Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is one of the inactive cannabinoids found in cannabis and hemp. Though you will see countless click-bait headlines advertising dogs “using marijuana” for anxiety relief, it is not the same thing; for one thing, CBD comes from hemp rather than cannabis, and for another, it does not contain THC, therefore providing many of the benefits without the psychoactive properties. Although people use this for their dogs in order to help ease arthritis, seizures, and even allergies (to name a few), I began giving this to Sasha to help with her anxiety.
Sasha’s anxiety typically manifests as hyper-vigilance when walking in and around our apartment building; she gets super excited when she sees other dogs, and becomes anxious in places where she knows she usually sees them. Though we have been doing active counterconditioning for months (see my blog post about her dog reactivity), this sounded like something that could further aid her progress. I had heard about CBD oil for dogs through the pet supply store where I work, so I thought “What the heck, why not?”
I began giving Sasha Pet Releaf Edibites treats (pictured below), which contain 1.5 mg of CBD oil in each treat. Giving it to her in treat form made it very easy to administer, since she gobbled them right up! I began giving her the treats on a Friday, giving two treats twice a day, and by Sunday I could see a difference: we had friends over in the evening, and rather than trying to jump all over them as she usually does, she simply laid on her bed next to us and calmly watched. It also seemed to make a little bit of a difference with her hyper-vigilance in our apartment building, and excitement in seeing other dogs.
Where I really saw the most difference, though, is when I started giving her the straight CBD oil, also manufactured by the Pet Releaf company (pictured below). On the bottle, it recommends giving one full dropper each day. I began giving her half of a dropper twice a day, because it takes action within one hour and has an effect for 9 hours. Over the course of the next few days my boyfriend and I both saw a huge difference in Sasha: she was a lot less frantic on walks, and it also seemed to take the edge off of her at home. Overall, her disposition is now a lot more calm and content, and her training has been progressing more smoothly since I started giving her the CBD oil.
After giving Sasha CBD oil for a month and seeing positive results, I will definitely keep doing it, at least until she grows up and is a little older and calmer. It really seems to help her be a calmer, happier dog, which allows her to be better able to focus on our counterconditioning training. Although it is not a solution in and of itself, it can aid in any training or behavior modification work that you are currently doing. It has greatly helped us and I would 100% recommend it to anybody else going through similar experiences.
I gave Sasha the peanut butter & banana Edibites treats, which she loves. However, the oil itself (on the right) is not difficult to administer: I slip it into the corner of her mouth and put it under her tongue, and give her a tasty treat afterwards.