How CBD Oil Can Help Your Pet’s Anxiety
Every time the 4th of July rolls around, the dreaded posts start popping up on social media platforms: “How do I keep my dog safe during fireworks?”
We’ve all known a pet who has been so terrified of fireworks that they will escape from a secure yard and get lost, or burrow under a house and get trapped or simply become a mass of quivering nerves until the event is over.
With the increased accepted use of cannabidiol or CBD, to address ailments in humans such as chronic pain, arthritis, and lack of appetite, studies have begun to include treating such issues in pets. Anxiety is a major problem facing pet owners, and there is ever-growing evidence that treatment with CBD oil can help.
Situational vs. Behavioral Anxiety
Like any medicinal treatment for your animal, discussing your concerns with a trusted veterinarian should always be the first course of action. Your vet will want to ascertain whether the anxiety your pet is displaying is situational in nature, as in the case of fireworks or thunderstorms, when a new person comes to your home, or having to ride in the car – something that the dog does not experience on a daily basis. The vet can also rule out other medical situations that may be contributing to your dog’s anxious behavior.
Anxiety can also be behavioral in nature, a more typical occurrence in some breeds than others. Behavioral anxiety may manifest as barking, chewing household items, aggression and repetitive or compulsive behaviors.
Destructive behavior and defecating or urinating in the house despite being potty trained are often a symptom of separation anxiety, which is one of the most common complaints of dog owners. While frustrating, there is a danger that a dog may become so distressed that he injures himself trying to alleviate the anxiousness.
CBD Oil: Can it help?
Much like use in humans, CBD has shown preliminary indications that it is an effective treatment for anxiety in pets. Unlike cannabis containing THC (the component in marijuana that causes the “high”), CBD is not a psychoactive compound so it has no intoxicating effect on your pet. Instead, CBD activates specific receptors in the body that make it easier to return to homeostasis; in other words, it acts as a catalyst to calm and reduce tension.
Brain scans of participants in human studies of CBD treatment have revealed changes in blood flow to the regions of the brain linked to feelings of anxiety. Participants not only felt decreased anxiety and improved mood but also showed adaptive changes in brain response to stressors. So, if we extend this thinking to animal behavior, CBD oil might have the capacity to treat situational anxiety in pets who suffer from fear of loud noises and stranger phobia, while also helping to proactively treat pets who are genetically predisposed to act out as a result of a high-strung, anxious nature.
Rarely does any therapy for pets work without other interventions such as consistent social training, diet management and regular exercise. CBD won’t change your beloved pet’s personality, but it can be a helpful tool in making other interventions more effective and contributing to your pet’s overall contentment and happiness.
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