It can be tricky, to say the least, to calm down an anxious dog. Does your best bud become agitated when he knows you’re going out without him or every time he rides with you in the car? Does your fur kid whimper and cower under your bed during thunderstorms? These behaviors may seem like no big deal to some, but as a concerned pet parent, you have good reasons to want to help your dog calm down and feel comforted. CBD oil for dog anxiety is an option you should try.
What is CBD oil and how does it work?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the active ingredients in the cannabis plant; it is the chemical responsible for the calming effect of medical marijuana, as well as many other positive health effects. Medical marijuana, however, also has a psychoactive effect because of its THC content – and THC is toxic to dogs and other animals.
Fortunately, CBD is also present and in greater amounts in the hemp plant, which contains less than 0.3% THC – an amount that does not produce any high. So hemp-derived CBD oil is safe to use to treat certain ailments in dogs. In fact, CBD oil is often prescribed by veterinarians as an alternative therapy or to support prescription medications and treatments.
Just like humans, dogs have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) which is a triggering system responsible for regulating a wide variety of functions, including sleep, mood, appetite, stress, digestive function, and immune function, among others. CBD interacts with the ECS by binding with cannabinoid receptors and either producing or inhibiting a certain response.
When it comes to anxiety, the binding of cannabidiol with cannabinoid receptors activates serotonin receptors. Serotonin is a hormone that functions as a natural mood stabilizer and when it is released in the body, it effectively reduces anxiety.
Through the same mechanism, CBD oil also produces other positive health effects, such as pain relief, mood regulation, improved sleep, seizure management, nausea relief, and even cancer and tumor treatment.
What makes your dog anxious?
Your dog’s anxiety may be triggered by a variety of factors, including:
- Situational triggers, such as travel, strangers, fireworks, and thunderstorms.
- Behavioral triggers, such as becoming separated from his human and/or companion dog/s.
When a dog becomes anxious, he may exhibit the following symptoms:
- Nervous licking of lips
- Having accidents in the house
- Loss of appetite
How do you use CBD for your dog’s anxiety?
CBD products that are specially made for pets are available as oil, capsules, and treats. CBD oil is the most potent and, therefore, produces the optimal effects you are looking for.
CBD capsules are also potent and allow for more consistent dosing, but the capsule requires additional breakdown by the digestive system so the CBD that is released and absorbed by the body may be less potent than pure CBD oil.
CBD treats provide the least accurate and consistent CBD content because cannabidiol degrades in high temperatures when it is cooked. The amount of CBD that your dog absorbs from CBD treats may be a lot less than the CBD content per serving stated on the product information.
CBD oil can be given directly to your dog by squeezing the oil into his mouth using a dropper or by having him lick the oil from the dropper. Not all dogs like the taste and texture of CBD oil, however. Another option is to mix the oil with your pet’s food or add the correct number of drops to his favorite treat. CBD capsules can be easily hidden in peanut butter. CBD treats are, of course, the easiest to give and the most appealing to Fido.
For your dog’s anxiety, a less potent dosage of CBD may be enough. This means that you can get the results you want by just giving your best bud CBD treats. If you opt for CBD oil or capsules, start with the lowest dose recommended and monitor how your dog responds to it. The CBD usually works within 30 to 90 minutes of ingestion. You can give him additional small doses until his nerves calm down.
The proper dosage recommendations should be printed on the product’s information label. The general recommendation is 0.2 to 0.25 mg per pound of weight. Anxiety in dogs is usually considered a mild condition, so a small dose of CBD is often enough. But when in doubt, always consult your vet.
Choosing the right CBD product to treat your dog’s anxiety
Whether you choose CBD oil, capsules, or treats, you should make sure that you buy high-quality CBD that is derived from hemp to get optimal results. This also guarantees that the product contains less than 0.3% THC.
High-quality CBD – be it in pure oil form, in a capsule, or as an ingredient in a treat – should be made from organically-grown hemp that is processed using pharmaceutical grade ethanol. A cheap CBD product may mean that the CBD was extracted using cheap methods and toxic solvents.
CBD oil and capsules should contain nothing else but cannabidiol and a carrier oil, such as hemp seed oil, MCT, grapeseed oil, or extra virgin olive oil. When choosing CBD dog treats, check the additional ingredients used. It’s always best to choose a product that contains all-natural ingredients, with no artificial chemicals (preservatives, flavorings, and colors).
A good-quality CBD product should also come with a certificate of analysis performed by a third-party lab. The certificate will verify the CBD content of the product and that it has no impurities or toxins.
It’s always best to seek your veterinarian’s advice before starting your dog on CBD therapy for anxiety or other ailments. Your vet will also be able to recommend a good product and prescribe the appropriate dosage for your pet. Whether you’re buying from a physical store or online, take the time to do research on the company/manufacturer. Verify that their products underwent independent lab tests; read customer feedback, both positive and negative.
CBD is a safe and effective remedy for a dog’s anxiety. Give it a try so that your dog can enjoy some calm when he needs it the most.