CBD oil for dogs and cats suffering with trauma
When an animal’s instincts reveal a threat to their safety, they instantly develop stress and fear responses. Once the danger is eliminated, behavior resumes as normal. In the wild, this perception is critical because it has the potential to prevent harm. But in a domestic pet’s situation, these can progress into cases of chronic or irrational fears.
There are a multitude of situations that can bring trauma to an animal whether they were rescued from an abusive situation, if they were a shelter dog, or if they were stray when you found them. In some cases, dogs view living inside a house as a ‘captive’ scenario instead of being free outside which instills a type of stress.
Technically, that makes sense. We create an environment where our furry friends have to depend on us for every aspect of their lives. Then we leave for entire days at a time. For a dog or a cat that’s an eternity. They have no idea how they will survive inside this huge box if we decide to not return – fear, stress, anxiety, trauma.
Treating Trauma For Our Companion Pets
Many animals suffer from some form of trauma whether it’s of their own volition or preexisting conditions. The first step in helping a domestic pet with these issues will be a professional, either a vet or a behavioral specialist. In many cases when health issues are ruled out as the potential cause for the issues, the plan of care involves prescribing medication.,
If for instance, an anxious episode erupts when there are loud noises, such as thunder, or when it comes time to travel in a car, anti-anxiety medications are the solution. In addition, daily prescriptions are required if there are chronic situations at home. These pharmaceuticals are strong, chemically-laden, meant-for-human- consumption, medications with the potential for harmful side effects for our furry friends, including the potential to increase their stress and anxiety.
When you give a companion animal already unsure and scared, a substance that further impairs them, the fear and stress become amplified. There are instances, of course, where doctor-prescribed medication is critical, and often the only option. But there are also instances where it is just a ‘presumption,’ instead of assessing the situation and properly attempting to eliminate the sources causing the problems.
Cannabidiol As An Alternative To Pharmaceuticals
Despite the debates that pet parents and pharmaceutical companies can go around regarding the harsh side effects experienced by their pets when ingesting the substances, they are at times the only viable option for treating serious medical conditions.
As pet parents, the ultimate goal is to ensure the animal is taken care of to the best of our ability and that of the medical community for the condition they’re suffering. Often, depending on the severity, these types of drugs are imperative.
But in addition or as an alternative in some cases, there are organic, nontoxic substances that can be incorporated boasting the ability to potentially relieve symptoms associated with some of these ailments as well. Claims suggest that cannabidiol or CBD oil derived from the hemp plant offers a solution for pets suffering with varying degrees of trauma. For guidelines on CBD relating to dogs go to this link.
There are minimal scientific studies with CBD specifically relating to companion animals suffering with anxiety in order to show evidential effects. But because all mammals have an endocannabinoid system or ECS which similarly mediates cannabis, a ‘metadata’ study finds it will affect all mammals the same. Scientists have not figured out precisely how the compound helps anxiety in mammals, but through a multitude of studies on other species, they know that it does work.
Claims suggest in its capacity, CBD has the potential for boosting levels of serotonin in the brain, improving overall mood, helps with recall or memory, and alleviates symptoms of stress. It also boasts reducing symptoms relating to physical issues like chronic pain. This can often trigger moments of reactivity or anxious episodes in itself.
Moments Or Chronic Episodes of Trauma And Fear
CBD oil products are incredibly versatile in their use. Check online with companies like Pet Hemp Company to learn the various options. The claim is these have the capacity for use on an ongoing basis for those pets who suffer with chronic conditions.
Fortunately, cannabidiol is an organic, nontoxic, non psychoactive derivative of the hemp plant with minute side effects, if any. That means your fur baby can take it regularly and, depending on their body chemistry, should have no adverse reactions.
There are some pets, though, who won’t need to be subjected to ongoing treatment. Some animals have momentary fears and phobias that just need to be handled in that instant, like if there’s a thunderstorm, or if they need to take a ride in the car. A simple one-time dose to get the critter through the trauma experience and then they’re back to normal.
As pet parents who adopt or rescue animals, we’re not always privy to what they’ve been subjected to in their previous life. These dogs and cats can’t speak their truth to us. When they show their fear and upset, we need to react immediately to bring comfort to their little souls. Click to read about animals treating using cannabidiol through rescue organizations.
It may run much deeper than you know or it could just be a trigger that passes when the activity stops. It doesn’t matter. Chronic, momentary – as their new parents, it’s our responsibility to stop it and keep it from happening again. We are here to make their journey peaceful, joyful, loving, and well, however we need to make that happen.
PTSD In Dogs And How To Manage It Naturally
We’ve all heard of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in humans. But do dogs get PTSD too?
What Is PTSD In Dogs?
PTSD occurs in people who’ve experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. It can be a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war or combat. They could deal with threats of death, sexual violence or serious injury. PTSD is a psychiatric disorder as there’s often no physical injury. It can involve vivid flashbacks, nightmares and intense distress when reminded of the trauma.
Dogs go through traumatic experiences even though their means of recall is different from humans. And their way of expressing it is different. But the trauma and fear is real.
What Causes PTSD In Dogs?
PTSD in dogs is generally caused by traumatic experiences a dog has during her lifetime. The more stressful an experience is, the greater the chances for a dog to develop PTSD. Often, a dog can become fearful as a result of the high dose of stress she went through. The factors that put a dog in a hard-to-bear stressful situation can vary from one dog to another.
A dog who suffers from PTSD may need a little or a lot of help. Fear can transform into aggressive behavior, typically out of a protective or defensive reaction. This is why it’s worth learning how to handle PTSD to make things easier for you and your dog.
What Are Traumatic Experiences For Dogs?
Just like people, different experiences affect dogs differently. Some dogs are highly affected by a thunderstorm while others will sleep right through it. Here are some experiences that can have a profound effect on your dog.
- Changes in the weather, like a thunderstorm, flood or hurricane.
- Accidents around the house, car crashes and emotional trauma are others.
- Bad interactions with other people or animals can turn a normal dog into a stressed-out dog.
- The loss of her family or caretaker through death or abandonment.
- Military combat (dogs serve too).
- Physical and emotional abuse.
- Abandoned by her family in the wilderness.
Can Dogs Get PTSD From Fireworks?
Thunder and fireworks are some of the most common causes of fear that lead to trauma, anxiety … and PTSD. Not only is it the loud sound, but the sudden nature can cause fear and stress in your dog.
Symptoms Of PTSD In Dogs
In humans, PTSD manifests through a series of thoughts, memories or dreams. This is because the problem is one that manifests at a cerebral level. The same happens in dogs … only our companions cannot explain what’s happening to them.
A dog suffering from PTSD-like symptoms will show changes in her behavior. Usually, these changes are of a negative nature, as they’re fueled by stress and discomfort. PTSD can even lead to aggressiveness triggered by fear and stress.
A dog suffering from PTSD may become less trustful when around new people. She might become shy, preferring to hide instead of seeking human company. Such a dog may also be vigilant in an excessive manner. Any changes in her surroundings might make her raise her guard.
How Do I Know If My Dog Has PTSD?
A dog with PTSD will have symptoms similar to those in humans. They include:
- Chronic anxiety, panic, separation anxiety and fear of being alone.
- Reluctance to eliminate.
- Pacing, restlessness or not sleeping.
- Hesitation when visiting certain places (can happen even in familiar places). .
- Fear urination when greeted by a stranger.
- Hiding at the smallest sign of disturbance, even when nothing appears to be wrong.
- Becoming highly vigilant and constantly watching what is happening around her.
- Trembling or shaking, even if it isn’t cold or there’s no sign of immediate danger.
- Becoming shy around people and trying to avoid human contact.
- Aggression (to the point of becoming dangerous to everybody).
- Unpredictable or unusual reactions to stress-generating factors.
Understanding A Dog With PTSD
An overly stressed dog will usually be highly sensitive to external factors. Once PTSD develops, even the smallest amount of stress can cause a reaction. This can put your dog in a fragile state.
The most important thing you need to do is be calm and patient with your dog. Remember to adopt a calm state of mind and behavior in her presence. You need to inspire confidence and reassure her at all times. Use your body language and state of mind to let her know that nothing bad will happen.
Don’t get mad, upset or irritated with your dog. Don’t raise your voice at her. Try to avoid quick, jerky movements. Instead, create a calm and soothing environment around your dog. This will allow a faster recovery.
Bear in mind that the recovery process can be slow and it may take a while. Embrace your inner patience.
Signs A Dog Is Having A PTSD Episode
When you know your dog suffers PTSD you need to be aware of her behavior around others. Dogs communicate a lot through body language. She will exhibit signs that tell you he is in distress. The ability to read your dog’s body language will give you the power to take proper precautions. This will lower your dog’s distress and keep everyone else safe.
Here are the signs you should look for:
- The dog pulls her ears back.
- Her tail is low, between her legs.
- Dilated pupils.
- The position of her body is low, near the ground.
- She will begin to breathe at a rapid pace.
- She may be panting and drooling.
How Do I React To My Dog If She Has PTSD?
Dogs don’t maintain memories as humans do so your dog can move forward with a little help from you. You can help your dog with PTSD by being positive and happy. You don’t want to coddle a dog when a situation that causes fear arises. That will reinforce her fear. Instead, don’t feel bad for her, and show her you’re cheerful. Teach her to associate the situation with good things like a cuddle, playtime, kind words or a treat.
How To Help A Dog With PTSD
Seeing your dog in a traumatized state can be very tough. But you have a chance to make things better, even in the most severe cases. The process will take time and effort, but it is possible to get positive results.
It’s very rewarding to see a traumatized dog regain her self-confidence and desire to live and play. Here are some things you can do to help your dog.
1. Create A Safe Space
Dedicate an area of your house to your dog and make it as safe as possible. If it’s more convenient for you, you can even create several safe spaces for your dog around the house.
Use a dog bed, mat, blanket … anything that’s soft and comfortable to make a little nest. Place it in an area that’s cozy and protected … not in the middle of a room. While your dog relaxes and rests there, make sure nothing bad happens or startles her. Her nest should be a place that feels safe to her.
Supervise your dog while she spends time in these safe areas. The idea is to teach your dog to associate these places with security and calmness. This way she can take a break from feeling scared and stressed all the time.
2. Come Up With A Daily Routine
A routine is good for all dogs, not just those suffering from PTSD. It helps them get organized and know what to expect at each moment of the day.
Your dog’s routine should include daily walks, mealtimes, playtime, and other activities. Make sure that your dog takes part in activities at the same hour each day. This way, she’ll know what to expect and when to expect it.
When you remove the element of surprise and help your dog predict what will happen next, it can work to keep her calm. This way, she won’t get scared because she’s used to the activity.
3. Choose Diet Over Medication
When a dog has anxiety, veterinarians may prescribe beta blockers to slow your dog’s heart rate. Or they might offer antidepressants like Prozac. Instead, you need to add food to your dog’s diet that are naturally calming. Give your PTSD dog foods like fish, garlic, nuts and seeds. Add potassium rich foods like bananas and magnesium rich foods like leafy greens, broccoli and green beans. You also want to make sure your dog has omega-3 fatty acids in her diet for inflammation, heart and brain health.
4. Offer Support, But Allow Her To Choose
As dog owners, we’re tempted to think we know what’s best for our dogs. But, when dealing with a dog suffering from PTSD, things change. To increase the quality of life for your dog and lower her levels of stress, you need to let her choose what feels right.
What does that mean? Allow your dog to choose where to go on walks, instead of pulling her after you. If your dog’s nervous about a car ride, don’t insist on it. Try your best to avoid any stressful situations. Look for distress signs in your dog at all times and allow her to do things the way she finds it comfortable.
5. Adopt A Positive State Of Mind And A Calm Attitude
Dogs are very receptive to the way we are on a daily basis. If you’re upset or worried, your dog will sense it and will reflect your mood and state of mind.
Instead, be calm and reassuring. If your dog senses your confidence, she’ll feel much better in your company. She’ll feel safe and will stop being so vigilant, trying to be ready for whatever may happen. When you’re happy, she’s happy.
6. Use Natural Calming Remedies
It’s possible to calm down a nervous or anxious dog with safe and natural remedies. CBD oil, homeopathic remedies, Bach Flower Essences and essential oils are some of the options. There are even body calming therapies that might help, like a Thundershirt, T-Touch Wrap or weighted blanket. These will remove stress without having to give your dog drugs. Hands-on work like massage can also be soothing for some dogs.
Can A Dog Help Someone With PTSD?
Let’s look at human trauma and PTSD and how dogs can help. Just being in the company of a dog can lift your mood or help you feel less stressed. Dogs are ideal as personal support animals who can assist someone like a military veteran suffering from PTSD. Dogs can be trained to do room searches and turn on lights. They detect anxiety and distress in their handlers. And these dogs are able to alert help or interrupt panic attacks during the day. They even learn to nibble at a veteran’s feet when they become agitated in their sleep.
Try these natural stress relievers for your dog with anxiety and fear. With patience and understanding and you by her side, you can help your dog work through PTSD.