CBD’s anti-anxiety effect may help settle a dog’s nerves before a dog show. 

In dogs, anxiety may be caused by high-stress situations, such as being home alone, long car rides, and being in a noisy crowd or place, like dog shows. Anxiety may also manifest as noise phobias(1). 

When dogs are in a stressful or noisy environment filled with so many stimulants, such as bright lights and loud music, they often become highly-reactive and unable to settle, jumping at the slightest sound or movement. 

Fortunately, CBD has a wide variety of medicinal benefits, and research shows it can work as a potent anti-anxiety supplement. 

CBD for Anxiety: What the Research Says

The first scientific research conducted on CBD oil use in pets is the 2017 Cornell University study(2).

In the said study, some of the conditions thought to be relieved by the consumption of hemp-based CBD dog treats and products included anxiety and phobia(3).

In an article posted by the American Kennel Club (AKC), Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Jerry Klein, says CBD is used in dogs due to its therapeutic characteristics, including its anti-anxiety benefits(4). 

How CBD Works

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound found in cannabis and hemp. In most cases, CBD does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound that gives marijuana its psychoactive properties. Most CBD products are derived from hemp and not from marijuana.

Currently, there has been no longitudinal study on how CBD affects dogs explicitly. However, scientists know that cannabinoids found in CBD oil interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). 

The ECS consists of endocannabinoid receptors located in the central and peripheral nervous systems. 

Dogs or any other mammal have an ECS that maintains balance by regulating bodily functions, including motor regulation, memory processing, appetite, pain sensation, mood, and sleep(6).

Potential Side Effects of CBD

Dog owners should note that CBD’s calming effect can also cause slight drowsiness, mainly when used in high doses, according to the AKC.

The other potential side effects of CBD use include the following(6):

  • Dry mouth: Research has shown that CBD can decrease the production of saliva, says AKC. For dogs, this would manifest as increased thirst.
  • Lowered blood pressure: High doses of CBD have been known to cause a temporary drop in blood pressure. Even though the drop is small, it might create a fleeting feeling of light-headedness.

Dog owners must make sure they are following the proper CBD dosage to minimize any potential adverse side effects.

Dosing with CBD

The safety and risks of using CBD for dogs have not yet been researched. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved CBD and has not issued a dosing chart. Given these limitations, one does not know what size dosage would be toxic. 

Also, there are many factors involved in finding the most therapeutic dose of CBD for one’s dog. The dose can also depend on the dog’s weight, diet, and health condition. 

It is always advisable, when giving your dog something new, to start with small amounts, and then carefully monitor the effects. 

Note that every dog responds differently to CBD oil. Thus, it is encouraged that dog owners follow the instructions on dosing as per the manufacturer’s recommendation and upon the advice of a veterinarian experienced in cannabis use.  

Shopping Guide: How to Look for the Best CBD Oil to Calm Dogs’ Nerves

Once the dog owner and the veterinarian decide that they should try CBD as a treatment for the dog, there are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing CBD oil. 

Not all oils are the same. Dog owners must only insist on high-quality CBD oil to have a better chance of it working.

  • Purchase only high-quality CBD products from legitimate and reliable brands. 
  • Choose products that contain only organic natural ingredients. Given that CBD oil is a natural supplement, some pet treats may have additional ingredients like essential oils, vitamins, herbs, and other elements.
  • Look for products that used the CO2 extraction method. CO2 extraction utilizes pressurized carbon dioxide to pull all of the essential cannabinoids, terpene oils, and waxes out of the hemp plant cleanly and safely.
  • Compare company claims about their products’ potency with that of the third-party lab reports. Look for the certificate of analysis (COA) of the purchased product. 
  • Buy CBD as a liquid. This way, the dog’s dose can be adjusted drop by drop. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on dosing, and administer CBD only upon the advice of a veterinarian.

Conclusion

CBD’s anti-anxiety effect may help calm a dog’s nerves and make it feel settled before a dog show. However, the effect of CBD is not always immediate or drastic. 

Dog owners should always consult with a veterinarian first before giving their dog CBD. Knowing how to choose the best CBD oil to calm a dog’s nerves is also essential.


  1. AKC. (2010, Aug 30). Noise Phobia in Dogs. Retrieved from http://www.akcchf.org/canine-health/your-dogs-health/noise-phobia-in-dogs.html
  2. Gamble LJ, Boesch JM, Frye CW, et al. Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs. Front Vet Sci. 2018;5:165. Published 2018 Jul 23. doi:10.3389/fvets.2018.00165.
  3. Kogan LR, Hellyer PW, Robinson NG. Consumers’ perceptions of hemp products for animals. J Am Holist Vet Med Assoc. (2016) 42:40–8. 
  4. Kriss R. (2019, Oct 27). The American Kennel Club. CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know. Retrieved from https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/cbd-oil-dogs/.
  5. ECHO. (2017, April 18). Retrieved from https://echoconnection.org/look-endocannabinoid-systems-cb1-cb2-receptors/.
  6. Kriss R. op. cit. 

 

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