Spoiler alert: He's still a rowdy boy. cbd and dogs with separation anxiety (all you need to know) if i knew about cbd when my dog had separation anxiety as a puppy some five years ago, i wonder how much easier life might have been. Does your dog feel nervous every time you leave the house? It’s likely that your pup has separation anxiety, and CBD-infused treats can help.
I Gave My Dog CBD Oil To Calm Him Down and Help His Separation Anxiety
The first time I heard about cannabis products for dogs was when a video of Permit Patty , the CEO of a pet cannabusiness, went viral after she called the cops on a young girl selling water. Since then, I’ve been intrigued by the idea of pets using drugs. So I decided to volunteer my own dog for a Weed Week assignment: I was going to see how he responded to cannabidiol (CBD).
I adopted Bishop from Davidson County Animal Control last August when he was about a year old. Someone found him running around the Nashville streets and sent him off to the shelter. No one claimed him for a month, so I decided to make him a Davis after falling in love with his face online. Shortly after the adoption, I signed him up for basic training. We had some rough patches along the way, but he’s been a different dog since his graduation and I worry a lot less when we leave the apartment together.
Bishop Davis after graduating the first level of behavior school.
It’s when I leave him in the apartment that the problems begin.
Bishop is crate-trained, so I put him in his nook with some toys, treats, and calming music if I have to leave the apartment for a short period. If I anticipate a longer time away from home, I let him roam the apartment with toys, treats, and calming music. (I’ve read that crating a dog for too long can have detrimental effects on its mental state.) But each time I leave Bishop to roam free, I almost always hear clawing at the door and crying moments after I shut it.
When I come back, it always looks as though a tornado flew around the room. Bishop knocks down furniture and tears through books and papers. One time I returned to find that Bishop had managed to unlock the front door. While some of this could be chalked up to him being a puppy in need of some more training, I wondered if CBD could help him. CBD has only been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a therapy for two types of treatment-resistant epilepsy in children, but a growing body of research suggests it can treat anxiety as well.
Perhaps it could even treat anxiety in a dog.
The prep: I reached out to Bishop’s trainer and to Jason Amatucci of VA Hemp for some thoughts on my assignment.
“We have found that many pet owners that use CBD for their cats and dogs really love it and say it works for tackling problem behavior or just giving their pet a better sense of overall calm,” Amatucci told me. This is comparable, he explained, to the way CBD can reduce anxiety in humans.
Amatucci noted that unlike CBD, THC is actually quite bad for pets. Should a pet mistakenly consume a product with THC in it, a vet can administer activated charcoal to the animal. He added that while CBD products have a trace of THC, it’s “not at a level which would cause toxicity.”
I also asked Bishop’s trainer about using CBD products for pet anxiety since he knows my dog’s temperament the best. Essentially, he told me that he’s heard of other pet owners using it with success. And since he didn’t say anything bad about using it, I decided to continue with the project.
I looked up local CBD shops in Nashville and found no shortage of retailers that carried pet-specific products. I decided to use an oil since it had more potency and could be delivered on a treat, and chose a formulation that apparently tastes like bacon.
Day 1: I decided to take Bishop to the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival. I woke up early to go to Mass and came back just in time for Bishop’s morning feeding. We had a few hours until we had to meet some friends at the festival.
I grabbed a hard treat and poured a dropper-full of CBD oil on top (the recommended dose was one dropper-full twice a day). I put the treat up to his nose. He sniffed it and turned away.
Lacing his treats.
Oh fudge , I thought.
Bishop will eat anything and everything, except medicine. Bishop is so anti-medicine that his vet once wished me luck when I said I didn’t have anyone to help me pour his eye drops. This was after it took three of us to hold him down in her office so she could administer the first dose.
I mentally kicked myself for not considering this possibility and wondered what to do. Then it hit me that I still hadn’t fed Bishop.
I had him sit and wait while I poured his food in a bowl. Then I placed the laced treat in the middle, hoping he would accidentally eat it.
The sucker ate it.
Later, I filled a backpack with water, a collapsible water bowl, and some training treats, and we made our way downtown to the festival.
On the drive, I wondered what I could expect for the day. Bishop doesn’t bark often, but he can get pretty rowdy if the wrong type of dog passes by. Would the CBD reduce his tendency to lose his mind?
As I wondered this, Bishop was running across the backseat of the car to hang his head out of both windows. Apparently, the oil hadn’t kicked in.
And honestly, it never really seemed like it did.
Bishop did well with the training treats, socialized with the other humans, and didn’t make any attempts to eat food that didn’t belong to him. He even let some of the bigger dogs (his favorite kind) sniff his butt.
The butt-sniffing was about to commence.
But none of this stopped him from freaking out when the wrong sort of dog passed by. He was so crazy that he started to jump on the girls we were hanging out with at the festival. I had to apologize several times and use some basic training tricks to get him to calm down.
The other girls eventually wanted to go up to the observation deck, so I said Bishop and I would take the stairs and meet them there. Halfway up, Bishop’s back legs began to shake.
Oh no , I thought. I’ve poisoned him .
I didn’t actually think that he was having a reaction to the CBD oil, but I always briefly entertain the craziest possibilities when it comes to animals (or babies) doing things that I don’t understand. Following a water break and a quick trip to the bathroom, Bishop felt better. Then we tried to rejoin the girls, and Bishop’s legs started to shake again.
And that’s how I learned that despite our hikes at Percy Warner Park, one of the highest points in Nashville, my dog is actually quite terrified of heights.
After Bishop and I got home, I made some dinner, fed him once again, and crocheted while we watched some movies. I chose not to give Bishop the second dose since he was pretty calm for the rest of the evening.
Day 2: Remembering what happened yesterday, I poured Bishop’s food and placed another laced treat in the very middle. He ate it, but not before taking it out of the bowl to inspect it first. Then my own anxiety began to build up.
Just eat it already.
Today was Sunday Mass, which runs a whole heck of a lot longer than daily Mass. It was time to let Bishop roam the apartment alone with my poor, vulnerable books and furniture.
I got dressed for Mass and positioned the gates of his playpen in such a way that he’d have to grow human legs in order to reach the front door handle. I left some treats around the apartment, put on some calming nature sounds, and sweated bullets while I begged St. Francis and St. Roch to intercede on my behalf while I was gone.
Then I left. I didn’t hear any scratching at the door or crying.
The Palm Sunday Mass was longer than usual. There was the distribution of the palm fronds, a long procession into the church, and the interactive Gospel reading was several pages long instead of several paragraphs. The homily also lasted a bit longer. While everything was beautiful and I left feeling assured about my spiritual life, it didn’t stop me from worrying about my apartment as I drove home.
Once inside, I was thoroughly surprised that other than the barrier having been moved, the floor was clear of paper bits. I mentally prepared myself for the worst of it as I walked towards the main part of my apartment.
Where, it turns out, Bishop was relaxing in his crate.
He raised his head and his ears fell while he looked at me. He only does that when he knows he did something wrong.
I checked the rest of the living room, the dining area, the kitchen, my bedroom, and even the bathroom. I couldn’t believe that everything was untouched. I secretly thanked the oil and the saints while continuing to look for whatever made Bishop’s ears go droopy.
Then I noticed that the blanket I put over my Lovesac was knocked to the floor and there were remnants from Bishop’s toy on top. Considering he is well aware that he’s not supposed to be on there, I concluded that this was the worst of the offenses.
We spent the rest of the day doing some work and getting prepared for the Game of Thrones premiere. I opted against the second dose again because Bishop was otherwise calm.
What did I learn? At the end of the day, I don’t know that the oil had much of an effect on Bishop.
He clearly suffers from some separation anxiety, and he can be aggressive with other dogs. As with humans, drugs can only fix so much of an animal’s psychology. I’m also not sure what I can tell from just a couple of doses. I will admit to hoping that the CBD drops would essentially be a miracle cure. That, after just a dose or two, he wouldn’t be a bad dog ever.
Clearly, CBD is not a miracle cure for rowdy boys.
Still, I’m open to using it again the next time I leave him home alone. After all, with the exception of the playpen and the beanbag, this was the first time Bishop didn’t completely destroy the apartment.
So Bishop can go ahead and enjoy his CBD treats for several Sunday masses to come. As for his behavior when we go out, it looks like I’ll be calling his trainer soon.
cbd and dogs with separation anxiety (all you need to know)
if i knew about cbd when my dog had separation anxiety as a puppy some five years ago, i wonder how much easier life might have been.
my girlfriend and i got luna at six-and-a-half weeks of age and she slept all through the first night we got her. the following day was a completely different story though, and we quickly found out that our new fur baby had quite the case of separation anxiety. if you’re a pet parent whose dog experiences separation anxiety (it’s more common than you think), i’d bet you would love to help cure it, for both their sake and yours. what if cbd could contribute to solving that problem?
cbd oil’s calming properties may be helpful for dogs with separation anxiety and its displayed symptoms. for maximum benefit, be sure to give your dog a proper dose of cbd early enough for it to take full effect since dogs can usually pick up on the fact that you are leaving well ahead of time.
like humans, dogs have cannabinoid receptors all throughout their bodies that exhibit balancing and homeostatic responses when activated. this can go a long way towards alleviating your pup’s perceived need to yelp incessantly, dig away at your furniture, or worse, try to escape and/or hurt themselves in the process.
cbd for dogs with separation anxiety
dogs can get anxious just the same as we can. when that anxiety arises from a situation in which a dog has been removed from its closest companion(s) for one reason or another, it is known as separation anxiety. it often occurs for a dog with one person, but could be both of his or her parents if the bond is strong enough.
separation anxiety may be displayed by your pup on a scale that could range from minor sadness to full-blown panic, with potentially outright destructive behavior to go along with it. it could be caused by a lot of different sources, though all likely stem from some sort of change. a change in routine or environment such as moving, or a new family for an adopted or rescued dog could certainly cause separation anxiety, though a loss or absence of a family member is likely to be the biggest trigger of them all.
signs your dog has separation anxiety may start well before you leave the house. dogs are very good at honing in on various cues within sequences in their lives, such as getting ready to leave the house. for example, you may have keys hanging next to your front door that you grab before leaving. you may also put shoes on before grabbing those keys, and you may have other tasks that lead up to that as well, such as grabbing sunglasses or a hat, brushing your teeth, filling up your water bottle, etc.
the more regularly this occurs, the more your dog will associate one event with the one that precedes it until finally figuring out that you are getting ready to leave from the start of your routine. these cues then signal the beginning of you making your departure, and your dog will make that connection. this could lead to them exhibiting signs of separation anxiety ahead of time, and you are going to want to keep that in mind if you wish to try cbd to help with their separation anxiety. in other words, make sure to consider administering cbd to your dog earlier than you may have initially planned.
signs your dog is experiencing separation anxiety may include any combination of appearing sad (even more so than usual), barking (usually frantically), pacing around the house, or drooling. however, they may not be visible while you are present, and will likely become worse once you’re gone either way. this is another reason why you’ll want to give your pup cbd early enough that it has taken full effect before you leave, if possible.
when luna was a puppy, she barked like crazy as soon as we left, and several times engaged in other destructive behaviors such as chewing the corner of our kitchen table as well as the corner of a wall. other dogs may try to dig through carpets or upholstery (luna also tore up one of our couches), or try to escape. they also may put themselves in physical harm, should they try to escape out of a crate or break through a door or window. last but not least, dogs may pee or poop inside the house as another means of expressing their anxiety, and some may even go one step further and eat their poop afterwards.
isolation distress is another similar condition you should be aware of. often mistaken for separation anxiety, isolation distress occurs solely from a dog being left alone , and results in many of the same outward behaviors that dogs with separation anxiety exhibit. it is solely a dog-human issue, meaning another dog’s companionship within the pack will not make things better for a pup with isolation distress.
the big difference between the two lies in that dogs’ spirits who experience isolation distress can usually be lifted by the presence of any familiar human, whereas a dog who is experiencing separation anxiety towards a specific human will often remain that way until their special somebody returns, even if other people are around. either way, both separation anxiety and isolation distress are likely to come from similar mental processes, and cbd may be worth looking into as a possible solution for the problem.
giving your dog cbd for separation anxiety
much like ourselves, dogs who are stressed experience increased hormonal secretion of cortisol and adrenaline. when this happens, their primitive fight-or-flight mechanism is unnecessarily activated and anxiety results from their brain’s inability to make sense of the entire situation. think about it from your dog’s perspective: much of human life is foreign and complex. we set alarms to wake up, go to work at a place away from home all day, and then come back. all that time, your furbaby is at home awaiting your return with no comprehension of your life’s everyday demands.
it’s easy to see how such a situation could be overwhelming to dogs. after all, a dog is another species with a different evolutionary line than us and it cannot converse or reason like a human. by some measures, it might even be rather miraculous that only 20-40% of dogs have separation anxiety , and that the figure isn’t even higher! nonetheless, the buildup of these stress hormones can lead to chemical imbalances, which can result in even more stressed behaviors from your dog. poor pup ☹
enter cannabidiol: the compound better known as cbd may work on the systems behind your dog’s stress response in order to address the underlying processes behind their separation anxiety. before we jump into how cbd works and the best ways to give it to your fur baby, let’s touch on the basics really quickly.
- cbd comes from the cannabis plant, and it is only one of more than 100 phytocompounds found within the plant categorized as cannabinoids.
- of those 100+ cannabinoids, cbd is one of the two main compounds. it is nonpsychoactive, meaning cbd will not get your dog high !
- the other primary compound is thc, which brings the psychoactive component associated with “marijuana” smoking. if the cannabis plant has more than 0.3% thc, it is considered “marijuana”, while anything less than that amount classifies the plant as being hemp.
- cbd derived from american-grown hemp is legal, safe, and nontoxic for your dog.
simple enough, right? when you give your dog cbd, it goes to work on what is known as the endocannabinoid system (ecs). all animals have an ecs, meaning it is also present in your body (and any other animals within your family). the ecs plays a role in homeostasis within our bodies, which means it works with other systems and processes in order to address any imbalances that are present. of course, this can also apply to the stress response that comes from an imbalance in hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, and could thus bring about a state of calmness that counteracts separation anxiety.
how much cbd should i give my dog for separation anxiety? and when?
cbd is measured in milligrams (mg). when looking into cbd for your dog’s separation anxiety, it’s important to pay attention to the total mg of cbd in a given dose, as well as the amount in its overall contents. dogs have no verbal means of communicating the effectiveness of a cbd dose, so you are going to be the one that has to pay attention to any signs of change in your pup.
with that being said, giving your dog cbd every day gives you a base structure to start with a smaller dosage and work your way up from there as needed. like with humans, cbd oil is completely safe to give dogs, even in high doses. generally speaking, smaller dogs will require less cbd than larger dogs to become effective, though just like us, dogs too have individual body chemistries that can widely affect their tolerance to cbd.
since dogs are very good at picking up on your routines, you are going to want to factor in enough time for the cbd to take effect before starting your routine, not just before you leave. this may mean first thing in the morning, as any means of your dog consuming cbd will likely be done orally, meaning it must be digested before it takes effect. humans usually feel the effects of oral consumption in somewhere between 30 minutes to two hours, so an hour (give or take) would likely be a good base line.
you may be inclined to look into specific cbd products for dogs, whether online or in a brick-and-mortar store. either way, be sure to pay attention to the overall potency of any cbd-infused products made specifically for animals, as they may end up containing an insignificantly small amount of actual cbd. these products are often relatively expensive as well, and worse, may make for an ineffective product unable to produce the results that your pup needs.
with that being said, if a low dose of cbd works effectively on your dog, these types of treats may be perfect. however, that could also enable you to use just a couple of drops of a concentrated cbd oil tincture just the same, whether mixed in with food or given directly in their mouth. it really depends on what your dog likes, and you may only find out by trying out a few different options. we got lucky with luna: she loves it all, and will happily take both olive oil and mct oil cbd drops, straight from the dropper like a champion (i’m not a proud pet parent, nor am i biased in any way, am i?), even if her mom disapproves.
while we’re at it, there are a few other crucial things to pay attention to as well when buying cbd for your dog, no matter what.
- always make sure your cbd oil comes from american-grown hemp.
- buy organic cbd for your pup, just the same as you would for yourself. cbd can absorb any nutrients within its soil, so you want to make sure your hemp was grown organically to ensure it is free of any pesticides and other harmful toxins such as lead or arsenic.
- make sure any cbd product you buy can provide third party lab testresults . if you see cbd products in your local pet store, this might provide a bit of a hindrance at first, but you have two solutions: look online to see if that specific company displays their results, or choose another brand that does!
- cbd is not regulated by the fda . believe it or not, buying cbd online is the best way to ensure a quality product since it gives you the opportunity to fully vet the company you buy from! (no pun intended…)
- look for broad spectrum hemp extract as your source of cbd. this procedure retains all portions of the plant (except for thc), resulting in more wholesome and beneficial results than when cbd is isolated from the rest of the plant. this occurrence is known as the entourage effect.
what can i do in addition to giving my dog cbd to help with separation anxiety?
dogs are very good at picking up on your energy. if you are concerned, stressed, or anxious about their separation anxiety, they will also pick up on that, which only perpetuates the cycle. if possible, it is better to leave the house when your dog’s energy is as calm as possible, while the least ideal time to leave (if you can help it) would be if your dog is going berserk as you are walking out the door.
taking your dog on a long walk or hike, or doing something else such as a good play session to get some energy out of them whenever possible may help the situation, as long as you give your pup enough time to wind down should you rile him/her up while playing. or maybe saying bye to them 10 minutes before you actually leave can help, as giving them attention immediately before you walk out the door may stir up some unnecessary excitement.
from first-hand knowledge (and no, i am not an expert), the first thing for me was to recognize that separation anxiety is a psychological issue. dogs (canines) are not like humans (primates), and their brains run largely on logic, whereas ours have a far greater capacity to experience and integrate emotion into our worldviews and our beings.
we learned from ivan pavlov that dogs think in terms of associating a stimulus to a response. this is how your pup can know you’re getting ready to leave ahead of time, and we can utilize it in order to create environments that mimic leaving the house in broken down, step-by-step ways to set our dogs up for success. it may take a lot of time and energy on our ends, but breaking down our pre-departure routine into step-by-step pieces and then desensitizing them to each given step can ultimately help them work out the situation in their own heads and realize that it is okay for you to leave without them.
let’s use an example: say that you grab your sunglasses, walk to the front door, put on shoes, and then grab your keys before leaving the house. at a time when you have no intention of actually leaving, you could conduct experiments (while your dog is calm) where you walk over and grab your sunglasses; but instead of walking to the front door afterwards, you could just set the sunglasses right back down and see if/how your pup reacts.
such a small interaction may seem trivial, but doing it enough times will begin to break the association to the point where your dog is no longer concerned with the act of grabbing your sunglasses. then, maybe take just one step towards the door before turning to put your sunglasses back where they belong. take it step by step from there over a period of time until you can walk to the door without your pup being concerned. from there, you could grab your shoes and begin to put them on, immediately taking them off just like your sunglasses. same goes for the keys afterwards.
this may already be a long process, but once you’ve nailed it, you can simply start by opening the door and closing it. then you can leave for a second or two and stand just outside the door, gradually increasing your time away. some dogs may rapidly progress through this process, while others may still seem stuck on one step or another for a long time. it’s ultimately important to do everything you can to set your dog up for success, and while this may not work for everybody, it is something certainly worth considering or discussing with a dog trainer if your dog’s separation anxiety is extreme.
positive associations also go a long way towards helping anxiety. if you are looking to contain your dog’s environment to a crate or other enclosed area, taking the time to properly associate the space in a positive manner is great for your dog. you could do this with praise and treats, and/or by putting them into the space for a second before releasing them, making sure to do so while you are home. you can increase the time little by little, giving them lots of love through the process. also, make sure to use a different space for time out if you have one, in order to avoid negative associations.
disclaimer: in no way is any of this advice meant to be taken as that of a professional’s. we all love our pets, and any suggestions within this article should be taken as nothing more than one loving pet parent trying to help another. separation anxiety is tough for us as owners, and even tougher for our pet. on behalf of the entire zadaka fam, i wish you all the best in your journey towards curing your pet’s separation anxiety.
These CBD-infused Products Are Specially Designed to Help Dogs With Separation Anxiety
Does your dog feel nervous every time you leave the house? It’s likely that your pup has separation anxiety, and it’s not alone. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, it is one of the most commonly diagnosed behavioral problems in canines. In North America alone, 20% to 40% of dogs with behavior issues are diagnosed with separation anxiety.
Dogs with separation anxiety might present a variety of symptoms, from barking and howling, to chewing and digging, to urinating/defecating in the house, or even escaping. Though there is no definitive reason behind it, far more dogs adopted from shelters develop separation anxiety than those who live with one family from puppyhood.
Related: This Community-Based Alternative to Pet Insurance Is Revolutionizing the Healthcare Industry
It’s also detrimental to your dog’s health. In one research study, veterinary behaviorist Dr. Stefanie Schwartz compared separation anxiety in pets to phobic disorders and panic attacks in people.
CBD-Infused Products Might Help
Cannabidiol, or CBD Oil, is a compound found in hemp and cannabis that is specifically separate from THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. That means, products with CBD oil in them won’t get your or your dog high – even, when consumed directly!
In fact, Cannabidiol is now being used for both humans and dogs as a natural supplement for pain management, calming anxiety, allergies, and even conditions like cancer, epilepsy, or digestive issues.
How does it work?
Humans and dogs have a system in their bodies known as the endocannabinoid system. Like us, dogs have receptors in their nervous systems, organs, and brains that naturally release endocannabinoid chemicals to stabilize mood. CBD Oil can interact with this system as a supplement, increasing levels of serotonin in the brain and calming the individual.
All of these factors contribute to creating a calming effect on your furry friend, easing their anxiety and helping them to cope with separation from their favorite human. While the effects of CBD Oil are not yet fully understood, the testing and research have yielded positive results for humans and dogs alike.
blis CBD for Your Pets
Based in LA, blis offers premium hemp-based CBD products for both you and your pets. With over 10 years of experience in the CBD market, blis soars high with its high potency single-strain products and gives farm-to-store quality guarantee.
These products from blis can help both you and your pet deal with stress and anxiety.
blis Pet Drops
Made of purest hemp-derived CBD extract, coconut oil (MCT), and enriched with highly refined essential oil—these pet drops help your pets stay calm, and can provide the much-needed support for dogs suffering from separation anxiety.
blis Pet Drops is ideal for both cats and dogs. The recommended usage is mentioned on the packaging, depending on your pet’s weight and age.
Pet drops is a convenient option for most pet owners dealing with fussy pets as they can easily be mixed with meals or added in the water bowl.
GoGreen Hemp Pets Dog Soft Chew Bites
These beef-flavored soft chews for dogs contain a broad spectrum hemp extract. The chews can be given to your dog as a treat or an added supplement to their diet.
Enriched with organic hemp CBD, they help your canine with pain, inflammation, stress, anxiety, age-related issues, and overall health and wellness.
blis My Pet & I Chill Bundle
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This limited-time promotional bundle includes:
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These Full Spectrum CBD-infused products are specially designed to help you and your pet deal with the pandemic stress and relieve anxiety.
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These products are not intended for use by persons under the age of 21. It’s important to consult your doctors with any medical concerns, and before making any changes or adding supplements to your health plan.
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