Like so many other doting dog owners, I’m willing to try just about anything when it comes to keeping my pup happy. Finley is a healthy and active 2-and-a-half-year-old Vizsla, but she has some behavioral issues that seem closely related to her always-anxious state of mind.
While other dogs might be content to lounge around the house all day and accept a chin or behind-the-ear scratch from their owners every now and again, Finley often seems agitated, uncomfortable with just being. She craves constant stimulation, and her need for attention manifests in some pretty annoying ways — like pawing, whining, and barking throughout the day. When I share this with other dog people, the first question most of them ask is, “Well, do you exercise her and give her an outlet for that energy?” All I can say is, “Yes and yes.” I’m her personal cruise-ship director most days — unless she’s at doggy daycare or on a puppy playdate — and I spend an incredible amount of time training, playing with, walking, running, and otherwise engaging with Finley.
Although I can put up with my dog’s toddler-like demeanor for the most part, I often find myself wondering if I will ever be able to sufficiently scratch Finley’s itch for attention or whether some calming aid might help. She’s already on Prozac and Xanax with a fish oil supplement for separation anxiety, so when I heard about Treatibles cannabidiol (CBD) treats for canines, I didn’t really hesitate to offer her up as a test subject. Once I learned that all-natural cannabinoid (which is derived from the nontoxic cannabis hemp plant) has no side effects (it doesn’t even cause euphoria or a high) and doesn’t interact with the medley of meds that Finley is on, I was game.
I started by offering my dog a single biscuit, and she gobbled it up in her usual breathless manner. (I wonder if she even tastes the treats sometimes.)
An hour later, Finley was still acting like her usual self, barking hysterically at passersby through the window and then staring intently at me while I nursed my newborn baby, begging to jump onto the nursery glider’s ottoman to gain closer access to us. I gave her another Treatible, then another, but she showed no signs of slowing down all afternoon.
The next day, after rereading the packaging’s instructions (I blame “mommy brain” on not reading them closely enough), I found out that the recommended dose is one treat per 10 pounds of dog. I had to reassure myself that there was no such thing as “overdosing” on Treatibles (the weight indications are just a guideline) before I gave Finley five and watched her closely.
It’s hard to describe what I saw, but within an hour I noticed Finley was definitely … different. Her playful personality was still there, but she seemed less overexcited and more relaxed in her skin.
It was one of the few times I’ve seen Finley awake and alert without looking like she was about to explode with energy. She still barked at the mailman in the late afternoon, but any time she followed the baby and me into the nursery, she was calm and simply happy to be in our company — not desperately pawing at me for something extra. And when I did give Finley my full attention for playing or training, she was quick to focus, whereas she typically becomes frenzied, which worries me with the baby around.
The true Treatibles test came when we were expecting company — a friend who is nine months pregnant and truly can’t have our dog jumping up to greet her or pawing at her belly. I broke up five biscuits and put them in a puzzle toy for Finley to occupy herself about an hour beforehand. Of course, I hadn’t deluded myself into thinking that Finley would be a completely different dog when my friend came over, so we kept her on the leash during the visit.
Finley gave her usual chorus of barks when there was a knock at the door, but she quickly settled down once we greeted our friend and sat down in the living room. She licked our friend’s hands a few times, but didn’t try to engage in some of her ruder, attention-seeking behavior, like jumping up on the couch or leaping in the air for a kiss on the mouth. I thanked my lucky stars that it was a low-key visit.
After seeing a noticeable change in Finley’s demeanor, I can’t help but wonder whether I might similarly benefit from the calm-inducing effects of CBD edibles. Interestingly, Treatibles has a sister company, Auntie Dolores, that produces gourmet artisan foods infused with medicinal cannabis for people. For now, I’m just glad that I have a new tool in my arsenal for helping Finley get some relief from a mind that races as fast as her four legs.
Quality: A-. The ingredients list on the back of the Treatibles package speaks to the quality of the product. From organic hemp and coconut oils to applesauce and cinnamon, the CBD treats are made with natural, good stuff. The only drawback I noticed is that they crumble a little when broken into pieces.
Style: The treats are bone-shaped and come in regular (pumpkin) and blueberry flavors, which Finley seemed to like equally.
Function: This is actually what sets apart Treatibles from traditional treats — the non-psychoactive function is meant to provide relief to pets experiencing pain, anxiety, and other types of suffering. I noticed a definite balancing effect on Finley regarding her ability to focus and listen to instructions without becoming overexcited, but her severe separation anxiety was still there whenever I tried to leave the room.
Creativity: There’s no real shortage of alternative therapies to help our pets, but this is one of the most creative I’ve come across so far. The fact that the ingredients are hemp-derived (with no THC or cannabis) and won’t conflict with other meds is a big plus.
Value: A $24 bag of treats is probably more than you care to spend, but if your pet experiences relief, it may be worth it.
I don’t expect any silver bullets when it comes to my pet and her behavioral issues, but Treatibles had a noticeable positive effect on Finley. While the CBD treats may not solve our puppy problems, they could probably make day-to-day life a little more comfortable for both of us.
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About the author: Whitney C. Harris is a New York-based freelance writer for websites including StrollerTraffic, Birchbox, and WhattoExpect.com. A former book and magazine editor, she enjoys running (with Finley), watching movies (also with Finley), and cooking meatless meals (usually with Finley watching close by).