Dogs are among the first animals to be domesticated by man. And thousands of years of contact with humans and their lifestyles triggered some kind of social evolution in these creatures, making them uniquely attuned to us.
Perhaps this is why they are the most petted animals on earth (it's a tight race with cats!). Most people prefer getting puppies and nurturing them into adult dogs. One advantage of this is that you get to truly know your pet in and out.
You understand its behavior, know when it's happy or sad, wants to play, eat, and the likes – a true communion. After all, puppies are such adorable creatures!
But as adorable as they are, these baby canines sometimes go through experiences that affect their behavior. One of the most traumatizing experiences for young dogs is being separated from their momma. In the days following, the puppy will display anxiety behaviors that might make you reconsider having it around.
Separation anxiety is characterized by disruptive and destructive behavior, including constant barking and whining, drooling, panting, refusing to eat, and hiding, among others. A 2016 study shows roughly 17% of puppies suffer from separation anxiety. This may not seem like a big number until your puppy happens to be in the 17%.
Puppies can also get anxiety attacks from loud noise (e.g., firecrackers, thunderstorms), a new family member, guests, other pets, etcetera.
Fortunately, you can help your puppy overcome these stressful circumstances. You can opt for conventional anxiety medications recommended by a veterinarian or go natural with products like cannabidiol (CBD). How can CBD supplements for anxiety help? Read on.
Is CBD safe for dogs with anxiety?
CBD has become a big name recently due to its wide-ranging health properties. CBD is a cannabis compound obtained from hemp or marijuana. It is non-psychoactive, meaning it does not have physically mind-altering properties. So, even though CBD research is not established, what we know about it, thus far is promising.
A growing body of studies shows there are no major adverse side effects associated with giving CBD to dogs. Since it is non-psychoactive, CBD won't make your puppy "high." However, it is good practice to thoroughly research any CBD product you give your pet primarily because not every manufacturer is reputable.
Whenever possible, opt for brands that are upfront and transparent about the ingredients in their products, their sources, and testing policies. For an added safety measure, get CBD products specifically formulated for pets, like our new Premium CBD Pet Drops.
These drops are a top-grade CBD oil designed specifically for pets. It is made from premium hemp CBD and comes in three different foody flavors pets absolutely love! It comes in two strength levels to ensure you give your pet exactly what it needs.
Treating dog anxiety with CBD
An increasing number of pet owners are turning to natural supplements like CBD to manage various health conditions in their pets. Most of these rely on their veterinarians' recommendations, meaning experts are also beginning to appreciate CBD's beneficial properties.
Most investigations on the ability of CBD to effectively manage anxiety are on murine and equine models. That means there is limited peer-reviewed research proving CBD's efficacy in reducing dogs' anxiety. However, there is an overwhelming amount of anecdotal evidence from pet owners who find CBD supplements helpful in reducing stress in canines.
Dogs are particularly good candidates for CBD because they have a lot of CB1 cannabinoid receptors in their brains. In fact, these animals are thought to have more cannabinoid receptors than humans, making them more receptive to CBD's benefits.
One of the symptoms of anxiety in dogs is aggression. If you are unfamiliar with puppy behavior, you may be unable to differentiate puppy play from aggressive behavior. During normal play, puppies tend to bow their heads and wag their tails.
They can also present their sides or front to their owner, run back and forth, and produce high-pitched barks. The ears will mostly be up and their mouths open and relaxed.
However, when the high-pitched barks are replaced with prolonged, deep-tone growls, this could signify aggression. A fixed, staring gaze accompanied by lip curling, pinned back ears, and a rigid posture are classic aggression signs.
It is not normal for puppies younger than 12 weeks to snap or growl in response to pain or fear. If this happens, the pup is likely to seriously injure people in the future.
A recent study showed that CBD treatment significantly reduced aggression toward humans in shelter dogs. This is noteworthy because puppies will likely be taken to shelters before adoption. An APPA report showed that 23% of dogs and puppies are obtained from animal shelters compared to 34% for dogs purchased from breeders.
Moreover, shelter dogs or puppies tend to be more aggressive and antisocial than purchased purebreds. The reasons for this are still unknown, but researchers believe it could be due to competition for resources, strange surroundings, other dogs, or even how they are handled.
CBD benefits for puppies
The only area where CBD has demonstrated strong evidence for efficacy is in treating epilepsy-related seizure disorders. A drug called Epidiolex is, thus far, the only CBD-based medication currently approved by the US FDA and the European Commission for treating seizures linked to Dravet syndrome and Lewis-Gastaut syndrome, and tuberous sclerosis complex.
There are no formal studies on how CBD affects dogs. However, there is anecdotal evidence from pet owners that CBD may alleviate pain and help control seizures, anxiety, and inflammation.
In humans, some of these attributes have been proven by scientific studies. For example, in a 2003 study, the researchers showed that CBD treatment could significantly reduce intractable pain due to spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, limb amputation, and brachial plexus injury.
Another study demonstrated CBD's efficacy in treating chronic pain due to kidney transplantation after topical administration to patients with peripheral neuropathy in their lower limbs.
Nonetheless, it is noteworthy that in most CBD experiments for chronic pain, researchers often use formulations that have both CBD and THC in a 1:1 ratio. These are often well-tolerated in people, but the same cannot be said for dogs because the effects of THC on canines can be drastic.
How CBD works for anxiety
This is where we talk about the endocannabinoid system (ECS). All mammals have an ECS, a network of cannabinoid receptors, enzymes, and neurotransmitter chemicals (endocannabinoids) that handles various bodily functions.
One of the most important roles performed by this neuromodulatory system is homeostasis. Think of this process as a corrective exercise that reverts the body to its original state when non-ideal changes happen.
For example, stress often leads to an increase of a hormone called cortisol in the body. This hormone activates the body's "flight-or-fight" response mechanism, which is essentially a good thing.
However, when the stressor has been eliminated, cortisol levels in the blood should decrease to normal levels, so the ECS kicks in and ensures this happens. If this does not occur, there could be far-reaching health consequences.
CBD (and other phytocannabinoids) supercharge the ECS, making it more effective and efficient. The body has its own cannabinoids (called endocannabinoids) that perform the same role.
These cannabinoids work by activating CB receptors (CB1 and CB2) around the body. THC, for instance, is noted to have a high affinity for the CB1 receptor inducing wide-ranging body responses, the most famous being the "high."
On the other hand, CBD does not bind to CB receptors. Instead, it alters activity levels on these receptors depending on the body's needs. For this reason, CBD is a CB1 antagonist, reducing any untoward process resulting from CB1 activation.
It is, however, a partial agonist at CB2 receptors, which means it upregulates activity levels at these receptors. This explains why it has a substantial effect on the immune system considering CB2 receptors are mainly located in the immune system peripherally and in the brain.
CBD research on dogs is not exhaustive as to provide us with answers as to how it works for dog anxiety. However, in humans, the story is different.
Research shows that CBD has anxiolytic effects and may help manage anxiety in people. A 2015 preclinical study showed that CBD could effectively reduce anxiety behaviors such as PTSD, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The good part? There were no notable anxiogenic effects.
CBD may also regulate serotonin activity, thereby contributing to a better mood. Serotonin is one of the feel-good hormones associated with boosting mood and lowering anxiety. Studies have established a clear link between low serotonin levels and higher levels of anxiety, depression, and various mental health problems.
Remember how we said stress leads to a buildup of cortisol in the blood? Well, CBD has been shown to decrease cortisol levels. This was evidenced by an earlier study that showed significant reductions in cortisol levels after a CBD dose of 300mg. The same dosage was also shown to have a sedative effect.
These are obviously quite interesting findings that suggest CBD may help your puppy with anxiety. But they are based on human models, not dogs, so the extent to which these findings can be replicated in canines remains unknown.
Nevertheless, they are significant because dogs and humans are affected by many similar health conditions – anxiety, epilepsy, dementia, arthritis, flu, nausea, and vomiting, among others. The argument here is that if CBD has a therapeutic effect on some of these conditions in humans, as has been shown in numerous studies, it may also help dogs.
More research is needed, especially on how CBD works in pets, for a clearer picture of its therapeutic effect on some of these illnesses.
Will CBD oil make your dog high?
No, CBD oil cannot make your dog "high." This cannabinoid is non-psychoactive, meaning it does not have physically mind-altering properties like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
There have been instances, however, where CBD users have reported feeling intoxicated after using CBD products. The logical explanation for this is that not every one of these products is purely CBD.
A lab test report showed that many CBD brands do not test their products. The industry is also awash with mislabeling and misrepresenting figures, making it inherently difficult to know precisely what is in a CBD product.
This is why purchasing CBD pet products from credible and reliable vendors/manufacturers is important. Check the Certificate of Analysis (COA) for an in-depth content analysis of any CBD product you purchase.
Broad spectrum CBD is good for pets because it allows them to enjoy the benefits of the entourage effect without risking THC intoxication.
If you want to treat your puppy to the benefits of CBD, you can’t go wrong with our Premium CBD Pet Drops. This THC-free, human-grade oil was made with the utmost care and will help your furry friend live its best life.
Can I give my dog CBD along with other medications?
Yes, you can, but it is not recommended.
It has been shown that CBD can interact with some medications. When this happens, the drug either over-accumulates in the body or does not reach the concentration levels required to have a therapeutic impact. Either way, this is not good for your pet.
Always consult a licensed veterinarian when you want to give your dog CBD if it is already on other medications.