Emotional distress is a major issue for many animals, and dogs suffer from it more than you may realize. Emotional distress leads our dogs to destructive and undesirable behaviors that can even present personality changes.
Your dog may suffer emotional distress from:
- Being left home alone
- Being separated from you or other family members and pets
- Being around strange animals
- Being around strange people
- Visiting the vet or the groomer
No matter the source of your dog’s emotional distress, it can result in some unfortunate behaviors that most owners find maddening. From dogs that leave puddles of drool on the floor when they’re left home alone, to pacing and over-grooming, there’s a vast array of environmentally-induced stress-related responses your dog may have that can leave you feeling virtually helpless to aid them.
What Environmental Stress Looks Like
When your dog is stressed because of their environment, their stress-response can go into overdrive; especially if the source of the environmental stress cannot be removed.
The first step in eliminating your dog’s environmental distress is by removing the environmental stressor or removing your dog from the stressful situation, if possible. Obviously, this will not be possible all of the time. Your dog has to go visit the veterinarian on occasion. Your neighbors may shoot off fireworks on holidays. You may have to leave your dog at home alone while you commute to work.
If you can’t eliminate the environmental stressor, you can attempt to mitigate the damages. Symptoms of environmentally-induced dog stress that can be harmful to your dog and to your personal property are:
- Chewing, clawing, scratching excessively at objects, surfaces, or themselves. This can include excessive grooming to the point of hair loss or open sores.
- Pacing, whining, barking, and other behavioral issues that display nervousness.
- Refusal to lie down and rest.
- Drooling, yawning, licking, and panting when no clear reason for these actions is present can also be a sign of environmental distress with your dog.
If you're concerned your dog has an overactive occasional stress response or if you know that there is a pending situation (like an upcoming trip to the veterinarian or a holiday, like 4th of July or New Year’s Eve, where fireworks are commonly used) that will temporarily stress them and cause them discomfort, you can take proactive measures to manage their temporary emotional distress and give them temporary comfort so they can rest just a little easier even with environmental stressors in play!
What To Do
The first place to start is by having your dog examined by their veterinarian. The veterinarian can help determine the source of your dog’s emotional distress and rule out any other disease, infection, or ailment that could be causing it. Once you’ve met with their veterinarian and have cleared out more serious medical conditions as a possible cause, you can start thinking about different ways you can try to help support your dog’s emotional well-being to better prepare them for stressful situations.
One option that has worked well for emotional balance in animals is CBD.
CBD oil is an all-natural, plant-based compound that interacts with your dog’s temporary stress response system. CBD is non-intoxicating and will not make your dog “high,” nor will it make her feel otherwise impaired. CBD contains less than .03% tetrahydrocannabinol, or “THC,” which is the cannabinoid in marijuana that delivers a feeling of euphoria. This trace amount cannot produce a psychoactive effect in your dog. CBD oil must contain less than .03% THC to be federally legal.
CBD can be extracted from the cannabis-sativa plant in one of three ways; as an isolate oil, broad-spectrum oil, or as a full-spectrum oil. Isolate oil refers to CBD that has been extracted in isolation; no other phytonutrients have been included in this oil. While this oil may be marketed as “pure” CBD oil, it is actually the cheapest to manufacture and provides the least amount of true CBD benefit to your dog.
Full-spectrum CBD oil has been extracted from the plant with other usable plant parts like flavonoids, and terpenes, (while broad-spectrum has all of these, minus THC). A full-spectrum oil can deliver more benefit to your dog because it contains more beneficial parts of the plant which are said to work together synergistically to produce stronger and more helpful results.
How Can CBD Oil Help My Dog?
CBD oil has long been used for its calming, soothing effect on the stress response system in humans, and now it is available in specially-formulated, veterinarian-created, full-spectrum CBD tinctures for your dog.
CBD can help calm your dog and promote relaxation, which can ease them into comfort and give them a better quality of life. It can also work to reduce the effects of their everyday environmental stressors by promoting overall emotional balance.
CBD oil is also virtually side-effect-free. It is generally very well tolerated by dogs, and very few reports of negative side effects have been reported.
What Amount of CBD Oil Is Good for My Dog?
CBD oil is not a one-size-fits-all supplement. Much of finding the perfect dose of CBD oil is trial and error done on the part of you, the pet owner.
While you should definitely begin by following recommended dosing guidelines, the amount of CBD oil that is most beneficial for your dog will depend on many factors.
Here are just a few:
- Your dog’s own weight and biochemistry
- Your dog’s food intake
- Your dog’s level of activity
- The severity of your dog’s environmental stress response
- The formula of your CBD oil
These are all items to consider when giving your dog a dose of CBD oil.
For VETCBD’s Full-Spectrum Hemp Tincture, 0.2mg per pound of body weight is the guideline. As such, a dog that weighs 10 pounds would receive 2mg of CBD oil. You should start off by attempting to give your dog half this amount to ensure it is well tolerated.
Additionally, this amount of CBD oil may be enough to have a positive change in behavior for your dog, which would mean they do not need more. It’s always better to start off slow and titrate the dose if more is needed.
As you test out your dog’s CBD dosing, keep in mind that depending on the factors above, your dog may need dosing once or even twice per day. Some dogs respond very well to a single dose per day, while others may need a second dose after the first one has worn off to be able to get through the day.
Be patient; if you do not recognize a change in your dog’s behavior immediately, do not be discouraged. Your dog can respond to treatment in time. The key is to be consistent.
What Are Some of the Side Effects of CBD Oil?
As previously mentioned, CBD oil is one of the most well-tolerated supplements available for use by canines. As such, the occurrences of side effects are virtually non-existent.
Because side effects can still occur, it is best to start your CBD oil dosing slowly, and adjust as needed and as tolerated. If you suspect your dog is not reacting positively to the CBD oil treatment, discontinue use and speak to her veterinarian.
Here are some of the most common side effects of CBD oil treatment in dogs:
- Minor GI discomfort. Vomiting and/or diarrhea can occur when a dog has been given too much CBD oil. This is why it is important to always start off slowly, with a small dose, and graduate the level of CBD as needed.
- Sleepiness or restfulness. A dog that has been given CBD oil may initially be tired or wish to rest because of the relaxation effects. This can be a normal, expected side effect, but if it lasts continually, you will need to speak to your dog’s veterinarian before continuing usage.
What Is the Best Way to Give CBD Oil to My Dog?You can give CBD oil to your dog through various methods. CBD oil is available to your dog in the form of:
- Topicals. Topicals are creams or lotions that are massaged into your dog’s skin to provide localized soothing to skin irritations or sore spots.
- Chews. Chews that contain CBD are given to your dog for ingestion, however, the chew method, while convenient, isn't the most accurate method of dosing. CBD chews can have empty calories and the CBD that is contained in a chew could be compromised by heat during the cooking cycle, which makes the CBD less valuable to your dog.
- Tinctures. Tinctures are a great way to give your dog CBD oil. Tinctures like ours typically contain only two ingredients: CBD oil, and a beneficial carrier oil like olive oil which more effectively delivers the CBD into the system. Tinctures are great for dosing your dog precisely and accurately every time and controlling the amount of CBD they get. Tinctures can be given to your dog directly from the tincture dropper.
CBD oil is a great way to provide calming, temporary comfort to your dog.
CBD oil provides support to your dog’s brain and nervous system so they can experience a better quality of life during everyday situations that can cause temporary stress and nervousness. CBD oil is easy on your dog’s gastrointestinal system and has very few side effects.
Plus, CBD comes with a collection of additional benefits, including maintaining joint mobility, supporting brain health, and promoting a healthy GI tract.