CBD Oil For Dogs With Separation Anxiety

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CBD Oil is being used to treat a host of medical issues in dogs. We look into whether it can help with separation anxiety. Does your pup get nervous when you leave the house? Anxious when you’re not around? Find out everything you need to know about separation anxiety and if CBD oil can help here! cbd and dogs with separation anxiety (all you need to know) if i knew about cbd when my dog had separation anxiety as a puppy some five years ago, i wonder how much easier life might have been.

Can CBD Oil Help Dogs with Separation Anxiety?

CBD Oil is being used to treat a host of medical issues in dogs. We look into whether it can help with separation anxiety.

CBD oil has become very popular in recent years as a treatment for a host of issues in humans as well as pets. Whether it’s for pain management, seizure control, or treatment for anxiety, Cannabidiol (CBD) has become a common over-the-counter therapy with varying degrees of reported success.

We take a look at what CBD oil actually is, and whether it can be an effective treatment for separation anxiety in dogs.

(Note: Content in some of our articles refer to medical conditions in dogs; you should always consult a veterinarian when seeking medical advice.)

(Articles may contain links from affiliate partners. Please read how we may earn a commission.)

What is Separation Anxiety in Dogs?

Separation anxiety is a mental state dogs can experience when they are away from their human companions. Some dogs may be overly attached to a specific human and demonstrate anything from mild depression to frenzied panic whenever their owner leaves.

What Causes Separation Anxiety?

Various circumstances can cause separation anxiety. It’s common in dogs who were separated from their mothers early, shelter or rescue dogs, and dogs who have a sense of instability (though it’s impossible to know for sure which is responsible). These situations may include:

  • The loss or prolonged absence of a family member
  • Moving to a new home
  • Changing families
  • Changing routines

How Do I Know if My Dog Has Separation Anxiety?

It’s generally fairly easy to tell if your dog has separation anxiety, but occasionally owners can mistakenly categorize the behavior as a different issue. If you’re wondering whether your dog has separation anxiety, look for these symptoms when you leave the dog alone:

  • whining, barking, or howling
  • urinating and defecating
  • chewing
  • digging
  • shaking
  • pacing
  • panting

Some dogs may show signs of separation anxiety well before you leave the house. Your pup may start shaking or crying when they notice you taking actions associated with leaving liking putting on your shoes or your makeup.

They may pout in the corner when you grab your coat or start pacing when you brush your teeth, if those are the last things you do before leaving. These are classic signs of a dog with separation anxiety.

What is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a compound that is in cannabis and hemp. CBD oil is an oil made from that compound. It is commonly used in humans for pain management, to help with anxiety and epilepsy, and many other issues, but has not yet completed many studies regarding animals.

Do Dogs Get High from CBD Oil?

No, dogs don’t get high from CBD oil. Because it’s from hemp, CBD doesn’t have the same psychoactive properties that marijuana does. You don’t need to worry about your pup getting stoned because hemp’s THC level (tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive substance in marijuana) is too low to have an effect of that nature (below 0.3%).

What Do Vets Say About CBD Oil?

While you probably won’t see your local vet prescribing CBD oil at your next appointment, it is gaining recognition in their circles.

Many vets approve of the use of CBD oil and even use it for their own pets, but because of its current legal status, they aren’t allowed to recommend it. While most U.S. states passed laws to decriminalize the medicinal use of cannabis, these state laws do not apply to use in animals.

If you do want to talk to your vet about CBD oil, you need to bring it up first. CBD is arguably one of the safest options you can choose when addressing health care for your pet. Still, you should always talk to your veterinarian before making any changes (especially if your dog is on existing medications).

What Are the Risks?

As with any medication, there are risks involved with CBD. Using CBD oil can cause interactions with other drugs, possibly magnifying or negating the desired effects.

That’s why we recommend you talk to your veterinarian before making changes if your pup is taking medication. Many vets are enthusiastic about CBD oil treatment, but by law are unable to offer the suggestion unless the dog owner brings up the topic

Other risks include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Lower blood pressure

How Can CBD Oil Help Separation Anxiety?

By increasing levels of serotonin in the brain, CBD oil can help calm your dog and ease his anxiety. This won’t make your dog forget you aren’t there, but it will help him cope with the fact you are gone.

CBD use in animals is a relatively new concept, and thus not much research has been completed. However, a study from Cornell found that a twice-daily dose of 2mg/kg of CBD can “help increase comfort and activity” in dogs with osteoarthritis.

The American Kennel Club CHF (AKC Canine Health Foundation) is also funding research into the efficacy of cannabidiol to treat dogs with epilepsy and osteoarthritis.

The laws are constantly changing, and your vet will have the most up-to-date information regarding cannabis use in pets. Don’t be afraid to consult them!

Keep Reasonable Expectations When Using CBD Oil

CBD oil shows true promise, but it’s important to hold reasonable expectations. CBD oil won’t magically cure your dog of their separation anxiety, but it can calm them down and give him a sense of relief.

Dogs with serious cases of separation anxiety require a systematic plan that involves incremental desensitization and counterconditioning.

CBD Dosage Amount for Dogs

Like humans, the amount of CBD oil you give your dog depends on various factors. It’s advisable to start with a low dose to see what side effects your dog might have.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t approved CBD or issued a dosage chart, but the typical scale seems to be 2mg per 10 pounds. The AKC provides this chart to calculate what dose you should use for your doggo (you can also use it for a horse or cat).

What to Look for When Choosing a CBD Oil for Your Dog

Because it hasn’t been approved by the FDA, cannabis is largely unregulated. In order to ensure you are getting a high-quality product (and not wasting your time and money), there are a few things you need to look for when choosing the right CBD product for your pet.

Use products that follow Good Manufacturing Practices or have a seal from the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC)

This ensures the company used safe, high-quality ingredients to make the product.

Avoid CBD products meant for humans

Some CBD products contain other ingredients such as grapeseed oil or xylitol, which, while harmless to humans, can be very toxic to canines. Stick to CBD products specially formulated for dogs.

Buy organic

Keep your CBD oil organic and free of pesticides, insecticides, and solvents.

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Get CBD as a liquid

Give your pup the right dose of medicine by giving it to him by the drop. You can buy the CBD infused treats, but chances are they don’t have the right amount of CBD for your dog.

Be wary of products with THC

Experts may use CBD and THC to treat various ailments, but vets don’t advise pet owners to experiment with THC on their own (remember, it’s still a drug!). Always consult your vet before making changes to your pet’s health care plan.

Look for a Certificate of Analysis

Find a product that has been tested by a third-party and comes with a Certificate of Analysis (COA). This COA will detail how much CBD and THC the product contains and list any test results for contaminants, pesticides, and so on.

Recommended CBD Oil

We have used CBD oil from holistapet.com with good results. It is formulated specifically for pets and contains 0% THC. Manufactured in the U.S., it is 100% organic, contains no GMO or additives, and is vegan. We recommend purchasing it in dropper bottle form, where it can easily be given directly on the dog’s tongue or onto food.

Other Ways to Help with a Dog’s Separation Anxiety

It’s not always necessary to go straight for medications or tinctures. Some pet parents choose to try counterconditioning before any substances. For other severe cases, dogs may be given prescription medications such as trazodone or other anti-anxiety/antidepressants .

Additional methods for addressing separation anxiety in dogs are:

  • Counterconditioning – One way to ease your pupper’s anxiety is to give him puzzle toys and special treats only when he is alone. If he has access to the good treats and toys when he is alone, he will come to associate your absence with a good experience.
  • Medications – Some vets may deem your pup’s case of separation anxiety so severe that they need medication. These are the same drugs you or I would take for anxiety but at a much lower dose. Some common medications include fluoxetine (Prozac) and clomipramine (Clomicalm).

Other Benefits of CBD Oil for Dogs

As stated earlier, CBD oil has anti-inflammatory properties and is, therefore, commonly used to treat osteoarthritis pain in dogs. It’s excellent for managing other types of pain as well as aiding in mental issues such as epilepsy and seizures.

Most evidence of successful use is anecdotal, with owners having reported improvements in the behavior and wellness of their dogs after taking CBD oil and rarely reporting adverse side effects. Specific uses reported include as an anti-inflammatory, an anti-nausea agent, appetite stimulant, and for cardiovascular issues. Other anxiety issues like thunder phobia have also been addressed with CBD oil.

Conclusion

Despite CBD federally classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a Schedule 1 controlled substance (the same as heroin), it is continually proving to be medically safe and beneficial for both humans and canines.

CBD oil can make a massive difference in our pets’ mood and wellness and can help our pooch’s traumatic separation experience gradually transform into one of calm relief.

CBD Oil: Does it help with separation anxiety in dogs?

Does your pup get nervous when you leave the house? Anxious when you’re not around? Separation anxiety is an issue for dogs, just like it is for humans, and it can be detrimental to their health and well-being. CBD Oil is a newer item to most with furry friends, but it can be a huge help in calming your pupper’s nervous energy. Separation anxiety has become more widely understood by dog lovers in the last few years, and many will already be familiar with the term. But what exactly is separation anxiety, and what causes it?

What causes separation anxiety in dogs?

Separation anxiety is a mental state that your dog can experience when you’re away from them. Dogs can experience anxiety the same as their humans can, and often those that are overly-attached to a specific human companion can show anything from a soft melancholy to a wild panic when separated from them. Dogs displaying signs of separation anxiety have the potential to become destructive if their panic levels rise too high.

Separation anxiety is sometimes blamed on poor training, but it is more linked to a strong bond with one specific person. Pups that grow very close with their human or a certain member of their family can experience panic when separated from that individual, and it’s important to remember that this is an emotional condition. It’s now thought that between 20%-40% of behavioral cases in dogs are related to separation issues.

Note that this issue is different than isolation anxiety, which only occurs when the pup is left completely alone. Separation anxiety is present when the dog is separated from one specific person, even if there are other people and pets around to keep them company.

cbd and dogs with separation anxiety (all you need to know)

if i knew about cbd when my dog had separation anxiety as a puppy some five years ago, i wonder how much easier life might have been.

my girlfriend and i got luna at six-and-a-half weeks of age and she slept all through the first night we got her. the following day was a completely different story though, and we quickly found out that our new fur baby had quite the case of separation anxiety. if you’re a pet parent whose dog experiences separation anxiety (it’s more common than you think), i’d bet you would love to help cure it, for both their sake and yours. what if cbd could contribute to solving that problem?

cbd oil’s calming properties may be helpful for dogs with separation anxiety and its displayed symptoms. for maximum benefit, be sure to give your dog a proper dose of cbd early enough for it to take full effect since dogs can usually pick up on the fact that you are leaving well ahead of time.

like humans, dogs have cannabinoid receptors all throughout their bodies that exhibit balancing and homeostatic responses when activated. this can go a long way towards alleviating your pup’s perceived need to yelp incessantly, dig away at your furniture, or worse, try to escape and/or hurt themselves in the process.

cbd for dogs with separation anxiety

dogs can get anxious just the same as we can. when that anxiety arises from a situation in which a dog has been removed from its closest companion(s) for one reason or another, it is known as separation anxiety. it often occurs for a dog with one person, but could be both of his or her parents if the bond is strong enough.

separation anxiety may be displayed by your pup on a scale that could range from minor sadness to full-blown panic, with potentially outright destructive behavior to go along with it. it could be caused by a lot of different sources, though all likely stem from some sort of change. a change in routine or environment such as moving, or a new family for an adopted or rescued dog could certainly cause separation anxiety, though a loss or absence of a family member is likely to be the biggest trigger of them all.

signs your dog has separation anxiety may start well before you leave the house. dogs are very good at honing in on various cues within sequences in their lives, such as getting ready to leave the house. for example, you may have keys hanging next to your front door that you grab before leaving. you may also put shoes on before grabbing those keys, and you may have other tasks that lead up to that as well, such as grabbing sunglasses or a hat, brushing your teeth, filling up your water bottle, etc.

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the more regularly this occurs, the more your dog will associate one event with the one that precedes it until finally figuring out that you are getting ready to leave from the start of your routine. these cues then signal the beginning of you making your departure, and your dog will make that connection. this could lead to them exhibiting signs of separation anxiety ahead of time, and you are going to want to keep that in mind if you wish to try cbd to help with their separation anxiety. in other words, make sure to consider administering cbd to your dog earlier than you may have initially planned.

signs your dog is experiencing separation anxiety may include any combination of appearing sad (even more so than usual), barking (usually frantically), pacing around the house, or drooling. however, they may not be visible while you are present, and will likely become worse once you’re gone either way. this is another reason why you’ll want to give your pup cbd early enough that it has taken full effect before you leave, if possible.

when luna was a puppy, she barked like crazy as soon as we left, and several times engaged in other destructive behaviors such as chewing the corner of our kitchen table as well as the corner of a wall. other dogs may try to dig through carpets or upholstery (luna also tore up one of our couches), or try to escape. they also may put themselves in physical harm, should they try to escape out of a crate or break through a door or window. last but not least, dogs may pee or poop inside the house as another means of expressing their anxiety, and some may even go one step further and eat their poop afterwards.

isolation distress is another similar condition you should be aware of. often mistaken for separation anxiety, isolation distress occurs solely from a dog being left alone , and results in many of the same outward behaviors that dogs with separation anxiety exhibit. it is solely a dog-human issue, meaning another dog’s companionship within the pack will not make things better for a pup with isolation distress.

the big difference between the two lies in that dogs’ spirits who experience isolation distress can usually be lifted by the presence of any familiar human, whereas a dog who is experiencing separation anxiety towards a specific human will often remain that way until their special somebody returns, even if other people are around. either way, both separation anxiety and isolation distress are likely to come from similar mental processes, and cbd may be worth looking into as a possible solution for the problem.

giving your dog cbd for separation anxiety

much like ourselves, dogs who are stressed experience increased hormonal secretion of cortisol and adrenaline. when this happens, their primitive fight-or-flight mechanism is unnecessarily activated and anxiety results from their brain’s inability to make sense of the entire situation. think about it from your dog’s perspective: much of human life is foreign and complex. we set alarms to wake up, go to work at a place away from home all day, and then come back. all that time, your furbaby is at home awaiting your return with no comprehension of your life’s everyday demands.

it’s easy to see how such a situation could be overwhelming to dogs. after all, a dog is another species with a different evolutionary line than us and it cannot converse or reason like a human. by some measures, it might even be rather miraculous that only 20-40% of dogs have separation anxiety , and that the figure isn’t even higher! nonetheless, the buildup of these stress hormones can lead to chemical imbalances, which can result in even more stressed behaviors from your dog. poor pup ☹

enter cannabidiol: the compound better known as cbd may work on the systems behind your dog’s stress response in order to address the underlying processes behind their separation anxiety. before we jump into how cbd works and the best ways to give it to your fur baby, let’s touch on the basics really quickly.

  • cbd comes from the cannabis plant, and it is only one of more than 100 phytocompounds found within the plant categorized as cannabinoids.
  • of those 100+ cannabinoids, cbd is one of the two main compounds. it is nonpsychoactive, meaning cbd will not get your dog high !
  • the other primary compound is thc, which brings the psychoactive component associated with “marijuana” smoking. if the cannabis plant has more than 0.3% thc, it is considered “marijuana”, while anything less than that amount classifies the plant as being hemp.
  • cbd derived from american-grown hemp is legal, safe, and nontoxic for your dog.

simple enough, right? when you give your dog cbd, it goes to work on what is known as the endocannabinoid system (ecs). all animals have an ecs, meaning it is also present in your body (and any other animals within your family). the ecs plays a role in homeostasis within our bodies, which means it works with other systems and processes in order to address any imbalances that are present. of course, this can also apply to the stress response that comes from an imbalance in hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, and could thus bring about a state of calmness that counteracts separation anxiety.

how much cbd should i give my dog for separation anxiety? and when?

cbd is measured in milligrams (mg). when looking into cbd for your dog’s separation anxiety, it’s important to pay attention to the total mg of cbd in a given dose, as well as the amount in its overall contents. dogs have no verbal means of communicating the effectiveness of a cbd dose, so you are going to be the one that has to pay attention to any signs of change in your pup.

with that being said, giving your dog cbd every day gives you a base structure to start with a smaller dosage and work your way up from there as needed. like with humans, cbd oil is completely safe to give dogs, even in high doses. generally speaking, smaller dogs will require less cbd than larger dogs to become effective, though just like us, dogs too have individual body chemistries that can widely affect their tolerance to cbd.

since dogs are very good at picking up on your routines, you are going to want to factor in enough time for the cbd to take effect before starting your routine, not just before you leave. this may mean first thing in the morning, as any means of your dog consuming cbd will likely be done orally, meaning it must be digested before it takes effect. humans usually feel the effects of oral consumption in somewhere between 30 minutes to two hours, so an hour (give or take) would likely be a good base line.

you may be inclined to look into specific cbd products for dogs, whether online or in a brick-and-mortar store. either way, be sure to pay attention to the overall potency of any cbd-infused products made specifically for animals, as they may end up containing an insignificantly small amount of actual cbd. these products are often relatively expensive as well, and worse, may make for an ineffective product unable to produce the results that your pup needs.

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with that being said, if a low dose of cbd works effectively on your dog, these types of treats may be perfect. however, that could also enable you to use just a couple of drops of a concentrated cbd oil tincture just the same, whether mixed in with food or given directly in their mouth. it really depends on what your dog likes, and you may only find out by trying out a few different options. we got lucky with luna: she loves it all, and will happily take both olive oil and mct oil cbd drops, straight from the dropper like a champion (i’m not a proud pet parent, nor am i biased in any way, am i?), even if her mom disapproves.

while we’re at it, there are a few other crucial things to pay attention to as well when buying cbd for your dog, no matter what.

    • always make sure your cbd oil comes from american-grown hemp.
    • buy organic cbd for your pup, just the same as you would for yourself. cbd can absorb any nutrients within its soil, so you want to make sure your hemp was grown organically to ensure it is free of any pesticides and other harmful toxins such as lead or arsenic.
    • make sure any cbd product you buy can provide third party lab testresults . if you see cbd products in your local pet store, this might provide a bit of a hindrance at first, but you have two solutions: look online to see if that specific company displays their results, or choose another brand that does!
    • cbd is not regulated by the fda . believe it or not, buying cbd online is the best way to ensure a quality product since it gives you the opportunity to fully vet the company you buy from! (no pun intended…)
    • look for broad spectrum hemp extract as your source of cbd. this procedure retains all portions of the plant (except for thc), resulting in more wholesome and beneficial results than when cbd is isolated from the rest of the plant. this occurrence is known as the entourage effect.

    what can i do in addition to giving my dog cbd to help with separation anxiety?

    dogs are very good at picking up on your energy. if you are concerned, stressed, or anxious about their separation anxiety, they will also pick up on that, which only perpetuates the cycle. if possible, it is better to leave the house when your dog’s energy is as calm as possible, while the least ideal time to leave (if you can help it) would be if your dog is going berserk as you are walking out the door.

    taking your dog on a long walk or hike, or doing something else such as a good play session to get some energy out of them whenever possible may help the situation, as long as you give your pup enough time to wind down should you rile him/her up while playing. or maybe saying bye to them 10 minutes before you actually leave can help, as giving them attention immediately before you walk out the door may stir up some unnecessary excitement.

    from first-hand knowledge (and no, i am not an expert), the first thing for me was to recognize that separation anxiety is a psychological issue. dogs (canines) are not like humans (primates), and their brains run largely on logic, whereas ours have a far greater capacity to experience and integrate emotion into our worldviews and our beings.

    we learned from ivan pavlov that dogs think in terms of associating a stimulus to a response. this is how your pup can know you’re getting ready to leave ahead of time, and we can utilize it in order to create environments that mimic leaving the house in broken down, step-by-step ways to set our dogs up for success. it may take a lot of time and energy on our ends, but breaking down our pre-departure routine into step-by-step pieces and then desensitizing them to each given step can ultimately help them work out the situation in their own heads and realize that it is okay for you to leave without them.

    let’s use an example: say that you grab your sunglasses, walk to the front door, put on shoes, and then grab your keys before leaving the house. at a time when you have no intention of actually leaving, you could conduct experiments (while your dog is calm) where you walk over and grab your sunglasses; but instead of walking to the front door afterwards, you could just set the sunglasses right back down and see if/how your pup reacts.

    such a small interaction may seem trivial, but doing it enough times will begin to break the association to the point where your dog is no longer concerned with the act of grabbing your sunglasses. then, maybe take just one step towards the door before turning to put your sunglasses back where they belong. take it step by step from there over a period of time until you can walk to the door without your pup being concerned. from there, you could grab your shoes and begin to put them on, immediately taking them off just like your sunglasses. same goes for the keys afterwards.

    this may already be a long process, but once you’ve nailed it, you can simply start by opening the door and closing it. then you can leave for a second or two and stand just outside the door, gradually increasing your time away. some dogs may rapidly progress through this process, while others may still seem stuck on one step or another for a long time. it’s ultimately important to do everything you can to set your dog up for success, and while this may not work for everybody, it is something certainly worth considering or discussing with a dog trainer if your dog’s separation anxiety is extreme.

    positive associations also go a long way towards helping anxiety. if you are looking to contain your dog’s environment to a crate or other enclosed area, taking the time to properly associate the space in a positive manner is great for your dog. you could do this with praise and treats, and/or by putting them into the space for a second before releasing them, making sure to do so while you are home. you can increase the time little by little, giving them lots of love through the process. also, make sure to use a different space for time out if you have one, in order to avoid negative associations.

    disclaimer: in no way is any of this advice meant to be taken as that of a professional’s. we all love our pets, and any suggestions within this article should be taken as nothing more than one loving pet parent trying to help another. separation anxiety is tough for us as owners, and even tougher for our pet. on behalf of the entire zadaka fam, i wish you all the best in your journey towards curing your pet’s separation anxiety.

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