cbd helps your dog with anxiety

CBD oil has quickly become one of the most popular supplements for dogs. Owners use the hemp oil extract in hopes of healing arthritis, seizures, anxiety, and a host of other ailments. The practice is controversial because some veterinarians feel we lack necessary research on cannabidiol (CBD) while others sell the oil in their offices. The evidence we do have suggests its extremely safe, but is inconclusive about treating specific conditions.  CBD oil for dog anxiety is very promising. 

What is CBD for Dogs? 

In this article, I will provide an overview of using CBD to help dogs with anxiety. CBD for dogs is a growing supplement. Keep in mind I’m not recommending the use of CBD. In respect to treating a dog for anxiety with CBD, we have no hard evidence that it’s useful, though many owners swear by it. This is not unlike current popular pharmaceutical anxiolytics (anti-anxiety). Xanax, one of the most popular amongst veterinarians, must be prescribed off-label as it is not FDA approved for treating canine anxiety. 

Manufacturers extract CBD from hemp–cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC. The essential oil produced contains over 60 additional cannabinoids in addition to CBD and THC that appear to work together more effectively than by themselves. Scientists have coined this synergistic phenomenon, the “Entourage Effect.” 

All Mammals Posses an Endocannabinoid System

CBD oil for pets affects all mammals, not just humans, via the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a network of signaling molecules (cannabinoids) and receptors that line the brain and much of the body to monitor the nervous system. By calming down or exciting specific processes like healing, hunger, mood, and sleep, the ECS keeps the body in homeostasis. 

The error is often made that CBD is not psychoactive, which couldn’t be further from the truth since CBD acts directly on receptors in the brain. Cannabidiol, in particular, appears to have a balancing effect on chemical processes in the brain. What those claiming CBD isn’t psychoactive should say is, “CBD is not intoxicating,” which is true. CBD only regulates natural chemicals in the body.

The cannabinoid THC, on the other hand, is intoxicating, making most users feel high or stoned, but only if activated through a change known as decarboxylation, which requires heat or a sophisticated chemistry setup. Raw cannabis is full of THCA, an anti-inflammatory cannabinoid that must be decarboxylated to convert to THC. You don’t have to worry if your dog eats cannabis flower. No cannabinoids are intoxicating in their raw form.

Research Suggests CBD is Safer Than Anti-Anxiety Pharmaceutical

CBD is potentially much safer than current anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) medications for three reasons:

1- CBD consistently appears to be non-toxic to animals across all categories of academic study. 

2 – Second, cannabidiol simply regulates the body’s own anxiety-producing neurotransmitters and hormones. Most anti-anxiety drugs deliver chemicals that create a state of potentially addictive euphoria.

3 – Cannabidiol is not addictive. Cannabinoids do not bind to potentially dependent receptors like opiates. Yasmin Hurd, the director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai, discovered that CBD promoted sobriety by reducing anxiety. She noted that pharmaceutical anxiolytic medications are often addictive themselves. Hurd published her findings in the October 2015 issue of journal Neurotherapeutics.   

Prescription Medications and CBD for Dogs 

Xanax is an oft-prescribed pharmaceutical medication for the treatment of anxiety in humans. It’s not approved by the FDA for dogs with anxiety, but that hasn’t stopped veterinarians from making it one of their most prescribed off-label medications. The rationale behind off-label Xanax treatment is that it is non-lethal to both humans and smaller mammals like mice and rats at low doses. Xanax can cause both addiction and overdose as potential dangers to any user, no matter the species. CBD for dogs is natural and non-addictive. 

CBD Research Shows Promise as a Health Booster and Anxiety Reducer in Animals 

Studies on CBD repeatedly demonstrate a lack of toxicity or potential for overdose, both rare among pain and anxiolytic drugs. Livestock is also now regularly given hemp supplements in their feed after studies have shown its ability to improve the health of the animals. CBD dogs anxiety treatments are widely available. 

There also is a growing body of evidence for cannabidiol’s efficacy combatting anxiety. Brazillian scientists discovered doses of cannabidiol effectively curtailed pre-speech nervousness in human subjects who feared public speaking. An experiment on rat models, published in the January 2019 edition of the Pain journal, found that CBD reduced both anxiety and pain.

Veterinarian Patty Khuly says, “Most of the patients I’ve medicated with CBD oil have thrived. After recommending it to hundreds of patients (I carry it in-house now), I’ve not yet observed an adverse reaction.” 

Reported Adverse Reactions Stem From Dogs Accidentally Taking THC

Published reports in peer-reviewed scientific journals detail accounts of dogs consuming cannabis and experiencing psychosis, vomiting, inability to stand, and trembling. In these cases, a dog found its way into the owner’s personal edible stash and consumed a THC-rich cannabis product meant for humans. These products contain decarboxylated THC capable of intoxication and are not hemp-derived CBD oils.

Until detailed dosing information becomes mainstream, it would make sense to give dogs only CBD oils produced from hemp extracts. Cannabis extracts could potentially be safe if they are in a cold processed form, but it’s not worth taking a chance in this burgeoning market on manufacturer mistake. 

Many owners don’t worry that there isn’t a lot of evidence for CBD as a treatment for anxiety. Their main concern is safety and often have avoided pharmaceuticals used for anxiety because of their risks. Hundreds of thousands of CBD doses are taken every day without any adverse reactions.  Organic CBD oil for dogs. 

CBD Products for Dogs 

CBD oil is packaged in pill, dog treat, and dropper form. Creams that can be applied to the pet’s skin are also available. Transdermal absorption isn’t always consistent, and animals will often lick the oil off of them before they have had a chance to absorb it. Start with a low dose unless given specific directions from a veterinarian. Great products are available in stores and online since the DEA removed CBD and hemp from its list of controlled substances.

I’m thrilled to see the interest in CBD oil, beyond humans. While we do not know if CBD is the answer for canine anxiety just yet, owners around the country are anecdotally reporting excellent results. I encourage you to talk to your community and healthcare professional if you are interested in new natural treatments for your furry friend.  CBD oil for dog anxiety can help your furry buddy make it through the 4th of July fireworks or a thunderstorm. 




Bartner, Lisa R, et al. “Pharmacokinetics of Cannabidiol Administered by 3 Delivery Methods at 2 Different Dosages to Healthy Dogs.” Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research = Revue Canadienne De Recherche Veterinaire, Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, July 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30026641.

Brutlag, Ahna, and Holly Hommerding. “Toxicology of Marijuana, Synthetic Cannabinoids, and Cannabidiol in Dogs and Cats.” The Veterinary Clinics of North America. Small Animal Practice, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Nov. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30342565.

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Valastro, Carmela, et al. “Characterization of Endocannabinoids and Related Acylethanolamides in the Synovial Fluid of Dogs with Osteoarthritis: a Pilot Study.” BMC Veterinary Research, BioMed Central, 6 Nov. 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29110674.

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petMD. “PetMD.” PetMD, 24 Oct. 2018, www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/cannabis-oil-dogs-everything-you-need-know.

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