2020 changed the schedules and routines of people around the planet, including our pets! As we ease into 2021 many of us will begin to leave the comfort of our homes and the companionship of our pets to return to the workplace. Will our pets be anxious?
For our dogs, cats and assortment of other furry friends, 2020 offered increased quality time and cuddles. They are so used to our constant companionship over the past year that our pets may show signs of anxiety or distress at being left alone for long periods again.
There was also a surge in families and individuals getting new pets and adopting rescued animals during lockdown. While the joys of offering a pet a new life far outweigh the challenges, many rescue animals have traumatic pasts or difficulties adjusting to new environments which can result in anxious behaviour.
Combatting anxiety in our beloved pets can be a complicated task. With the advent of medicinal cannabis (also referred to as CBD oil) treating anxiety in humans, you may be wondering if this versatile cannabinoid may help calm your pet?
Will CBD oil help anxious pets?
There is little research directly on the effects of CBD oil for anxiety in pets. However, in the past year or so major medicinal cannabis companies around the world are getting the green light from regulators to explore how CBD may reduce anxiety in pets.
Research in humans and other preclinical investigations have shown CBD oil may reduce feelings of anxiety and symptoms of PTSD. This is due to its interactions with receptors in the brain and central nervous system that modulate hormones and signals related to anxiety and fear responses.
Similarly, CBD oil may reduce the expression of anxiety in pets such as barking, whining, noise phobias, separation anxiety, pacing and other signs of distress or discomfort.
Is CBD oil safe for my pet?
Your pet’s wellbeing and safety is incredibly important, so it is important to understand exactly what is in the medicinal cannabis you give them and the best dose for their symptoms.
The safety of cannabinoids in cats and dogs has been assessed in only a few clinical investigations. Despite the lack of research, we do know that THC (the dominant psychoactive compound in cannabis) is not suitable for pets.
Cats and dogs exhibit different endocannabinoid systems than humans, which makes them more susceptible to the intoxicating effects of THC which can lead to ill effects and even death.
Small trials have shown CBD to be safe for cats and dogs. While pharmacologically safe for pets in prescribed and monitored doses, our full understanding of the effects of CBD on cats still requires further investigation.
Potential side effects of CBD oil for pets
Common side effects from CBD in cats are increased head shaking and licking, while dogs are more likely to experience digestive symptoms, redness around the ears, or discharge from the nose or eyes.
Research indicates these side effects are generally within clinically acceptable ranges, meaning the risk of side effects is similar to other commonly prescribed pet medications.
Will CBD oil make my pet “high”?
CBD oil does not instigate the sensation or feeling of being “high” like its counterpart THC. In saying that, for the safety of your pet, it is important to ensure that you are giving prescribed and tested medicinal cannabis products.
Many CBD products marketed to pets have not been tested for their cannabinoid levels or toxins. This can mean that black-market CBD oil may contain THC or other additives that may be harmful to your pet.
CBD Vets Australia veterinarians and pharmacists have experience in all things related to medical cannabis and pets, ensuring your pet is prescribed a safe dose and formulation for their condition, breed and size.
Other benefits of CBD oil for pets
CBD may have numerous other benefits for our beloved pets. CBD is well researched for its anti-inflammatory and anti-epileptic properties. This can potentially translate to effects on conditions like osteoarthritis, epilepsy, pain and also as a supportive side treatment for other conditions being treated medically such as cancer.
We can expect to see detailed research being released on CBD oil for pets with anxiety in the coming years. In the meantime, our Veterinary doctors at CBD Vets Australia have extensive knowledge on the application of CBD oil and can assess whether it is an appropriate medication for your pet’s condition.