Moved to a new house? Adopted a new pup? Fireworks? Trips to the dog vet? These are all things that are likely to put your dog on edge.
Thankfully, CBD may just be the natural solution to help settle your dog into a calmer state.
Here’s everything you need to know about CBD and anxiety in dogs.
What causes anxiety attacks in dogs?
There are uncountable reasons why your often happy-go-lucky dog suddenly becomes grumpy and anxious. And as much as you love your dog and want the best for it, sometimes it's much harder to know what's making your four-legged friend unhappy.
Dogs, like people, have personalities. Some worry easily, while others can pretty much take almost every stressor thrown at them. It helps to know your dog's personality, so you can easily place a finger on what's bothering it.
However, if you're one of those who prefer getting full-grown dogs, here are their most common stressors:
- Loud noises like fireworks or thunderstorms
- Being left alone at home
- Other pets
- Abuse and neglect
- Certain scents
Keep in mind that dogs are different. So some might not really get worked up by these stressors. This can be due to early life conditioning or a laid-back personality.
Nevertheless, it helps to know that for most dogs, these are likely to make them anxious.
What causes separation anxiety in dogs?
It's natural for dogs to get attached to family members, especially if it's been part of the family for a long time. However, some get overly dependent or attached and try to stay close to their owners most of the time.
This phenomenon is called separation anxiety. It's relatively common, with reports suggesting that this condition afflicts 13 to 18% of canines.
Canine behavior specialist and trainer Alexandra Bassett from Dog Savvy Los Angeles says that separation anxiety is a behavioral stress response ingrained in dogs' psyche to "stay with the pack." Therefore, when a dog cannot physically see its people, the resulting distress and frustration make it feel trapped and lost.
Toni Clarke, a separation anxiety expert, and proprietor of Well Done Charlie Dog Training in DC, adds that separation anxiety is an involuntary response similar to phobias in dogs. Just like some people fear heights, spiders, or snakes, dogs fear loneliness.
However, what's worrying is that canine separation anxiety is still widely misdiagnosed. It's become a catch-all for behavioral issues among dogs.
Dog expert Nelson Hodges observed that in the over 4,000 dogs he's worked with, 98% of the separation anxiety diagnoses turned out to be false. He states that most dog owners mostly blame separation anxiety when they don't understand what's happening with their canines.
But to be precise, veterinary behaviorist and owner of the Center for Canine Behavior Studies, Dr. Nicholas Dodman, distinguishes separation anxiety in dogs into two types.
Type one is when a dog is overly attached to a single individual or people in general. This is also known as an attachment disorder.
Type two is when a dog simply hates being alone regardless of where it is.
In both scenarios, dogs manifest more or less similar symptoms. This compounds most people's difficulty in telling the type of separation anxiety afflicting their dog.
That said, what are the symptoms to watch out for?
For the most part, the real causes of separation anxiety in dogs remain unknown. Nonetheless, some factors have been anecdotally identified as triggers. A family member's departure or death, a traumatic event, or genetic predisposition have been noted to be significant causalities.
Others are disrupted relationships, especially between attachment figures.
Other triggers may be predisposed. For example, many people stayed home with their dogs during the coronavirus pandemic. After the pandemic, going back to work could have triggered separation anxiety in their dogs. Many dog owners noted an uptick in separation anxiety symptoms as they returned to work.
Signs your dog has anxiety
As much as 80% of dogs display negative responses when left alone by their owners. The good thing is that most dogs cope well enough when left alone. In most cases, your dog will be sad as it watches you head out the door.
Not all dogs grapple with separation anxiety. But those that do will exhibit genuine distress.
Depending on the severity of their separation anxiety, the signs may range from mild to severe. The former typically includes whining, excessive licking, barking, pacing, panting, moving out of its crate, or following the owner around.
The more serious symptoms may involve biting the crate door or destroying it altogether, defecating or urinating, destroying house furniture, chewing window blinds or coverings, excessive drooling, breathing heavily, and trying to break out of their kennel or crate.
In fact, according to a study, the most common behaviors linked to separation anxiety in dogs are destruction (71%), excess vocalization (61%), and inappropriate elimination (28%).
Generally, here's is a roundup of the signs of anxiety:
- Agitation, pacing, whining, and panting
- Barking constantly
- Defecating, urinating, or drooling
- Trying to escape
- Destroying house items by pawing or chewing
CBD oil for dogs with separation anxiety
Cannabidiol (CBD) is developing quite a reputation as a natural "wonder" supplement capable of reducing symptoms associated with various health conditions. Most studies investigating CBD's health-impacting properties are conducted in animals, dogs included.
The findings have been promising to say the least, and as research continues, the full scope of CBD's health benefits will be apparent.
For now, an expansive body of scientific and anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD may effectively promote reduced inflammation, improved sleep quality, and reduced levels of stress and anxiety symptoms.
Many dog owners profess to use CBD oil to calm their dogs. Besides its calming effect, CBD is generally non-psychoactive, so your dog won't get 'high.' CBD induces relaxation and calmness by enhancing its sensitivity to serotonin, a feel-good hormone.
Apart from managing anxiety and stress, CBD is believed to play a role in helping relieve chronic pain and supporting a healthy immune system. So, in a nutshell, your dog gets much more benefits that improve its overall health and wellbeing.
How to choose CBD oil for dogs
A pressing concern for pet owners seeking to introduce their animals to CBD oil is that not all dogs respond well to it.
For others, the gains are minimal compared to the problems their four-legged canine friends are experiencing. In other words, CBD oil may not be the answer for all canines with anxiety problems.
Nonetheless, if your dog suffers from frequent anxiety attacks, you could give it CBD oil and see how it responds. The chances are high that it may respond positively.
Moreover, with more and more CBD supplements and brands hitting the pet care market, it may be hard to tell apart the best CBD oil for your dog's anxiety. Don't worry; we'll highlight a few guiding principles many pet owners use to choose the best CBD.
For starters, always get your CBD product from certified vendors or reputable hemp and CBD companies. CBD is still unregulated in most jurisdictions, so there's really no way to tell if the product you're giving your dog meets the standards. If you're in the United States, go for CBD products approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Also, ensure the CBD oil is third-party tested. This is the only way to ensure that the oil contents are as stated on the product label. This is particularly important because a recent lab analysis showed that 25% of CBD products from different brands are not lab-tested.
The report added that only 13% of CBD companies conducted purity testing on their products. These tests determine the presence of impurities such as heavy metals, pesticide residue, or microbial contamination.
Here's the thing: CBD research is still in its infancy, and experts don't know its potential long-term side effects. Even though existing research findings portray CBD in a positive light, nothing is certain until they can be backed up with credible research findings.
Best CBD oil for dogs with anxiety
FOCL's Premuim CBD Pet Drops are high-quality products that give you the desired result. Our non-GMO hemp is grown exclusively in the USA. Every ingredient and formula are made with non-GMO premium crops in an FDA-approved, food-grade, GMP-compliant facility.
Every bottle of FOCL pet CBD drops is third-party tested to ensure they are safe and contain the exact ingredients as advertised. These CBD products do not contain THC.
With these measures, we do not doubt that FOCL CBD oil will calm your dog and get it back to its playful routine in no time.
CBD pills for dogs with anxiety
CBD pills or capsules are probably the most efficient method of delivering high quantities of CBD into your dog's bloodstream if you can get them to swallow them.
One of the challenges in CBD intake is maintaining bioavailability. This refers to the quantity of a substance that reaches your systemic circulation. Generally, the higher the amount, the better the bioavailability.
However, in humans, most substances go through the liver, where they are metabolized. Useful components are absorbed, while the rest is ejected as waste. This is known as the first-pass metabolism.
Incidentally, THC is one of the compounds that experience the first-pass effect. It's unclear whether CBD does too, but being a cannabinoid like THC, it could also be affected by this process. Remember that digestion begins in the gut before continuing in the hepatic portal system and the liver.
This problem frequently affects the administration of drugs into their subsequent entry into the systemic circulation. However, some drugs are enhanced. For example, the metabolism of THC creates 11-hydroxy-THC resulting in higher potency than the original dose.
In other words, THC is not really affected by the first-pass effect. This would be ideal for CBD, but it's unclear if CBD is metabolized into another compound whose properties are similar to those of CBD.
Best CBD for dog anxiety
In determining the best CBD for dog anxiety, here are questions your CBD vendor should provide you with answers to:
What was the extraction process?
The best extraction process yields high-concentration CBD. In this regard, the carbon dioxide method is usually the best. Avoid cheaper CBD products extracted using butane, propane, or petroleum products. These normally leave residues that can be toxic.
Is the hemp organic?
High-quality CBD products are made from premium organic hemp
Has it been third-party tested?
Ask for independent third-party tests and a Certificate of Analysis (COA). These should be easily accessible.
How much THC does it have?
CBD products with high THC content can be harmful to animals. Generally, your CBD oil should not contain more than 0.3% THC content.
CBD has been gaining a healthy dose of respect in recent years, and it's not hard to see why. There's mounting evidence—anecdotal and empirical—that it can help alleviate symptoms associated with various health conditions.
However, CBD is still an unknown entity in research. So exercise caution when using it.