CBD For Dogs With Anxiety: How Does It Work To Calm Your Pet?
Whether it is fireworks, travelling, moving to a new home, trips to the vet or groomer or adjusting to new pets and people – dogs have plenty of reasons to worry during their day-to-day life. Nowadays, many people prefer to buy CBD oil both for themselves and specially designed options of this supplement for their four-legged friends as a natural solution to various prescribed and over-the-counter anti-anxiety drugs with their potentially harmful side effects.
For now, the research on CBD and its effect on pet wellbeing is very sparse. However, the existing clinical trials and anecdotal evidence from pet owners suggest that CBD has the potential to be a legitimate supplement to treatment and can help to maintain a healthy nervous system in pets. Let’s find out how exactly CBD works for dogs with anxiety.
A Crash Course On Endocannabinoid System In Pets
There have been a couple of studies showing that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is present in species other than humans. In 2012, the study by the University of Pisa concluded that Cannabidiol receptors of two types could be found in the skin of both healthy dogs and those with atopic dermatitis. In 2018, the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hannover concluded that the ECS is involved in immunomodulation and control of inflammatory processes in canines.
If you are wondering who is the most primitive carrier of the ECS, these are sea squirts and flatworms. You and your dog have much more in common than you might think. In particular, the ECS. It has three essential components:
- Metabolic enzymes;
- Cannabinoid receptors;
Metabolic enzymes include two big enzymes, such as FAAH (Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase) and MAGL (Monoacylglycerol Lipase), which accelerate cannabinoids synthesis and breakdown once they’ve served their purpose.
Cannabinoid receptors rest in cell membranes throughout the body. They work like a car ignition and inf, including pain perception, immune system, sleep, mood and neurogenesis.
There are two major receptors, such as CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are localised mainly in the nervous system, connective tissues, organs and glands. CB2 receptors are predominantly expressed in peripheral tissues, immune cells and organs.
Cannabinoids interact with all these receptors, so you may think of them as a car key or a button that starts the engine. There are two types of cannabinoids, such as endogenous (endocannabinoids) and phytocannabinoids.
Endocannabinoids (e.g., Anandamide and 2AG) are synthesised when the body needs to restore homeostasis, and are degraded by metabolic enzymes afterwards.
Sometimes, the body becomes deficient in its cannabinoids. In this case, it can resort to the phytocannabinoids from plants or synthetically made cannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids are usually extracted from Cannabis saliva and include the following components:
- CBD (cannabidiol);
- THC (tetrahydrocannabinol);
- CBN (cannabinol);
- CBL (cannabicyclol);
- CBC (cannabichromene).
THC and CBD are the most prominent phytocannabinoids. However, CBD is considered the safest compound to use for pet treatment as it does not bind to CB1 receptors and cannot act on the brain. Hemp-derived CBD oil is delivered to your dog’s system through the bloodstream and then aid in regulating physiological processes.
CBD Oil & Dog’s Anxiety
A dog can suddenly get terrified of the smallest things, get nervous when you leave the house or become unpredictable. This behaviour is a sign of anxiety.
As with humans, a dog’s anxiety is a complex issue which doesn’t happen out of the blue, and you may never know its exact sources. In general, there are two groups of anxiety causes in dogs:
- Situational. In this case, your dog reacts to immediate triggers like strangers, another dog’s barking or fireworks;
- Behavioural. This type is more complex as it involves the reflection of past experiences. For example, a dog remembers separation from the owner or cruel treatment by other people.
Behavioural anxiety, in its turn, also has different types: separation, rescue/former shelter, illness-induced and general anxiety.
- Separation anxiety. When the primary caregiver leaves the dog for some time, it starts to destroy the furniture, bark or howl excessively, and potty in the house. This type of anxiety is very common as dogs are social animals by nature, and it’s hard for them to experience loneliness and boredom.
- Rescue/former shelter anxiety happens to dogs that have spent a period of time in shelters. So they have memories of being abandoned.
- Illness-induced anxiety is often caused by the following conditions: hypothyroidism, thyrotoxicosis, encephalitis, pre-diabetes, and hearing or vision loss.
- General anxiety is the term encompassing the cases when the cause for anxiety can’t be determined. It happens when the symptoms are subtle and aren’t treated as abnormal behaviour. Also, the signs of anxiety are sometimes considered to be common characteristics of a breed. Pay attention to the following breeds:
- German & Australian Shepherd;
- Labrador Retriever;
- Border Collie;
- Shorthair Pointer;
- Cocker Spaniel;
- Bichon Frise;
- King Charles Spaniel;
- Toy breeds;
In case your fluffy friend belongs to one of these breeds, there are more chances that it will experience anxiety. Regardless of anxiety nature, the condition manifests itself in a range of common symptoms:
- Non-stop barking;
- Dribbling pee around the house;
- Chewing any object that comes in sight;
- Tail thumping;
- Constant yawning;
- Trembling and shaking;
These symptoms can be treated by using CBD oil for anxiety. Phytocannabinoids from the oil work their way through the body and give relief to the stressed areas. Without causing psychoactivity, it also enters the brain and interacts with serotonin receptors to help in producing this ‘happy hormone’ in the system.