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If you’re a dog owner who hangs out with other dog owners, you’ve probably heard about the growing popularity of CBD to treat doggie problems, especially anxiety.
But how do you know if they’re anxious, and how much CBD oil does your dog need?
Dogs can’t tell you they’re suffering anxiety with words, of course, but there are a number of behaviors that can clue you in on the symptoms of dog anxiety:
Why might your dog be anxious?
There are a few possible reasons. Dogs can get phobias just like people do, often because of some traumatic experience that they had in the past. Make a note of whether your dog gets anxious around some particular event, situation, or group setting.
Many dogs who were bred for sale also go through stretches in their early lives when they didn’t have contact with people or other dogs. This often affects the socialization aspect that is crucial to their emotional development.
This can lead these normally friendly animals to be afraid of people, and also to not learn certain life skills that they’d normally pick up from their pack, making them fearful of unfamiliar situations.
A lot of the anxiety stems from the fact that modern life just isn’t suited to dogs in some ways.
For millennia, people lived in large families working together to raise and hunt food, which fit perfectly with dogs’ natural pack lifestyle.
Nowadays most dogs live in built-up areas where they’re in smaller spaces, moved around more, exposed to loud city noises and, worst of all, often left alone for long stretches.
And unlike us, most of the time they don’t even know why all this is happening.
Many humans have found that taking CBD calms their own anxiety, because the endocannabinoid system that CBD targets has a strong influence on mood. Dogs have the same system, so it stands to reason that they could also benefit.
But how much CBD oil should you give your dog?
Some websites selling CBD have dosage charts for dogs, but you may notice that they don’t always agree with each other. That’s because research on the subject is still in the early stages, and a dog’s response to CBD is very individual – just as it is with humans.
Nonetheless, there are some basic facts to start from. Since dogs are smaller than people, you might expect them to need less of it to work, and some research bears that out.
A recent study giving CBD to dogs with arthritic pain found that dosing them with just 2 mg every 12 hours brought significant improvement.
That’s a much smaller amount than most people take; by contrast, a recent human study using CBD for anxiety and sleep gave daily doses ranging from 25 mg all the way up to 175 mg.
Dogs, of course, also come in radically different sizes, so that’s another point to take into consideration. Generally, it’s a good idea to start with a small dose and see if it works. If not, you can work your way up.
The type and severity of symptoms that your dog has may also affect your dosing strategy.
It’s important to note exactly when your dog gets anxious, because CBD needs to be used preventatively. Humans can get an instant CBD hit from a vape, but it will take some time for your dog ingest the CBD oil or treat.
Because the CBD must work through the digestive system to be absorbed into the bloodstream, it may take longer for your dog to experience the benefits of CBD.
If your dog is just generally anxious or its anxiety is triggered by something that happens every day – like you going to work – then you might want to give them a modest CBD dose once in the morning and once in the evening every day.
If your dog has a phobia of some particular thing, like thunderstorms or going to the vet, it might help to give them an extra dose about an hour before the potentially stressful situation.
Whatever you do, though, consult your veterinarian before embarking on any treatment strategy.
If your vet has some experience with dogs and CBD, as many of them do, they may have helpful advice on CBD dosage for dogs based on their knowledge of your dog’s particular breed.
The vet needs to know if there are potential interactions between CBD and other drugs that the dog might be taking.
Also, dog anxiety is a common enough problem that the vet will surely have other strategies that can supplement the CBD.
For instance, exposure therapy, which has helped a lot of human beings to overcome specific fears, can also work for dogs.
Ultimately, the right choice comes down to the individual dog. Like people, they’re all unique, which is all part of their charm.
Disclaimer: The cbdMD blog contains general information about health, diet, lifestyle, and nutrition. Any information provided should not be considered or treated as medical advice and always consult a medical professional before making any lifestyle changes. Products and information mentioned on the cbdMD blog are not intended to be used as a substitute for medical diagnosis, advice or treatment. Any links to third-party websites are provided as a convenience only and cbdMD is not responsible for their content.