Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve fireworks may make for a good time for humans, but usually not for our furry friends. For anxious pups who freak out during our celebrations, cannabidiol (CBD) has the potential to help them feel less anxious and more calm.
You’ve probably seen CBD oils and treats marketed for pets at your local smoke shop, health food store, or even gas station. You’ve probably also wondered how well that stuff works and if it’s safe for your own furry friend with a totally understandable fear of loud noises.
Dogs have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that functions similarly to our own — it regulates their bodies and returns them to a state of internal balance, or homeostasis. Studies suggest that when cannabis molecules interact with receptors in the ECS, cannabinoids such as CBD can ease symptoms of many conditions including pain, inflammation, and anxiety. In other words, CBD can help some dogs stay calm in anxiety-inducing situations in the same way that it can help humans.
If you’re shopping for CBD for pets in preparation for the holiday, there are some things you should know. CBD has been shown to be safe across a number of species, though you should always consult your veterinarian before medicating your dog in any way. Veterinarians can discuss CBD with their clients but they are not legally allowed to prescribe it because state laws legalizing it for humans do not apply to pets or livestock.
Fireworks induce anxiety in dogs. Cannabidiol (CBD) could help calm canines’ nerves. (Photo by Shuttestock)
Unfortunately, this can make finding the correct dosage for your dog a challenge. Some products suggest a dosage on the bottle while others do not. Many pet owners are rightfully concerned about what’s really in these products.
A 2017 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found only 30% of online products contained CBD that was within 10% of the advertised dosage. Because there are no standards for labeling, producing, or testing these products, some of them even contained detectable amounts of THC despite being labeled as THC-free.
The best way to combat these quality control issues is to do your research. “When giving your animal a cannabis product, it is important to ensure that the product has been specifically formulated for pets to ensure the safety and efficacy. The ratio of CBD to THC is an important factor, as well as the total number of milligrams per dose,” Kate Scott, registered veterinary technician and chief operating officer of VETCBD, told Weedmaps News in a previous article. Look for companies that make hemp-derived CBD products that contain little to no THC. You should never give your pup a product with more than 0.3 percent of THC, which is the legal limit for industrial hemp in the U.S.
To be absolutely sure the CBD you want to purchase for your dog doesn’t contain potentially intoxicating levels of THC or any other harmful chemical or substance, find companies that provide testing analysis, optimally through a third party. The most important part of properly medicating your dog is finding a reputable CBD producer that provides consistent and accurate test results.
Though hemp-infused treats may be an easy way to make your dog drool at the sight of their medicine, oils might be more effective. “I think it’s worth saying that CBD administered as an oil that’s given directly orally is probably better absorbed than it is when it’s eaten and has to be absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract,” said Gary Richter, veterinarian and owner and of Holistic Veterinary Care, to Weedmaps News in a previous article. “In order to get the most bang for your buck out of the CBD, it’s probably better off giving it directly in the mouth as an oil.”
Weedmaps News researched several reputable pet CBD companies that are backed by glowing reviews and veterinary science. The results concluded that CBD oils from VetCBD, Canna Hemp, King Kanine, Honest Paws, and HempMyPet are brands that are worth trying this fourth.
With the right CBD formula, the festivities that come with fireworks don’t have to be your dog’s worst nightmare, and you’ll actually get to enjoy the Fourth of July or New Year’s Eve knowing, no matter how spectacular they are, your pup will be at peace.
Feature image from Shutterstock
Ashlee Nolan is an NYC-based freelance journalist who enjoys writing about cannabis, culture, and politics. When not writing, you can probably find her curled up on the couch with coffee, a book, and her cat, Wednesday.