CBD for Dogs With Aggression: Why and How It Works
CBD for dogs with aggression might be an unexpected remedy for a behavior problem that has plagued countless dogs (and their owners) over the past decades. Statistics show an increase in bite-related hospitalizations, even fatalities.
Being the owner of an aggressive dog is a very stressful experience because of the ever-present, lingering fear that your dog might seriously hurt another person or another dog. This, of course, does not mean that you love your dog any less. You want to help him become a safer member of society and gain a calmer state of mind.
As CBD oil is rising in popularity and taking the world by storm, the pet industry is welcoming a variety of CBD-based products on the market. Many dog owners are now wondering if this is just another hype or something that could actually help their sick, anxious, and aggressive dog. Can CBD truly be helpful for canine aggression?
Aggression in Dogs
How are fear and aggression connected?
Aggression is a strong violent reaction to a perceived external threat. Just like humans, dogs have three natural fear responses: fight, flight, and freeze. Aggression is a manifestation of the fight response. This is how we know that all aggression is essentially born out of fear.
There are many different threats a dog can perceive, such as other dogs, competitors, intruders, etc. Fearful and aggressive dogs cannot discern between an actual threat and a perceived threat. This is why many aggressive dogs are called unpredictable, as their owners struggle to understand their triggers.
Studies have shown that the majority of dog bites happen at home, where one would expect dogs to feel safe. Over half of all people who get bitten are children. Dogs with aggression are suffering from internal fear and opting for the fight response, ultimately making them very challenging to live with.
The idea of a supplement that could help these dogs feel calmer in their environment, not to mention in the world at large, comes as a saving grace to many dog owners who are struggling with fear in their own homes. Thankfully, more and more connections have been made between CBD oil and the improved moods of anxious dogs, giving hope to many owners that their aggressive dogs can be helped after all.
CBD Oil for Dogs
What is CBD? Can a dog get high?
CBD stands for cannabidiol and it comes from the cannabis plant. It can be used as an ingredient in a variety of products, such as edibles, ointments, tinctures, and oils. The CBD in these products is primarily derived from hemp (not marijuana), meaning it contains little to no THC and therefore does not have any psychoactive consequences. Your dog will not get high from CBD.
How does CBD work?
All mammals have a natural endocannabinoid system, known as the ECS. This is a system that regulates many functions in our body, most notable ones being sleep, inflammation, pain, memory, and moods. The way CBD works is by stimulating the ECS receptors, therefore impacting all functions regulated by this system.
Dogs with anxiety and aggression notably suffer from imbalanced moods, sometimes even as a result of physical pain or sickness. Since CBD oil impacts exactly the receptors that regulate moods and pain, it could ease several of these symptoms at once, resulting in a more balanced system and a calmer dog.
CBD Oil and Canine Aggression
Is there proof that CBD can help dogs with fear aggression?
Most of the feedback on successful CBD help for aggressive dogs has come directly from the owners that have reported seeing changes in their dogs’ state of mind. CBD oil can be used as a regular treatment or as extra help on special occasions, such as the New Year’s Eve fireworks, welcoming a new family member, taking a trip to the vet, etc.
Take Barnaby, for example. A 15-year-old dog who has become reactive and fear aggressive as a result of old age. It only took a week of taking CBD for his owners to already notice a change in his mood, which made it easier to work on his behaviors. Stories like these are an inspiration to struggling owners, but they can also be an encouragement to those who work in rescue and daily encounter anxious and aggressive dogs.
One foster dog mom has noticed how much calmer her PTSD fosters are, after giving them CBD treats. She notes that the visible shift in their mood opened the doors to easier socialization and further behavior modification.
While there is much research still to be done on this topic specifically (the first veterinary studies have mainly been focusing on the physical ailments), there are two notable studies that give us a good insight into the value of CBD for aggression in dogs.
In the first study, researchers studied mice who exhibited territorial aggression and found that CBD reduced their aggressive reactions and behaviors. In the cases where aggressive attacks still happened, they were much shorter in duration.
The second study exposed rats to a snake, their predator, with the intent to observe the panic-induced reactions. When faced with the threat, the rats dosed with CBD had significantly diminished fear responses. In both cases, the researchers concluded that CBD could help prevent or reduce fear-born behaviors, such as panic and aggression.
While the research on this topic is still at the beginning, it is evident that the starting point is already more than promising, indicating that there is massive potential for helping fear aggressive dogs with CBD.
Are there any dangers to using CBD for dogs with aggression?
While CBD is generally considered safe, there are still some things you should keep in mind before giving it to your anxious and aggressive dog. Always consult your holistic vet before making any significant changes in your dog’s diet, which includes adding a supplement such as CBD. It is also important to find a good product of high quality, so please do your research before deciding on a final purchase.
The most important thing with CBD is the dosage, which is why you should always carefully read and follow the instructions of the manufacturer. Some possible side effects may include lower blood pressure, drowsiness, and an increased notion of thirst. If you notice any of these symptoms, be sure to check-in with your vet and readjust the dosage.
Finally, it is crucial to understand that CBD can help dogs with anxiety and aggression, but it cannot cure them or take away the cause. It is a very valuable asset for managing aggression in dogs but should not be considered a replacement for consistent training.
Fear is always present in the life of aggressive dogs. It controls their responses, putting their owners in a state of anxiety as well. Many owners are now finding comfort in recognizing the value of CBD oil for dogs with fear and aggression. It can be used alongside their regular training and rehabilitation. CBD oil stimulates the natural system that regulates the dog’s moods, resulting in a calmer dog with a more relaxed state of mind.
While there is still much research to be done, the first studies have been very promising. They indicate that there is an optimistic future ahead for dogs with aggression. This comes as a relief to the owners who are walking this challenging path with them every single day. Since living with an anxious dog often feels like a dead-end street, there is strong hope in knowing the promising effects of CBD for dogs with aggression.
Kriss, Randa. “CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know.” American Kennel Club, 05/02/2019.
Hartmann, Alice. Lisboa, Sabrina Francesca. Buzolin Sonego, Andreza. Coutinho, Débora. Villela Gomes, Felipe. Silveira Guimarães, Francisco. “Cannabidiol attenuates aggressive behavior induced by social isolation in mice: Involvement of 5-HT1A and CB1 receptors.” Science Direct, 02/05/2019.
De Mello Schier, Alexandre Rafael. Pinho de Oliveira Ribeiro, Natalia. Cardoso de Oliveira e Silva, Adriana. Cecílio Hallak, Jaime Eduardo. S. Crippa, José Alexandre. E. Nardi, Antonio. Waldo Zuardi, Antonio. “Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent, as an anxiolytic drug.” Brazilian Journal for Psychiatry, June 2012.
Luna’s passion for learning about canine psychology and behavior began when she adopted a severely reactive puppy from a local shelter. She is now a big advocate for positive reinforcement and compassionate training. As a writer, she strives to spotlight the topics that fly under the radar and be the voice for all who cannot speak for themselves.
How CBD Oil Can Help Your Dog’s Aggression?
Our furry best friends are integral members of the family, so it’s devastating when they show signs of aggression. Your dog’s behavior is influenced by many factors. Some of these factors include genetic disposition, health, home environment, experience and learning environment, and maternal influences. Understanding what’s contributing to your dog’s aggression, and the nature of his behavioral problems is essential for treatment.
That said, in no way should cannabidiol or CBD replace a veterinary diagnosis and behavior modification. Cannabidiol pet products may help with canine anxiety and aggression and should complement traditional veterinary care, and positive dog training with plenty of socialization each day.
Pet parents need to start enjoying fun hikes, trips to the dog beach and dog park, as well as quick trips to the local Starbucks! Plenty of daily environmental stimulation combined with regular exercise will help combat aggression, boredom, and canine anxiety.
Why is My Dog Aggressive?
A high-quality, non-GMO, vegan CBD natural supplement does come in handy for numerous potential health issues in dogs and may help with aggression and anxiety. Though it’s first necessary to have your veterinarian rule out pain, with a complete check-up to see if there are any health-aggression related problems.
It’s also important to consider that most senior dogs will have general aches and pains, and be more prone to certain health conditions like osteoarthritis, cancer, and vision loss. Here’s the take: If you think that your dog would benefit from CBD, ask yourself why? Then consult with your veterinarian, especially if your dog is on other medications or has a health condition.
Don’t just purchase CBD products for your furry best friend randomly. Yes, they’re safe, and a natural supplement, but you’re going to want to know the underlying cause of aggression or pain. You don’t want to skim over that by just treating with a CBD pet product.
Aggressive canine behavior can mean anything from threatening behavior to harmful attacks with subtle body posture changes to vocalization, aggressive facial expressions and biting. Aggressive dogs that are easily aroused should avoid all situations that trigger a fight or flight mode, causing aggressive behavior.
Your dog’s anxiety and arousal state affect his physiological state. Today veterinarians, behaviorists, and positive dog trainers may combine reward-based training with treats and anti-anxiety medications to help combat aggression.
All of these combinations will help to create a new behavioral state in your dog that is conducive to new learning experiences so that successful behavior modification can take place. This is where CBD may be beneficial in replacing anxiety meds that may have long term side effects, or that may be costly in the long run.
Some aggression can be managed, while other types of aggression require prevention. Because aggression in dogs is most times unpredictable, it’s important to make sure that children and other household pets are not in harm’s way.
As for any medical conditions, these need to be treated first to make sure that they are not the cause of aggression. And this is why buying CBD online for your dog is not going to help your furry best friend unless you first rule these out with a thorough veterinary check-up.
Owner-related aggression can stem from fear and outdated punishment methods that should not be used on any pets. Excessive use of punishment will make a dog fearful, and also cause pain, and result in aggression as a defense. That said, owner related aggression can stem from an adopted dog being fearful of his new environment if he’s recently moved homes.
Dogs that may have been abused in the past, and that have recently been adopted may take time adapting to new home environments, and overcoming their past history of abuse and neglect. Nonetheless, behavioral modification with positive dog training may be beneficial together with CBD for treating anxiety, depression, and aggression when creating a new behavioral state that is conducive to learning new behaviors. Consult with a CBD savvy veterinarian for the best CBD pet product advice.
With this being the most common cause of canine aggression, it’s important to find out what stimulus triggers this in your dog. It’s usually triggered by a stimulus that a dog finds fearful in which you’d have a direct response of aggression. This is called defensive aggression. Dogs will try to escape the stimulus, and if they cannot, they will become aggressive.
Dogs that are leashed, confined, cornered or physically held will try to get away from the perceived “threat.” In this case, it’s necessary to identify the fear first, then the threatening stimulus, and to remove it. Additionally, finding out what the very first exposure was to the threatening stimulus is important, because dogs may exhibit fear at the first exposure which later develops into aggression.
Numerous dogs at shelters will demonstrate food aggression. This is shown during feed time, around dog treats and bones, and around human food when food is being prepared or eaten.
Maternal aggression is seen when mother dogs are overly protective of their pups. Aggression is directed toward other dogs or people. This can also affect females with pseudocyesis or can refer to female dogs that show aggression toward their pups, and even show signs of cannibalism. This may be genetic but tends to affect more females right after their first litter. A small amount of aggression is normal, most especially during weaning,
This is also referred to as impulse control aggression where there is a threat of aggression towards people when trying to correct a dog’s behavior during training. This is difficult to correct, and situations that may result in aggression need to be controlled.
What is CBD Oil?
Hemp refers to the cannabis varieties that are grown as an agricultural crop, and also contain low amounts of THC(tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is federally illegal in the US if it contains a higher amount than the O.3% allowed for use, though it’s been approved for both recreational and medical use in Canada, and numerous US states.
For all CBD pet products to be legal, they need to have less than 0.3% THC. CBD is natural, safe, and is derived from hemp and cannabis. Most CBD dog products will use CBD from hemp. That said, there is no “high” and dogs will not consume THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, resulting in psychoactive effects with your dog getting “high”.
CBD Oil for Aggression
CBD dog treats and non-GMO, CBD oil tinctures, and even CBD pills or capsules, when administered to dogs, may help ease anxiety and aggression. Keep in mind that CBD without THC will not give your dog a “high”. CBD nutraceutical pet formulas are 100% safe without side effects. CBD has a calming effect, and may even have a synergistic effect. CBD affects the endocannabinoid system in dogs and induces a calming effect in your dog by interacting with the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Today, there are numerous studies that demonstrate the benefits of CBD for pets. A 2019 University of Colorado study found that 89% of dogs treated in the study with CBD oil, had a reduction in the frequency of seizures. The study additionally says that “The CBD product used in the study was derived from the hemp plant, which has 0.3% or less of the psychoactive component of cannabis, THC. The compound is not considered marijuana and can be used for research purposes based on the 2014 United States Department of Agriculture Farm Bill,” via Science Daily.
Another study explains how CBD helps with arthritic pain and inflammation. “ Harvard Health Blog adds that CBD applied on the skin could help lower pain and inflammation stemming from arthritis. A pharmacokinetic study on CBD administration found that “ CBD induces antidepressant-like effects comparable to those of imipramine. These effects of CBD were probably mediated by activation of 5-HT 1A receptors,” via PubMed- NCBI.
The Potential Benefits of CBD Oil
Veterinarians will need to reduce stress in aggressive dogs and to treat pain from any injuries or health conditions like osteoarthritis. That said, it’s important to always discuss with your veterinarian alternate methods of pain treatment, since traditional methods like opioids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAIDs), corticosteroids and other drugs may be prescribed as the first option for pain management.
With both acute and chronic pain, a combination of drug and nondrug methods may be effective in treating pain. That’s where cannabidiol pet products may be beneficial for aggressive dogs.
CBD may be useful in treating an array of health conditions in dogs. It has many antioxidant properties and is rich in natural compounds like terpenes and flavonoids. A terpene called limonene that is found in hemp, has demonstrated anti-cancer properties. Studies show that flavonoids such as luteolin and kaempferol that are found in hemp products cause a disruption in cancer cells.
Additionally, opting for a full- spectrum hemp oil that uses the C02 extraction method allows for a high-quality CBD pet product with 100% no THC. Many factors go into the purchasing of a high-quality CBD pet product. That said, the most important consideration is if a CBD product uses an isolate or a full-spectrum oil. A full spectrum oil is the most potent and is derived from the entire plant. It is also of superior quality and should be the only quality CBD oil that you purchase for your furry best friend.
Hemp CBD may help with the following conditions:
- Loss of appetite
- Aggressive behavior
- Canine depression
- Separation anxiety
- Lessen the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation
Before using CBD on your furry best friend, regardless of whether or not he’s prone to aggression, discuss it with your veterinarian. It’s important to use the right CBD pet product with the correct potency so that it’s effective and safe. CBD dosages will vary among dogs with weight, size, and medical conditions coming into play. A veterinary approved CBD pet product ensures 100% safety and efficacy.
Start off with a low CBD dosage, and gradually work your way up until it’s effective. Most CBD pet products will have dosing guides and expert websites. With that in mind, understand that visiting your holistic veterinarian first for a consult is the way to go. In place of traditional anxiety meds, CBD as a natural and therapeutic supplement is beneficial to all dogs.