anxiety in dogs

Anxiety in Dogs: Can CBD Offer Real Relief?

Anxiety in dogs is very common. Maybe your dog’s afraid fireworks. Maybe it’s thunder. Or maybe it’s just when you leave her alone for a while.

Lots of dogs, for one reason or another, show signs of anxiety in certain situations. For us as their owners, this can be hard to watch.

Some pet owners opt for veterinary intervention and things like puppy Xanax (yes, it’s a real thing). But can CBD offer natural relief?

Anxiety in Dogs: The Facts

For some dogs, nothing in life ruffles their feathers (or fur). For others, the simplest thing can set a pup off. Some dogs develop anxiety early on, while others become anxious after years of having no fear at all. Sometimes, you can pinpoint the event that led to the anxiety, like a negative interaction, while for others it seems to come out of nowhere.

Whatever the case may be, there are typically 2 common reasons for dog anxiety:

  • Situational anxiety – like a ride in the car, fireworks, or a thunderstorm
  • Behavioral anxiety – like separation anxiety

Not sure if your pup is anxious or not? If your dog is anxious for either of these reasons, you might notice:

  • Pacing
  • Trembling
  • Panting
  • Ears back or tail between her legs
  • Whimpering
  • Trembling
  • Licking her lips
  • Aggression
  • A loss of appetite

Drugs for Anxiety

As we mentioned, there are some common medications that are used to calm an anxious pet. Like humans, dogs can be prescribed such meds as:

  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)

For some dogs, short term use is ok. Other dogs may need long term use. This can mean an increased risk of negative side effects as well as an impact on the health of your dog’s gut microbiome (where a large portion of her immune system lives).

If you’re looking for something that’s safe long and short term, without the potential for side effects, it’s time to take a look at CBD.

anxiety in dogs

CBD for Anxiety in Dogs

First of all, what is CBD?

It’s a beneficial cannabinoid found in the hemp plant. It’s not the same as marijuana, and as long as you find a product that contains less than 0.3% THC, it won’t make your pet “high”.

IMPORTANT: 0.3% is the limit for legal status across most of the U.S. It’s very safe for your pet, just make sure to check the certificate of analysis.

How does it work?

Well, just like humans, dogs have an endocannabinoid system. This system is all throughout your dog’s body: in the brain, the organs, and all throughout the central nervous system. The cannabinoids in CBD oil interact with the receptors in the endocannabinoid system to manage symptoms of anxiety. One of the major ways it does this is by encouraging the brain to release serotonin, the natural chemical the body releases that’s known to reduce anxiety.

Check this out: This is a really good article on finding the best CBD oil for your dog.

Beyond CBD: Other Natural Solutions

In addition to CBD, there are several other natural ways to help calm anxiety in your pet:

  • Exercise – A tired dog is often a calm dog, and sometimes, the best remedy for dog anxiety is getting them outside and giving them a workout. It’s also a good stress reliever.
  • Distraction – just like physical exercise can give your dog relief from anxiety, mental exercise to distract is another viable option. Try teaching your pup a new trick or giving her a game to work out her brain.
  • Thundershirts – Thundershirts are wrap-type garments that fit snuggly around your dog. The idea is that the feeling of continuous pressure can help calm a dog’s nerves for things like travel anxiety.
  • A crate – for many dogs, a crate can become a safe place to hide away when those anxious feelings hit. Gradually introduce it as a safe place (never as a punishment) and encourage your pup to see it as such.
  • Training – in some cases, anxiety comes as a result of not enough training, or a need for a little more. Working with a certified trainer may be an option for a reactive dog.

Final Thoughts

Anxiety in dogs can be stressful for you and your furry family member. If you’re looking for a natural solution to help calm her down, research shows CBD has the ability to give her some much needed relief!