Updated: Sep 25
As a pet owner, you may frequently observe your dog barking impatiently when out for a walk or becoming anxious if left alone for a longer time. You may also see your dog hiding beneath the furniture when he hears the roar of a thunderstorm. These unusual, anxious, and nervous behaviors that your dog shows in these situations make you want to find a solution to calm your buddy. To find the solution, you first need to identify the common symptoms and gestures you see your dog doing during anxiety. So, let's first understand the common signs of anxiety in dogs.
In a world where stress and anxiety seem to affect everyone, it's easy to forget that our furry companions can experience these emotions too. Dogs, with their loyal and loving nature, often mirror our own feelings, and just like us, they can suffer from anxiety and stress. Whether it's caused by separation anxiety, loud noises, or unfamiliar environments, canine anxiety is a concern for many pet owners. Fortunately, there is a natural remedy that has been gaining traction in recent years – CBD, or cannabidiol.
CBD, a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant, has shown remarkable potential in alleviating anxiety and stress in dogs. As more pet owners seek alternatives to traditional pharmaceuticals, CBD has emerged as a promising option. In this blog post, we will explore the world of CBD for dogs, delving into its potential benefits, safety, and how it can be incorporated into your dog's wellness routine. So, if you're a concerned pet parent eager to provide your furry friend with relief from anxiety, read on to discover how CBD might be the answer you've been searching for.
Signs of Anxiety in Dogs
Hiding behind walls and beneath furniture: Dogs may seek refuge in tight spaces or under furniture when they're feeling anxious. This behavior is an attempt to create a sense of security and escape from stressors.
Unexpected urination and defecation: Anxiety can lead to accidents in the house, even in house-trained dogs. They may lose control of their bladder or bowels due to heightened stress levels.
Drooling: Excessive drooling is a common sign of anxiety in dogs. You might notice their mouth becoming unusually moist when they're stressed.
Damaged toys, pillows, and furniture: Dogs often release pent-up anxiety by chewing or tearing apart objects in their environment. This can be a way for them to cope with their anxious feelings.
Shaking or trembling: Dogs may physically tremble or shake when they're anxious. This is a visible manifestation of their nervousness.
Panting: Rapid and excessive panting, even when it's not hot, can be a sign of anxiety. It's their way of releasing stress and regulating their body temperature.
Excessive whining and barking: Anxious dogs may vocalize their distress through whining and barking. This can be especially noticeable when they're separated from their owners or faced with a stressful situation.
cessive alertness to surroundings: Dogs with anxiety tend to be hyper-aware of their surroundings. They may become easily startled by sudden noises or movements.
Shrinking and flattening of ears: When a dog is anxious, their ears may flatten against their head or appear pulled back. This is a sign of fear or discomfort.
Aggression: In some cases, anxiety can trigger aggressive behavior in dogs. They might lash out as a defensive response to perceived threats.
Decrease or complete loss of appetite: Anxiety can affect a dog's appetite, leading to reduced food intake or even a complete loss of interest in eating.
As you now know the possible behaviors you can observe in an anxious dog, it's essential to understand the possible causes of stress in your furry friend. Identifying the root causes of their anxiety is the first step towards helping them lead a happier, more relaxed life. In the upcoming sections, we will explore some of these common stressors and how CBD may provide relief for dogs experiencing anxiety due to these factors.
What are the possible causes of anxiety in dogs?
There may be a multitude of reasons behind your beloved pet dog's anxiety, each capable of pushing them out of their comfort zone. One of the most prevalent and well-documented causes is separation anxiety in dogs. This emotional response occurs when a dog is separated from its owner or family, leading to distress and behavioral issues. However, separation anxiety is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to potential anxiety triggers in dogs.
Phobias are another significant contributor to anxiety in dogs. These phobias can be related to specific environments or situations. For example, a dog may develop a phobia of thunderstorms or fireworks due to the sudden and intense noises associated with these events. Additionally, travel-related anxiety is common, where dogs can become stressed when confined to a vehicle or exposed to unfamiliar surroundings. Such anxieties can seriously impact a dog's quality of life, affecting their overall happiness and well-being. Understanding the root causes of your dog's anxiety is the first step towards providing them with the care and support they need to lead a more relaxed and fulfilling life.
Types of Anxiety in Dogs
Anxiety in dogs can manifest in various ways and may result from different triggers or situations. Understanding the specific type of anxiety your dog is experiencing can help tailor the approach to effectively manage it. Here are some common types of anxiety in dogs:
Separation Anxiety: This is one of the most well-known types of anxiety in dogs. It occurs when a dog becomes excessively distressed when separated from their owner or primary caregiver. Symptoms may include destructive behavior, excessive barking, and house soiling.
Noise Phobia: Dogs may develop anxiety and fear related to loud noises, such as thunderstorms, fireworks, or construction sounds. This type of anxiety can result in trembling, hiding, or attempts to escape from the noise source.
Social Anxiety: Some dogs may feel anxious or fearful in social situations, especially around unfamiliar people or other animals. They may exhibit signs of avoidance, aggression, or excessive submissive behavior.
Travel Anxiety: Travel-related anxiety can make car rides or visits to the veterinarian stressful for dogs. Symptoms may include restlessness, vomiting, drooling, or excessive panting.
Generalized Anxiety: Generalized anxiety is a broad type of anxiety that may not have a specific trigger. Dogs with generalized anxiety may exhibit a range of anxious behaviors without an apparent cause.
Resource Guarding: Dogs that exhibit anxiety when others approach their food, toys, or personal space may have resource guarding anxiety. This can lead to growling, snapping, or aggression when someone or another pet approaches these resources.
Age-Related Anxiety: Some dogs, especially seniors, may develop anxiety as they age. This can be associated with cognitive dysfunction and may manifest as disorientation, restlessness, and changes in sleep patterns.
Medical-Induced Anxiety: Certain medical conditions or medications can cause or exacerbate anxiety in dogs. For example, pain, illness, or side effects from medications may lead to anxious behavior.
Understanding the specific type of anxiety your dog is experiencing can help you and your veterinarian develop a targeted treatment plan. Whether it's through behavioral training, environmental management, or the use of CBD or other supplements, addressing the root causes of your dog's anxiety can significantly improve their quality of life.
How can CBD calm your anxious dog?
Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, has emerged as a potential solution for calming anxious dogs and promoting their well-being. CBD is a naturally occurring compound extracted from the hemp plant, and it has gained immense popularity as a stress reliever in the world of canine health. The use of CBD oil for medicinal purposes, including anxiety relief, has been a topic of growing interest, not just for humans but also for our four-legged companions.
CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) found in both humans and dogs. The ECS plays a crucial role in regulating various physiological processes, including mood, sleep, and stress responses. When CBD is introduced into the body, it can influence the ECS, potentially promoting a sense of calm and relaxation.
Here are some steps you can take to calm your anxious dog using CBD:
Consult with a Veterinarian: Before starting any new treatment, including CBD, it's essential to consult with your veterinarian. They can provide guidance on the appropriate dosage and ensure that CBD is a suitable option for your dog based on their specific needs and health conditions.
Choose High-Quality CBD Products: When selecting a CBD product for your dog, opt for high-quality, reputable brands. Look for products that provide a Certificate of Analysis (COA) from a third-party lab, ensuring the product's purity and potency.
Start with a Low Dose: Begin with a low dose of CBD and closely monitor your dog's response. Gradually increase the dosage as needed to achieve the desired effect.
Consistency is Key: For best results, administer CBD consistently at the same time each day. This helps maintain a steady level of CBD in your dog's system.
Observe and Adjust: Pay close attention to your dog's behavior and adjust the dosage accordingly. Every dog is unique, and their response to CBD may vary.
Combine with Behavioral Training: While CBD can help alleviate anxiety symptoms, it's often more effective when combined with behavioral training and positive reinforcement techniques to address the root causes of anxiety.
Create a Calm Environment: Ensure your dog has a safe and comfortable environment. This includes minimizing exposure to stressors and providing them with a quiet, relaxing space to retreat to when needed.
CBD's potential to calm anxious dogs is a promising avenue for pet owners seeking natural and holistic solutions to support their furry friends' mental well-being. However, it's essential to use CBD responsibly, under the guidance of a veterinarian, and in conjunction with a comprehensive approach to addressing your dog's anxiety.
Other Health Benefits of CBD for Pets
While CBD has gained recognition primarily for its potential in alleviating anxiety and stress in pets, its therapeutic properties extend to a wide range of health-related issues. Pet owners are increasingly turning to CBD as a holistic supplement to support their furry companions' well-being. Here are some additional health benefits of CBD for pets:
Joint Problems: CBD's anti-inflammatory properties make it beneficial for dogs with joint problems such as arthritis. It can help reduce inflammation, alleviate pain, and improve mobility, enhancing your pet's overall quality of life.
Seizures: CBD has shown promise in reducing the frequency and severity of seizures in dogs with epilepsy or other seizure disorders. It may help regulate abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
Neurological Issues: CBD's interaction with the endocannabinoid system may provide neuroprotective effects, potentially benefiting dogs with neurological conditions like neuropathy and degenerative myelopathy.
Blood-Related Issues: Some studies suggest that CBD may have a role in regulating blood pressure and promoting cardiovascular health in dogs. It could be valuable for pets with hypertension or other blood-related issues.
Cancer: While not a cure for cancer, CBD may offer relief from symptoms associated with cancer in pets. It can help manage pain, reduce nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, and improve appetite.
Diabetes: CBD may assist in regulating blood sugar levels in diabetic dogs. It can also help manage diabetic neuropathy-related pain and inflammation.
Relief of Pain: CBD's analgesic (pain-relieving) properties make it a valuable option for managing various types of pain, whether it's chronic pain from underlying conditions or acute pain from injuries.
Mood Regulation: Beyond anxiety, CBD may help stabilize mood in pets. This can be beneficial for dogs with mood disorders or those experiencing stress-related mood swings.
It's important to note that while CBD holds promise in these areas, more research is needed to fully understand its mechanisms of action and establish recommended dosages for specific conditions. Additionally, CBD should always be used under the guidance of a veterinarian, especially when addressing complex health issues.
As the understanding of CBD's potential benefits for pets continues to grow, it is becoming an increasingly valuable tool for pet owners seeking natural and holistic approaches to support their furry family members' health and well-being.
Is CBD oil toxic to dogs?
CBD oil is generally considered non-toxic to dogs when administered in recommended dosage levels. Unlike some substances that can pose an immediate and severe threat to a dog's health, CBD is well-tolerated, and there are no reports of fatal overdoses. In most cases of CBD overdose, dogs may experience sedation or sleepiness, but these effects are not life-threatening.
It's important to note that while CBD itself is not toxic, the potential for adverse effects can increase with excessively high doses. As with any supplement or medication, the key lies in responsible usage and adherence to recommended dosages. It's always advisable to start with a low dose and gradually increase it under the guidance of a veterinarian to find the optimal level for your dog's needs.
Consulting a veterinarian is crucial when considering CBD for your pet. They can provide expert advice tailored to your dog's specific health and wellness requirements. Additionally, your veterinarian can assess any potential contraindications between CBD and other medications your dog may be taking.
It's worth emphasizing that there is currently no scientific evidence suggesting that CBD is harmful to humans or pets when used appropriately. In fact, research into CBD's potential benefits for both humans and animals is ongoing, and preliminary findings indicate its potential for treating various conditions, including inflammation.
Anecdotal evidence and feedback from pet owners also provide valuable insights into the positive effects of CBD on pets. Many pet owners have reported improvements in their pets' well-being, including reduced anxiety, pain relief, and enhanced overall quality of life. However, it's essential to use CBD judiciously, follow your veterinarian's recommendations, and monitor your pet's response to ensure their safety and comfort.
Safety Considerations When Using CBD for Your Dog
While CBD can offer potential benefits for your dog's well-being, it's essential to prioritize safety throughout the entire process. Here are some key safety considerations to keep in mind:
Consult with Your Veterinarian: Always begin by consulting your veterinarian before giving your dog CBD. They can assess your dog's specific health needs, recommend appropriate dosages, and provide guidance on potential interactions with other medications.
Choose Reputable Products: Select high-quality CBD products designed for pets from reputable manufacturers. Look for products that provide third-party lab testing results (Certificate of Analysis or COA) to verify their quality, purity, and cannabinoid content.
Start with a Low Dose: Begin with a low CBD dosage and monitor your dog's response. Gradually increase the dosage as needed under the guidance of your veterinarian. Starting low helps minimize the risk of adverse effects.
Monitor for Side Effects: Keep a close eye on your dog for any side effects, which may include drowsiness, dry mouth, changes in appetite, or gastrointestinal issues. If you notice any concerning symptoms, consult your veterinarian promptly.
Consistency in Dosage: Maintain consistency in the amount and timing of CBD administration. This helps ensure a steady level of CBD in your dog's system.
Proper Storage: Store CBD products in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight, to preserve their potency and effectiveness.
Legal Compliance: Be aware of the legal regulations regarding CBD use in your region, as laws can vary. Ensure that the CBD product you use complies with local laws.
Safety of Other Pets: If you have multiple pets, ensure that CBD products are kept out of reach of pets who are not intended to receive them. Accidental ingestion can lead to unintended effects.
Behavioral Training: While CBD can help manage symptoms, it should not replace behavioral training or other interventions when dealing with anxiety or behavioral issues. Consider using CBD as part of a holistic approach to your dog's well-being.
Regular Check-Ins: Schedule regular check-ins with your veterinarian to assess your dog's progress and adjust the CBD dosage or treatment plan as needed. Your vet can also monitor for any potential long-term effects.
Adverse Reactions: Be prepared for the possibility of adverse reactions, although they are rare. If your dog experiences severe or unusual symptoms, seek immediate veterinary attention.
By prioritizing safety and working closely with your veterinarian, you can ensure that CBD is used in a responsible and beneficial manner for your furry friend's overall health and happiness. Remember that your dog's well-being is paramount, and informed, cautious use of CBD can contribute positively to their quality of life.
What dose should you offer to your dog?
It depends on weight, age, breed, and the condition for which you want to use this oil. Generally, it is better to start by using lower doses. If lower doses seem ineffective and do not calm your dog, you may gradually increase the quantity. On the other hand, if your dog's become over sleepy with the dose, it means you need to decrease it.
Can I use human CBD oil for my dog?
It is better to use a product especially made for your canine because it will have the best-suited formula for dogs. It may be easier for you to understand the dosage instructions according to your dog's weight using a product specifically for pets, and no confusion will be there.
There are no safety issues with human CBD oils if used in dogs, but sometimes they may have higher THC levels, which may be psychoactive for dogs. They may also have certain additives such as chocolate, raisins, and Xylitol, which may be toxic to dogs.
Can I give my dog CBD with meals?
Feeding your dog CBD with meals is a recommended practice for several reasons. CBD is more effectively absorbed when taken with food, as it can be carried along with dietary fats and nutrients. This ensures better bioavailability of the compound, meaning your dog is more likely to receive the full benefits of the CBD.
Here's a more detailed breakdown of how you can incorporate CBD into your dog's meals:
Start Slowly: When introducing CBD to your dog's diet, it's a good idea to begin with a single dose during breakfast. This allows you to gauge how your dog responds to the CBD and any potential side effects.
Gradually Increase: Over time, you can consider increasing the frequency to two doses a day, including one with dinner. This steady approach helps ensure that your dog's system adapts to the CBD gradually.
Regular vs. As-Needed Use: The frequency of CBD administration depends on the specific needs of your dog. If you're using CBD for general wellness or to manage chronic issues like arthritis or anxiety, regular daily dosing may be suitable. However, if your pet's anxiety or stress is related to specific situations (e.g., thunderstorms or fireworks), you can administer CBD just before these events to provide targeted relief.
Dosage Considerations: The appropriate CBD dosage for your dog can vary based on factors such as their weight, the severity of their condition, and the concentration of CBD in the product you're using. Consulting with your veterinarian is essential to determine the correct dosage for your pet's specific needs.
Monitor Your Dog's Response: After incorporating CBD into your dog's meals, closely monitor their behavior and overall well-being. Keep an eye out for any positive changes in mood, behavior, or symptoms. If you notice any adverse effects, such as excessive sedation or gastrointestinal upset, consult your veterinarian to adjust the dosage or explore alternative options.
It's important to choose high-quality CBD products specifically formulated for pets and to follow the manufacturer's dosing guidelines. Additionally, always consult your veterinarian before adding any new supplement or medication to your dog's routine, as they can provide guidance tailored to your pet's unique health profile and help ensure a safe and effective approach to using CBD for your furry friend's well-being.
Is there any other way to calm my anxious dog?
Though CBD is effective in relaxing your dog, there are other ways to work wonders for this particular purpose. One of the important techniques these days is the Acupressure technique to relieve anxiety and stress in your doggie. You can use this technique yourself to lower your doggie's stress levels in difficult situations as it brings a positive emotional change in your pet.
This magical approach can help as a stress reliever and help suppress allergies, muscle soreness, cough, joint pain, and many other problems in your pets. The gentle touch to different points brings its balance back and helps resolve its issues.
At Poll to Pastern, we provide our services to make your pet's life better, enjoy fully and live a long time with you. You can visit our services page to book your appointment for your dog or cat if they are anxious. Our team of professionals will help you elevate your pet's quality of life and decrease its aggression and fears. Yes, it is proving as a blessing to calm your dog during anxious moments such as loud noises, Halloween, a veterinarian visit, traveling, or a thunderstorm.
Acupressure is best used as a preventative option. So, when you know a stressor is about to happen (thunderstorm, leaving for vacation, etc.), you can use acupressure to support your furry friends emotions and bring balance to the animal. Visit our website often to check for upcoming classes to learn acupressure for your pet! We offer several classes that teach acupressure points that help different conditions: allergies, stomach upsets, anxiety, and more!
Dr. Saba Afzal, DVM, UVAS Lahore, Pakistan. I am a professional and qualified veterinarian and deal with pets on a daily basis. Writing is my passion. I love to play with words to write about pets, especially dogs and cats.