How to Treat Dog Separation Anxiety Naturally
Before my journey began with CBD Dog Health, I was lucky enough to be touring all over the country with two Broadway musicals, School of Rock by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Kinky Boots by Cindy Lauper! Every 1-4 weeks our cast and crew traveled from city to city on planes and buses. For both of these tours, I always traveled with my beautiful Shih Tzu rescue, Blanche. Blanche is one of the most well-behaved dogs I’ve ever met and is loved by everyone! There was only one problem – severe separation anxiety!! When left alone at a hotel, she actually got me kicked out for her barking. I searched for remedies to help separation anxiety in dogs and tried everything – thunder shirts, blankets, leaving my clothes on the floor, crate training… you name it, I tried it.
After the third time I was kicked out of a hotel I called a long-time friend, Angela Ardolino for advice. She recommended this new thing she had been learning about at The University of Vermont’s School of Medicine, CBD. She sent me a bottle and that first night I gave her a dose, went to work and something incredible happened. There was no phone call from the hotel complaining about her barking! I thought it was a fluke, so I tried again the next day – once more no complaints. I couldn’t believe it!
What is Separation Anxiety in Dogs?
Separation anxiety is when a pet is incredibly attached to their owner and feel very distressed when they’re left alone. Sadly, this is the second leading cause of owners giving up their pets to pounds or to be euthanized.
This was Blanche’s biggest issue and it’s probably what brought me more stress than anything too! I personally know how awful it is to have moments of extreme anxiety (yes, I take CBD for this too!), so leaving my beautiful girl in that state tore me to pieces. Not to mention the complaints from the hotels and the amount of money that I had to pay for my dog scratching the door.
Symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs
- Dog barks and cries when left alone.
- Scratching and digging at doors
- Dog pooping in crate.
- Excessive licking and chewing of paws
- Peeing throughout the house
- Destroying anything they can get their paws on (Blanche destroyed many curtains!)
What causes separation anxiety in dogs? Dogs, by nature, belong in packs. So, when you, their pack leader, leaves them alone it can cause extreme anxiety. They just love you THAT MUCH! Here are a few other reasons your dog could be suffering from separation anxiety.
- Not enough social interaction
- If they were removed from their mother too young
- Insecurities (yes even your dog can have insecurities)
Related: Natural Storm Anxiety Remedies
How to Help your Dog with Separation Anxiety
Unfortunately, many pet parents turn to pharmaceuticals like Trazodone for their dogs separation anxiety even though it comes with a list of unnecessary side effects. Thankfully, there is a proven natural medication that can work for dog anxiety- CBD.
CBD works by interacting with the body’s Endocannabinoid System, which is responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body. Within the brain, CBD can mimic serotonin by binding and activating your body’s 5-HT1A serotonin receptors. Often called the ‘happy’ chemical, these serotonin receptors are responsible for emotional balance.
“CBD is beneficial in a behavior anxiety situation, especially for hyper puppies at night. The endocannabinoid system is a regulator; it puts everything in balance where it should be.”- Dr. Zac Pilossoph, Fear-Free Certified DVM, CAVM, and CBD Professional, and Chief Veterinary Officer for CBD Dog Health.
A 2013 article published in Neuropharmacology also found that: “In addition to modulating basal anxiety states, recent studies suggest an important role for the endocannabinoid (eCB) and glucocorticoid systems is the modulation of emotional states and extinction of aversive memories in animals.” This means that CBD can help in facilitating extinction of negative emotion surrounding triggers, like thunderstorms, and helps manage PTSD and anxiety or panic disorders in people and animals.
How much CBD for dogs with Anxiety?
Finding the correct dose for separation anxiety can be tough. How the heck do you know if it’s working when you’re not home to see their reaction? This took me some time to figure out but here’s what I recommend.
Take an afternoon to play a little game. Try a specific dose, leave your house or apartment but stay in earshot of the door. If they are still barking or scratching after about 20 minutes go in and administer more until you find what works. CBD has been proven to be safe in even extremely high doses so you have nothing to worry about.
Click here to learn more about dosing CBD for your dog!
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil has been used for its calming effects for a long time. In a study done on mice, “continuous exposures to lavender essential oils significantly inhibited anxiety and depression-like behaviors.” CBD and Lavender have the same aromatic compound (terpene) called Linalool. Linalool is believed to promote relaxation and calming effects. Linalool also helps the immune system combat the effects of stress. Stress causes a shift in the distribution of white blood cells in the body. In a study of rats, Linalool prevented the stress-induced changes in how the rat’s DNA was expressed.
This is why we formulated our CALM tincture – specifically for anxiety, stress and fear – to combine the incredible therapeutic benefits of both CBD and Lavender.
Related: Is Lavender Safe For Dogs?
HOME REMEDIES FOR SEPARATION ANXIETY IN DOGS
- Playing relaxing music
- Leave some of your worn clothes out for them to smell you
- Give them a good amount of exercise before leaving
- Hide CBD treats around the house to keep them entertained (Blanche loves this one)
- Feed your dog their larger meal before you leave
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Cat Separation Anxiety
We’ve covered a few ways to spot your dog’s anxiety, but how do you spot your cat’s anxiety? Does CBD help? YES!
Cat Separation Anxiety Symptoms
- Constant sleeping
- Going outside of the litterbox
- Hides when the doorbell rings
I’ve personally never owned a cat but I know two crazy cat ladies that can help you find other tools to help with their anxiety!
Is CBD Safe for Cats and Dogs?
Studies and reports consistently show just how safe it is to use for pets and humans. Using CBD has minimal side effects, no risk of addiction, and it is impossible to injure or kill your animal. It’s an extremely risk-free substance, however, it is important to note that pets should be taking pet products specifically and not a product designed for humans. That being said, NOT ALL PRODUCTS ARE CREATED EQUAL! CBD is an unregulated field. It is extremely important that the company provides a certificate of analysis to not only prove what IS in the bottle (how much CBD and THC) but also what is NOT in the bottle, such as heavy metals and pesticides.
A research review on the safety and side effects of CBD in humans notes that CBD is very safe to use with only minor side effects such as diarrhea, tiredness, and changes in mood and appetite. Studies on pets also have similar results. For instance, a study on using CBD for dogs with Arthritis found no observable side effects. Similarly, clinical trials found that it was safe to use CBD for dogs with epilepsy.
A survey of vets also found that an increasing number are beginning to recommend CBD for pets. Many note that they’ve been able to give CBD to dogs safely with no harm whatsoever. All in all, CBD is very safe for your pets, although you should avoid giving them human products – especially edibles.
So whether your babe is suffering from separation, noise, or general anxiety there is an all-natural medicine called CBD that is going to help! Today, I’m comfortable leaving Blanche alone while I run to the store, gym, or a night out with friends and it makes me so happy. Nobody likes to see their pet suffer. I sure didn’t, and now that I have found this incredible healing plant to help her, I have made it my mission to spread the word, educate, and end the stigma about CBD to help heal all of our animals – NATURALLY!
About Hernando Umana
Father of Blanche, and 8-year old Shih Tzu and senior rescue Linda, Hernando Umana is a Broadway performer in New York City and works tirelessly to share the benefits of CBD with pet parents across the country. He graduated from Dr. Sulak’s Healer Cannabis Dosage Protocols and Methodologies. Despite his confidence and talent, Hernando found himself struggling after graduation. In a profession where anxiety is absolutely crippling, he wasn’t getting the kind of work he knew he should be getting. Thankfully, during one of his many visits to Angie in Florida, she introduced him to CBD and he has never looked back. Four years later, he had opened two first national tours, been on Broadway, worked with Cyndi Lauper, Brendan Urie, Andrew Loyd Webber, and many others. And now – Hernando is Co-Owner of CBD Dog Health. CBD was life-changing for both of them, and he could not be happier to be in a business doing something he loves so much that helps dogs like Blanche live a happy, stress-free life.
About Angela Ardolino
Angela Ardolino is a holistic pet expert who has been caring for animals for over 20 years and operates a rescue farm, Fire Flake Farm, in Florida. She is also the owner of Beautify the Beast, a natural pet salon and shop. After getting her certificate in Medical Cannabis Biology and Therapeutic use from the University of Vermont School of Medicine, she founded CBD Dog Health to provide high quality, all-natural medical cannabis products designed specifically for pets. Angela has seven dogs, Odie a 12-year-old mini-schnauzer, Nina an 8-year-old Doberman. Jolene a 7-year-old mutt, Maza a 7-year-old mutt, Rhemi an 8-year-old poodle, Potato a 15-year-old shih-tzu, and Miss Daisie a 15-year-old black lab, plus 4-10 more at any time she is fostering or boarding. She uses Full Spectrum Hemp Extract on all her pets at her rescue farm every day, and has since 2016. She is a member of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, the Veterinary Cannabis Association and has trained hundreds medical doctors and veterinarians about the therapeutic uses of medical cannabis on animals. Visit www.angelaardolino.com for more information.