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.
Will CBD Calm My Hyper Dog?
While most of us opt for positive dog training and obedience classes with plenty of outdoor exercise like long hikes and games of Frisbee, there may be times when your dog is stressed out due to storm phobia or separation anxiety and displays signs of hyperactivity. Cannabidiol nutraceuticals may just be the answer!
CBD for pets helps to prevent or lessen the intensity of anxious behavior like separation anxiety or storm phobia, and may prevent bad habits from getting worse. CBD is a natural supplement that is non-psychoactive, and can be taken safely together with other supplements on a daily basis to promote optimal pet health.
Even though you may be taking your dog to positive dog training classes and enjoying lots of dog sports like agility , you may still be faced with a hyperactive dog. That’s where CBD is really helpful. During times when your dog is stressed out and anxious due to environmental stress factors like thunder, fireworks, natural disasters, and even a new dog in the home, CBD dog treats or tinctures may promote relaxation.
Why is my dog hyper?
Some dog breeds are more active than others. For this reason, we’ll discuss why it’s best to consult with your positive dog trainer and veterinarian first to find out more about positive dog training options, and any health issues that may be affecting your dog.
Most times, dogs are hyperactive because they do not have enough regular exercise. By encouraging your dog to take part in dog sports and different training programs, you’ll allow for him to socialize with other dogs, and to get rid of that excess energy.
Pent-up dogs can display an excess of energy
If your dog has been at home all day, and is not getting enough off-leash exercise where he can run freely, you’ll notice that pent- up energy. A poor quality diet formula will also affect your dog negatively in terms of behavior. Consider changing your dog’s diet to a high-quality dog food diet. Low-quality dog food diets may contribute to health issues. You don’t need to spend a fortune to fed your dog a healthy dog food formula. Combining regular off-leash exercise with dog walks, play, and dog sports allows for a happy and content dog.
Usually coupled with destructive behaviors
Anxious dogs that experience separation anxiety when they are left home alone will pant, run around, and shake. They may also display destructive behaviors like digging, scratching, barking, and biting. Although gradual desensitization may work, the use of cannabidiol for pets may help your dog recover from severe anxiety. Your veterinarian and dog trainer will be able to advise you about the benefits of using CBD pet products for dogs that are hyperactive.
How to help a hyperactive dog?
Brain teasers and toys combined with regular exercise and off-leash fun play is beneficial to hyperactive dogs. Brain teasers and dog toys do not suffice alone, and should not replace exercise. That said, if you have an anxious dog that suffers from separation anxiety, stuffing and freezing a Kong toy with a CBD infused dog treat and allowing your dog to enjoy it while you’re away, helps to ease strong emotions that dogs do experience when they’re anxious.
Unpleasant or anxious behaviors often get worse with fear and result in repetitive avoidance-related behavior. When you have a strong emotion related to a behavior, it takes a long time to change it. Cannabidiol pet products may ease anxiousness, and can also be added to the stuffing or treats within a Kong or puzzle to help calm your dog.
Interactive dog toys stimulate your dog mentally, and keep him busy so that his focus is elsewhere. The best way to avoid anxious behaviors before they begin is to get your dog involved in doing something else, like chewing his favorite chew toy, and exercising him before you leave home.
It’s not advisable to give your dog a CBD supplement and keep him in his crate because he’s hyperactive. This should never be done! Exercising a hyperactive dog regularly, and socializing him with other dogs during off-leash play at the dog park or beach will help reduce excess energy. Discussing options with your positive dog trainer and veterinarian is important, so that you have the best guidelines to follow when dealing with a hyperactive puppy or adult dog.
The potency of CBD oils both in capsule form, and those in bottles with droppers are much more potent, and are sometimes more difficult to administer to pets that don’t take meds via droppers.
A few product lines contain phyto-cannabinoids, terpenes and fatty acids which support a huge range of ailments like phobias, joint pain, inflammation, digestive issues, mobility, seizures and anxiety. Always choose a high-quality CBD oil from a reputable CBD pet brand. Engage in customer service chat, and examine their website. Ask for the certificate of analysis (COA) for complete transparency of your cannabidiol supplement.
What is CBD Oil?
“Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the naturally occurring cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. It is a 21-carbon terpenophenolic compound which is formed following decarboxylation from a cannabidiolic acid precursor, although it can also be produced synthetically,” via The World Health Organization (WHO) 1.
Calming effect, Nothing euphoric
With no “high effect” that results from regular marijuana use, CBD oil has been found to be beneficial for numerous health conditions and ailments to both pets and humans. Research has demonstrated that there is no dependency potential whatsoever!
When choosing a CBD oil for your dog, it’s necessary to consult with a CBD savvy veterinarian, and get advice as to which brands to choose, and what dosage to use with your dog. CBD helps your pooch relax and become pain –free. CBD dog treats are flavorful and are actual dog treats. They do not taste medicinal! So your dog will love them! CBD dog tinctures work faster, and can be administered directly into the mouth or onto dog food, treats, and even into water.
Cannabinoid oil that interacts with endocannabinoid system
When looking at all the CBD pet products, 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.
How is CBD Extracted?
Extraction of the oil takes place via a carbon dioxide process called CO2 extraction which entails using pressurized carbon dioxide to extract the CBD from the entire plant. CO2 functions as a solvent when reaching extreme temperatures, yet because it is under boiling point, it’s cold. It is processed to create oil from the plant. It is also a clean and environmentally friendly process.
This is an optional and additional step in the processing of CBD oil for pets and people. Cannabidiol is an active compound in hemp. When CBD is extracted using the CO2 method, cannabidiol oil is removed from the plant.
Winterization is an important step because it further purifies the hemp extract, and allows for removal of additional phytonutrients like terpenes and flavonoids. After the winterization process, you’ll have a CBD isolate which contains no other phytonutrients, and is THC-free.
CBD possible side effects
- Discuss use with your veterinarian if your dog has low blood pressure
- Discuss any possible medication interaction
What to look for
According to a recent 2019 study “Cannabidiol (CBD), one of the two major active principles present in Cannabis sativa, is gaining great interest among the scientific community for its pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and cosmetic applications. CBD can be prepared either by chemical synthesis or extraction from Cannabis sativa (hemp).
The latter is more convenient from several points of view, including environmental and economic, but mainly for the absence of harmful organic solvents generally employed in the chemical synthesis. Although CBD produced by hemp extraction is the most widely employed, it carries two major impurities.
The first one is the already known cannabidivarin (CBDV), whereas the second one is supposed to be the butyl analog of CBD with a four-term alkyl side chain,” via PubMed.1 The importance of purchasing a high-quality CBD pet product cannot be emphasized enough.
With so many CBD pet brands out there, pet parents need to look for the following when shopping for a high-quality CBD product.
- Hemp CBD should be 100% food grade
- Should be made using CO2 extraction
- No solvents like butane
- Full spectrum lab testing by a third party for purity and potency
- Lab certificates need to be available for all pet parents (COA)
- Pesticide and herbicide free
- Made with non-GMO hemp
- Look at the product reviews
- CBD pet websites are also good indicators as to what quality CBD products you may be purchasing
Potential Benefits of CBD Pet Products
Reputable manufacturers have reported that preclinical trials and anecdotal evidence found that pure hemp oil or extract may be beneficial for the following health conditions in pets, but that does mean that all hemp oil is of the same quality, and will have the same therapeutic effects! Choose all pet CBD products only after examining the certificate of analysis(COA)
The potential benefits of a high-quality CBD pet product that is administered in the correct dosage and potency for optimal efficacy may be beneficial for the following conditions:
- Pain reliever
- May help with depression, or anxiety resulting from pain or stress
- May provide relief from cancer side effects like chemotherapy and radiation
- Promotes healthy skin and coat by preventing sebaceous gland cells from secreting too much sebum
- Helps with skin conditions like mange, skin allergies & itchiness related to skin issues in cats.
- May provide benefits to cats with neurological disorders
- Helps decrease inflammation
- May help prevent cognitive decline
- May be beneficial for cardiac health
- CBD may be beneficial in preventing tumor growth
- CBD helps with diabetes prevention by reducing diabetes up to 56%, and reducing associated inflammation in diabetic cats.
- May help ease separation anxiety in cats
- Digestive issues
- Blood disorders
- Fights off free radicals, and may prevent the development of cancer
- Helps to relieve anxiety
- Reduces inflammation in joints
- Helps reduce frequency and severity of seizures
- May help with insomnia and allow for your cat to rest peacefully, most especially cats that are post-op.
CBD can help best when coupled with regular activity
Every dog will demonstrate signs of problem behaviors throughout their lifetime. Understanding the basis of the problem, and addressing these issues, will help you to deal with them proactively from the start. That said, a healthy young dog will need more vigorous exercise than an older dog.
Younger dogs should have at least an hour of off-leash play and exercise time each day. They need to vigorously run around. They also need a calm walk on a leash around the block as part of their positive dog training schedule, so that they don’t forget how to behave when on a leash.
It’s important to keep up the positive training with young dogs who need socialization and training each day. Puppies and young dogs are much more energetic, and jumping up on people or running around the house excitedly may be dangerous for others. A young, active dog does well with a regular exercise and training schedule that continues to teach him how to behave. That said, if your dog is having issues with hyperactivity, it’s best to consult with your dog trainer and veterinarian to get the best advice.
On the other hand, if you have an older dog with anxiety issues, CBD for pets may be a good option. CBD is a supplement that can be taken daily together with other supplements safely. It offers an array of health benefits to cats, dogs, horses and people alike. It’s important to consider that the right potency and CBD dosage is given to treat a particular health or behavioral condition. Age and weight need to be determined, so that the CBD dosage is correct and there is optimal efficacy. The most common benefits for dogs include the following:
CBD for Reduced inflammation & Pain Relief
CBD dog treats and edibles are 100% safe, natural and non-toxic. They provide pain relief, and ward off anxiety and canine depression. With most CBD dog treats having less than 1% THC to no THC, dogs will not experience any “high” after consuming CBD treats. If you’re wanting immediate or stronger relief, cannabidiol tinctures or capsules should be considered. CBD creams or transdermal patches are also absorbed rapidly for pain relief.
CBD and other cannabinoids will interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, and carry messages throughout the body. A 2019 study from the American Society of Microbiology adds that “Given cannabidiol’s documented anti-inflammatory effects, existing safety data in humans, and potential for varied delivery routes, it is a promising new antibiotic worth further investigation. The combination of inherent antimicrobial activity and potential to reduce damage caused by the inflammatory response to infections is particularly attractive,” via Science Daily.
Additionally, the study says that “Importantly , the drug retained its activity against bacteria that have become highly resistant to other common antibiotics. Under extended exposure conditions that lead to resistance against vancomycin or daptomycin, Cannabidiol did not lose effectiveness. Cannabidiol was also effective at disrupting biofilms, a physical form of bacteria growth that leads to difficult-to-treat infections.”
Harvard Health Blog adds that CBD applied on the skin could help lower pain and inflammation stemming from arthritis. That said, another CBD study on the pharmacokinetics of 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.
Related 2018/2019 CBD Studies
A recent 2018 study on CBD and canine arthritis at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine by Dr. Joe Wakshlag tested to see whether pain from osteoarthritis and multi joint pain could be eliminated with CBD oil. The CBD oil was made from industrial hemp or placebo hemp and dogs received every 12 hours for 4 weeks. Cornell worked together with ElleVet Sciences that created soft CBD ElleVet Mobility chews, which are hemp based. The chews also contained chondroitin and glucosamine which are two natural compounds that help with movement in arthritic dogs. The results of this study demonstrated that over 80% of the participating dogs that used the chews had significant improvement in mobility. The product was referred to by veterinarians in the study as “a game changer that will change the face of veterinary medicine,” via Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
“Alongside ElleVet’s scientific backing, anecdotal evidence from pet owners and animal clinics across the country have shown ElleVet to greatly improve pain levels and quality of life for dogs with osteoarthritis and joint pain. ElleVet Mobility soft chews can only be purchased through their website or through your local veterinarian.”
CBD helps with digestion
Natural Doggie CBD pet products are natural cannabidiol high-quality pet products that work as a great alternative to medications that may have long- term side effects. The natural and healthy ingredients found in Natural Doggie CBD pet products are of a high-quality and contain macro and micro nutrients for good gut health. Full-spectrum CBD oil may be beneficial for gut and digestive issues in dogs, and may reduce inflammation and bloating. This phytocannabinoid stimulates healing in the body when activating the endocannabinoid system.
CBD Relieves Nausea
CBD acts on the endocannabinoid receptors and affects the receptors by regulating neural transmissions. CBD oil for dogs is helpful in the treatment of numerous conditions without taking on the intoxicating effect of marijuana.
A few product lines contain phyto-cannabinoids, terpenes and fatty acids which support a huge range of ailments like phobias, anxiousness joint pain, inflammation, digestive issues, mobility, seizures and anxiety.
Natural Doggie CBD Infused Bacon Flavor Soft Chews at SitStay
These contain a full spectrum CBD and are superfood infused dog treats. They are also vegan and organic dog treats, tinctures and capsules to help promote relief from joint pain, stress and anxiety, for heart and immune care, and capsules as a dietary supplement. Natural Doggie offers treats that specifically targets a health problem.
This brand also contains a high-quality CBD that is from the U.S. It also combines superfoods for the best results, and is available in tasty flavors that your dog will enjoy like bacon and cheese flavored baked CBD infused dog treats. With 2mgs CBD per dog treat, and no-THC, Natural Doggie CBD offers the following:
- Promotes calmness in anxious dogs
- Reduces chronic pain and inflammation
- Promotes healthy appetite & fights nausea
- 2 mg. of CBD per treat
- Contains no THC and will not make your dog “high.” Most other CBD oils contain trace amounts of THC, ours contains absolutely zero.
- CBD from Hemp is Legal in all 50 states
- CBD Oil features patented Nano-Sized Microemulsion for maximum bioavailability and absorb-ability
- Manufactured in the USA from organically grown Colorado hemp
- Includes non-GMO full-spectrum, phytocannabinoid, and terpene rich hemp oil
- Tested and found to be free of heavy metals, harmful bacteria, yeast, mold, and other toxins
- Made from Human Grade ingredients
- Net weight: 8 oz. (227.6g), approximately 80 treats
CBD as a natural supplement in capsule form is easy to mix in foods, or as a tincture can be directly administered in your dog’s mouth. CBD dog treats offer highly-edible table grade ingredients with infused CBD for those dogs that may prefer a chewier option.