I know what it’s like to have an anxious dog. Gretel was so nervous she was on Prozac when I adopted her.
Over the years, she’s calmed down and learned to not be so reactive. However, sometimes when she gets stressed, her inner demon still rears its ugly head.
I help control her anxiety naturally now using CBD products made for dogs.
What is CBD?
CBD (Cannabidiol) is a product of the cannabis plant. It’s present in an animal’s body naturally but it can also be introduced externally.
In the case of CBD for pets, the extract is created from the hemp plant, which has virtually no THC (the substance that gets people high – so it won’t get your pet high).
It’s considered a supplement, not a drug, and is legal in most states.
The science of how externally-introduced CBD interacts with the body is not clearly understood.
However, what IS understood, is that it can have a very positive effect on the body including pain reduction, minimizing inflammation in joints, improving mental health, plus many more benefits.
How CBD Can Help Your Dog’s Mood
When you give your dog CBD treats or oil, the CBD enters the pet’s endocannabinoid system and activates receptors in the central nervous system.
These receptors excrete serotonin, and natural calming hormone. CBD also helps these receptors more easily speak to each other so all parts of the body can be signaled to calm down.
Can CBD Oil or Treats Help My Pet’s Anxiety?
When your dog is in a calmer, happier state, it’s easier for them to self sooth, pay attention to training signals from you, and make better choices based on prior training.
However, although CBD is touted as a miracle when it comes to helping a pet with anxiety, it doesn’t work in every case and is not a cure-all.
Disclaimer: I’m not a veterinarian so you should check with yours if you have questions about CBD and before giving your pet a new supplement.
Whether CBD will help your pet with anxiety first depends on the type of anxiety your pet is experiencing.
There are many types of pet anxiety common in dogs, which can be broken down into several categories, including:
- Separation anxiety – your pet is nervous when they are separated from you or people in general
- Rescue/former shelter anxiety – your rescue dog is nervous all the time, likely due to dealing with an unpredictable routine or environment in the past
- General anxiety – your dog is just nervous by nature and/or you can’t pinpoint a specific cause
- Situational anxiety – your pet is nervous only in the presence of certain stressors like meeting new dogs or fireworks
- Illness-induced anxiety – if your dog is usually calm but suddenly starts acting anxious, it could be caused by an underlying illness or disease
If you notice a sudden change in behavior and anxiety levels in your dog, it’s important to take them to your veterinarian to rule out medical causes.
CBD is unlikely to help your pet with their anxiety if it’s illness-induced, at least in the short-term. Plus, you don’t want to “cover up the symptoms” of anxiety and miss that there is something else going on with your pet.
CBD may be able to help your dog with situational anxiety or the other 3 types, which fall under the category of behavioral anxiety.
However, while CBD alone may help calm a dog with situational anxiety, you should only consider it a complimentary aid for a dog with behavioral anxiety.
Behavioral anxiety also needs to be addressed with training and/or by controlling their environment.
The bottom line is, CBD has helped many pets with nervousness and anxiety. I definitely think it’s worth a try.
There is no guarantee it will be effective for your dog though, at least perhaps not to the degree your pet needs.
Where Can I Find Quality CBD for My Dog?
I’ve been using CBD to help Gretel with anxiety for over 2 years and have tried at least 10 different brands. One that really stood out to me was HempMy Pet.
With HempMy Pet, I saw a difference in Gretel’s anxiety after a lower dose than the others. I was able to scale back to a double dose, vs at least triple dose with the others, to get the calming results she needed.
Besides the CBD oil and dog treats being effective for Gretel’s anxiety, I really like HempMy Pet products because.
- They always use the same strain of hemp to ensure the same potency and consistency
- Their CBD extract is from hemp grown organically, using sustainable farming practices, in Colorado
- They have control of the entire production process from start to finish
- They ensure their carrier oils – hemp seed oil and virgin coconut oil – are the freshest of the batch
- Their full-spectrum hemp oil contains not just CBD but also CBG, CBC, CBDV and other beneficial cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids
- Their products are 3rd-party lab tested not just for potency but also for safety and purity (the lab results will be available on their website shortly).
While I use the Hemp Seed Oil, or Coconut Oil, Infused with CBD Hemp Extract from HempMy Pet in Gretel’s meal daily for general health, I use their Handmade Hemp Infused Organic Dog Biscuits for Gretel’s situational anxiety because they are convenient.
The CBD dog biscuits are easy for me to give Gretel on the go, which is usually when she needs it most.
How much CBD Should I Give My Dog for Anxiety?
If you are using pet CBD products to help calm your anxious dog, the first thing you’ll want to do is make sure you are giving them the proper dose.
The CBD dosage listed on the back of the package is the best starting place.
CBD doesn’t affect all dogs equally. Also, some anxiety is more easily soothed than others. Therefore, you may have to adjust the amount up or down depending on your individual dog.
For anxiety, I need to give Gretel 2-3 times the recommended dose to notice a difference (CBD has been found to be generally safe, even in high doses so it’s ok to do that). If you don’t see a difference with your dog, try increasing the dose.
I tried giving the same dose to my dog Chester, who was the same breed and a pound heavier than Gretel, for his dementia-related anxiety, and it was too much for him. He wasn’t just calm, he was drowsy. I had to cut his dose back to about half of what Gretel needed.
How Long Will I Have to Wait to See a Difference?
I noticed over time with Gretel, and confirmed with several sources, that it’s most effective to administer a dose of CBD 30-45 minutes before I think she will need it. That’s how long it seems to take effect with most dogs.
For prolonged stressful situations, I give her additional, smaller maintenance doses throughout the duration.
Stressful situations I give Gretel CBD for include:
- When meeting unfamiliar dogs
- When I take her to get her nails trimmed
- When she has to visit the veterinarian
Meeting other dogs is the big one for us.
We often hike with friends who own dogs. Usually, Gretel has not met them before. In truth though, it doesn’t matter. She always seems nervous around other dogs at first even if she has.
Since we typically drive over an hour to the trailhead, I keep a couple hemp cookies in my cup holder and give them to her 40 minutes before we are due to arrive.
While CBD can help most dogs with general wellness, it doesn’t necessarily help all dogs with anxiety.
If you still don’t see results an hour after the dose, you can try increasing it. If you still don’t see a difference in your dog’s anxiety, CBD might not be the best holistic anxiety remedy for your dog.
Disclosure: I was compensated by HempMy Pet in exchange for my time spent sharing information about CBD for dogs and about their products. I don’t accept stuff “in exchange for a review” unless I am sure I already like it because I won’t try to make something seem better than it is out of obligation. Thanks for trusting me on that.