Over 10 million pets run away (or are stolen) every year in the US, and 30% more pets become lost between the 4th and 6th July than any other time of year, PR Newswire reports. While humans enjoy celebrating holidays like Independence Day and New Year’s Eve, many pets don’t have such a good time. Since fireworks are closer to the ground than other loud noises like thunder, dogs’ senses are easily overwhelmed and overstimulated. Their adrenaline increases, and they may experience anxiety, start to act differently, or run off in response. CBD can be used to treat fireworks anxiety without the unwanted side effects of traditional medication.
CBD to relieve anxiety
Fireworks anxiety in dogs can manifest as loss of appetite, diarrhea, pacing, lethargy, panting, whimpering, hiding or withdrawn behavior, licking or scratching, and escape attempts. Just like it does in humans, CBD can be used to boost mood, decrease stress, and alleviate physical pain that can contribute to anxiety. It works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the central nervous system. The ECS controls essential functions, including mood, sleep and pain levels. When dogs are feeling anxious, CBD can stimulate the ECS to boost serotonin, a feel-good chemical. Dogs are typically prescribed medication like Prozac, Zoloft, Valium and Xanax to treat anxiety. However, these can result in unwanted side-effects, including: low energy and sleepiness, vomiting, diarrhea, memory issues, aggression, and increased urination. Moreover, giving dogs medication that impairs them can also end up increasing anxiety. In comparison, CBD can relieve fireworks anxiety without the unwanted side effects.
A look at the science
Although scientific studies on CBD for dogs are limited, there are a number that show it’s both a safe and beneficial treatment. For example, a clinical study was published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science in 2018, looking at the effects of CBD on dogs with arthritis. Dogs were given either 2mg of CBD per kilogram of bodyweight or placebo oil once every 12 hours. The study lasted for four weeks followed by a two-week ‘washout’ period. The results? 80% of the dogs who took CBD experienced a decrease in pain, an increase in activity, and no side effects. Fortunately, research into CBD for dogs is ongoing. Notably, Dr. Stephanie McGrath of Colorado State University has completed clinical studies on CBD usage on dogs with epilepsy or osteoarthritis. The researchers involved are still sifting through the data. So far, it’s clear that the participating animals tolerated different amounts of CBD.
Choosing CBD for your dog
Dogs need high-quality CBD oil for it to be safe and effective. In 2018, more than 50 people in Utah ended up in hospital with anxiety, vomiting, and seizures from taking synthetic CDB marketed as genuine. This is a problem pet owners also need to be aware of: look for reputable companies that make their own products and state where they source their hemp from. High quality-control standards are also important. Each individual batch should be tested to ensure potency, purity, and safety. Scan the QR code on the packaging to read the lab report. It’s also essential to choose CBD that contains little to no THC. Never give your dog anything with over 0.3% THC, the legal limit. Additionally, administering an oil in your dog’s mouth will be better absorbed and more effective than CBD treats.
Fireworks can unfortunately trigger stress and anxiety in many dogs. CBD is a safe and effective treatment that can alleviate your dog’s anxiety without unwanted side effects. With a suitable, high-quality product, both you and your dog will be able to enjoy holiday fireworks again.