CBD for Your Dog's Separation Anxiety

CBD for Your Dog's Separation Anxiety

 Can CBD help dogs suffering from anxiety, separation anxiety, or stress? 

It's not an unreasonable question. After all, more than a few people have noticed a similar effect from their own CBD oil use! No wonder pet owners would wonder whether or not their pets would experience the same thing.

And while we can't make any medical claims, the idea that CBD oil and other CBD products might help your pet with separation anxiety is a distinct possibility. Let's take a closer look at CBD's effects on anxiety before looking at some of the best ways to give CBD to your pet! 

image of dog worried about owner

 

CBD Oil's Calming Properties

CBD oil is a full-spectrum hemp extract.  Per the FDA's guidelines, all CBD products cannot be mentioned as a cure for any medical condition.

But we can still have an in-depth conversation about CBD oil and calmness. Research shows that CBD oil may interact with the very brain and body-based receptor systems that regulate your stress levels. (Many pet owners will be glad to hear that their furry friend shares many of the same receptor systems!)

Studies show that CBD oil may reduce anxiety and stress and improve calmness in three major ways:

  • By activating certain endocannabinoid receptors
  • By shutting down stress hormone production
  • By improving neuroplasticity

How does CBD do all this? Here are the details. 

By activating certain endocannabinoid receptors

When you or your pet ingest CBD oil, some of it begins to 'seep into' endocannabinoid receptors in the mouth and under the tongue. Once fully ingested, the rest of the CBD oil is directed into the liver to be processed before being released into the rest of the body. [1]

By improving neuroplasticity

Another way that CBD may assist with stress reduction? By helping you think better. Some research done on rodents shows it may literally work with the brain. Other studies show CBD may reduce fear-induced learning by modulating the endocannabinoid system and memory reconsolidation patterns. Full-spectrum CBD oil seems to be more efficient than CBD isolate when it comes to getting these effects. [3]

Signs of Separation Anxiety In Dogs

Attention pet owners: is your dog experiencing separation anxiety? If you're not sure, here is a list of telltale signs and symptoms taken from an article by the American Kennel Club. According to the AKC, up to 72.5% of dogs suffer from anxiety caused by separation or stimulus. Here's a closer look at the stats: [4]

  • Anxiety from noise sensitivity (32% of dogs)
  • Anxiety from strangers (29% of dogs)
  • Anxiety from fear of heights (24% of dogs)

What are the signs of anxiety issues in your pet? Good question:

  • Repetitious behaviors (17% of dogs)
  • Hyperactivity/impulsivity (16% of dogs)
  • Aggression (14% of dogs)
  • Whining (5% of dogs)

What Is Isolation Distress?

Isolation distress is something that's common to many dogs with separation anxiety. What is it? In simple terms, it's a type of anxious behavior that pets may do when their owners are gone. Dog owners may not notice this behavior when they're with their pet, making isolation distress harder to catch than other types of anxiety.

Examples of isolation distress include:

  • Digging
  • Barking
  • Chewing
  • Urinating in the house
  • Defecating in the house
  • General destructiveness

Why A Dog Might Feel Anxious

What makes dogs experience separation anxiety, canine anxiety, dog anxiety, destructive behaviors, etc? A combination of factors. Some of the most common factors contributing to anxiety include:

  • Poor pain management
  • Poor crate training
  • Separation anxiety
  • General anxiety

On the flip side, several positive associations exist between a pet's calmness/mental health and their activity levels, diet, home environment, and more. 

Dog Breeds Prone To Anxiety

Some dogs have more separation anxiety than other dog breeds. It's true - some breeds are much more likely to experience anxiety than others. Below are 6 dog breeds that may be especially susceptible to separation anxiety.

  • Lagotto Romagnolo
  • Wheaten Terriers
  • Spanish Water Dogs
  • Shetland Sheepdogs
  • Miniature Schnauzers
  • Mixed-Breed Dogs

Lagotto Romagnolo

Lagotto Romagnolo are fluffy, poodle-type dogs. Many suffer from separation anxiety and other types of anxiety - particularly during thunderstorms. Lagotto Romagnolo may also be easily frightened by cars, loud music, yelling, and other loud, sudden noises.

Wheaten Terriers

Wheaten Terriers are another dog breed predisposed to separation anxiety, noise-based anxiety, and other forms of anxious behavior. Wheaten Terriers need to have a healthy amount of socialization from a young age in other to thrive. Wheaten Terriers should also be raised in a quiet, peaceful environment as much as possible.

Spanish Water Dogs

Spanish water dogs are known and loved for their loyalty to their dog owners. Yet they're also known for being prone to separation anxiety. Spanish water dogs are especially wary of strangers.

Shetland Sheepdogs

Shetlands are also likely to be afraid of strangers. Be sure to get them socialized starting at an early young age so they can avoid anxious situations in the long run.

Miniature Schnauzers

This variety of Schnauzers is known for its anxiety, aggression, and unpredictability. When they start feeling anxious and have to choose between fight and flight, they often choose flight! Mini Schnauzers may need more support from their owners if they suffer from chronic anxiety. 

Mixed-Breed Dogs

Mixed breed dogs may enjoy generally good health compared to purebreds, but they're also prone to anxiety.

Rescue Dogs and Anxiety 

Rescue dogs are also often prone to anxiety, but not for genetic (or even epigenetic) reasons.

CBD for Dogs with Anxiety and Pain

We all know how heartbreaking it can be to see our furry friends in pain. 

Think about it: just like us, our pets are often plagued by modern condition. While we are subjected to endless workweeks and overbooked schedules, often at the expense of our sleep or enjoyment of nature...our pets experience something similar. They are subjected to endless hours stuck inside, away from the things they enjoy most. 

It's not surprising that modern life has 'side effects' - both for us and them. This is especially true with older dogs, who are most likely to have been worn out. 

Yet CBD could be an ideal natural antidote. Studies show that CBD may work as a natural antioxidant to combat age-related diseases. [5] If your canine is limping around, losing mobility, or otherwise struggling to maintain their health, consider introducing them to CBD! It could help keep them thriving well into their golden years. Even in older pets, only a small dose of CBD oil may have pet owners reporting big results. 

And reduced inflammation, of course, means good things for your pet's pain levels. Another plus? CBD may even reduce pain directly by its modulation of TRPV1 receptors. Without getting too technical, those are the ones that sense heat (yes, even heat from peppers or hot sauce) and send its signals directly to the brain. We're said it before, but this is another great example: CBD is truly multifaceted! 

lady and cat sharing a late night snack

If your pet has stubborn pain, here's what you might expect: less limping, less whimpering, and more mobility. It's almost like CBD may rewind the clock — if only by a few years — back into pain-free territory.

In other good news, CBD products of all shapes and sizes may assist pets with chronic pain. If your pet has painful health issues — or even if they're recovering from broken bones or recent surgery — CBD could help. How much CBD are we talking about here? More on the best CBD oil and best CBD oil dosage for dogs next.

Giving Your Dog CBD If They Have Separation Anxiety

By this point, you might be wondering how much CBD oil to give your dog.

In other words, you might be wondering...about how to find the perfect dose of dog CBD oil!

Like with us humans, though, CBD dosing remains more of an art than a science. Factors like your pet's body weight and endocannabinoid sensitivity compound to provide all sorts of interrelated variables. 

We recommend starting slow for additional reasons as well. The idea of microdosing CBD continues to gather scientific backing...and it doesn't take advanced science to realize that you'll be saving money with this method, too. 

Begin with sprinkling one or two drops of CBD onto your dog's food, twice per day... and slowly go up from there. As you begin to notice your pet getting calmer — frequently they'll begin sleeping better, too — you can start leveling off their dose.

The chart below shows where pets of different weights often end up: 

  • 11 kg / 25 lbs 2 drops 1 mg 1-2 times daily
  • 11-23kg / 25-50 lbs 4 drops 2 mg 1-2 times daily
  • 23-34 kg / 50-75 lbs 6 drops 3 mg 1-2 times daily
  • 34 kg / 75 lbs + 8 + drops 4 + mg 1-2 times daily

Of course, you don't have to subscribe to these dosing recommendations entirely. Chances are you know your pet's body better than you do! In the same way, you'll appreciate what CBD dose for your canine more than anyone else. You're the one who's around them all day, after all. 

Studies On CBD and Anxiety

Numerous studies have established a causal relationship between CBD and reduced rates of anxiety. Here's a closer look!

  • 2011 study found that CBD may reduce what researchers call "contextually conditioned fear." This type of fear is conditioned by negative or challenging environmental factors. (Think stuff like your dog's separation anxiety when you leave them home alone for hours on end.)
  • A 2012 study compared CBD to more conventional anxiolytic medications like Valium. It turns out CBD produced similar levels of relief with far fewer side effects.
  • A 2019 study found that CBD may reduce anxiety disorders caused by a variety of unpleasant tasks or environmental pressures. 

Other Treatments for Anxiety

If CBD supplementation isn't working for your pet, fear not. There are numerous other techniques you can try to relieve your pet's separation anxiety. Consider the following two strategies:

  • Behavioral modification
  • Anti-anxiety prescription medications

What vets think about CBD for dogs

Are veterinarians on board with pets taking CBD products? A growing number of them sure are.

As veterinary doctor, Francisco DiPaolo tells Forbes, "I think it's powerful and we need to learn more about it." Perhaps CBD's pet-centric power isn't so surprising. Maybe you've already experienced great things giving CBD to your furry friend of choice. They have an endocannabinoid system just like we do, after all, meaning they might benefit from CBD in pretty much all the same ways. 

Other Helpful Tips From Pet Owners For Dogs With Separation Anxiety

Dog owners confirm that CBD is helping their pets, too. Here's how one Redditor put it:

"With the CBD (with a touch of THC) my dog will still react to squirrel, lizards, and dogs that bark at him, but in a milder manner and he moves on from the moment once his triggers are out of sight. Without the CBD, he whines and pulls for 10 minutes after the experience or for the entire walk. However, months of training has lessened the strength and duration of his reactivity. So, now, without the CBD, my dog is much better than when we first got him, but he still reacts. CBD makes the process more bearable for both of us, but especially for my dog."

In addition to being calmer, this happy dog owners' dog appears less anxious:

The CBD also helped with my dog's rotten tummy (from nerves). It also helped with my dog's disruptive sleeping (he'd cry, whine and growl in his sleep as well as sleepwalk on occasion).

Types Of CBD Oil For Dogs

When it comes to dog CBD oil there are a few things you should keep in mind. For example, did you know that the grapeseed oil base of many CBD oils can be toxic to dogs? For obvious reasons, such things are important — yet there are other elements that go into your dog's ideal dosing plan, too. Let's take a closer look.

You could give your pet any of the various CBD oils on the market, of course (as long as it's free of grapeseed oil). 

But it's an even better idea to give your furry friend a premium CBD oil made specifically for them. Because once you've ensured your product's quality, it's smooth sailing from there...

CBD for Your Dog's Separation Anxiety: Summing things up

CBD may have calming, stress-reducing effects. And that's true whether we're talking about canines or humans! 

Consider incorporating CBD products into your pet's wellness routine if you haven't already. As long as you choose a pet-friendly product and start off slowly, it's pretty hard to go wrong. 

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