Updated: July 28th, 2022
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Humans experience anxiety during times of intense emotional turmoil, and if that anxiety is not treated, it can turn into an anxiety disorder. The same thing can happen to your dog! There are many medications and therapies available for dogs, but not all dogs take to them. Many pet parents use CBD for dogs with anxiety as an alternative treatment method.
Sometimes, dogs experience anxiety for reasons we cannot see or understand, and you need to be able to pick up on anxious behaviors your dog may be presenting to you and treat them accordingly.
CBD is still somewhat controversial as a medicinal aid to humans and animals. A fair amount of research has been done on its effects on humans. Unfortunately, not as much research has been conducted in its use on dogs and other animals. Therefore, you should always use it with caution.
To make the most informed decision about whether CBD is right for your anxious dog, read on to learn about what CBD is, how it works in dogs, and how to administer it to help calm your best beasty.
We have considered what anxiety means to your dog and the possibility of using CBD product to treat it, and decided on some products that really stand out to us:
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Why Do Dogs Have Anxiety?
Anxiety performs a natural function. When your dog experiences anxiety, they are on high alert and aware that there may be danger. Their body responds by increasing their breathing, their heart rate, and getting rid of unnecessary baggage like urine and feces so they are prepared to either run or fight.
A little bit of anxiety every now and then is completely normal and healthy. However, when your dog is in a constant state of anxiety, they can develop a disorder. In this case, you will need to seek help or treatment to ease their anxiety and make them feel calm. Constant anxiety will also make them very unhappy.
Dogs Can Have Anxiety For Many Of The Same Reasons Humans Do. For Example:
- Dogs get anxious if there are loud noises like thunderstorms or fireworks around them and they do not understand what is going on
- If they are around a lot of new people with new smells and sounds, they may react anxiously which can be perceived as aggression
- Experiencing new environments like going to the vet or the groomer’s means they will be bombarded with unfamiliar smells that trigger anxiety attacks
- Thanks to the global pandemic, your dog is used to you being at home all the time, and suddenly, you are back in the office at work and they have a huge change in their routine, which can result in them suffering from separation anxiety
- They are getting old and cannot see or hear properly and become afraid of once familiar surroundings
- They are in pain from old age, arthritis, or another injury or illness, and the pain is causing them fear
It is important to be on the lookout for anxious behaviors so you can address them early on with things like therapy, vet visits, or CBD.
Identifying Anxious Behaviors In Your Four-Pawed Friend
When watching your pupper for any kind of strange behavior, it is important to note it down in context. Where were they when they started barking madly? What was the vet doing when they urinated on the table? Who was in (or wasn’t in) the house when they started chewing the doorway?
When you are compiling a list of their behaviors in context, it will be easier to treat their anxiety in the long run.
Dogs Will Display Typical Anxious Behaviors Such As:
- Growling and barking at things they did not before
- Panting and drooling a lot
- Refusing to eat or drink
- Urinating or defecating in the house even if they were house trained
- Chewing on strange objects like rocks, doorways, and their crate
- Constantly hiding when they are in a new situation
- Keeping their tail between their legs
Sometimes, toys can help with reducing anxiety in conjunction with CBD or even in place of it. Have a look at our article where we identify the 5 best toys for anxious dogs. If you offer the toy to your dog at the same time they are being treated with CBD, they will start associating the feeling of being calm with the toy, and you may eventually be able to stop all treatment.
The dangerous thing about a dog with anxiety is they tend to do impulsive things like jump through glass windows, try to escape their crates, resort to destructive chewing (even if it hurts them), or attack their owners or strangers.
If you are crate training your dog or using a crate to take a long journey, think about creating an anxiety-free environment for them. Have a look at our article dedicated to what things you should put in your dog’s crate.
What Is CBD?
CBD is an extract from the cannabis sativa plant (hemp). CBD stands for cannabidiol. This extract from the hemp plant induces a state of calmness and reduces blood pressure (read here about Hemp oil vs CBD oil).
The extract is then mixed with other compounds and oils like coconut oil, krill oil, and aloe vera, which act as carriers of the CBD extract.
When looking for CBD products for your dog, make sure they are CBD products that contain less than 0.3% THC in them. THC is toxic to dogs if they consume more than trace amounts.
How Does CBD Work In Dogs?
Once the CBD enters your dog’s body, it will bind with the endocannabinoid neuroreceptors. This then sends signals to the brain to be more calm and balanced.
However, it is important to note that, to date, there have been no formal peer-reviewed studies conducted on the effects of CBD on a dog’s body. CBD oil is also currently not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Is CBD Safe For Dogs?
The question of whether it is safe is difficult to answer.
CBD in general is not harmful in small doses. However, it is a natural grass product, which means there is a chance you or your dog could be allergic to it, and you will not know until you have given it to them. As it has not been thoroughly researched, the toxicity level of CBD for dogs is unknown.
It is important that you dose your dog very carefully and never leave them unsupervised while they are using CBD products, as they may suffer from side effects, and it is important that you note all of them down and react accordingly.
Can CBD Oil Help Dogs With Anxiety?
As we have stated, there have been no scientific studies to date regarding whether CBD helps dogs with anxiety. However, many pet-parents and veterinarians swear by it and trust that the product has helped their fur babies.
CBD acts on the endocannabinoid system within your dog’s body. The endocannabinoid system keeps the body in balance and maintains calm. This means CBD provides your dog with a very natural way to regulate its own body.
How To Correctly Dose Your Doggo
As there are no FDA guidelines for the correct doses of CBD for dogs, the creators of CBD products and veterinarians who use CBD products in their practice typically recommend 1 mg to 5 mg of CBD per 10 pounds of body weight.
When starting out using CBD for your dog with anxiety, make sure you measure their weight carefully and accurately. Once you have their weight, you can do some math to find their ideal dose!
For example, an average 2-year-old male golden retriever will weigh roughly 73 pounds. This means the minimum dose for his weight will be 7 mg of CBD, and the maximum dose will be 35 mg of CBD. To track your golden retriever’s growth against the average, check out our Golden Retriever growth chart!
Once you have established what the minimum and maximum doses should be, start with the smallest dose. Now, you need some patience. Watch your dog for changes in behavior, a reduction in their nervous behaviors, or any side effects. Repeat this for two days in a row.
Once you have established that there is no change in their behavior, on the third day, increase the dosage a little to 2mg of CBD for 10 pounds. Continue adjusting the dose until you start to see a reduction in anxious behavior.
Common Side Effects Of CBD Usuage In Dogs
There are some common side effects of CBD in dogs that aren’t particularly harmful. Any medication comes with a list of side effects, and it is no different with CBD, even if it is a natural product.
Dry Mouth And Increased Thirst
CBD can make the mouth very dry, as it reduces the production of saliva, which leads to increased thirst. You may notice your dog drooling or smacking their lips. Always make sure they have access to fresh water when using CBD.
The increased thirst will most likely result in increased urination, so be aware that they need access to their potty area. If they do not have access to water and they suffer from dry mouth and increased thirst, they can develop dehydration, which is a serious issue.
CBD does not generally cause drowsiness; rather, it causes a feeling of calmness. However, if your dog is feeling drowsy after taking CBD, then the dose may be slightly too high. Scale back a little bit next time and see what difference it makes.
Drowsiness can be dangerous, especially if your dog is left unattended. For example, they may fall asleep in the driveway and be hit by a car, or they may fall asleep in front of a heater or fireplace and overheat.
Low Blood Pressure
CBD causes a drop in blood pressure. If your dog suffers from low blood pressure or is already on blood pressure medication, then they should definitely not use CBD.
Watch your dog carefully for signs of low blood pressure. They may be lightheaded and dizzy and appear clumsy by walking into things or knocking them over. This is not to say that they are high; they are merely suffering from low blood pressure.
Make sure they have plenty of water to drink and some food to eat, and never leave them unattended.
The Best CBD Products For Dogs
King Kanine has some of the best CBD products for dogs. They are a highly recommended brand, as each product goes through a process where the purity and percentage of CBD is checked and measured against safety regulations by a third-party lab.
The King Kalm range is also produced in an FDA-registered facility, which ensures the highest quality product is delivered to your doorstep. Along with their credentials, they have a huge (and growing) fanbase that provide firsthand accounts of the efficacy of these products.
The King Kalm CBD range comes in a liquid format that is carefully measured for small (75mg CBD), medium (150mg CBD), large (300mg CBD), and extra large (600mg CBD) dogs. All products have less than 0.3% THC in them, which aligns with safety research that has been conducted thus far.
These products also come with a syringe to help you carefully measure out the correct dosage for your dog. To check what the correct dosage for their products are, have a look at their dosing chart.
If you wish to provide your dog with a calming treat instead of the CBD liquid, then their King Kalm Crunch range offers a variety of delicious doggy biscuits that are infused with CBD to help keep your doggo calm and occupied.
FAQs About Using CBD To Treat Anxiety In Dogs
Will CBD make my dog high?
CBD is different from THC. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol for technical people, is the active ingredient in cannabis that gives it the psychotropic or ‘high’ effect.
CBD does not have psychotropic effects, nor does it induce drowsiness. Therefore, it will not make your dog high.
What is the best way I can give CBD to my dog?
The best way to give CBD to your dog is to use a liquid formulation and a dropper. This way, you will be able to carefully measure out their dosage.
The liquid, usually called a tincture, can be given orally to your dog straight into their mouths. However, it does have a distinctly grassy or earthy taste, which some dogs do not enjoy. If you have a pooch with a picky palate, then you can mix the liquid into their food, water, or put it on a treat.
If your dog is still able to pick up on the flavor, mix it with some coconut oil, dog-safe peanut butter, or pasteurized honey, and offer it to them like that.
If your dog is still highly suspicious and will not eat CBD products, you can rub some of the oil into the inside of their ears where the skin is very thin and allow it to be absorbed. This method is not always as effective, though.
Can I use CBD together with other medications for my dog?
As CBD is not FDA approved, there are no contraindications for it that have been well-researched and tested. Therefore, you should always consult your vet before starting your dog on CBD, especially if they are on other medications.
Aside from anxiety, what else can CBD treat in dogs?
Fur-parents claim that CBD helps their dogs in many different ways. It is important to note that none of these have been medically proven or are FDA approved treatment plans for CBD in dogs.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD can help:
- Manage pain from arthritis, old age, cancer, and other chronic illnesses
- Control spikes in blood sugar levels in diabetic dogs
- Reduce hyperactivity that can be misconstrued for aggression
- Reduce excessive activity in dogs healing from surgeries or injuries
Always check with a veterinary professional before using CBD to treat your dog for any of the above mentioned conditions.
Calmly Wagging Away…
Many people use CBD for dogs with anxiety, as it can have a soothing effect on their distressed doggos. CBD, or cannabidiols, are extracted from the hemp, or cannabis sativa, plant.
The CBD that is extracted is not psychoactive in any way and will not lead your dog to becoming high. That being said, it is up to you to double-check that the product that you are using contains less than 0.3% THC in it, as larger amounts of THC are toxic to dogs.
Using the best CBD oils and calming treats for dogs, like the ones mentioned in this article can help calm your pooch if they have anxiety so you can get the crux of the problem and help eliminate what is making them anxious without them getting hurt or hurting someone else.