CBD for Dog Separation Anxiety: Easing Your Pup's Woes
If your dog paces, whimpers or destroys pillows every time you leave the house, you’re not alone; separation anxiety is a common issue for pups.
Many pet owners are turning to CBD as a potential solution for dogs with separation anxiety, but does it actually work?
This article delves into CBD for dog separation anxiety, examining its use, possible benefits, and considerations when choosing products.
- Dog separation anxiety manifests through destructive behaviors, distress, and potential self-injury when separated from owners. CBD may help manage these symptoms by interacting with the canine endocannabinoid system.
- Administering CBD to dogs requires careful dosage adjustments over time, often starting with 5 mg per 10 lbs of body weight, and monitoring while introducing additional complementary strategies recommended to create a comfortable environment.
- Quality CBD products for dogs should come with a Certificate of Analysis, be third-party lab tested for contaminants, and sourced from USA-grown hemp, ensuring the product is specifically formulated for dogs with minimal to no THC content.
Understanding Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Dog anxiety is a distressing condition often due to fear of abandonment or FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), where dogs exhibit destructive behavior when separated from their owners. It’s a condition that can affect dogs of any age, from young pups to seniors.
So, how do you know if your dog is experiencing separation anxiety? Well, common signs include:
- Destructive behaviors like chewing belongings
- Excessive barking
- Distress when the owner prepares to leave
- Nervous urination and defecation
- Frantic pacing
- Excessive panting or drooling
- Escape attempts, sometimes resulting in self-injury
Triggers for separation anxiety in dogs can range from either the separation event of traumatic experiences, such as previous abandonment, to significant life changes like moving to a new home or bringing in new pets to lack of proper socialization and training.
Prevention strategies for separation anxiety in dogs include:
- Proper socialization with other animals
- Teaching dogs how to be calm and self-amused with toys
- Tweaking the owners’ behaviors to promote independence and discourage attention-seeking
- Environmental enrichment
- Establishing a predictable daily routine
- A consistent protocol for rewards
These strategies are key aspects in preventing or mitigating separation anxiety.
Let’s explore how CBD specifically could potentially help.
The Role of CBD in Managing Canine Stress
Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, is a non-psychoactive compound extracted from the cannabis plant. It’s been making waves in the health and wellness community for its potential therapeutic benefits, including its potential to help manage canine stress.
But how exactly does CBD work in dogs?
Dogs, like humans, have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that plays a critical role in maintaining homeostasis in various organ systems, including the nervous system and immune system.
The ECS in dogs consists of endogenous ligands, G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), and enzymes responsible for ligand degradation and recycling.
CBD acts as a ligand in the ECS, potentially influencing physiological processes such as pain management and anxiety reduction.
CBD can potentially help to keep your dog calm by influencing neurotransmitter release and interacting with serotonin (5-HT)1A receptors, which may have anxiolytic effects.
Studies are being performed to demonstrate if CBD can:
- Reverse anxiety-like behavior in rodent models
- Counteract heightened anxiety caused by environmental stress
- Down-regulate CB1 receptors
- Lower endocannabinoid levels
In a study called A single dose of cannabidiol (CBD) positively influences measures of stress in dogs during separation and car travel, it states: "The results obtained from this study suggest that a period of separation and car travel are stressful events for dogs, with travel in a vehicle eliciting a more pronounced stress response. Further, a single dose of 4 mg/kg CBD 2 h prior to exposure to these events attenuates some indicators of acute canine stress, which is likely to improve canine emotional wellbeing."
While CBD is widely being used for separation anxiety in dogs, it can also help dogs cope with other everyday life stressors.
8 Stressful Situations Where CBD May Help with Dog Anxiety
- Plane Rides and Road Trips: Changes in environment or long journeys can be stressful for dogs. CBD may help to calm your pet's nerves during long transitions, like car travel.
- Thunderstorms and Fireworks: Loud noises and bright lights can trigger anxiety in many dogs. Giving your pup CBD before New Year's Eve or 4th of July may help to alleviate such stressors.
- Vet Visits: Many dogs find medical check-ups and procedures anxiety-inducing. A dose of CBD may help to keep your dog relaxed during this experience.
- Dog Parks: While socialization is important for dogs, some may find it stressful to interact with other dogs. CBD may help to take the edge off in these situations.
- Introduction to New People or Pets: Social situations can be overwhelming for some dogs. CBD can potentially aid in keeping your dog calm, especially with companion animals who are constantly around new people.
- Nervous Licking: Dogs may sometimes excessively lick themselves or humans when anxious, CBD may help to alleviate this problem behavior.
- Grooming Appointments: Many dogs find grooming stressful, and CBD may help in keeping them calmer during the process.
- Aging and Related Conditions: Older dogs may experience anxiety related to aging, including cognitive decline. CBD may provide stress relief in such cases.
Now that we understand how CBD can potentially help manage canine stress, let’s delve into how you can choose the right CBD product for your dog.
8 Steps for Purchasing CBD Oil for Dogs
The selection of CBD oil for dogs is abundant when it comes to choices. But with so many options, how do you navigate the market to find the most suitable product for your dog?
When deciding to purchase a calming dog product, follow the steps below:
- Step 1: Ensure the product you are choosing is made with CBD oil vs. hemp seed oil. CBD oil delivers a calming effect, while hemp oil does not.
- Step 2: Decide what type of CBD oil for dogs you'd like to use. Full-spectrum CBD oil contains trace amounts of THC, which dogs can be very sensitive to, so it's advisable to choose a THC-free CBD product made with Broad Spectrum CBD oil or CBD isolate.
- Step 3: Check if the product comes with a Certificate of Analysis from third party lab testing to check for any psychoactive properties and to ensure there are no contaminants or heavy metals.
- Step 4: Ensure the CBD is sourced from USA-grown hemp and not from the marijuana plant, as CBD extracted from marijuana is still a Schedule I narcotic and federally illegal.
- Step 5: Consider products formulated with additional natural calming ingredients, including Passion Flower, Chamomile, L-Tryptophan & Valerian Root to enhance the efficacy.
- Step 6: Check to see if the company manufactures the products in a facility that is National Animal Supplement Council certified and that it comes with an NASC Quality Seal.
- Step 7: Check for independent dog product reviews from credible pet review websites.
- Step 8: Choose between CBD dog treats or a CBD oil tincture. CBD dog treats are tastier and easier to administer than CBD oil tinctures for dogs.
Now that you have chosen the right CBD product, let's learn how you administer it to your furry friend.
Administering CBD to Your Dog
Administering CBD to your dog requires a bit of calculation and observation. The recommended initial CBD oil serving for dogs requires considering size and weight. If your pup has any specific conditions, it's recommended to consult with your veterinarian before use.
The effects of CBD dog treats generally begin to work within 20-30 minutes of administration, lasting from 6 to 8 hours.
To answer the question of how much CBD to give, a good starting point is 5 mg of CBD per 10 lbs of body weight. Maintain this same low dose for at least 1 week to monitor effects, and increase only if needed.
For a large dog weighing over 50 lbs, high doses of 10 mg CBD is a better starting point while gradually increasing the dosage if needed.
20 mg is the max amount you should be giving your pup.
You can administer CBD oil for dogs directly using a dropper, by mixing it in with their food, or even by applying it to their inner ear if oral methods aren’t suitable.
Although, both humans and dogs tend to enjoy using CBD treats instead of CBD tinctures considering you don't need to hold your dog's mouth open every time they need more CBD, and the bitter taste of the hemp plant is masked with flavoring from the treat.
After administering CBD, it’s essential to monitor your dog’s behavior and health for any changes. So, let’s look at how to do that.
Monitoring CBD's Calming Effects on Anxious Dogs
When monitoring CBD for dog separation anxiety, it's important to remember that the effects of CBD can vary among individual dogs, and not all dogs will have the same response to CBD treatment, leading to mixed results.
That being said, look for the following positive results that most dogs will exhibit.
Potential Positive Results of CBD for Dog Separation Anxiety
- Reduction in stress-related behaviors such as less barking, pacing, whining or destructive behavior.
- Improved calmness during specific events when your dog is normally stressed, such as during vet visits or pet grooming.
- Better sleep patterns especially when dogs are left alone or are in an unfamiliar environment.
- Significant changes in reduced aggression when your dog usually gets the most defensive. For example, when the mailperson delivers the mail.
- Appetite regulation since anxious dogs often have reduced appetites or eat excessively out of stress.
Always evaluate the effectiveness of CBD by paying attention to any changes in your dog’s behavior, as dogs obviously cannot verbally communicate the impact.
While CBD can offer potential benefits, it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects.
Common Side Effects of CBD Oil for Dogs
While CBD oil generally has a good safety profile, it's important to note that every dog is unique and may react differently. Here are some potential side effects of CBD oil in dogs:
- Dry Mouth
- Lowered Blood Pressure
- Gastrointestinal Disturbance or Diarrhea
These symptoms are usually not very severe, but if you notice any adverse effects, discontinue use and consult with your veterinarian.
CBD oil for dogs can be a game changer when it comes to your pups health and wellness, however, it’s worth noting that CBD is not a magic pill that will eliminate all stress and from your dog’s life.
It’s a tool that can help manage these issues and is most effective when used in conjunction with other strategies to create a comfortable environment for your dog.
Complementary Strategies for Dog Anxiety
While CBD can potentially help manage your dog’s separation anxiety, it’s important to remember that it’s not a standalone solution.
Complementary strategies can go a long way in creating a comfortable environment for your dog and further mitigating anxiety.
Beneficial strategies include:
- Creating a dedicated safe space through crate training
- Filling an area with their favorite toys, blankets, and treats
- Playing calming music tailored for dogs
- Using pheromone products like diffusers that release dog-appeasing pheromones
- Desensitizing them to the usual signs of an owner’s departure
- Using physical calming methods like wearing an anxiety vest, which exerts a soothing pressure and promotes a sense of security.
These several stress related measures are strategies that can help alleviate the symptoms of dog anxiety.
Real Story: A Dog Owner Shares His Experience with CBD for Dog Anxiety
Pet owners are continuing to be outspoken about the potential effects of CBD products on their dog's anxiety.
Beau Schmitt, Co-founder at Sunday Scaries and legalization advocate for the cannabis plant, highlighted the positive effects of dog CBD by saying:
"Our family has always been a dog family. Whether it be shelter dogs or pups that we've received from breeders, there's been one common theme that we've constantly dealt with for our pets... separation anxiety.
Over the years we found this distinct type of dog anxiety really hard to address. We've tried tiring out the pups in backyards, taking them on walks before we leave, buying bones and toys for our pups to play with while we're away. Nothing seemed to work.
But once we tried CBD products specifically designed for dogs the stress disappeared, and super quickly. Only CBD was able to provide a noticeable and consistent calming effect, and this usually took place within 20 minutes and lasted from a few hours up to 8 hours depending on the dosage.
The best example of success was with our current pup, Butters. He's a corgi and while he's the sweetest little guy in the world he can also be a tyrant when we leave the house.
He would bark incessantly and scratch at the door when we'd leave him, and then get overwhelmingly hyper and jumpy when we returned. This anxious behavior was heightened when strangers were around, which also added human stress on our plates as pet owners.
At first my wife and I started giving Butters a dog CBD oil since it was the easiest type of product to find online. But Butters didn't really like the taste and we were sick of needing to hold open our dog's mouth every time we wanted to to feed him the product.
Also, more importantly, these companies seemed to lack any experience with manufacturing dog products.
So, my business partner and I decided to embark on a journey of our own and custom formulate a delicious-tasting, bacon-flavored CBD soft chew. We teamed up with an NASC (National Animal Supplement Council) certified facility with over 25 years experience in manufacturing dog treats, we used CBD isolate to avoid trace amounts of THC, and we infused other dog-friendly active ingredients alongside the CBD to ensure we had the most efficacious products on the market.
Butters absolutely LOVES these treats, which we aptly named FOMO Bones. He no longer suffers from the Fear Of Missing Out and my wife and I no longer feel guilty about leaving him home alone.
I am a true believer in the calming effects of CBD for dogs. It's truly been life-changing for our furry family member and for us.
A chill dog is a happy dog."
Stories like Beau's are not uncommon, and many pet owners have found success with using CBD products to manage their dog's stress.
To sum it all up, CBD holds potential for managing dog separation anxiety, offering a natural alternative to traditional treatments for healthy dogs.
Understanding the cause and symptoms of separation anxiety, choosing high-quality CBD products, administering them properly, and monitoring your dog’s response are all crucial steps in this process.
With additional strategies such as creating a safe space for your dog and desensitizing them from dog owners leaving, you can provide comprehensive support to your furry friend during stressful situations.
After all, dogs aren't just pets, they're family members. And if a family member is dealing with anxiety then every possible avenue should be explored in order to help them find relief. And if relief from that stress can come in a single dose of CBD, it's worth giving it a shot.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much CBD oil should I give my dog for separation anxiety?
Start with a 5mg dose for dogs weighing 10-50 lbs and a 10mg dose for dogs weighing 51 lbs and above. Gradually increase the dosage as needed, while closely monitoring your dog's response.
How long does it take for CBD to help dog anxiety?
You should notice a more calm, relaxed demeanor in your dog within 20-30 minutes after giving them an appropriate dose of CBD oil based on their weight. The benefits will become more noticeable after consistently giving your dog the same dose for at least a week.
How do you break a dog of separation anxiety?
To break a dog of separation anxiety: give them CBD for stress relief, try exercising the dog before leaving and provide a challenging puzzle toy while you're gone to keep them stimulated and distracted from your absence. While CBD is a powerful helper, a tired dog and a stimulated dog is much likelier to behave better than a dog who is wound up or bored.
How does CBD potentially help manage canine stress?
CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system in dogs, influencing pain management and anxiety reduction, which can potentially help keep your dog calm by affecting neurotransmitter release and serotonin receptors.
Is CBD oil safe for dogs with separation anxiety?
Yes, CBD oil is generally considered safe for dogs suffering from separation anxiety. However, like any other supplement or medication, it is advisable to consult with a vet before starting CBD treatment, and always administer the appropriate dosage based on your dog's weight and size.
What age can puppies have CBD?
Puppies can start taking CBD when they reach the age of 12 weeks. However, it is strongly recommended to consult with a veterinarian before starting any new supplement regimen for your young pup.