Nearly everyone can understand what huge impact anxiety can have on a dog’s life. After all, when your pooch is anxious, you’ll become anxious too! It also can result in numerous destructive behaviors. The good news is that there are so many ways to help your dog feel less anxious!
With anxiety treatments ranging from Prozac, essential oils, melatonin, and classical music to CBD oil, it’s no wonder that we may get confused at times as to the best options available. But it’s a no-brainer!
With some dogs having full-blown panic attacks, and others pacing and whining, it’s best that we discuss the many symptoms of canine anxiety, as well as the numerous causes.
Anxiety in dogs is the anticipation of danger that is accompanied by tension. Dogs that are anxious will pace, have tense muscles, be extra vigilant, and will have increased movement. Numerous health problems in dogs stem from behavioral problems. That said, it’s important that pet parents understand why their dogs are anxious and take the necessary steps to ease canine anxiety.
Storm phobia may result in dogs panting, pacing, hiding, and having a full-blown panic attack. They may eliminate inside the home and show signs of aggression. Sound sensitivity is more common in breeds like the German Shepherd, Border Collie, and Lab. According to Dr. Monique Udell, Oregon State University, “exposure to sounds early in life, especially those a dog is likely to encounter as an adult, is an important part of socialization,” via Claudia Bensimoun, Animal Wellness.
Veterinarian Dr. Kathryn Lord suggests desensitization to new sounds from a very young age and discusses how early experiences throughout puppyhood contribute to sound sensitivity.
“Dogs’ ears open around three weeks of age,” she says. “At that point they have little or no fear of novelty. So this is a good time to start introducing them to sounds. Sounds they hear at this point, up through eight weeks, will not be frightening later. Fear increases as they approach eight weeks, so caution should be taken the closer they get to this age. It is best to introduce novel sounds when pups are in a comfortable and familiar place. Many sound phobias start from bad experiences with novel sounds. If dogs are familiar with a variety of sounds, they are less likely to develop phobias down the road,” via Claudia Bensimoun, Animal Wellness.
With so many environmental factors coming into play, there are numerous things that can make your dog fearful. It’s important that dog parents be observant and watch their dogs closely in certain situations.
“Dogs have an increase in stress hormones when life is uncertain,” says Dr. Nicholas Dodman, BVMS, MRCVS, Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, adding that the following situations are among the most stressful for dogs:
While some stressful situations can be eliminated beforehand, others like storm phobia, possibly travel cannot. Dr. Dodman suggests meeting one of a dog’s most basic needs. “Exercise minimizes stress,” says Dr. Dodman. “Dogs should run, swim, or participate in aerobic exercises like flyball or agility. Exercise has both calming and mood-stabilizing effects,” via Claudia Bensimoun, Animal Wellness.
Dr. Dodman also suggests creating an enriched environment for your dog. “Helping to keep him busy, engaged and mentally stimulated can calm negative stress reactions. Consider adding the following to your dog’s environment, DOG TV, interactive dog toys, windows with a view, and food puzzle toys to help ease anxiety.”
According to the Hemp Business Journal, the CBD market is projected to reach 2.1 billion in consumer sales by 2020, so it’s best to understand a little more about why CBD oil products may help dogs suffering from anxiety.
With more natural alternatives like CBD oil for canine anxiety, studies have also demonstrated how effective it may be.
Besides helping to ease stress in dogs, CBD may also help dogs with the following health conditions:
There are many studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of CBD oil in treating anxious dogs. Today, the popularity of CBD oil for pets continues to grow. CBD oil in pet products contains less than 0.3 % THC, which is the psychoactive component, so dogs don’t get a “high” after consuming it. It is also derived from hemp.
CBD acts on the endocannabinoid receptors and affects the receptors by regulating neural transmissions. CBD oil for dogs is helpful in the treatment of numerous conditions without taking on the intoxicating effect of marijuana.
We want the best for our dogs, so let’s take an in-depth look at the benefits of CBD oil for dogs.
High-quality CBD products for dogs like NaturalDoggie may be used safely when under the guidance of a CBD-trained veterinarian. Prior to purchasing any CBD products for your dogs make sure that you know all there is to know about the product, most importantly dosage instructions.
That said, the potency of CBD oils both in capsule form and in dropper containers is much stronger. These are sometimes more difficult to administer to dogs, most especially if they’re stressed. Dogs that don’t take easily to having CBD oils administered, should opt for CBD dog treats instead.
A few product lines contain phytocannabinoids, terpenes and fatty acids which support a huge range of ailments like phobias, anxiousness joint pain, inflammation, digestive issues, mobility, seizures and anxiety.
According to Veterinary Medicine DMV, 360, “Dogs with conditions such as epileptic seizures, anxiety, acute pain, poor appetite and nausea could also experience benefits from cannabinoid-infused treats. Preliminary data from Dr. Stephanie McGrawth’s lab at Colorado State University reportedly showed 89% of canines that received CBD in a clinical trial had a reduced frequency of seizures compared to 43% in the control group. While we don’t have studies for specific conditions other than OA in dogs published so far for companion animals, we do have numerous studies in lab animal models and humans on the efficacy of cannabis products for several conditions such as epilepsy, anxiety, inappetence and nausea.”
Dr. Casara Andre, founder of Veterinary Cannabis Education and Consulting goes on to explain that there are way too many bogus CBD products for pets on the market. She recommends that other veterinarians do the following:
“If team members are asked about CBD or cannabis products, I would encourage them to pass the question off to someone who is well-versed on the endocannabinoid system, potential drug interactions, the pros and cons of cannabis therapy and how to choose the right product for the patient.” That said, this shows that it’s extremely necessary that pet parents discuss CBD oil use with their vets prior to purchasing or using CBD on their dogs.
Thunder shirts, weighted blankets and classical music are additional calming aids that dog parents can use. Here are some anti-anxiety options:
. Flower essences
. Homeopathic remedies like Aconitum, Phosphorus, Argentum Nitricum
. Anti-static jackets for dogs
. White noise pheromone therapy
. Traditional anti-anxiety meds like Prozac
All-in-all, if you have recently adopted a dog that has a fearful temperament or was not properly socialized, the first step is positive training and behavior modification which should be added to the de-stressing aids.
Calming yourself as well when your dog is anxious will also help your dog to relax during fearful situations. That said, it’s still important to know exactly which situations will trigger off the panic attacks so that you can improve your dog’s responses to these anxiety triggers.
Claudia Bensimoun is a freelance journalist and author, and specializes in veterinary content, and eBooks. She's a long-time feature writer for Animal Wellness magazine, Fido Friendly magazine, and the United States Dog Agility Association. In addition, Bensimoun has written for numerous pet websites, magazines, newspapers and online publications. Her interests include wildlife conservation, animal welfare, disaster/ humanitarian relief, veterinary research, and veganism.