cbd oil treats for dogs thunderstorms

What Can I Give My Dog for Anxiety During Storms?

It’s that time of year that our dogs HATE! Thunderstorm season. While thunderstorms can occur year-round, they are most likely to occur from May-August. And for those of us living in Florida, boy do they roll in! What’s even worse is learning that as many as 40 percent of dogs experience noise anxiety, which is more pronounced in the summer. A dog’s reaction to noise anxiety can range from becoming clingy, panting, and trembling, to even running away. Dogs naturally tend to look to their owners for help and nothing is worse than feeling helpless at that moment. That leaves most of us wondering, “What can I give my dog for anxiety during storms?”

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Symptoms of Noise and Storm Anxiety in Dogs

Exhibiting signs of fear can mean a wide range of things for different pets. For some, it means they are suffering from general anxiety, which often manifests through barking, pacing, and panting. But for others, fear and panic can lead to dangerous results.

In recent years, multiple reports have surfaced of older dogs and even puppies suffering heart attacks which lead to their death during triggering events, such as thunderstorms or fireworks displays. Additionally, during these triggering noisy events, there are increased incidents of dogs running through sliding glass doors or running away. In fact, more dogs are lost on July 4th and January 1st than any other days of the year.

Some symptoms from Thunderstorm and Noise Anxiety include:

  • Panting
  • Trembling
  • Dilated pupils
  • Drooling
  • Pacing
  • Destructive behavior
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Bathroom accidents

How To Calm Your Dog During Thunderstorms

  • Provide a Safe Place inside. Create a safe place in your home that your pet can retreat to. Make sure they can access this spot, even when you’re not home.
  • Keep their environment calm. To avoid the view of the storm contributing to your pet’s anxiety, close the curtains or blinds. You may find that playing soft music helps keep them calm as well.
  • Keep guests away from your pet. New people can cause more anxiety in a panicked dog. If there are lots of people around, keep pets in their own calm space, rather than letting them roam.
  • Wrap or Swaddle your pet. Putting something with weight or slight pressure on your pet creates a calming effect, according to a recent study. Just like weighted blankets can help people with anxiety, a comfortable weighted shirt or swaddle can give your pet a sense of feeling grounded and calm. Though be sure they are still able to move around freely. You can find vests, like the Thunder Shirt, at your local pet store. You can also save money by wrapping your pet’s chest in an ace bandage (but not too tight!!) to create the same effect.

What Can I Give My Dog for Anxiety During Storms?

Despite all of the frightening facts about storms and noise anxiety, there is a safe way to help your pets and even yourself: Full Spectrum CBD. Full spectrum CBD has been proven to help manage PD, C-PTSD, and PTSD during triggering events such as fireworks or thunderstorms.

CBD works by interacting with the body’s Endocannabinoid System, which is responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body. Within the brain, CBD can mimic serotonin by binding and activating your body’s 5-HT1A serotonin receptors . Often called the ‘happy’ chemical, these serotonin receptors are responsible for emotional balance.

A 2013 article published in Neuropharmacology also found that: “In addition to modulating basal anxiety states, recent studies suggest an important role for the endocannabinoid (eCB) and glucocorticoid systems is the modulation of emotional states and extinction of aversive memories in animals.” This means that CBD can help in facilitating extinction of negative emotion surrounding triggers, like thunderstorms, and helps manage PTSD and anxiety or panic disorders in people and animals.

Even more interesting: 2019 study published in the Permanente Journal found that CBD also has a calming effect on the central nervous system and is better tolerated than other psychiatric medications.

Although many vets recommend giving your pet children’s Benadryl, it is important to remember that this drug is not intended for animals and may have side effects. For example, Benadryl can put a strain on a dog’s liver and kidneys if they are already experiencing issues in those areas. So when you’re wondering, What can I give my dog for anxiety during storms? Remember, CBD is a safer, natural solution to keeping your pet relaxed.

CBD and Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender essential oil has been used for its calming effects for a long time. In a study done on mice, “continuous exposures to lavender essential oils significantly inhibited anxiety and depression-like behaviors.” CBD and Lavender have the same aromatic compound (terpene) called Linalool. Linalool is believed to promote relaxation and calming effects. Linalool also helps the immune system combat the effects of stress. Stress causes a shift in the distribution of white blood cells in the body. In a study of rats , Linalool prevented the stress-induced changes in how the rat’s DNA was expressed.

This is why we formulated our CALM tincture – specifically for anxiety, stress and fear – to combine the incredible therapeutic benefits of both CBD and Lavender.

Dosing CBD for Thunderstorm Anxiety in Dogs

Cannabinoids in the hemp plant, including CBD, interact with the endocannabinoid system. Every mammal has an endocannabinoid system, which has receptors that instruct the cells how to heal and restore homeostasis in the body. Dogs have twice the amount of receptors than people, which means that CBD and other cannabinoids are incredibly effective.

Despite common misconceptions, dosing CBD has very little to do with your dog’s size and weight. Some dogs have a more sensitive endocannabinoid system than others, so the optimal dose of CBD can vary between dogs.

For example, even though Nina is four times the size of Odie, she only needs around 9 mg of CBD to relieve her noise anxiety. In contrast, Odie needs 20 mg or more to calm down. Two dramatically differently sized dogs who require dramatically different CBD dosages for the same ailment, because their endocannabinoid systems are not identically sensitive.

That’s why we have a range of dosage recommendations based on our experience and research. For noise and thunderstorm anxiety, we suggest a dose of 9mg before the triggering event. Then, if your pet is still anxious after 15-20 minutes, you can administer another 9mg until you see results.

If your dog doesn’t seem to be responding to the initial dose, it is perfectly safe to give them more without fear of overdosing. If you feel nervous about experimenting to find the upper limit of their sensitivity, rest assured, it is completely safe. Numerous studies have proven the safety of cannabis based medicine at even extreme high doses. Doses of up to 640 mg of CBD rich extract were well tolerated by dogs, with only mild adverse effects such as diarrhea.

Success Story: Thunderstorm Anxiety

Meet our boy, Odie. This feisty 12-year-old miniature Schnauzer HATES thunderstorms. He can sense their arrival way before we can, and he immediately starts to tremble and cry. It pained me to see him suffer an d I hated feeling helpless when he looked up at me with those eyes! Since using CBD, Odie no longer shakes, paces, or panics during thunderstorms. Instead, Odie, and my other anxious animals on the farm, are able to rest and nap despite the noise.

Want to see it for yourself? Check out this video and see how fast it helps our Odie:

CBD for Pet Thunderstorm Anxiety

Do you have a dog that gets a bit nervous when a thunderstorm hits? A pet that runs and hides with the first clap of thunder?

Pet thunderstorm anxiety is real.

So much so that countless pets across the nation are prescribed actual prescriptions (one of our relatives calls these pills they gave their beloved basset hound “doggie Xanax”) to help ease this unwanted anxiety.

Many pet owners, however, aren’t in to the whole prescription thing.

Which is why several dog owners have turned to CBD when it comes the thunderstorm anxiety their canine companion tends to experience.

Does CBD work for pet thunderstorm anxiety? Is CBD really –?

Let’s take a closer look.

Why are Dogs Afraid of Thunderstorms?

If your four-legged friend has thunderstorm anxiety, he (or she) is certainly not alone.

It’s estimated that at least 40% of dogs experience noise anxiety, which occurs with more frequency in the summer months.

Did you know that busiest days for runaway dogs showing up at animal shelters is July 5?

According to Associate Professor of Clinical Animal Behavior at the University of California Davis, Dr. Melissa Bain, “It’s very serious. It’s a true panic disorder with a compete flight response.”

Why, though, are some dogs so afraid of loud noises associated with things like thunderstorms and fireworks?

It’s simple, even if it doesn’t seem like it when your dog starts going crazy as the thunder rolls.

Many dogs are afraid of thunderstorms because they don’t understand what it is or what’s going on.

The extremely loud noise can be perceived as a threat, which can in turn manifest as anxiety.

The loud unfamiliar noise, however, isn’t the only reason why dogs can become so anxious in thunderstorms.

There’s research, for example, that suggests the feeling of static electricity in the air from the thunderstorm is what’s so disturbing to some dogs.

This is because the atmospheric changes can cause static electricity to build up in a dog’s coat, which can feel very similar to a painful, electric shock.

According to Director of the Animal Behavior Department at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, Dr. Nicholas Dodman, dogs can experience several shocks from static electricity during a thunderstorm.

Do thunderstorms have your dog running towards grounded spaces like the basement or bathtub?

The buildup of static electricity in their coat could be why.

CBD for Pet Thunderstorm Anxiety

In case you haven’t heard, humans aren’t the only species benefiting from CBD.

More and more pet owners than ever have started using CBD for their furry friends.

Pet parents are touting the benefits of CBD for their dogs and cats, claiming that it helps everything from seizures and pain to anxiety and appetite.

Sounds similar to the benefits associated with humans, no?

This is because, just like humans, dogs (and other animals) have their own endocannabinoid system.

And while there’s little research (yet) to back up the claims that have changed the lives of so many pets (and their owners), CBD has become one of the most popular pet products that have hit the market in a while.

Sales of CBD products for pets quadrupled in just one year from $8 million in 2017 to $32 million in 2018.

It’s estimated that by 2022, CBD pet sales could reach almost $2 billion.

Despite the lack of clinical research that’s been conducted on pets and CBD, personal accounts from pet owners themselves have made a serious impact on sales.

There’s anecdotal evidence all over the internet about ways CBD has helped people’s pets.

Take the 15-pound chihuahua with “extreme thunderstorm anxiety” who gets 2mg of CBD a day.

During a spring storm in Florida, she ran up to her owner shaking and shivering.

When her owner asked if it “was time for her medicine,” the chihuahua ran to the cupboard where her CBD is kept.

After giving the dog her regular dose, her owner contends she went off to take a nap with her tail wagging. “I don’t think it works that quickly,” says her owner, “but she knows she’s going to feel better after she has it.”

Joanne Schaus told CNBC that she found CBD oil for her dog online.

Schaus maintains that the 11-year-old Australian Shepard named Skid “gets wired” during thunderstorms.

Seeing that it storms frequently where she lives in Wisconsin, pacing and panting have become a somewhat regular occurrence.

After trying everything she could to no avail, Schaus tried CBD. She says that after a few weeks Skid’s panic attacks ended.

She says, “He just didn’t even notice the storm. I can’t say it’s completely fixed him because if we get a huge thunderclap he does get a little nervous.”

Full-on panic to “a little nervous” seems like a HUGE improvement to us.

What do Vets Have to Say About CBD for Pet Thunderstorm Anxiety?

While there are countless pet owners that claim CBD has significantly improved the lives of their pets, there’s simply no enough clinical evidence to back up their contentions.

Dr. Stephanie McGrath from the University of Colorado Boulder says, “There’s a lot of anecdotal stories about it but no science.”

This is something McGrath hopes to see change.

She works at CSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and began studying the effects of CBD on dogs with epilepsy and osteoarthritis after recreational cannabis was legalized in Colorado in 2012.

In her first study, McGrath found that CBD was well-tolerated in animals in certain amounts.

She’s completed several studies since, which are being reviewed before being published to the public.

The results from her preliminary study showed such promise, however, that the American Kennel Club awarded her $350,000 in funding to begin a three-year crossover study.

American Veterinarian Medical Association (AMVA) spokesperson Michael San Filippo told CNBC in an email that the organization does not have a position directly related to cannabis products for pets.

So, while the AMVA’s position isn’t quite clear, this hasn’t stopped several vets across the country from recommending it to their patients.

After our female dog had knee surgery, our vet asked us if we were familiar with CBD, maintaining that it would be excellent to give her after she has finished up with her prescription meds.

Here’s the thing. CBD could be exactly what your dog needs to help eradicate that thunderstorm anxiety.

But before you rush out and buy all the latest CBD products for pets, it’s vital you talk to your vet.

Starting your dog out on anything new (regardless if it’s natural or not), should always be discussed with your dog’s doc beforehand.

What About CBD Dosage for Dogs?

How much CBD should you give your dog for thunderstorm anxiety?

Dosing CBD is a common concern with humans and animals alike. When it comes to dogs, just how much CBD should they take?

In a Project CBD article , Oakland-based veterinarian Dr. Gary Richter explains how to use cannabis to treat pain and inflammation in pets.

While thunderstorm anxiety is a different issue than pain and inflammation, Richter’s recommendations can also be used for pets who suffer during storms.

For CBD dosing, Richter recommends 0.5-5mg CBD per 10 pounds of body weight twice a day.

He advises to start low and increase the dose every 4-7 days, contending that frequent doses near the lower end of the range are effective.

He also says that higher doses of CBD could be beneficial in some situations.

Like with humans, it’s best to start low and go slow when it comes to administering CBD to your dogs for thunderstorm anxiety.

We personally give our dogs CBD for different reasons.

When it comes to anxiety, our male dog reigns king. He could even be scared of his own shadow. All 75 pounds of him.

We’ve found that 20mg twice a day is his sweet spot and that CBD has seemed to seriously help calm his frazzled nerves.

Our female dog is a bit smaller and receives 15mg twice a day to help her maintain healthy joints and keep that knee in the best shape possible.

We’re also hoping it works preventatively as there’s a 50% chance her other knee could go at any time.

You know your dog better than anyone else. Use Dr. Richter’s guidelines as a starting point until you find the ultimate dosage for your own dog.

And yes, always, always, always talk to your vet before starting your dog on CBD.