It’s that time of year that our dogs HATE! Thunderstorm season. While Thunderstorms can occur year-round they are most likely to occur from May-August. And living in Florida, boy do they roll in! Your anxious dog will know bad weather is coming even before you can see it!

It was difficult to see my dogs suffer. What was even worse was learning that as many as 40 percent of dogs experience noise anxiety, which is more pronounced in the summer. A dog’s reaction to noise anxiety can range from becoming clingy, to obsessively chewing, licking and even running away. Dogs naturally tend to look to their owners for help and nothing is worse than feeling helpless at that moment. 

Unfortunately, anxiety due to things like thunderstorms and fireworks can lead to much more serious issues. In recent years, multiple reports have surfaced of older dogs and even puppies suffering heart attacks which lead to their death during fireworks displays. Additionally, during these noisy celebrations, there are increased incidents of dogs running through sliding glass doors or running away. In fact, more dogs are lost on July 4 and January 1 than any other days of the year.

Some symptoms from Thunderstorm Anxiety include:

  • Panting
  • Trembling
  • Dilated pupils 
  • Drooling
  • Pacing
  • Destructive behavior
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Bathroom accidents

When fight or flight kicks in, it can be difficult to calm your pet down. Is your dog scared of thunder?

How to CALM an anxious dog with CBD?

So how do you calm a scared dog? There is no better thunderstorm anxiety medication than CBD oil for dogs. Research shows that CBD works by interacting with the body’s naturally occurring Endocannabinoid System which is responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body. It helps regulate you and your pet’s mood, pain, inflammation and anxiety. CBD binds to one of your brain’s receptors called CB1. 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 and 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 with 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 essential oil. The one-two punch boosts the profile on Linalool to create an even stronger and faster effect on anxiety. 

 

Success Story

Meet our boy, Odie. This feisty 12-year-old miniature Schnauzer HATES thunderstorms. He can sense their arrival way before we can and he immediately starts to tremble and cry. It pained me to see him suffer and I hated that there was nothing I could do to help when he looked up at me with those eyes! Enter CBD oil for dogs.

Don’t believe me? Check out this video and see how fast it helps.

DOSING

If you’ve read our blogs before, you must be sick of hearing us say this but…every dog requires a different dose, no matter the size or weight, and each dog will react differently. Our Doberman Nina is 55lbs compared to Odie’s 12lbs and she needs half the amount of CBD that Odie does to relax during a thunderstorm. It is all about their specific anxiety level. 

Based on our experience, we recommend starting with about 9mg of our CALM tincture. If you don’t see a difference in 15 – 20 minutes, dose more until you find what works. 

For quick results, apply the tincture to the gums or inner ears. Putting CBD on food not only slows the results, but research shows that only about 6-15% of the CBD makes it into the bloodstream after passing through the GI system. 

IS CBD SAFE? YES! 

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 (COA), 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.

Are there studies to prove that it works for anxiety? YEP!

A 2013 article published in Neuropharmacology found that:

“In addition to modulating basal anxiety states, recent studies suggest an important role for the endocannabinoid (eCB) and glucocorticoid systems in the modulation of emotional states and extinction of aversive memories in animals.”

This means that CBD can help in facilitating extinction of aversive memories to treat PTSD, anxiety, or panic disorders in people and animals.

Research is also promising that CBD is a viable treatment option for sleep disorders in people and pets. A 2019 study published in The Permanente Journal found that CBD has a calming effect on the central nervous system and can improve the amount and depth of sleep in those suffering from sleep disorders. In addition, CBD is better tolerated than other psychiatric medications.

A 1993 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that pain relief, reduction of anxiety, and reduction of inflammation were the most common reasons for the use of cannabis in dogs, and when tested in animal models, CBD was shown to have anxiolytic properties (Zuardi and Karniol 1993), as confirmed in a number of studies in humans.

Create a safe place!

In addition to CBD, it is important to create a safe place for your dog during these storms. Here is some great advice from one of our favorite holistic vets, Dr. Karen Becker.

“Create a safe spot — This is a place in your home your dog can retreat to at the first sign of a storm (whether you’re home or not). This spot should be located in an interior room with few or no windows, so she’ll be shielded from hearing and seeing the worst of the storm. Providing a grounding mat in this environment can also help.

You may want to place a crate in the safe room, along with bedding, water, treats and a toy or two. Leave the lights on and consider playing calming music or leaving a TV on to muffle the sounds of the storm. It’s a good idea to spend time in the safe room with your dog when it’s not storming outside. Play with her so she’ll think of the spot as a happy place. For some dogs, having access to a safe spot at all times will be enough to help them weather the storm.”

Final thoughts

I love my dogs and would do anything to keep them safe, healthy and happy. Having this all-natural remedy to keep them calm during a storm is something that I’m very grateful for. If your pet is suffering from general anxiety or separation anxiety check out this blog to learn more!

Angela Ardolino

Angela Ardolino Schnauzer Odie

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.