CBD oil for Dog Anxiety: Can it help?
Do you hear your dog whimper when you leave, are they chewing things up they shouldn’t, and do they fear thunderstorms, fireworks, and other things that cause loud noises? If so, your dog is likely suffering from bouts of nervousness that may indicate chronic anxiety.
While many treatments can help your dog’s anxiety, today, we are talking about how hemp CBD oil may be just the key to treating your dog’s anxiety, helping them remain calm.
As well, we will cover what to look for when selecting the best CBD oil for dogs and whether hemp CBD treats are a good option for anxious dogs. Along with tips on using CBD oil for dogs and what are some of the other health benefits of using full spectrum CBD oils. We know that finding a quality CBD oil that pushes safety and potency above making a quick buck is more tricky than it should be, but we are determined to help.
If you have a dog, you owe it to them to learn the signs of anxiety in dogs and what you can do to help them.
Symptoms of Anxiety Pet Owners Should Look For
- Destructive behavior
- Excessive barking
- Repetitive or compulsive behaviors
- Urinating or defecating in the house
Not all dogs will show the same anxiety symptoms. The exact symptoms an anxious dog will exhibit are largely influenced by the type of anxiety they are experiencing and the severity of it. For example, while aggression is typically considered the most concerning symptom of anxiety, it’s usually only seen in anxiety caused by age and fear of strangers.
Causes Of Dog Anxiety
Sometimes it can be hard to look at your pup and wonder why they would feel anxious. Their life seems pretty easy-going, just lying around and getting fed without having to work for 8 hours a day. However, just like us, our dogs get anxious for a variety of reasons.
Sometimes it is their boredom from lying around all day that gets the best of them. Anxious energy can build up quickly when a dog is cooped up, especially if they are a working or another high-energy dog breed.
Often, it’s something that happened one day when they were young, and it left a lasting effect on them. When puppies are allowed to have constant access to their owners, they can develop separation anxiety. Crate training is a great way to help prevent this.
Other times, it’s us that make our dogs nervous. For example, when our pups come running to us after hearing a loud noise, we give them special attention, usually by comforting them. But this tells your dog that their reaction was warranted. This works best for puppies, but next time there is a thunderstorm and your dog reactions, just act normal. I love grabbing a toy and acting like it’s time for a normal game of fetch.
As you can see, the path to chronic anxiety often starts when our dogs are quite young. From there, it continues to develop, and it’s often not until they show serious symptoms that we notice. The problem is the anxiety has had a long time to take its grasp on your dog, making it much harder to help an adult dog vs. a puppy.
Barring a medical condition, training is always the ultimate treatment for anxiety. But training takes time, especially when the anxiety condition is out of control. But that’s when we need fast relief the most, and this is why hemp CBD has become all the rage for dogs with anxiety.
What Is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol or CBD oil is one of many variations of products named after a compound found in the cannabis plant, which includes the hemp and marijuana plant. While named after a single compound, the large majority of hemp-derived dog CBD products are full spectrum. This means they contain all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids found in the cannabis plant, not just the cannabinoid, CBD — of which there are over 100 different kinds of them alone.
Besides CBD, the other most recognized cannabinoid found in both hemp and marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In large quantities, THC is able to create the sensation we call a high that’s associated with the notorious plant. The key phrase here is “large qualities” because while hemp has THC, there isn’t a lot and nowhere close to what appears in marijuana plants.
Where marijuana products are typically 20-99% THC, hemp CBD products are legally required to contain no more than 0.3% THC. This amount can’t even come to causing a high, and for more reasons than one as you’ll learn next. Thus, hemp-derived CBD oil is safe to give to adults, children, and even our dogs, cats, horses, and other mammals.
How Does CBD Oil Work?
Cannabinoids like CBD, along with the terpenes, all work by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is a series of regulatory receptors and neurotransmitters that all mammals have, and it’s responsible for maintaining the health and stability of several major regulatory systems, including the nervous and immune systems.
By interacting with the ECS, CBD oil can help with anxiety, pain, inflammation, energy balance, appetite regulation, epilepsy, and general wellness, to name a few.
There are two main receptors of the endocannabinoid system called CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. The receptors in The ECS are naturally activated by a group of neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids. THC, our cannabinoid that causes a high, has a strong affinity for activating CB1 receptors, doing it to a greater degree than the natural endocannabinoids can. When enough THC is ingested, too many CB1 receptors are over-activated, causing the high we associate with marijuana.
Besides THC, all the other cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant either appear in such little quantities they can’t cause a high, don’t overstimulate CB1 receptors, or active CB2 receptors. CB2 receptors don’t cause a high if overstimulated due to the regulatory systems they appear in. The individual compounds cannabinoid, CBD, connects to CB1 receptors without overstimulating them, even blocking THC from connecting.
This is why too much CBD decreases the quality of a marijuana product meant to blast you off to the sky. CBD also indirectly activates CB2 receptors by preventing the body from accidentally and prematurely recycling the endocannabinoid before it can do its job.
Real quick, we can start connecting the dots to how cannabinoids like CBD help anxiety. Remember, CBD oil almost always contains all the cannabinoids found, not just CBD.
Fear and nervousness happen when the sympathetic nervous system, which is one of two major branches of the system is overstimulated or over-activated. Because the endocannabinoid system helps stabilize the nervous system, CBD oil can provide a helping hand by activating the receptors themselves. Along with protecting the naturally created endocannabinoids, boosting their levels in the body.
CBD Oil For Dogs
While CBD oils started off for our personal use, so many of us had success with it helping nervousness, pain, appetite, seizures, and other disorders, we soon started giving it to our pets to see if it could help their health. Because all mammals have an endocannabinoid system, dogs can benefit from CBD just as much as humans can — from CBD mitigating pain to CBD supporting calm.
From there, CBD has become quite popular for helping both humans, our pets, and especially our dogs, who seem to benefit more from CBD than many others. Many of the common issues our dogs can face are things CBD has been well-documented in helping.
Hip dysplasia is a major killer in mobility, with most medium-size dog breeds and up being especially prone to it. CBD can help mediate chronic pain and excessive inflammation that are hallmarks of the hereditary disease.
Cancer is another disease that cripples our senior dog population, but it prevents many dogs from reaching their older years, as well. While CBD oil may have anti-cancerous properties, its real advantage is its ability to reduce many of the harsh side effects of chemotherapy and other common cancer treatments.
Epilepsy is actually quite rare in wild animals, and even cats seem mostly free from it due to none of them carrying the hereditary component. Our dogs, however, are not so lucky, with epilepsy, with potentially 6% of the population affected by it. And for some breeds, that number may be significantly higher.
Like us, our dogs aren’t just affected by epilepsy, but by forms that are hard to treat due to their drug-resistant nature. Cannabis’ success in lowering seizure rates in these forms when all other drugs fail, along with its ability to seemingly lower the severity of all forms of epilepsy is the reason many restrictions on the plant were first removed.
Along with the reasons above, there is one more condition that CBD oil has been touted as a lifesaver for.
Does CBD Really Work For Anxiety In Dogs?
While there are many things CBD oil is touted to help, anxiety is usually the reason most use it for. Both for us and for our dogs, who just seem to be as nervous as us, if not more so. Between studies on CBD and nervousness, along with all the personal reports, CBD oil appears to have the ability to help all forms of anxiety.
This includes CBD helping with temporary bouts of stress along with chronic fear and nervousness. This is perfect for our dogs because there are so many reasons they may be scared, resulting in different forms of anxiety, from separation anxiety to aggressive behavior.
While many have found CBD oil is a fantastic natural alternative to treating anxiety, we have personally seen it as a critical tool for a few of our dogs to solve the issue for good. While most dogs handle common calming medication fine, some dogs do see harsh side effects from them. And we understand why that can cause apprehensiveness amongst dog owners.
Because the side effects of CBD are low to non-existent for most, many pet parents find themselves more comfortable with it. While a CBD company, we always recommend talking to your veterinarian first about CBD if they have either potentially recommended anxiety medication in the past or currently have your dog on it.
Besides its help with lower anxiety directly, there are other reasons CBD is an attractive choice for treating anxiety. CBD oil provides 4-8 hours of relief, and this is long enough to cover most anxiety episodes, such as ones caused by thunderstorms, fireworks, and time out of the house. Then CBD is really easy to give with CBD oils coming with a measuring dropper, and CBD dog treats packing a bunch of flavors your dog won’t wait to gobble down. You can create your own treats with CBD oils or just place some in their food.
Does CBD Oil Have Side Effects?
The side effects of CBD are far and few between, with dry mouth and tiredness if the dosage is taken up too high being the most common. Side effects, in general, are very rare.
If you find your dog is tired after taking CBD, try cutting the dosage in half next time as CBD has a biphasic effect where it can slightly energize at lower and average dosages but cause drowsiness at extremely high doses. CBD appears to be non-toxic and fairly safe no matter the amount, however, higher dosages can result in lowered blood pressure for a brief period.
If your dog is on a prescription drug or other medications, please consult your vet before giving them CBD as there is potential for CBD to interact with the medication if the drug is metabolized by CYP enzymes. While a side effect that you should always pay attention to, many foods from grapefruit to kale do the same. However, these are not common in a dog’s diet.
CBD oils will contain a carrier oil that greatly improves absorption. A carrier oil is simply a fatty oil like hemp oil or MCT oil like coconut oil. Unless consumed in heavy amounts, a carrier oil is unlikely to cause any side effects.
In fact, a carrier oil like hemp oil can have benefits of its own that can help anxious dogs. Dog owners looking for the best CBD oil should look for one that uses hemp oil. Other CBD products such as CBD dog treats will contain a carrier oil as well.
The majority of dogs with anxiety see improvements with a pet CBD oil. However, in extremely rare cases an anxious pet might feel more nervous with CBD. This is likely due to too high of a dosage along with a potential sensitivity to THC.
Can CBD Oil Kill A Dog?
Legal and organic CBD oil for dogs is safe, and no amount can kill them. However, dogs are much more sensitive to THC than we are, making the amounts commonly found in marijuana products dangerous. This is why it’s important to always choose a CBD product that has had its THC amount tested for safety and potency.
How much CBD oil you give will take your dog’s weight into account, and will help you avoid higher dosages that are more likely to cause minor side effects.
Which CBD Oil Is Best For Dogs?
There are not many places where CBD oils along with other CBD products, like hemp-derived CBD dog treats , have faults. However, finding high-quality CBD from a reputable company that’s ensuring you’re getting the CBD item you think you’re getting is way harder than it should be. That’s an organic CBD product with max potency while still largely THC-free.
While CBD oil is safe for your dog, marijuana products with high THC are not. As such, it’s extremely important you’re able to confirm that the CBD you’re giving your dog has the accurate and legal amount.
At Innovet Pet, we do this by providing you with a Certificate of Analysis (COA) for all of our CBD products. A COA is awarded to a CBD company that has had their hemp extract tested by an independent third-party lab for accuracy. This lab report will show you that what’s on the CBD label is truthful. It will confirm it uses natural ingredients and is free of heavy metals.
Along with providing you with a COA to create the best CBD oil for dogs and other pets, we only source organic and non-GMO hemp plants to create our CBD items. As well, our CBD oil comes in full spectrum for the greatest promotion of the entourage effect vs. a broad spectrum CBD oil.
Our full spectrum CBD oil features a more concentrated CBD extract, including the terpenes, while keeping THC to less than 0.3%. Every single one of our CBD items is given the same treatment.
For our carrier oil — an essential requirement of CBD oil — we like keeping our CBD completely hemp by using the seeds of the hemp plant, known as hemp seed oil or simply hemp oil. Rich in omega fatty acids and antioxidants, hemp oil delivers several advantages to health vs. a poor quality MCT oil.
While lacking cannabinoids like CBD, hemp oils are incredibly popular in skincare items for their anti-inflammatory and skin restorative benefits. The hemp plant is one incredibly giving plant! That’s why we think CBD hemp oil is the best CBD oil for dogs.
How to Give Your Dog Hemp CBD Oil For Anxiety
Most dog and pet owners give their furry best friends CBD oil by simply filling the dropper with either the recommended dosage on the back of the bottle or one they find works better for their pets. How much CBD you give your pet will ultimately come down to what amount works best for them.
You can administer CBD oil directly by dropper in their mouth, squeeze the base to release the drops, and that’s it. Within 20 minutes, your dog should be starting to feel relief from their fear, nervousness, anxiety, you name it.
Most dogs will have no trouble with the flavor of full spectrum CBD oil or hemp seed oil, but sometimes the grassy flavor can turn them off when usually the opposite. But if they do and you need an easier way, simply add the full spectrum CBD oil to their water or food at the beginning of the day.
This is a great way to ensure the oil in the bottle doesn’t go to waste and won’t hurt the potency. As well, you can look into CBD dog treats and soft chews instead of CBD oil, which are fantastic ways to reward your dog with flavor and better health.
With treats, expect it to take a little longer for CBD to start working since it needs digesting first. This will be the same if you place the oil in their food or bake it into a treat. Expect 40-60 minutes before a CBD treat starts helping your dog feel calm.
At Innovet Pet, we offer organic, full spectrum CBD treats, along with calming soft chews for smaller dogs and those that struggle to chew hard treats.
All of our products, from our dog CBD oil to our daily natural pet care supplements to our CBD dog treats and soft chews, use the same great high-quality hemp tested for purity and potency. How much CBD oil you give your dog will be based on their body weight.
Should You Give CBD Oil To Dogs For Anxiety?
From temporary bouts of uneasiness to chronic fear, canine anxiety is a daily occurrence for many of our dogs. However, while our dogs have long struggled with anxiety disorders, many dog and pet owners are unsure how to best handle it. With its fast-acting effects, natural anxiety relief, and low risk for side effects, pet CBD oil for dogs is a great way to treat nervousness and reduce anxiety. It has given countless pet owners the ability to safely and effectively manage their pet’s anxiety.
Many of us are all too well aware of how anxiety can be destructive to the body and overall wellness. Did you know that stress is often called the silent killer?
We personally give our dogs here at Innovet Pet, full spectrum CBD oil and CBD treats for help with thunderstorms, car rides, and anxiousness, in addition to all the other reasons high quality CBD oil can benefit our pet’s health. And that’s another one of the long list of reasons we work endlessly to create a high-quality CBD that’s free of harsh chemicals like pesticides and herbicides.
Your dog deserves the best quality CBD at a price that’s affordable. Lab-tested for purity and potency with the COAs easily found on our website.
Why We Love CBD For Dog Anxiety
At Innovet Pet, our goal is to create personalized pet care items that fill the gaps missing in pet health, and using organic CBD oil is the perfect way to unlock better wellness of the body. More exciting, we now include CBD full spectrum hemp extract in many of our daily supplements like our dog CBD multivitamins and dog CBD probiotic aids. With many featuring other beneficial natural ingredients like glucosamine and hemp oil loaded with beneficial fatty acids.
If we could pick one all natural remedy to help our pets stay calm, along with helping them with other health conditions, we wouldn’t hesitate to pick organic CBD for its range of benefits. CBD for dog anxiety is a fantastic tool for helping an anxious pet.
CBD Oil, Your Dog, And Their Anxiety
In order to truly help your dog’s symptoms, it is important to remember that dogs with anxiety often need additional help in the form of training. CBD dog treats are an awesome way to help with that by the way. Even with the best anti-anxiety medications and the best CBD oil, training is recommended for ultimately treating the anxiety condition.
All-in-all, the calming effect of CBD oil is a great way to better help keep your pet calm and combat anxiety
Does CBD Work for Dogs?
Topper, a 7-year-old Ibizan Hound, could hardly walk after being diagnosed with severe arthritic changes due to Valley fever. “The pain became so debilitating he had to be carried outside to eat, drink, or use the bathroom,” recalls owner Christy Moore. “He was on pain medication but it wasn’t working. A friend recommended pet CBD. Within three days he could walk on all four legs and I was crying tears of joy. It was the miracle we needed.”
Lady Amelthia, a Greyhound, was so petrified of thunderstorms she would destroy a crate to escape. “Holding her only made her claw to get away. A ThunderShirt reduced her from 100 to 90 on the anxiety scale,” recalls owner Jenn Boswell, director of the Alabama Greyhound Adoption Center. “Veterinary-prescribed trazodone took it down to a 50. Tried three drops of CBD oil and it went down to a 5.”
Success stories abound of dogs overcoming anxiety, slowing seizures, and even beating cancer due to cannabidiol (CBD), one of more than 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. But how can one substance help so many unrelated problems? Or can it?
Cannabinoids are substances including CBD and THC that mimic the endocannabinoid chemicals naturally produced in all vertebrates. Receptors for endocannabinoids are found throughout the body. The body’s endocannabinoids act as master regulators that signal other systems when to speed up or slow down, working to stabilize the body and return it to homeostasis. Cannabinoids from the cannabis plant affect these same receptors, each in slightly different ways. For example, THC causes a high, while CBD does not.
Is It Harmful?
Unlike THC, which can cause toxicity and even death in dogs when given at prescribed human dosages, the worst CBD has been documented to do is cause diarrhea and changes in some liver enzyme values after several weeks. The main concern with CBD is that it inhibits a chemical in the body called cytochrome P450 that is responsible for metabolizing most drugs. If a drug’s efficacy depends on its metabolized product, CBD could render it less effective. If a drug’s safety depends on it being cleared from the body within a certain time frame, CBD could cause it to build up to toxic levels. Never give your dog CBD without your veterinarian’s knowledge if your dog is taking other drugs.
Does It Work?
Research with dogs is still scarce, but there’s a huge body of research (about 23,000 published papers!) looking at CBD’s effect on laboratory animals and humans, with encouraging results for pain, especially arthritic pain, itchiness, anxiety, and cancer, all of which have at least one canine study as well. The results in dogs? It depends.
Arthritis: Several studies have looked at CBD’s effectiveness against arthritic pain, all with positive results. A Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine study found dogs given CBD at a rate of 4.4 mg per pound twice daily for a month showed significant improvement in pain relief and quality of life. Lead investigator Joe Wakshlag, DVM, Ph.D., DACVN, said that some dogs were initially so decrepit that their owners considered euthanasia, but that after just days on CBD they were trotting around and even climbing stairs. A Baylor University study found similar improvement, adding that CBD worked better when delivered in a liposomal formulation.
Itchiness: Two recent double-blind, placebo-controlled dog studies report CBD significantly reduces itchiness. An Australian study conducted by the company CannPal found their CBD product reduced itchiness, inflammation, and skin lesions by 51 percent after eight weeks of treatment. An American study conducted by the company ElleVet found their product, which combines CBD with another cannabinoid, CBDA, significantly reduced owners’ reports of itchiness.
Cancer: Cannabinoids are reported to induce cancer-cell death and prevent metastasis. In a Cornell University study of CBD, dogs, and cancer, researchers found CBD along with a standard chemotherapy drug reduced cancer-cell proliferation in vitro more than the chemotherapy drug alone. Anecdotal reports from veterinarians have claimed CBD shrunk cancer cells or put dogs into remission.
Behavior: Anxiety, and especially noise reactivity, is a major reason dog owners seek help using CBD. But despite anecdotal reports of its effectiveness, no controlled study so far has shown it to be particularly effective. A study from the University of Western Australia may show promise for aggressive behavior. Shelter dogs with aggressive tendencies exhibited less aggression toward humans when tested after 15 days of CBD administration. In a study from the University of Kentucky, physiological measurements of anxiety in response to noise were not significantly different for CBD versus placebo, and were worse compared to trazodone (a drug commonly prescribed for anxiety). Note, however, that in this study the CBD was administered four to six hours before testing, which may have been too long a waiting period.
Seizures: Lots of anecdotal reports hail CBD’s success combatting seizures in dogs, but the single controlled study delivered moderate results. In this Colorado State University study, dogs given CBD for 12 weeks had 33 percent fewer seizures than those given a placebo, but it didn’t work for every dog. These researchers are now working on a larger trial using higher CBD doses. Note that THC has been reported to cause seizures, so it should never be included in any CBD product for seizure control. In addition, CBD’s effect on cytochrome P450 could interfere with prescribed anti-seizure drugs, so never use it without your veterinarian’s consent.
Other: There’s also evidence from laboratory animals that CBD is effective in promoting bone healing, fighting infection, treating inflammatory bowel disease, slowing degenerative myelopathy, quelling nausea, and relieving pain, but these have yet to be specifically examined in dogs.
How to Choose CBD For Dogs?
With hundreds of CBD products on the market, and little regulation of them, it’s not easy to know which is best. Look for a product with the National Animal Supplement Counsel (NASC) Seal of Quality Assurance, and one that has a third-party certificate of analysis that includes potency, lists all ingredients, and discloses the possible presence of heavy metals, mycotoxins, or pesticides. Avoid edible products formulated for human consumption, which often contain ingredients such as xylitol that are toxic to pets.
Choose broad-spectrum products, which include other cannabinoids and substances known as terpenes that are also in the cannabis plant. CBD seems to work best when it’s in conjunction with these rather than isolated. But avoid full-spectrum products that include THC.
Aim for about 0.1 to 0.2 mg per kilogram of your dog’s weight, given twice daily by mouth. Work up gradually, but beware that more is not always better with CBD, as sometimes the response is biphasic, meaning that it doesn’t work if you give too little or too much.
Is It Legal?
Many veterinarians are reluctant to suggest CBD, whether because they believe CBD is not yet sufficiently proven helpful or because they fear professional or legal repercussions. CBD products are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for dogs, but neither are common supplements such as glucosamine or fish oil; nor the majority of human-approved prescription drugs routinely prescribed in veterinary practice.
While it is legal to sell hemp-derived products containing less than 0.3 percent THC, until recently the American Veterinary Medical Association did not approve of veterinarians suggesting any cannabis products, including CBD, for patients. Even now, the law is unclear enough that many veterinarians fear repercussions if something went wrong due to their suggestion of CBD.
While some veterinarians are hesitant to suggest CBD, almost all are eager to discuss it once you bring it up. Of course, some veterinarians are more versed in its pros and cons than others. The main concern is its possible interaction with prescribed drugs.
Overall, the evidence is compelling that CBD can help at least some conditions. The endocannabinoid system is the largest system in the body, and the least explored. Every year brings new discoveries—and new claims. It’s the beginning of a brave new world of health, but as with any new path, expect some wrong turns, dead ends, and false hopes. CBD is not a miracle drug, but it may be the miracle your dog needs.
This article originally appeared in the award-winning AKC Family Dog magazine. Subscribe today!