Dogs, like humans, grapple with stress and anxiety from time to time.
Canine anxiety can be due to situational events like thunderstorms or drastic routine changes. The condition could also result from full-blown mental disorders, such as separation anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Stress and anxiety in dogs are treatable using conventional antidepressants. But while these drugs are somewhat effective, they may leave your dog nursing a host of adverse effects. That’s why many veterinarians now recommend alternative anxiolytic compounds like CBD.
However, if you’ve never administered CBD to your dog before, you’re bound to wonder whether this compound will live up to its anxiolytic claims or not. Those concerns shall be the focus of this article.
Read below as we expound further on the effects of CBD products in calming down a restless dog.
What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound found naturally in cannabis. CBD is famous both for its powerful medicinal benefits and non-intoxicating properties. In other words, this substance lacks marijuana’s signature euphoric effects.
Cannabidiol has been used to treat numerous ailments in humans for years. The compound is so therapeutically effective that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has since approved a CBD-based drug called epidiolex for treating certain epileptic disorders.
It turns out that CBD could be just as useful for dogs as it is for humans. That’s because, like us, our canine friends possess the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex cell-regulatory system through which CBD and other cannabis-derived compounds affect the body.
Administering CBD for dogs obtained from credible companies like CBDFX might help treat various ailments in your pooch, including stress and anxiety.
How Does CBD Calm Your Dog Down?
As already pointed out, dogs possess the endocannabinoid system. This cell-regulatory system supports various physiological functions, including stress relief.
The endocannabinoid system contains a vast network of receptors known as endocannabinoid receptors. Notable ones are CB1 receptors that predominantly occur in the brain and central nervous system (CNS) and CB2 receptors widespread in peripheral organs and tissues, including the gut and extremities.
Besides receptors, the ECS also contains various neurotransmitters. These include hormones like cortisol and enzymes like fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH).
Now, research has shown that cannabidiol may interact with certain endocannabinoid receptors and neurotransmitters in a manner that produces anxiolytic benefits. For instance, this study found that CBD might decrease cortisol levels.
Cortisol is a useful hormone that helps regulate your dog’s food metabolism, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. The hormone also plays a key role in modulating inflammatory responses and aiding immune functions. However, excess cortisol levels may cause various markers of stress, such as irritability, high blood pressure, and elevated heart rate. By keeping cortisol levels in check, CBD plays a role in preventing this hormone from triggering anxiety in dogs.
Cannabidiol may also calm your dog down through its positive interactions with serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter noted for its diverse mental health benefits.
There’s a direct correlation between low serotonin levels and behavioral disorders in dogs. As a matter of fact, anxiety and depression in dogs is commonly treated using a class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). A common SSRI used in managing anxiety in dogs is known as Fluoxetine (brand names: Reconcile®, Prozac®, Sarafem®).
CBD combats stress and anxiety in a more or less similar manner as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. But unlike conventional SSRIs, the compound only produces mild and short-lasting adverse effects.
Will CBD Get My Dog High?
A common concern among many would-be cannabidiol users often relates to the compound’s potential mind-altering effects.
The good news is that pure CBD is non-psychoactive. Therefore, the compound won’t get your dog high. That’s in contrast to its closer cousin – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The reason cannabidiol has no psychoactive abilities has a lot to do with the specific receptors it affects. When consumed, CBD binds more to CB2 receptors than CB1 receptors. Since CB2 receptors are located further from the brain and CNS, most substances that impact these receptors (such as cannabidiol) have no significant effects on the psyche.
However, note that CBD products are not made equal. Certain CBD goods might contain substantial concentrations of THC and other psychoactive marijuana chemicals. Such products are known as full-spectrum.
Humans can comfortably consume full-spectrum CBD supplements. In fact, medical marijuana doctors recommend these products for their entourage effect. However, dogs should never have products laced with intoxicating compounds like THC. Research indicates that dogs have more CB1 receptors in their brain compared to humans. Therefore, they generally react more dramatically to psychedelic drugs like THC.
What Are The Best CBD Products For Anxious Dogs?
As we’ve just indicated, dogs shouldn’t have full-spectrum cannabidiol products. Instead, insist on broad-spectrum CBD or CBD isolates.
Broad-spectrum CBD contains cannabidiol and other non-psychoactive cannabis compounds. On the other hand, CBD isolates contain cannabidiol as the only active cannabis ingredient.
In addition to shunning full-spectrum cannabidiol, it’s also important to choose the right CBD product formulation for your dog.
Oral tinctures are generally preferable for their fast onset time. However, these products would be unideal for skittish dogs. The best way to administer cannabidiol to a nervous dog is by serving him CBD-infused kibble.
Cannabidiol can be incredibly effective at calming your dog down. Just remember to choose the right product and administer the compound moderately. A CBD overdose might cause your pooch more harm than good.
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