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CBD and Pets: How to Help Your Dog With Anxiety

Anxiety is hard enough to deal with yourself, but when it’s your dog who’s experiencing it, you may be at a loss for how to help. After all, you can’t take your furry friend to a therapist. Thankfully, there are natural ways to help your pet relieve their anxiety. One of the most promising solutions is cannabidiol (CBD), which of course is popular among humans as well. Along with the right mix of behavioral strategies and supportive care, CBD may be just the thing to help your pupper feel less anxious.

How CBD Works

Like humans, dogs have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that modulates their mood, sleep, metabolism, and stress. The ECS comprises lipids and proteins that transmit chemicals throughout the nervous and peripheral systems. CBD binds to receptors in the ECS, reducing pain and opening the gates to stress-relieving serotonin. This makes it a remarkable substance for promoting balance throughout several different body systems.

Anxiety often stems from several interacting factors, so CBD can tackle these problems on several fronts. It facilitates the movement of those lipids and proteins, reactivating the pathways that are essential to healing, metabolism, and processing fear.

Like THC, CBD is found in the cannabis plant but does not have any psychoactive properties. To be legally classified as CBD, a product must contain less than 0.3% THC and be derived from industrial hemp. However, CBD doesn’t need to be psychoactive to have powerful benefits on one’s psychological well-being.

Understanding and Treating Anxiety in Pets

Before considering CBD for your dog, evaluate the possible causes of their anxiety. Dogs experience fear and stress just like humans. They are also prone to separation anxiety, which can manifest as destructive behaviors, pica, lethargy, and poor appetite. Here are some common causes of anxiety in dogs:

  • unfamiliar environments
  • isolation from you or other companions
  • fear of loud noises, cars, water, etc.
  • encountering aggression from other animals
  • pests (fleas, ticks, etc.)

Ideally, you could spare your dog these experiences, but that’s not always feasible. You still need to leave for work. You will sometimes move to a new house. And you can’t stop thunder or fireworks from happening. So, you may want a general solution to help relieve your pup’s anxiety when you can’t remove the stress factors.

Dogs also experience anxiety when they’re sick or in pain. They’re not able to say what’s wrong or solve the problem themselves. If your furry friend seems stressed, do a health check. Everything from an upset tummy to dermatitis can lead to anxiety. Older dogs tend to develop arthritis and other pain conditions. Chronic pain has a waterfall effect, contributing to lethargy and digestive issues — which result in yet more pain and anxiety.

Because CBD naturally provides holistic support throughout the body, it offers a broad treatment option — perfect for solving your pet’s interacting health conditions. It also boosts their mood and appetite, which tend to decline when they’re experiencing pain or stress. In short, CBD may be able to help treat both the symptom and the cause.

How to Use CBD Oil for Your Dog’s Anxiety

CBD is primarily an anti-inflammatory agent, so it has a lot of potential to reduce symptoms of arthritis and other age-related pain issues in your dog. This effectively relieves the anxiety caused by their pain condition. It also boosts their appetite. Full tummies make for happier puppers!

Some pet parents use CBD to help anxiety caused by psychological or social factors (separation, fear, etc.). This is most effective when you also provide behavioral interventions. For example, if your fur baby has separation anxiety, CBD can supplement other strategies, such as playing music, leaving your favorite sweater with them. and giving them lots of love whenever you are home. If they get anxious at the dog park or when going for a walk, distract them from scary animals and cars with toys and treats. CBD may provide general mood regulation as you gradually remove stress factors.

Are there any side effects of CBD for dogs?

CBD naturally interacts with your dog’s endocannabinoid system, making it a viable alternative to pain-relieving and anti-anxiety pharmaceuticals that may harm your pet’s liver. Unfortunately, CBD occasionally causes some uncomfortable side effects in canines, including:

  • decreased saliva production, leading to dry mouth and increased thirst
  • drowsiness and lethargy
  • decrease in blood pressure, potentially causing dizziness
  • vomiting or diarrhea

These effects are more common with higher dosages of CBD, so be sure that you’re giving your fluffy friend only the amount they need. And always start small and build up the dose to the desired level. This gives your pup time to get used to the CBD.

Note that veterinarians are not yet permitted to prescribe or dispense CBD, nor can they legally recommend products. However, they are allowed to discuss risks, benefits, and dosage suggestions. If you plan to use CBD for your dog’s anxiety, let your vet know so they can check for any interactions with pharmaceuticals they may need to prescribe your pup.

How much CBD should you give your dog for anxiety?

While there has been some research on CBD’s effects on dogs, CBD oil is not yet officially approved for use in pets. This means that we don’t have a precise dosing chart. To minimize side effects while maximizing benefits, most people give their pets a small dose of CBD every day. The cumulative benefit helps keep your pet calm while progressively restoring balance to their bodily systems.

Some veterinarians suggest dosages of 0.05 to 0.25 mg per pound of body weight (e.g. for a 25-pound dog, give 1.25 mg daily) For general mood support and anxiety relief, go lower. Dogs experiencing a lot of pain or severe distress can receive a higher dose. Once you find a dose that works, stick with it unless it stops working.

Note that many CBD products are suspended in a carrier oil. To measure the dosage you need, check the concentration on the package. It’s usually listed as “X mg/mL.” To get the correct amount of CBD in milligrams, divide the desired dose by X. That’s the amount you need to use in milliliters.

How long does CBD take to start working?

CBD generally starts relieving symptoms of anxiety within 15 to 20 minutes. However, different dogs have different metabolic rates. Sometimes, it can wear off relatively quickly. That’s why it’s a good idea to regularly give your dog a small dose. It will gradually build up in their system. If you know a stressful event is coming up (fireworks, a vet visit, etc.), offer them the CBD shortly beforehand.

What type of CBD is best for dogs?

You should only use full- or broad-spectrum CBD oil — ideally organic. Check the label to be sure the product is not “hempseed oil” or another CBD knock-off. Avoid cheaper oils extracted through solvents (e.g. propane or butane), as these chemicals leave residues that may be harmful to your furry friend. Also, CBD isolate often isn’t as effective for dogs because it lacks those trace cannabinoids. As dogs have fewer receptors, you do want a high-potency product with all the terpenes and ideally, you give your pet a full-spectrum organic CBD product that was created via CO2 extraction, which releases high-potency oil with minimal side effects.

Never use a product that contains more than 0.3% THC as this substance can be toxic for dogs. However, trace amounts (such as what you’d find in full-spectrum oil) are okay. In fact, they may have a synergistic effect with the CBD, improving its benefits.

Not sure if your dog will take to having oil dripped on their tongue? Good news: there are plenty of pet-friendly CBD products on the market, including treats and chews! These are pre-dosed, so be sure to monitor how much CBD your pup is actually consuming. Again, look for products made with organic, authentic CBD oil. Hempseed oil has no therapeutic benefits.

Wrapping Up

CBD is an all-around supplement that may promote your pup’s mood, boost their energy, stimulate their appetite, and reduce inflammation — all of which can provide synergistic relief for anxiety and stress. As their anxiety declines, they often become healthier in other ways. While there is still much to research about CBD’s effects on dogs, it shows promise as a powerful way to support your canine friend’s overall wellness. Dogs who receive regular doses of CBD have been reported to eat better, enjoy more exercise, and stay calmer during stressful events.

So, if you’re ready to try CBD for your dog’s anxiety, you’ll need the right product. At Pinnacle Hemp, our oil is extracted from 100% organic industrial hemp. It is non-GMO, PG-free, PEG-free, and contains all the trace cannabinoids needed to make our oils potent and safe. Check out our CBD pet products today!

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