Have you noticed your dog hiding away whenever there is a storm? How about when you change your environment, and they have to interact with new people and animals? Also, does your dog experience mood changes whenever you leave them for work?
It may be a sign of stress and anxiety. In such situations, it is essential that you try and calm down your dog. One of the best ways to do this is using CBD oil products.
But do you have information about its use and safety? This article discusses anxiety in dogs and the role of CBD oil in managing anxiety symptoms.
Anxiety in Dogs
Like humans, dogs, too, experience anxiety. This may be an unpleasant experience, but it is a healthy emotion. While anxiety affects all dog breeds, every dog’s experience is different. Although it is common in dogs, disproportionate anxiety levels can result in anxiety disorder if left unchecked.
Does Your Dog Have Fear, Anxiety, or a Phobia?
When dealing with fear-based behavioral issues in canines, your vet will coordinate with you to determine the root cause of the behaviors.
This is a feeling of apprehension caused by a person, object, or situation that presents an external threat. This threat can be real or perceived. The autonomic nervous system's response readies the body for fight or flight syndrome. Fear in dogs is deemed normal behavior essential for survival and adaptation.
The context of the situation determines the normality or abnormality of the fear response. The good news? Most of these abnormal reactions are often learned and can therefore be unlearned.
A phobia is the excessive and persistent fear of a particular stimulus. After a phobic event has occurred, any event closely resembling it or its memories is sufficient to evoke a response. The most prevalent phobias in dogs result from loud noises like thunderstorms.
Anxiety is the anticipation of imagined or unknown potential dangers. The result is physiologic reactions usually associated with fear. The most common form of anxiety in dogs is separation anxiety. It is characterized by excessive distress behaviors when dogs are left alone for some time.
Causes of Dog Anxiety
Several factors can contribute to anxiety in dogs. Here are some of the common causes:
Aging-related anxiety is common in senior dogs. It is often accompanied by cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS). CDS resembles the initial stages of Alzheimer's disease in humans. It is characterized by a decline in:
This results in confusion and, imminently, anxiety.
Statistics indicate that separation anxiety affects about 14% of dogs. Dogs with this condition struggle to find comfort when separated from their loved ones. Separation anxiety often manifests as destructive and undesirable behaviors such as chewing on shoes and defecating in the house.
Here are some of the things that can cause fear-related anxiety:
- Loud noises
- Visual stimuli such as umbrellas
- New environments
- Strange animals or people
- Car rides
While some dogs may react only briefly to these stimuli, the effect on anxious dogs is more significant.
Symptoms of Anxiety in Dogs
Do you think your dog has anxiety? Look out for these symptoms:
- Defecating or urinating in the house
- Excessive barking
It is essential to understand that while some of the above symptoms may result from anxiety-causing events, they can become recurrent and cause more severe issues. That being said, aggression is the most adverse symptom of anxiety in dogs. Depending on the situation, it can be targeted directly or indirectly.
Direct aggression happens when a dog is aggressive toward other animals or humans. Indirect aggression, on the other hand, occurs when people come between the dog and its source of aggression. This could be another dog. Aggressive behaviors like barking or growling can result in undesirable situations for dogs and people.
Subtle Signs of Anxiety in Dogs
Veterinary medicine experts argue that common signs of dog anxiety often go unnoticed by pet parents because of their subtle nature. The subtle signs can indicate mild anxiety or be a precursor to full-blown anxiety. They include:
- Licking of lips
- Pulling ears back
- Tucking the tail in
Which Dog Breeds Experience the Most Anxiety?
Before delving into this subject, it is important to understand that dogs are emotionally complex, just like people. So, they may respond differently to situations, just like humans. Certain dog breeds and family histories of anxiety may cause anxiety in dogs.
Here are the dog breeds more prone to anxiety:
1. Lagotto Romagnolos
This is the most anxious breed of dogs. They have a fear of thunder. They may also suffer from noise anxiety from loud music and vehicles.
2. Wheaten Terriers
These also have a high risk of developing noise-related anxiety. If you want to adopt a wheaten terrier, consider making accommodations to adequately socialize them with noises from an early age. If exposed to loud noises frequently, they will likely exhibit symptoms like panting and barking.
3. Spanish Water Dogs
This breed is more likely to develop anxiety or fear of stimuli in their environment. This stimulus is often strangers. Look out for fly-snapping and tail-chasing symptoms.
4. Shetland Sheepdogs
These also have a fear of strangers. The proper medication and training can help mitigate this fear. However, if you want to adopt a Shetland sheepdog, it is wise to start socializing them from an early age.
5. Miniature Schnauzers
These are one of the most aggressive breeds. When they encounter anxiety-inducing stimuli like loud noises or strangers, these dogs respond by exhibiting aggression. Also, compared to other breeds, they have a higher risk of developing separation anxiety.
Remember that the fact that your dog falls under any of the above categories doesn't necessarily mean they will experience anxiety issues. Also, if your dog isn’t one of the mentioned breeds, it doesn’t mean they won’t have anxiety.
How To Help Your Dog With Anxiety
Discuss it with your veterinarian. Here is how your vet can help:
- Establishing the type of anxiety your dog is suffering from
- Unearthing the possible triggers and causes of the anxiety
- Determining whether the anxiety is just situational or if it is overburdening your dog
- Ruling out other medical conditions that could be behind your canine friend’s symptoms
Your vet will help formulate a treatment plan. Since excessive anxiety is often a result of several factors, the best way to deal with it is by combining training, medications, and preventive strategies.
Pet owners can use many training strategies to help manage anxiety in their dogs.
It aims at changing your furry friend's response to stimuli that causes anxiety. It does so by replacing anxious behavior like aggressiveness with more desirable behavior like sitting calmly.
This strategy involves the owner slowly introducing the dog to the anxiety source. In the initial stages, the doses are small, and the intensity is low. Repeated exposure and rewarding positive responses go a long way toward anxiety management.
Can’t decide on the best approach for your little bestie? Professional dog trainers can always help.
2. Environmental Management
Another viable technique for reducing anxiety in dogs is making their environment more favorable.
Here are some strategies to help optimize your furry friend's environment:
- Setting aside a safe space in your home
This offers your dog a haven to retreat to whenever they get stressed when you leave them alone.
- Introducing fun games and activities
This can include food puzzles, nose work, and tricks to distract their minds from thinking of their anxieties and fears.
Your vet may recommend natural therapies or medications for dogs with severe anxiety disorders. They may prescribe antidepressants and SSRIs for dogs with anxiety. Medications like benzodiazepine coupled with antidepressants are suitable for predictable anxiety-producing events like fireworks or thunderstorms.
If you have a senior dog, your vet may recommend drugs like selegiline to help reduce CDS symptoms.
Experts also argue that natural therapies and products can help your dog deal with anxiety. While some products may need to be used with other medications, others can be used alone, depending on your dog's condition. Natural products make use of aromatherapy and pheromones to reduce anxiety.
Dog Anxiety Prevention Measures
Well, it is darn hard to know precisely what will trigger your dog's anxiety. It’s even harder to determine whether your dog's anxiety will escalate into a more severe disorder. However, this should not worry you, as there are several ways to help your pup dodge anxiety-related woes.
1. Body Language
The best thing you can do for your pet is to learn to read their body language. This way, you can tell when they are scared or uncomfortable. As a result, you avoid bad experiences or use them for positive training. Body language also lets you know if your dog is getting anxious. This is particularly helpful if they have a history of anxiety-related aggression.
Proper socialization helps prevent anxiety from developing. Introducing your dog to new places, experiences, and people right from an early age can go a long way to prevent exaggerated responses in the future. It also helps your little non-rent-paying housemate be a modest citizen!
Obedience training helps prevent and manage anxiety in dogs. It lays a solid foundation for a healthy relationship and establishes trust. Socializing a well-trained dog is easier than doing so with a dog without training. Also, obedience classes are an excellent way for dogs to interact with other dogs.
4. Nutrition and Exercise
Exercise and simulation play a massive role in a dog's development. It is highly unlikely that a stimulated dog will pick up destructive mannerisms. Also, good nutrition is essential for your canine friend's health.
Catering for your dog’s mental and physical needs helps prevent behavioral problems that don't stem from anxiety. This makes you aware of the areas where your dog needs help the most.
5. Situation Avoidance
It is possible to prevent situations that trigger anxiety in dogs. For instance, if you know that your dog gets anxious around crowds, you should avoid malls and dog parks. Avoiding triggering situations helps reduce the stress on both you and your dog.
What if the source of anxiety can’t be avoided? This is where preventive measures like body harnesses and leashes come in. they can help prevent dangerous situations.
CBD Oil for Anxiety in Dogs
Some pet owners have reported success in using CBD oil for treating dog anxiety. However, before delving further into this treatment option, it is vital that you fully understand what CBD is and why the hype behind its use.
Facts about CBD
Here are some facts about CBD:
- It is short for cannabidiol
- It is a chemical compound derived from the cannabis plant
- Although named after one compound, most CBD products derived from the hemp plant are full-spectrum. This means that besides CBD, they contain all the cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes found in the cannabis plant.
- Apart from CBD, the other much known cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
- When taken in large quantities, THC causes psychoactive effects
- Marijuana products have high THC levels
- Hemp CBD products have a THC content of 0.3% or less–an amount incapable of causing a "high" in dogs.
- CBD oil derived from hemp is safe for animal and human use
While research on CBD is still in its initial stages, anecdotal evidence points to the fact that it can benefit dogs with nausea, arthritis, anxiety, and cancer, among other conditions.
CBD Oil and the Endocannabinoid system (ECS)
How does CBD function in dogs? This is where the endocannabinoid system (ECS) comes in. The ECS is a messenger system in your dog’s body. It regulates sleep, mood, pain, appetite, and other crucial physiological processes, maintaining a state of homeostasis in the body.
Here is a simplified explanation:
- Cannabinoids like CBD work by interacting with the ECS
- Through its interactions with the ECS, CBD oil helps with anxiety, pain, and appetite regulation, to mention but a few.
- The ECS has two main receptors: CB1 and CB2.
- The CB1 and CB2 receptors are naturally activated by neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids
- CBD binds to these receptors, helping stimulate the digestive, immune and nervous systems. And how is this possible? The endocannabinoids found in CBD resemble those in your pet’s body.
The Role of CBD Oil in Reducing Dog Anxiety
CBD studies and anecdotal evidence reveals that CBD oil can help with anxiety in dogs. It helps with temporary bouts of stress, nervousness, and fear. CBD oil can also eliminate anxiety in dogs and is the perfect alternative to anxiety medications as it poses no adverse side effects.
So, how exactly does CBD oil reduce dog anxiety?
Fear and nervousness result from the over-activation or over-stimulation of the nervous system. When this happens, the neurons start firing out of control. Resultantly, the ECS naturally starts releasing cannabinoids (endocannabinoids). It does so to restore the electrical balance in the brain.
It blocks the effects of cortisol–the stress hormone–and induces physical relaxation. In addition, CBD interacts with the serotonin receptors in the brain to modulate the GABA receptor's activity. The GABA receptor is, in clear terms, the nervous system's handbrake. It is used to reduce the nerve cells' hyperactivity.
Where To Buy CBD Oil for Dogs With Anxiety
Here are tips to keep in mind when navigating the CBD market:
- You should be able to distinguish between high-quality and subpar products
- The lack of regulation in the CBD world has made it easy for poor-quality products to infiltrate the market
- To reduce production costs, many manufacturers are opting for cheap hemp that could be contaminated
So, how do you ensure you buy only the best-quality CBD oil for your dog? Here are some factors to consider:
Go for Broad- Or Full-spectrum Hemp
Always ensure the label on your product reads “full spectrum” or “broad spectrum.” This indicates that besides CBD, your CBD oil contains other vital naturally occurring cannabinoids. Such include CBG (Cannabigerol) and CBC (Cannabichromene).
CBC has been widely studied for its:
- Inflammation- and pain-blocking abilities
- Cancer-fighting abilities
- Positive impact on the brain cells
Likewise, CBG has been researched for its medicinal properties.
- It can reduce digestive tract inflammation
- It can protect the eyes and nerve cells
- It fights cancerous cells
- It supports healthy bladder function
Full-spectrum CBD oil also has terpenes like beta-pinene and limonene, which also have medicinal effects. When they combine their efforts, terpenes and cannabinoids create what is referred to as the "entourage effect ."This is where hemp oil compounds work synergistically to enhance the medicinal attributes of hemp oil.
CO2 Extraction Is the Best!
You can extract CBD oil from the hemp plant in two common ways:
1. CO2 Extraction
This extraction method makes use of carbon dioxide in the extraction process. CO2 uses a high-pressure chamber to exert pressure on the hemp, which breaks, releasing the oil. The resulting oils are usually of high CBD concentration meaning your dog gets the most out of their supplement. While this means you may have to pay more, it is worth it in the end.
2. Solvent Extraction
This is the cheapest way of extracting CBD oil from the hemp plant. The common solvents used include butane, propane, and petroleum products. The downside? The final product will have residue from these solvents, which can harm your dog.
Alternatively, natural solvents like olive oil or ethanol can be used during extraction. Although the resulting oils are safer for your dog, they may be of little benefit since these solvents can damage the hemp plant’s waxes.
Always Check for the Certificate of Analysis (COA)
If the company from which you are buying CBD oil doesn’t give you access to its COA, that is a massive red flag! A COA is a document that highlights the type and amount of cannabinoids present in the CBD product. It originates from a third-party laboratory.
COAs shield your furry friend from low-quality products. Typically, manufacturers have one for every batch of hemp.
When analyzing the COA, here are the essential things to look for:
1. Ensure the CBD Is the Same as Advertised
Say the label reads “400 mg CBD.” Do not take the label at face value. Instead, ensure the COA reads the same amount. Some labs express the CBD amount in mg/g. So, you should know the number of grams in the bottle to compute the CBD amount.
For instance, the COA may indicate 17 mg/g CBD. To determine the amount of CBD in this particular product, multiply the weight of the container in grams by the number of mg/g. typically, a 1-ounce dropper CBD bottle weighs 30 grams. So, in this case, the total mg of CBD in the bottle is 510 mg (17 mg/g x 30-gram bottle).
2. Confirm That the CBD Is Full-spectrum
Note that some CBD is from isolate. This means that it lacks essential terpenes and cannabinoids. As a result, there is no “entourage effect.” How do you establish that the CBD is from isolate? The certificate of analysis will indicate that the product contains only CBD and no other cannabinoids.
3. Ascertain That the THC Levels Are Acceptable
If the CBD has over 0.3% THC, it is likely marijuana and not hemp. So, it is illegal, and the psychoactive effects will harm your pet. Equally, avoid products with no traces of THC. This indicates that the CBD is from isolate, so your dog will reap fewer benefits.
4. Check to Ensure a Third Party Performed the Tests
Do not easily trust a manufacturer that tells you their product is high quality. The CBD industry remains unregulated, so it is easy to fall prey to unethical sellers. For this reason, it is important to ascertain that a third-party lab indeed carried out the tests.
5. Check for Any Contaminants
The hemp from which the CBD was extracted should be organic. This means that it should be grown in clean soil and water. Why? Hemp plants are spongy in nature and can easily absorb contaminants. This is why heavy metal toxicity is often a concern regarding CBD oils.
Do Not Prioritize the Cost
Sometimes, comparing products can be difficult, making people resort to cost comparisons. This shouldn’t be the case. If you are looking for a good-quality CBD product, you must remember that the extraction process requires immense labor and plant investments. As a result, it is costly.
Note this: being expensively priced does not necessarily mean a particular product is the best. Instead, consider what we’ve reviewed above.
Administering CBD Oil to Dogs with Anxiety
The most effective way of administering CBD oil to your dog depends on your pet's needs and daily routine. Here are some techniques you can try:
This method is perfect for CBD oil tinctures. It involves administering CBD oil directly into your dog’s mouth. Using the dropper, squirt the correct dosage below your dog’s tongue.
Select the Appropriate Amount and Strength
If you choose to take the sublingual path, you must select the right amount and strength of CBD oil. CBD oils come in varying strengths depending on the size of your dog. If your dog is medium-sized, consider a strength meant for smaller-sized dogs. This way, you can administer CBD oil to your dog multiple times daily.
All in all, consider these two things:
- Carefully measure the CBD oil before giving it to your dog
- Note it down, so it forms the basis of the daily dosage
Advantages of Sublingual Application
Here are the benefits of administering CBD oil with this method:
- It is a quick and easy method that is convenient when you have many dogs
- You have control over the amount of CBD your dog ingests
- You can administer a part of the dosage using a dropper and save the rest for another application method
- It allows you to have a flexible schedule as you do not require other components like food
CBD Oil Flavors That Appeal to Your Dog
Part of why it is possible to give CBD oil to your pet directly is because it is coated in delicious flavors. Although some dogs will gladly take CBD oil with natural flavors, flavored tinctures are recommended for this method.
Common flavors include:
- Peanut butter
Mixing With Food or Treats
Sometimes, no matter how delicious tinctures are, some dogs aren't particularly fascinated by the idea of being fed from a dropper. If this is the case, you can always add CBD oil to your dog’s treats or food.
How do you go about this? Measure the correct amount of CBD oil and drop it into your dog's food before mixing. You can also add the oil to a hard treat. In this case, you must give it time to soak in before allowing your pet to eat it.
Adding CBD Oil to Edibles
You can also add CBD tinctures to any snack or whole food intended for your dog. Ensure they finish the entire treat, so they fully enjoy the benefits of CBD. Provided you are consistent with your daily dose, you can give your dog CBD oil whenever you want.
CBD Treats and Chews to the Rescue!
Even with special treats, everything your pet consumes should be healthy. If giving CBD oil to your dog directly or mixing it with food seems like an uphill task, then CBD treats are the way to go.
Benefits of Crunchy Treats for Dogs
These are the benefit of using treats to deliver the healthy goodness of CBD:
- Treats are available in various tasty flavors
- This method is highly portable. You can always carry the resealable bags with you no matter where you go.
- You need not worry about daily dosages as the treats are infused with a specific CBD amount
Benefits of CBD Soft Chews for Dogs
CBD chews have a soft and chewy texture. They are ideal for senior dogs or small dogs with tender teeth and gums that make it hard to enjoy crunchy treats. They are also suitable for dogs with dental problems. Soft chews are available in different strengths and flavors depending on your dog's needs and preferences.
Adding to Homemade Treats
Who said you couldn't make treats for your dog? You can easily find simple recipes online. Many of them feature natural ingredients such as pumpkin and sweet potato. A crucial point to note as you bake CBD treats is to use the right amount of oil. This way, you know the strength of each treat.
Is anxiety common in dogs? Absolutely yes. However, if left untreated, it could escalate into an anxiety disorder that could cause behavioral changes in your dog. Fortunately for you, CBD oil has proven helpful in managing this condition.
Its interactions with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) restore the chemical balance in the brain that is usually disrupted whenever your dog has an anxiety attack. The recommended dosage for CBD oil for dogs with anxiety depends on the dog's weight. As for CBD administration, there are several techniques to choose from.
Is your dog exhibiting signs of anxiety? Consider starting them on CBD oil. But first, consult your veterinarian to discuss whether it is the best course of action.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Do You Have to Wait for CBD to Start Working in Dogs with Anxiety?
Typically, when taken to relieve anxiety, the effects of CBD oil will kick in within 30 minutes to an hour. However, it may take a few weeks for you to see optimal results for more chronic issues like mobility and pain.
What is the Recommended CBD Oil Dosage for Calming My Dog?
CBD oil dosage largely depends on your dog’s weight. As a general rule of thumb, administer 0.2 mg of CBD per pound. If your dog weighs 50 pounds, the appropriate dosage would be 10 mg of CBD.
Which is the Best Kind of CBD Oil to Give My Dog With Anxiety?
CBD products are available in tinctures, treats, and topical applications depending on your dog’s needs and preferences. There is no saying which brand is the best, as every brand is unique in its own way. However, consider reputable companies with positive customer reviews when choosing a brand for your CBD products. Also, go for candid and transparent companies that give access to their certificate of analysis.
At Honest Paws, we believe in the healing power of CBD. This is why our products are formulated with the magical goodness of CBD. From calming to providing pain relief, there is no limit to what our products can do for your lovely pet. Are you interested in knowing how CBD reduces anxiety in dogs? Check out our catalog today.
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