different dogs in different ways which often makes it hard to diagnose.
Some obvious signs of anxiety include:
- Whining or whimpering
- Separation anxiety may cause a destructive behavior or even urinating/defecating in the house inspite of being toilet trained.
- Dilated pupils
- Anti-social behaviour
- Displacement behaviour (like yawning, lip licking, shaking)
- They may have difficulty focusing or learning
- May be overly sensitive to external stimuli
- Anxious dogs may be mislabelled as “hyper,” “dominant,” or “stubborn.”
Traditional Anxiety Treatments for Dogs
The first step to dealing with anxiety in most cases involves behavioural training. The aim of this is to redirect bad behavior to good behaviour and usually involves consistent training by all members of the household.
Unfortunately, for some dogs behavioural training isn’t enough.
This is often the case for dogs dealing with specific anxieties to thunderstorms, having visitors, or travelling in the car. In these cases, vets will usually prescribe short-term anti-anxiety medication. Dogs dealing with daily anxiety may also be prescribed daily anti-anxiety medications.
There are 3 main anti anxiety medications for dogs:
- Benzodiazepines, or BZs, like Valium, Ativan, or Xanax
- Tricyclic antidepressants, or TCAs, such as Elavil or Tryptanol
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, like Paxil or ProZac
Unfortunately, these drugs can produce a variety of side effects, including:
- Increased or decreased appetite
- Drowsiness, sleepiness, and sedation
- Affected learning and memory
- Increased urination
- Stomach upset
- Increased aggression and anxiety
Apart from producing side effects, some dogs simply may not respond to treatment with these drugs.
Many vets are now suggesting CBD as an alternate, natural anti-anxiety treatment for dogs. CBD is not a pharmaceutical, meaning it won’t interfere with any other medications. In fact, some studies have shown that CBD can enhance the effectiveness of other medications, such as pain killers.
CBD Can Help Control Anxiety in Dogs
Cannabidiol, or CBD, has a wide variety of medicinal benefits, and research shows that CBD for dogs can work as a powerful anti-anxiety supplement.
In 2015, a team of Spanish and US researchers reviewed the existing literature on CBD and its role in treating anxiety. Their studies showed that CBD produced unique anti-anxiety effects and could help control generalized and stress-induced anxiety as well as obsessive behaviours.
When CBD enters the body it is mediated by the endocannabinoid system, or ECS. The ECS is a natural biological system present in all mammals, meaning that dogs and cats respond to CBD in much the same way as humans.
Some research suggests that CBD can stimulate specific serotonin receptors in the brain. This temporary boost of the serotonin system can be very beneficial, helping reduce anxiety and fear, as well as improving mood.
Research also shows that CBD can promote neurogenesis in the hippocampus, a part of the brain that plays a key role in the formation of memories and controlling cognition. It can help promote the growth of new brain cells which may help control anxiety and its symptoms.
CBD Dosage for Dogs With Anxiety
Dogs and humans will respond to CBD in similar ways. The only difference, of course, is that dogs are more sensitive to cannabinoids like CBD, so they require smaller doses than humans. Read more on dosage, How Much CBD Should I Give My Dog.
As with any medication or supplement, getting the right dose of CBD is important. However, it’s also important to note that CBD is non-toxic and considered incapable of causing an overdose. It is also renowned as a very well-tolerated medicine that doesn’t produce side effects.
Always monitor your dog’s response to CBD when first starting treatment.
When using CBD oil, average doses usually range from a few milligrams to 20 mg or more taken each day. CBD should be administered under your dog’s tongue for the fastest onset, but can also be mixed with food. Remember that full spectrum CBD oil is quite bitter, so your dog usually won’t be too keen to take it.
If you struggle to administer CBD oil to your dog, you may want to use CBD isolate (which is tasteless and flavoless). Or try using capsules or treats.
Remember, the exact dosage will vary depending on your dog, their size and breed, the type of anxiety they deal with, as well as the strength of the CBD product you use.
People Have Successfully Used CBD to Treat Anxiety in Dogs
So we started using Pet CBD oil to help him deal with his symptoms, which have definitely improved. He’s 14 years old but acts like a puppy sometimes.
Pet owners consistently find that their dogs are calmer when using CBD, as well as more responsive to training or behavioral therapies.