Using CBD to Treat Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Date Published: 2019-08-22
Date Updated: 2019-08-22
Many dogs hate being alone, to the point where they’ll follow their owners everywhere. Unfortunately, it’s inevitable that you’ll have to leave your dog at some point – whether it’s for work, for a vacation, or to run errands. Fortunately, a number of natural remedies, such as CBD, treat separation anxiety in dogs.
Here’s what you need to know about using CBD to treat separation anxiety in dogs.
What Is Separation Anxiety?
As pack animals, dogs are seldom alone in the wild. Domesticated dogs tend to cuddle up with their littermates when young, both for warmth and protection. As such, they associate company with comfort and safety. Without a pack of other dogs, you are your pup’s family, and she will feel better when you’re around.
Coming from that perspective, it makes sense that your dog will be anxious when you leave – particularly if she was abandoned, neglected, or abused in the past. Your dog might also develop separation anxiety if she was rehomed, if your family has a new pet or baby, or if she has had a frightening or traumatic experience.
The symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs include:
- Following you from room to room
- Crying, howling, or barking whenever you try to leave
- Being destructive in your absence (biting or breaking things, for example)
- Biting or licking themselves excessively
- Attempting to escape
- Urinating or defecating inside due to stress
Preventing Separation Anxiety in Dogs
There are a few things you can do to prevent your dog from getting separation anxiety. While looking into supplements, try out some of these lifestyle changes and practical tips for reducing your dog’s anxiety.
Firstly, be patient. If your dog is young or recently adopted, some anxiety is understandable. Ditto if she’s experienced a trauma or a change in environment. Remember that she’s not trying to misbehave – she’s scared. Time, training, and a great strategy will improve the situation. Getting frustrated or angry with your dog for howling or misbehaving will only upset her more.
Give your dog a large meal and a walk before you leave. That way, she’ll feel happy, relaxed, and sleepy by the time you’re gone.
Ensure she has all she needs when you’re gone, including food and fresh water, exciting toys, and a cozy place to sleep. Place some comfort items around the house, like her favorite blanket and a shirt that smells like you. This will stop her from getting bored and anxious.
Keep a routine so that your dog knows you will be back, and when you will be back.
When you are at home, give your pup lots of love and attention, as well as walks. Often, exercise reduces hyperactivity and helps them relax.
If possible, consider getting another dog! Not only will you be giving another pet a home, but your dog will be less lonely and bored. Of course, this will only work if your dog is socialized to enjoy other pets. As always, this decision requires a lot of thought.
Natural Treatments for Separation Anxiety in Dogs
There are many natural ways to treat your dog’s separation anxiety.
Herbs – such as chamomile, passionflower, and valerian – have calming effects on both humans and dogs. You can often buy calming dog treats that incorporate some of those herbs.
One of the best natural ways to treat separation anxiety in dogs is CBD oil. CBD oil soothes anxiety in dogs by affecting their endocannabinoid system. All mammals have this endocannabinoid system, and it can positively impact our brains as well as other organs. It is believed that CBD affects our brain’s ability to handle serotonin, the ‘happiness’ hormone.
A 2018 survey of US veterinarians showed that many vets rate CBD as an effective and safe treatment for anxiety – in fact, about 86% of vets who prescribed CBD for anxiety found it to be ‘very helpful’ or ‘somewhat helpful’.
It’s important to note that no studies have been conducted on CBD and separation anxiety in dogs; hopefully, more research will be conducted in the near future. But for now, it’s hard to ignore the hundreds of dog owners and veterinarians who notice that CBD helps dogs with anxiety.
CBD has fewer side-effects than conventional medications for anxious dogs. This 2018 study concluded that there are very few side effects of CBD for dogs. Another study published in 2018 concluded that it’s a safe treatment that dogs tolerate very well.
How to Use CBD to Treat Separation Anxiety
CBD for dogs can come in the form of capsules, oil, tablets, or dog treats.
Before buying CBD for your dog, be sure to research the company you’re buying from – unfortunately, a few companies sell sub-par products that are falsely labelled as CBD. In 2015, the FDA issued warning letters to several companies that sold products falsely marketed as CBD products. Some of these companies sold so-called CBD products for dogs that actually contained no CBD. So, always opt for reputable brands.
Giving your dog the right CBD dosage is important. Start with a small amount and gradually increase it. Take a look at our CBD dosage chart for breed-specific information.
If you use CBD for your dog, don’t expect immediate results. It’s not like Tylenol, which stops a headache immediately. It’s more like a multivitamin: it might take a few days or weeks of daily use before you notice a difference.
The main side effect of CBD is that it can make your dog sleepier. But if you notice any unusual behaviour and suspect your dog is having a bad reaction to it, take them to a vet immediately.
As always, it’s a great idea to chat to your veterinarian. Holistic veterinarians who are familiar with CBD are your best bet. They’ll be able to give you recommendations on brands of CBD oil and the dosage. They could also give you more tips on treating your dog’s separation anxiety with CBD.
It can be heartbreaking to see your four-legged friend in distress. Fortunately, both you and your dog might find relief in using CBD to treat separation anxiety. A highly beneficial, natural, and safe treatment, CBD might just be the cure you need.