Did you know that in a recent study more than 70% of dogs exhibited some form of anxiety? Sometimes anxiety presents as behavior that looks like human anxiety; perhaps your dog is always pacing or panting even when there’s no cause, like a human hyperventilating. However, anxiety can also present as a wide variety of unwanted behavior in pets, from incessant barking to defecating in the house or flat-out aggression. If your dog or cat is exhibiting signs of anxiety and it doesn’t pass you may want to consider CBD for your pet.
What Is CBD?
CBD, cannabidiol, is a relatively new ingredient you’re likely seeing everywhere from body lotion to pet treats, and for good reason. First discovered in the 1940s, it is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, but unlike THC it is not psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t cause a high. For that reason, CBD is legal and available in all 50 states. CBD is extracted from the leaves and flowers of cannabis plants while hemp oil is pressed from the seeds of the plants. While hemp oil is valuable for many other things like shiny coats, it’s not what you’re looking for in this situation.
CBD affects the endocannabinoid system, ECS, a system that exists in all mammals. The ECS helps to regulate sleep and mood and is tied to the control of chronic pain, among many other functions scientists are still establishing, with endocannabinoids your body creates naturally. CBD interacts with these functions, potentially calming anxiety, helping with sleep and decreasing chronic pain. Sites like https://cbdfx.com/collections/cbd-for-pets/ offer tinctures and pet treats with CBD so it is easy to give the appropriate dose based on size and need.
How Can CBD Help My Pet?
According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, there are three primary causes of anxiety in dogs. Dogs may have anxiety because of fear. If you’ve adopted a dog that has been abused you know that the regular fear a dog experiences in a new environment is not the same as the ingrained fear an abused dog has of doing the wrong thing and being hurt. This fear can take years to overcome if at all. Even dogs who have spent time at the pound may feel that you are going to abandon them again if you need to get them in the car. Obviously, the first thing is to provide your pet with lots of love and encouragement but CBD can keep dogs from feeling constant anxiety or situational anxiety brought on by fear, helping them acclimate more quickly.
The anxiety most pet owners know about is separation anxiety. This happens when your pet gets very upset when you have to leave, even to go to work. In the animal’s mind, you are never coming home. Your cat or dog may chew up your belongings, refuse to eat or cry excessively while you’re gone. Cats may get especially worked up and vomit on your shoes or bedding. Leaving the radio or TV on and leaving without letting your animals know are a couple of ways to help mitigate this behavior. CBD can help while you’re training your pet to expect you to be away, or in some cases can be the permanent solution to keeping an anxious pet calm until you return.
Finally, science is now suggesting that aging animals experience a special kind of age-related anxiety called cognitive dysfunction syndrome or CDS. Just as Alzheimer’s causes anxiety and confusion in elderly people, it now seems that dogs can have a similar experience. Along with age-related anxiety, older animals experience the same types of aches and pains people do. Animals may have arthritis and joint degeneration leading to chronic pain. No matter the reason, CBD for your aging pet could prevent both anxiety and pain.
What Are My Next Steps?
If treating your pet with CBD sounds like it might be the right step for you, the next step is to talk to your veterinarian. Your vet will have access to the latest studies, like the study determining if CBD could be a treatment for drug-resistant epilepsy in dogs. She will be able to tell you about potential side effects and how to deal with them. The whole study of ECS and CBD is expanding exponentially and today’s treatment options may be just the tip of the iceberg.