Disclaimer: This information is not intended to provide or substitute for any medical advice. If you believe your dog has a health condition that CBD could help with, please consult your veterinarian before administering any CBD product to your dog or before replacing any vet-prescribed medication for CBD.
Dogs communicate their anxiety in many ways. They may hide and tremble, pant, or just try to run away when they’re feeling anxious. Other dogs may suddenly urinate or bark frequently. Whatever the behavior and whatever the cause, if your dog is anxious, you’ll want to help him or her feel calm and at ease, not agitated and upset.
How Can I Tell What’s Causing My Dog’s Anxiety?
Dogs can’t just open up and talk to us about why they’re anxious. Their anxiety comes from two main causes: situational and behavioral.
Situational anxiety comes from causes we can clearly connect to our dog’s anxious responses, including:
- Strangers arriving
- Unexpected travel
If you only ever take your dog to the vet in a carrier, it’s pretty clear why the carrier might make your dog anxious. Dogs can also sense environmental changes in addition to the loud booms of thunder or fireworks. These are obvious causes that you can identify as reasons for your dog’s anxiety.
Behavioral anxiety comes from less-clearly-identifiable types of anxiety. Dogs may become anxious because of changes in family composition, such as a new baby or a new puppy or older dog joining the household. If you go to work every day, your dog may be severely anxious while you’re gone. If you’ve heard from neighbors that your dog barks all day long, this is a classic symptom of separation anxiety.
Other less-than-optimal behaviors that result from behavioral anxiety include:
- Urinating or defecating in the house while you’re gone (even if housetrained)
- Whimpering and barking
- Aggression (growling and biting)
- Poor appetite or overeating
Whether your dog responds anxiously to thunderstorms and fireworks or has behavioral anxiety that occurs most days as a response to daily stress, CBD oil may be able to help. But it’s important to use only pure hemp-derived CBD oil that’s free of THC that’s made for your dog. Keep reading to understand why.
What’s the Difference Between CBD and THC for Dogs?
THC is the psychoactive compound found in marijuana that’s responsible for the signature high effect associated with marijuana. Not only do dogs not experience this “high” sensation the same way as humans do, but also THC is potentially toxic and harmful to them. That’s one reason why it’s important to choose pure hemp-derived CBD oil products made specifically for pets that are guaranteed to be 100% free of THC.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a different group of compounds that are found in hemp and marijuana. CBD is bioactive, not psychoactive. It binds to endocannabinoid receptors that are found throughout the central nervous system and other parts of the body in humans and pets. Dogs have an endocannabinoid system that’s similar to humans. The benefits that dog owners and vets who’ve been using CBD oil have observed are likely because of CBD’s ability to bind to the endocannabinoid receptors in the brain and nervous system.
How Can CBD Oil Help with Canine Anxiety?
The American Kennel Club (AKC) has noticed that dog owners are using CBD oil and have commissioned a study about CBD oil’s benefits for dogs with seizure disorders. But the AKC notes that CBD oil is still so new that there are no official, documented studies of its benefits on anxiety and related conditions.
However, there are many accounts of pet owners successfully reducing their dog’s anxiety using pure CBD oil free of contaminants and THC. Pet blogger Kim Gauthier gave pure CBD oil to her dog Rodrigo, who became anxious during storms and power outages. Rodrigo calmed down, and everyone in the house got a better night’s sleep. Her other two dogs also had symptoms of anxiety, so she never took them to the dog park or walked them in situations where they might encounter other dogs or strangers. Using pure CBD oil helped her to be able to take her dogs to vet appointments and get through other stressful situations.
Gauthier also reported using CBD oil to improve her dogs’ upset stomachs, inflammation and joint pain, and allergies. A 2018 study in humans identified one of the ways CBD may help relieve anxiety: Researchers discovered that CBD relieved anxiety by increasing serotonin in the brain.
What Should I Look for in CBD Oil for My Dog’s Anxiety?
First, you should look for CBD oil that’s made from hemp and that contains no THC. Dogs are also sensitive to toxins and contaminants that can be present in agricultural products. Be sure to find pure CBD oil formulated for pets that’s third-party tested to ensure it’s pure and free of contamination. You will also want to get your product from a manufacturer with the highest quality industry standards that will identify exactly how much CBD is in their product.
The AKC advises purchasing only pure CBD oil tinctures, so that you can add the product to your dog’s food or give it directly to them in oral drops. This is the easiest way to directly control the dose. As with all supplements, you should be cautious and start out with lower doses before giving more CBD oil.
How Much CBD Oil Should I Give My Dog for Anxiety?
Unfortunately, as of now, there are no official dosing recommendations for CBD. So it’s best to look for a brand with a clear identification as to how much CBD is in the product and how much of the product should be given for every 10 pounds of your dog’s body weight. If you have a small dog, only one or two drops of CBD oil may be sufficient to produce a calming effect and relieve anxiety. Larger dogs may respond to larger amounts of CBD.
Although you should be careful about how much CBD oil you give your dog, if you’ve bought a pure hemp-derived product with no THC, such as Curaleaf Hemp’s CBD Pet Drops, you can relax while you’re helping your dog to do the same.