Hiding under the bed at the first hint of a thunderstorm. Shaking in the backseat of your car when you take him for a ride. Acting out when you leave him at home for a few hours. These could be signs of stress and anxiety in your dog.
You already know that we as people are prone to high levels of stress and anxiety, but did you know that dogs can experience the same thing? Some of the causes are even the same, including separation anxiety or situational anxiety (for example, meeting strangers or traveling). Just as it’s important to lower stress in humans, it’s equally important to reduce stress in animals.
Helping your dog quell his stress isn’t only about giving him a better experience when you’re heading to the dog park with him or leaving him comfortably at home so you can go to work. It’s also about keeping his health in check and extending his life span. Stress can cause everything from skin problems to an early death.
CBD oil explained
CBD, which is short for cannabidiol, comes from the hemp plant. Hemp has been used for years to make functional products, like rope, and as an ingredient in beauty products. CBD oil is often used in both humans and dogs to relieve anxiety. CBD is not marijuana, as it’s effectively missing THC, the ingredient that gives you a high. While research is uncovering the detailed workings of CBD oil, it’s believed that the body’s cannabinoid receptors interact with ingested CBD oil to stimulate serotonin, which stabilizes mood and helps you relax.
CBD oil for dogs
CBD oil comes in topical form, but it’s most commonly given to dogs orally. According to Dogs Naturally Magazine, some dogs experience relief immediately while others won’t show improved symptoms for a few days. The big question is: how much is the correct dose? There hasn’t been enough research done regarding CBD oil for dogs, so the primary recommendation is to speak with your veterinarian first to find out which oil to use and the correct dosage.
According to a study by Cornell University, canine pain decreased, and activity increased with the use of 2 mg of CBD oil taken twice daily. Testing was performed on four beagles between 23.5 and 26 lbs. However, the study points out that these results may be specific to the CBD oil used in the research and that other CBD oils won’t necessarily have the same effect.
If you’re going to administer CBD oil without first talking to your dog’s vet, do so slowly and carefully. Choose a high-quality CBD tincture and put just one or two drops in your pet’s food. Monitor your dog for a few days to see if there’s a change in behavior or mood. Giving your dog too much CBD oil at one time could result in side effects ranging from dry mouth to toxicity. If you aren’t confident about dosing with oil, it might be easier to start with CBD-infused dog treats.
How CBD oil for pets became popular
There are many reasons why CBD oil for pets is all the rage, though they’re not all based in science or even experience:
- CBD oil for humans is used in all sorts of products, and it seems like the natural next step was to try to reap some of those benefits for our beloved dogs.
- CBD oil is being marketed as relief for dogs with stress and anxiety, as well as arthritis, pain, and seizures.
- The fact that CBD oil is holistic instead of traditional in terms of medicine is a draw for many consumers.
- Edible CBD pet treats and tinctures are not illegal, like CBD treats are for humans in some states, and are available in numerous shops, both online and in-store. Popular options include Zesty Paws peanut butter flavor calming bites, West Noses hemp seed and banana dog treats, or Ultra Oil, an oil blend with hempseed oil that also helps reduce shedding.
It’s interesting that CBD oil has taken off as it has, considering the limited proof that it can help pets. On the other hand, if pet owners feel that CBD oil is truly helping their pet cope with stress, anxiety, or another condition, that’s all the proof they may need. Since there’s no established set of best practices, the best advice is to choose wisely and test slowly.
Choosing the right CBD oil
High-quality CBD oil comes from organic hemp and is processed with pharmaceutical-grade ethanol, which removes toxins so that the CBD oil is safe to ingest. Since CBD oil isn’t yet regulated, you’ll want to do your research before choosing one for your pet. Though CBD oil isn’t regulated, quality companies will test the oil and give customers access to lab results. Make sure that butane and hexane are not in the ingredients, as they may be toxic when consumed.
The verdict is still out on whether or not CBD oil can cure anxiety, stress and other conditions in pets. However, since the risks so far seem low, especially when giving CBD oil in small doses, it could be a much-needed treatment for dogs and relief for their worried owners. As with any medical program, it’s best to do your research on the products you purchase and to talk with your veterinarian before giving your dog anything new.
Devin Morrissey prides himself on being a jack of all trades; his career trajectory is more a zigzag than an obvious trend, just the way he likes it. He pops up across the Pacific Northwest, dragging his dog around whenever possible. You can follow him on Twitter.