Many pet owners are now giving their dogs cannabidiol (CBD) as a means of relieving anxiety and stress. While such practices have yet to be approved by veterinarians, many are reporting positive effects. And this comes as no surprise given the current research surrounding CBD and dogs.
Throughout this article, we’re going to take a deeper look at using CBD for dog anxiety. From there, we’ll list our top picks for the best CBD for dog anxiety.
How Does CBD Help with Dog Anxiety?
In the human body, CBD has an indirect effect on the endocannabinoid system (ECS). While researchers aren’t 100% sure as to what these effects are, it’s theorized that CBD helps to balance out our ECS, returning it to a state of homeostasis. As a result, many people are finding CBD to help relieve a wide range of symptoms and conditions.
Dogs (and other mammals) also have an ECS within their bodies. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that research is starting to find CBD may also keep their ECS in check. In terms of anxiety, we have the following to go off of:
- A 2020 study saw that CBD may help to reduce a noise-induced fear response in dogs.
- A 2023 study showed that dogs who took CBD experienced a reduction in fears of abandonment.
- A series of studies from Cornell University revealed that 83% of their conducted studies found a reduction in stress and anxiety in dogs who took CBD.
Naturally, all this research is very preliminary. Therefore, we cannot make any conclusions as to whether or not CBD will effectively help your dog’s anxiety. Still, this hasn’t stopped pet owners from giving it a shot.
CBD for Dog Anxiety: Dosage Guide
Finding the right dosage for your dog can be difficult – especially when considering the fact that dogs come in all shapes and sizes. Luckily, most CBD brands offer dosage recommendations directly on the product. If your dog is new to CBD, we recommend starting with this dosage and seeing how it affects them.
However, you may find that the recommended dose isn’t doing the job. This is okay! Not all dogs will be susceptible to what a brand may suggest and here are the reasons why:
- Anxiety Level – If your dog struggles with severe anxiety, there’s a good chance they will need a stronger dosage than the one recommended.
- Bodyweight – Most dosage recommendations are based on the weight of your pup.* Still, since all dogs are internally built differently, the weight might not be the only recommendation to go off of.
- Tolerance – If your dog has been taking CBD frequently, there’s a good chance they’ve developed a tolerance to it. In such cases, we recommend either taking a break from CBD or slightly raising the dosage.
*For bodyweight recommendations, you can refer to the following chart:
Our Criteria for the Best CBD for Dog Anxiety
In order to develop our list, we made the following criteria. If you plan on purchasing a product not mentioned here, we highly recommend you consider following this criterion as well.
Certificate of Analysis
Since the CBD industry is unregulated, brands must take it under their own belt in order to ensure safety and quality to customers. The way they do this is by running batches of product through a third-party lab test.
These will produce lab results known as a Certificate of Analysis (CoA). On these lab results, you’ll find a number of aspects of CBD, including its cannabinoid profile and whether or not it contains any contaminants, such as heavy metals.
Beyond the fact that we prefer brands that are transparent about their CoA, we also give priority to those who run all batches of products through a third-party lab.
If you’re wondering how a CBD product may affect your pet, we highly recommend looking at customer reviews. These are first-hand experiences others have with the product and will often give you more insight than the product page itself. More so, you’ll likely find comments people leave concerning whether or not a product was effective at helping dog anxiety.
In order to garner CBD, it must be extracted from the hemp plant. There are three standard extraction methods you can expect to find CBD products:
- Full-Spectrum – Contains all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other phytonutrients found in the hemp plant.
- Broad-Spectrum – The same as full-spectrum, except the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is removed.
- CBD Isolate – Purely CBD and no other cannabinoids.
Since you can’t determine your dog’s preference, it’s only worth noting that some pets are extremely sensitive to THC. In such cases, a broad-spectrum or isolate product will likely be ideal. However, if you want your pet to experience the entourage effect, then you should go with a full-spectrum extract.
In order to extract CBD, brands must find a hemp source. Some are vertically integrated, meaning they source their own hemp from their own farms. In most cases, this is ideal – especially if they have details of the manufacturing process on their website. Still, in other cases, we prefer brands that source from local farms with organic practices.
Most CBD oils are made using very simple ingredients: carrier oil, hemp extract, and flavoring. Still, these and other CBD products (such as dog treats) may also contain other active ingredients (such as chamomile). For these other active ingredients, we recommend doing a bit of research so you know exactly what you’re giving your dog. On top of this, it’s important to give the ingredient list a look in case your dog has any dietary restrictions.