Anxiety and Phobias in Toy Breeds: Can CBD Oil Help?
We want the best for our pocket pets. And, it can be heartbreaking if they suffer from anxiety-related problems and phobias. Of course, we want to help them be comfortable and at ease. However, how best to do that isn’t always a clear and easy path.
Back in 2012, my mother and I adopted Lola, a darling little chihuahua who picked us when we visited her at a local rescue organization. Not long after bringing her home, we realized that she was suffering from both general anxieties as well as a debilitating fear of car rides and thunderstorms. We tried to comfort her and hoped that maybe the stress of rehoming would pass once she settled in.
Unfortunately, Lola didn’t get better on her own. She just seemed constantly nervous. She was terrified during thunderstorms. During car rides, her anxiety reached the level of a true phobia as she audibly cried, panted, drooled, and acted as if she was being tortured. It was completely heartbreaking.
Our first attempt to help her included prescription pharmaceuticals recommended by her vet, however, we found that for her, the tranquilizers were so powerful that she was simply tired all the time. Our little darling went from being hypervigilant to being depressed and “out of it” most of the day. We knew it wasn’t the right solution for her.
So, we started doing our research to learn if there were any natural products that were effective for anxiety. That is when we first learned about CBD oil. With our vet’s approval, we decided to give it a try. For Lola, the results were amazing. She started to relax, and after a few weeks, she was a completely different dog. Her fear of thunderstorms and car rides began to decrease as well. Now they don’t even seem to phase her.
Inspired by Lola, my mother and I founded LolaHemp to make sure that dog lovers had access to quality, organic, full-spectrum CBD oil made just for dogs. In addition, we wanted to make sure that other rescue dogs also had access to this calming natural product. So, we decided to donate one bottle for every four sold to a rescue organization to give back to the groups that helped save our little girl until she found her fur-ever home.
What About the Science Behind CBD Oil and Anxiety and Phobias in Dogs?
Great question! In fact, we think that educating people about the research that supports the use of CBD oil for anxiety in dogs is important. Let’s take a closer look:
CBD Oil Made from Hemp is Safe for Dogs.
You may have heard about some dogs that have become very ill from ingesting marijuana or marijuana-infused snacks. However, the chemical in recreational or medical-grade marijuana that is dangerous to dogs is called THC. This is the compound that also causes the “high” associated with cannabis. However, industrial hemp has been deliberately cultivated for its very low levels of THC, less than .3% by law.
As long as CBD oil is made from hemp, it has been shown to be safe for our canine companions.
How Does CBD Oil Work?
All animals, including people and canines, have what is known as the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). This system works with the central, peripheral, and enteric nervous systems. It has been known for a few decades now that the ECS helps to promote balance, known by biologists as homeostasis, to a variety of biological processes. In fact, it regulates a lot of the body’s functions including mood, digestion, perception of pain, inflammation, skin health, and more.
CBD Oil, also known as cannabidiol, works by interacting with the Endocannabinoid System, which in turn regulates many biological processes and promotes balance.
CBD Oil and Anxiety
Cannabidiol has been the subject of intense medical research for over two decades. The myth that we “don’t know” about its properties simply isn’t accurate. In fact, although most of the research has been done on lab animals and humans, we actually know a great deal about the properties of this compound which is naturally found in hemp extract.
The anti-anxiety properties of CBD oil are well known and have been repeatedly demonstrated in dozens of studies. It has been studied relative to several types of anxiety disorders in humans including social anxiety disorder (SAD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), among others. Although it has not been the subject of veterinary trials as a treatment for anxiety, it is largely believed that the mechanisms of action are similar.
CBD oil appears to work in two main ways. First, it seems to operate directly on the neurochemistry of the central nervous system by triggering several neuroreceptors such as the 5-HT1A receptors, long a target of pharmaceutical drugs to treat anxiety disorders.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly in the case of learned fear such as phobias, CBD seems to help the brain “forget” the association between a given trigger and the original trauma. This may be why it is so effective in helping dogs with phobias such as fear of thunderstorms, fear of car rides, and separation anxiety.
CBD oil made from hemp has been scientifically shown to reduce anxiety both directly and by helping the nervous system to “forget” learned fear.
Is CBD Oil Right for Your Small Dog?
If you decide to give CBD oil for your dog a try, it is available without a prescription. However, it is recommended that you purchase from a site, such as LolaHemp, which publish independent lab results for their product right on the website to ensure both quality (free of contaminants such as pesticides) and concentration, so that you can feel good about buying from a trusted source.
In addition, it is important to check with your vet, particularly if your dog is taking other medications. Similar to the way grapefruit can react with certain drugs, CBD oil can interfere with other medications. And, since the symptoms of anxiety can sometimes be about a deeper underlying medical issue, it is always wise to seek veterinary care to rule out any other problems that may need immediate treatment.
About the Author:
Joey DiFrancesco is the co-owner of LolaHemp, offering organic, full-spectrum CBD oil made just for dogs. His commitment to animal welfare includes working with several rescue organizations in the New York City area as well as raising money for these groups through Lolawawa’s, an online doggy boutique.
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