CBD for Separation Anxiety in Dogs
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 – her severe separation anxiety!! When left alone at a hotel, she actually got me kicked out more than once for her distressed barking. I searched for natural 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 had studied the therapeutic uses of CBD at The University of Vermont’s School of Medicine, and immediately recommended CBD for separation anxiety. 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 – and once again, no complaints! I couldn’t believe it! So how does CBD for separation anxiety in dogs help?
What is Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety is when a pet is incredibly attached to their owner and feels 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 caused me more stress than anything too! I personally know how awful it is to have moments of extreme anxiety, and yes, I take CBD for anxiety too! So leaving my beautiful girl in that distressed state tore me to pieces. Not to mention the multiple complaints from hotels and the amount of money that I had to pay for my dog scratching the door. It’s not an easy thing to deal with, and of course we want to help our dogs separation anxiety in any way we can.
What Causes Separation Anxiety in Dogs?
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: Pets and Mental Health
Symptoms of Separation Anxiety in Dogs
There are several ways our dogs show us they’re distressed, some signs of separation anxiety in dogs include:
- Barking and crying when left alone
- Scratching and digging at doors
- Accidents in crate or around the house
- Excessive licking and chewing of paws
- Destroying anything they can get their paws on
Related: Natural Storm Anxiety Remedies
How to Help your Dog with Separation Anxiety
There are several ways you can help your pet naturally manage separation anxiety and feel more comfortable, even when you’re gone. Some things you can try at home to help their stress includes:
- 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
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 are natural remedies that may help your dog’s anxiety, including CBD from a Full Spectrum Hemp Extract!
CBD for Separation Anxiety in Dogs
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.
CBD Dosage for Separation Anxiety in Dogs
For separation anxiety in dogs we recommend our CALM: CBD oil for dogs. Our CALM CBD oil for dog anxiety is formulated with Full Spectrum Hemp Extract and Lavender essential oil, to help alleviate stress and anxiety. One dose of our CALM tincture contains approximately 9mg of CBD. This is our standard recommended dosage for anxiety in dogs, however every dog is different and may need more or less CBD for optimal results. We always recommend starting low and slowly increasing the dosage until you find their optimal CBD dosage for anxiety.
We understand finding your dog’s optimal dosage 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 your initial CBD dosage, wait at least 15 minutes (longer if the CBD oil was not applied directly to the gums), then leave your home but stay within earshot of the door. If they are still barking or scratching after about 20 minutes of you being away, go in and administer more, until you find what CBD dosage works.
If you’re concerned about giving your dog too much CBD, 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 and administering CBD for your dog!
Lavender Essential Oil for Separation Anxiety in Dogs
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: CBD oil for dogs – specifically for anxiety, stress and fear – to combine the incredible therapeutic benefits of both CBD and Lavender.
Related: Is Lavender Safe For Dogs?
Cat Separation Anxiety
We’ve covered a few ways to spot your dog’s anxiety, but what about your cat’s anxiety? And can CBD for cat separation anxiety help? YES! Cats have an endocannabinoid system, just like dogs! So how can you spot cat separation anxiety?
Signs of Cat Separation Anxiety
- 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!
Related: Benefits of CBD Oil for Cats
Is CBD Safe for Dogs and Cats?
Studies and reports consistently show just how safe it is to use for pets and humans. Using CBD for pets 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 pet is suffering from separation, noise, or general anxiety, CBD for anxiety has the potential 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 all of our animals – NATURALLY!