Many people investigating CBD for dog anxiety or as a cat calmative want to help their pet overcome reactions to regular occurrences. But how do you know if CBD will work as a calmative for your animal?
While no one can guarantee that CBD will work for your dog or cat, many owners report that their animals seem calmer and better able to face stressful situations when taking this supplement. To find out when CBD can be used for anxiety, and how best to administer it, we talked to Franny Istari, who is an Instructional Designer in Mud Bay’s Learning and Development department.
MB: When should you use full-spectrum CBD for anxiety in your dog or cat?
FI: Hemp CBD is best used as a long-term or short-term calmative for anxiety. I would recommend it when somebody has already tried other avenues to reduce anxiety, but it’s not working for their pet.
Often, we’ll have someone come in with a dog who has separation anxiety or a cat who’s having a hard time adjusting to change, Muddies will suggest they try a calmative like Calm Shen or Happy Traveler. We always want to determine if a dog or cat needs a long-term or short-term calmative for their specific needs. But if that doesn’t work for you, you could potentially add CBD or consider moving to CBD.
MB: What about people who want to use it for immediate calming effects?
FI: Some animals do have an immediate response to hemp CBD, but it’s not enough animals that we’d recommend it for use as an emergency calmative. Hemp CBD works best if you’re using it over a period of days to weeks to months rather than a one-time use.
MB: So how should someone distinguish between long-term anxiety, short-term anxiety, and an emergency use product?
FI: Emergency use is something that is unpredictable and happens immediately. Dogs that are afraid of thunder and lightning might respond well to an emergency calmative.
Short term use would be something like the Fourth of July. You know it’s coming, you know there will be fireworks, so a few days before, you start using a calmative like hemp CBD to help them with their anxiety.
Long-term use is for a dog or cat who’s chronically unhappy or anxious. Maybe you bring a new baby home, and the cat is just really unhappy about the change in his environment. Because cats can take a long time to adjust to change, maybe you expect to use a calmative for three months or so, and then reevaluate.
Long-term use is also for dogs and cats that have deep-rooted anxiety that never resolves. For these animals, using a long-term calmative can improve their daily lives.
MB: What about using CBD for reactivity, which can be a big concern for dog owners?
FI: I have a reactive dog, and I felt using a calmative improved our training sessions. Depending on the cause of reactivity, the dog might be anxious all the time. Therefore, using a calmative that prevents the dog from becoming stressed out can help you reach them in the moment and help them learn positive behavior.
Once a dog is hysterical, it’s very difficult to train or redirect in that moment. So, I think testing a calmative or combination of calmatives with your dog can be very beneficial when combined with training. Over time, you could probably work on lessening calmative use after your training begins to produce consistent results.
MB: How do you figure out the proper dosage for a full-spectrum CBD supplement?
FI: It varies by animal. I would start by looking at the package and starting at a half dose. Then, I would slowly increase the amount until I saw the results I was looking for. If I was more than double the recommended dose and not seeing the results I wanted, I would consider that CBD might not be the best option for my pet.
MB: There are many different types of CBD products. What is the best CBD product to use for cat or dog anxiety?
Hemp CBD tinctures are the most bioavailable option. However, the best CBD product will be the best option you can reliably administer. Anxious dogs and cats may feel even more anxious administering a tincture. In those cases, using a hemp CBD treat or another form of CBD might be the best option.
MB: How do you recommend combining CBD with another supplement for maximum effectiveness?
FI: Start with the one you’d like to try first for long-term use. If we’re talking about anxiety, there are many different types of calmatives available. Then, use it for at least three months at the maximum dose until you are sure that you’re not getting the results you want.
Then, try adding the second calmative at a half dose strength. Slowly add to the dosage every week until you start seeing the results you want.
For short-term use, you might want to try one day with the first calmative, but if you don’t see a noticeable response after 24 hours, you could try adding the second one at a half dose the next day.
I do want to mention if your dog or cat is using a prescription sedative or other medication that you discuss adding CBD with your vet. CBD can magnify the effectiveness of other medications, so you want to partner with your vet to make sure you’re incorporating it in the best way possible.
MB: How long should you try CBD as a calmative before you know whether or not your pet is going to respond to it?
FI: Once again, it depends on the animal. My dog reacted to it right away, but other animals may take several days before you start to see an effect. However, you do want to start with a half dose and work your way up. That way, you can stop the dosage at the amount that’s right for your individual pet.
In a short-term situation, when time is limited, you can administer an additional half-dose every few hours until you see an effect. With a full-spectrum hemp CBD product like the ones we sell, it would be very difficult to overdose. However, CBD isolates are completely different and again, you should discuss their use with your veterinarian.***
Learning and Development Specialist Franny Istari shares the benefits of her 13 years of experience at Mud Bay by creating fun and informative new training courses for all Muddies. When she’s not at Mud Bay, she’s off hiking with her dog Susie or spending time with her family.