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Anxiety in Dogs: Causes, Treatment Options, and Using CBD

Neal Maddox with his dogs

Anxiety is a problem in dogs, and it can manifest itself in many different ways. From excessive barking and whining to destructive behavior and even aggression, there are many ways that anxiety can negatively impact your dog’s life. 

While you may try many treatments for anxiety, the question arises – can CBD help dog anxiety?

What Is Dog Anxiety?

Dog anxiety refers to a dog’s behavioral response to stimuli that they perceive as threatening. Stress is often caused by changes in routine or environment and can be exacerbated by things like thunderstorms or fireworks. It can manifest itself in innumerable ways, including barking, shaking, panting, and pacing.

Here are common causes of anxiety disorders in pets.

  1. Separation

If your furry friend is left alone frequently, they may start to experience stress. It is because they interpret your absence as abandonment. Dogs with anxiety often bark excessively, destroy furniture, and have accidents indoors when left alone.

Treatment for separation anxiety typically involves a combination of behavior modification and anti-anxiety medication. Behavior therapy includes:

  • Counterconditioning: This is when you pair something the dog loves (like treats) with your leaving. Over time, the dog will associate your departure with something positive instead of feeling anxious.
  • Desensitization: This is a slow process wherein the dog is slowly exposed to situations that trigger their anxiety (like being left alone). The dog will learn to tolerate or even enjoy being in these situations with time and patience.
  1. Loud Noise

When thunderstorms hit or loud fireworks go off, many dogs will start to shake and become anxious. It is due to their heightened sense of hearing which can pick up on sounds that humans cannot. 

The best way to help your dog during these times is by creating a safe space for them to feel relaxed and secure. It could be their crate or a small room where they can go to feel comfortable. 

  1. New Location or Surroundings

Sometimes a move to a house or even changes in the furniture arrangement can cause anxiety. If a dog is used to being in a specific spot in the house and you change it, that can also lead to some initial discomfort. The same goes for travel. If you take your dog on a trip, they may get anxious from being in an unfamiliar place or car.  

To help a dog adjust to new surroundings, give them plenty of time to explore and sniff around their new home or location. Be sure to create a safe space for them with all their favorite things like beds, toys, and food. If you are traveling, bring along their favorite blanket or toy to help them feel more comfortable.

  1. Pain or Discomfort

If your pet is anxious and in pain, it may be challenging to figure out the root cause of the problem. Your doctor can determine if your pet is experiencing anxiety due to pain. Often, treating the pain will also help relieve the tension.

  1. Strangers

Anxious dogs may bark, lunge or hide when meeting strangers. It could result from a lack of socialization or mistrust of people. Unknown people can threaten their safety, so it is natural for your dog to be cautious. 

If your dog is anxious around strangers, the best thing you can do is socialize them as much as possible. Expose them to different types of people in different situations to get used to it. 

What are the Common Symptoms of Anxiety in Dogs?

Here are the symptoms that may indicate your dog is suffering from anxiety:

  • Panting and pacing
  • Excessive barking or howling
  • Chewing or licking paws obsessively
  • Hiding or cowering
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Escape attempts

Suppose you notice any of these behaviors in your dog. In that case, it is essential to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions and develop a plan to address the anxiety.

What Is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is a natural, non-psychoactive compound found in the hemp plant. It offers various health benefits, including reducing anxiety, relieving pain and inflammation, and promoting healthy sleep. CBD oil contains more cannabidiol (CBD), a compound that has been shown to provide numerous health benefits. 

THC is the psychoactive element in cannabis that causes the “high” feeling. The oil also contains other cannabinoids, including cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), and trace amounts of THC. However, the CBD oil used in this study contained only trace amounts of THC (<0.001%). 

How Can CBD Oil Help with Dog Anxiety?

CBD oil is a natural, effective treatment for anxiety in dogs. It has been shown to help reduce anxiety levels in humans and animals by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system. 

Here’s how it can work best for your pet.

CBD oil can help reduce your dog’s anxiety levels in several ways. It can be given directly to your dog, added to their food, or applied topically to their skin. CBD oil is absorbed into the bloodstream and interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system when delivered directly. This system regulates many vital functions in the body, including mood, appetite, and sleep. 

CBD oil can also be added to your dog’s food. The oil allows it to interact with the endocannabinoid system in the digestive tract, which can help to reduce anxiety levels. 

Finally, oil can be applied topically to your dog’s skin. Apply it to their skin in most anxious areas, such as their chest or neck. Ensure to use a high-quality product safe for animals. 

What are the Different Forms of CBD Products You Can Buy for Your Dog?

  • CBD treats are small, bite-sized treats that contain CBD. They’re an excellent option for dogs who don’t like the taste of oil or aren’t good at taking pills.
  • CBD oil is the most trending form of cannabidiol for dogs. It’s easy to administer and can be added to your dog’s food or taken orally with a dropper.
  • Capsules are similar to pills, but they’re usually more prominent and effortless for dogs to swallow. 


So, can CBD help dog anxiety? Yes, it can. CBD oil is a natural way to help your dog feel calmer in situations that would otherwise make them anxious.

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