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Can CBD Help My Dog With Anxiety? Vet-Verified Facts, Dosage & FAQ

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on May 8, 2024 by Dogster Team

cbd oil in the dropper

Can CBD Help My Dog With Anxiety? Vet-Verified Facts, Dosage & FAQ

VET APPROVED

Dr. Luqman Javed Photo

REVIEWED & FACT-CHECKED BY

Dr. Luqman Javed

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe. According to the NHS, everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life 1. Prolonged episodes of anxiety may require therapy or medication. Dogs, like humans, can also suffer from anxiety, which may require medication in some cases.

CBD is becoming popular for treating various ailments, especially anxiety. It may have piqued your interest, and if your dog is battling anxiety, you may wonder if CBD is the answer. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound that is an effective calming aid for dogs suffering from panic attacks or anxiety, provided  it’s approved by your veterinarian. While there is varying research, the safety and efficacy of CBD are promising.

 

Please Note:

The FDA has not yet approved the use of CBD or any other hemp-containing products in animals to treat any ailment. If you plan to administer CBD to your pet, you should consult with your veterinarian before doing so.

What Is CBD Oil?

CBD is cannabidiol, which is a popular remedy used today for various ailments. CBD is one of the cannabinoids that are found in the hemp plant and works by interacting with cannabinoid receptors, which are a component of the endocannabinoid system.

It is also a non-psychoactive compound and should not be confused with THC. CBD is extracted from the hemp plant and mixed with a carrier oil. Most CBD oils produced for dogs are full-spectrum, meaning they contain all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids in the hemp plant.

CBD oil
Image Credit: Aedka Studio, Shutterstock

Is CBD Safe to Give to Your Dog for Anxiety?

CBD is typically safe to give to your dogs panic attacks or anxiety (assuming your vet approves it for your pup). Research suggests there is no potential for dependence by dogs, and it may be a valuable treatment for a range of ailments, including anxiety, and may improve your dog’s quality of life.

While CBD is mostly safe, some research has discovered that it may cause liver irritation, but more research needs to be done. Therefore, it is best to consult with your veterinarian before giving your dog CBD.

Side effects are minimal, making it a safe choice for your dog. The common side effects are usually tiredness and dry mouth. Always consult your vet if you feel unsure about what is best for your dog, especially if they are on medication.

Will CBD Help My Dog’s Anxiety?

Anxiety is a common reason for using CBD, and just like humans, it can be helpful for several types of canine anxiety. Anxiety can come in bouts due to fear or situational stress or from the separation pets experience when their owners are away.

CBD can help with episodes lasting 4–8 hours, providing your dog relief. It isn’t effective for long-term anxiety issues, though it can often be dosed without issues for up to 6 months with no adverse effects.

Anxiety Signs

Your dog usually uses body language to communicate that something is bothering them.

Some signs of anxiety include:
  • Shaking
  • Trembling
  • Pacing
  • Lip licking and yawning
  • Hypervigilance
  • Increased heart rate and panting
  • Dilated pupils
  • Decreased appetite
golden retriever not eating its food
Image By: Phuttharak, Shutterstock

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How Much CBD Can You Give Your Dog?

It is imperative to determine how much CBD you should give your dog. Introduce it slowly and, if necessary, gradually increase the dosage.

A few factors come into play when determining how much to dose your dog, and each pup will be different. Smaller dogs will typically require less than larger ones, and some may be more sensitive than others.

It is recommended to start your dog’s dosage based on its weight. A basic guideline for your dog’s dosage (in milligrams) determined by weight would be:

Research of individual products containing CBD have established safe doses for dogs. For example, research has shown that healthy adult dogs can tolerate CBD at doses of 4 mg/kg for up to 6 months with no adverse signs for some formulations (in pill form). To calculate an acceptable dose for your dog, the best method is to follow the manufacturer dosing instructions on the CBD product you purchase.

In instances where this information isn’t available to you, to calculate a dose, you would need the following information:
  • Your dog’s weight
  • A safe dose for your dog (confirmed with your vet)
  • The concentration of the CBD product you have

Let’s say your pup weighs 5 pounds. To calculate the dose for your dog, you would first calculate the safe dose for your dog.

  • For this example, we assume a dose of 4 mg/kg is safe for a healthy adult dog
  • 5 pounds is approximately 2.3 kg
  • Therefore, the dose for your pup would be 2.3 x 4 = 9.2 mg
  • Next, you’d have to divide this dose by the concentration of the product. Let’s say the product has 10mg of CBD in 1 milliliter of the liquid.
  • Therefore, the amount to give your dog would be 9.2/10 = 0.9 ml
Important!

Please note that the calculations above are just an example that assumes a safe dose that was used in one experimental study. This does not mean it is the same dose for the CBD product you have.

You should ALWAYS consult with your veterinarian to ascertain the safe dose for your dog, and the amount of CBD you can safely give your dog. You should not self-medicate your dog if you aren’t sure of a dose. Overdosing any drug can be very harmful to your dog.

How Do I Give My Dog CBD Oil?

Most pet owners will simply drop CBD oil into their dog’s mouth with a dropper. You could also drop it over their food or water to disguise the taste a bit.

CBD treats and dog chews are also available, but if you want to be in control of dosage, then a dropper is a better option.

When the CBD is mixed into food or as a treat, expect the effects to take longer because it will still need to be digested. If you use a dropper, your dog will begin to feel relief within 20 minutes.

woman giving CBD oil to her dog
Image By: Erin_Hinterland, Pixabay

How to Find the Correct CBD Oil for Your Dog?

The type of CBD you choose for your dog is just as important as dosage. There are three types of CBD oil available, full spectrum CBD, broad spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate.

Full-spectrum CBD includes extracts from the whole cannabis plant while the broad-spectrum CBD contains multiple cannabinoids, except for THC. CBD isolate contains CBD only and nothing else.

When choosing a good CBD product for your dog, there are a few things to look out for:

  • Forms: CBD will need a carrier which can be an oil or tincture. An oil is made by infusing CBD with an oil such as hemp or coconut oil, and a tincture is made by a method of extracting CBD with the use of alcohol. You can also get chewable treats, capsules, and topical creams.
  • Third-party tested: Over-the-counter CBD products are not guaranteed for safety, quality, or effectiveness by the FDA. The FDA does not regulate these products, so it’s essential to check if a third party has tested them. Some companies can misrepresent their products, and you need to do your research to make sure what you are getting is safe.
  • Other Ingredients: Always read the label and check the company’s website for a full list of ingredients, and check in with your vet to confirm if they are okay for your dog.
  • Origin: Look for CBD products that are grown locally in the US and are organic. Organic will mean your dog is less likely to consume pesticides or chemicals.

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Conclusion

CBD is a common method to treat several ailments and has shown some promising results. It can be a safe and effective option to treat your dog’s anxiety. Every dog will respond differently, but CBD has very few side effects in otherwise healthy adult dogs that receive an appropriate dosage.

It’s best not to mix CBD products with other medications, and always consult your vet if you are unsure.


Featured Image Credit: CRYSTALWEED cannabis, Unsplash

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