Find out why CBD is the Swiss army knife of herbal supplements for anxiety and behavior issues in dogs and cats.
CBD-dominant cannabis, commonly known to us as “hemp”, is good for many different issues commonly affecting our dogs and cats. But the single most important reason why animal parents seek out CBD is its ability to calm an overactive nervous system. From excessive fears and anxieties that affect a dog or cat’s behavior, to extreme nervous system over-activity such as epileptic seizures, CBD has proven very helpful.
Research into CBD and its effects on fearful animals
Of all of the major and minor cannabinoids in cannabis, CBD has been the most studied when it comes to understanding its role in calming fearful dogs and cats. Many people agree that CBD helps reduce their animals’ anxieties, including fear of loud noises
such as fireworks and thunderstorms; trips to the vet or groomer; social anxieties such as houseguests or a new animal; and following trauma or surgical procedures.
I conducted a survey of 98 dogs in five different metropolitan centers to assess their response to a CBD calming soft chew (Silver, RJ, Abraham-Paiss, AR. “The Behavioral Impact of a CBD-containing Nutraceutical Formulation on Privately-Owned Dogs”. 2021.
Unpublished study, available upon request). The survey was conducted both before and after 30 days of daily soft chew consumption, and the dosage was based on each dog’s weight. A significantly high number of survey participants said that the CBD reduced
their dogs’ fears of noises, travel and introduction to other animals.
Dosages for calming are typically lower
One of the most interesting things about how CBD works to reduce anxiety is that the dosages are generally lower — by 25% to 50% — than those needed for pain, arthritis or epilepsy. We’ve also found that CBD works best for anxiety and behavior if it is given before the feared event occurs. For instance, if your animal stresses while riding in the car, give him CBD 30 to 60 minutes before you get in the car, since it takes about that long to for its effectiveness to peak after administration.
It takes a little math to get the dose right for your animal. The product label should tell you how many milligrams of CBD are included per dosing unit (milliliters, soft chew, capsule, etc.). You then need to know what your animal weighs. If you don’t know, weigh yourself on a bathroom scale, then hold your animal and weigh the both of you.
Subtract your own weight, and you have the weight of your dog or cat. Multiply that amount in pounds by 0.25 mg of CBD, and you get a good starting dose for your animal.
CBD can be given solely before a stressful event, but for animals that are generally anxious it should be given twice daily, either in a soft chew or in the form of oil given with a small amount of food before regular meals; CBD is four to five times better absorbed when given with food.
CBD, the Swiss Army knife of herbal extracts, can help you and your dog or cat get through these stressful times, and give you both better quality of life!
Dr. Robert J. Silver is a 1982 graduate of Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. He has pioneered the use of diet, herbs and nutraceuticals in his small animal integrative practice in Boulder, Colorado for the past 25 years. He writes and speaks both domestically and internationally to veterinary audiences on the value of blending holistic modalities with conventional medicine, and is a consultant to the pet food industry. He is also the Chief Medical Officer of Real Mushrooms for Pets.