Anyone with a dog in the family knows that they’re just like people. They come with a range of personalities and behaviors that can make us laugh, cry…and worry. Some dogs, whether due to nature or previous life circumstances can struggle with anxiety. And while we don’t want our Fur Babies to suffer, there’s the added stress of how dogs process…stress.
It can be difficult for both dog and human if a dog shows anxiety behaviors. Here are some symptoms of stress or anxiety in dogs:
- Destructive behavior (tearing up cushions, pulling at the carpet, etc.)
- Panting and drooling
- Urination or defecation in the house
- Pacing or restlessness
- Excessive barking
- Repetitive behaviors (for example, biting or licking the paws or belly)
What To Do if Your Dog Has Anxiety Symptoms
The first order of business when your dog exhibits these symptoms is to get a full veterinary work up. This will rule out any illness or injury causing these behaviors. The next part may be more subjective.
There are a few options to choose from. The first is always a good idea and can be combined with the other two. Training with a professional dog trainer can help. They use techniques counter training and desensitization to help condition your dog to deal with stressors in a more healthy way.
In the meantime, there are medications that can be prescribed to dogs for anxiety. Both SSRIs and antidepressants are prescribed for dogs to help them cope with stress. However, like the human versions of these medications, you have to be aware of the side effects.
Some opt for a more natural route. In recent years, CBD has become an incredibly popular supplement for dogs. It’s been used for the treatment of arthritis, certain cancers, behavioral issues, and seizures with good results.
CBD Treatment for Dogs: Is it Safe?
A strange fact about cannabis and dogs: THC (the psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant) is, in fact, toxic for dogs. It can even cause death if given at human doses. However, CBD is perfectly safe. The only side effects that have been documented for CBD use in dogs is diarrhea and some changes in liver enzymes.
If you’re giving your dog CBD supplements, the thing to be cautious about is other medications. Studies have found that CBD can inhibit certain chemicals in the dog’s body that processes some medications. This can make them less effective. A best practice is always to discuss CBD use with your vet before you begin.
Is CBD Effective?
As with human use, CBD is still being researched for use on various issues. But there have been several promising studies of the use of CBD on dogs for anxiety, aggression, cancer, and seizure. Not to mention a ton of anecdotal evidence from owners who have found adding CBD to their dog’s treatment regiment a lifesaver.
There is still more research to be done when it comes to CBD and anxiety. At this point, it depends mainly on strong anecdotal evidence and an Australian study that showed a decrease in aggression.
But it’s certainly worth trying as a stand-alone, or supplement to other treatments, especially if you’re wary of using stronger medications. Just be sure to keep your vet in the know.
How to Choose a CBD Dog Treat
An effective and pleasant way to give your dog a dose of CBD is to find a quality dog treat. If your dog has anxiety, the last thing they need is to be held down and dosed with an oil or tincture. Of course, your mileage may vary, and you know your dog best.
However, now the question boils down to: where do I get my CBD dog treats? CBD is not regulated by the FDA, and there are so many shady, fly-by-night companies it’s easy to be deceived. At best, you could be buying an expensive product that isn’t effective. At worst, you could be giving your dog a garbage treat full of toxins.
Here are some things to look for when you’re deciding on a CBD treat.
Use a Trusted Company that Offers Third-Party Lab Testing Results
This is the most important factor when choosing a CBD dog treat. Lab tests conducted by a disinterested third party are the only way to know that you’re getting what is advertised. These tests will confirm that the amount of CBD in the product is correct. That way your dog won’t get too little (or too much).
These tests will also spy out the presence of any toxins or contaminants in the product. You don’t want to put anything into your dog’s body that can be harmful. Third-party lab tests should be readily available on the company website for perusal. Look at the reports before you purchase.
Study the Reviews
To ensure that your dog will like the taste of the treat, make sure to take a look at the customer reviews. Start with the reviews on the website itself, and then search the internet to see if there are any reviews from third parties. What are people saying about efficacy and taste? Do their dogs like the treats?
Look For a Good Deal
Quality CBD products are going to cost a little extra. In fact, you want them to. A cheap product is very likely an ineffective or dangerous product. But a good company will offer loyalty or subscription discounts. Another tip: A good return policy is an act of good faith that the company thinks that you’ll be satisfied.
The Bottom Line on CBD for Anxiety
With CBDs excellent safety profile for use in dogs, and high levels of enthusiastic anecdotal evidence…what do you have to lose in trying it? Some even work with their vet to use an antidepressant and a small dose of CBD together. By all means, invest in a trainer to help create coping mechanisms, but CBD can be a little boost to help your dog get over the rough spots.