CBD pet therapy is something pet loving dog owners that worry for their puppies during the 4th of July and New Year’s Eve celebrations, or even during a severe thunderstorm, are considering. Cannabidiol, abbreviated CBD, is a molecule found in marijuana that does not induce the euphoric high feeling associated with smoking marijuana, but instead can simply have a calming effect that can be applied with tinctures.
Celebrations that include loud fireworks often terrify dogs. Though there’s not yet much science to confirm it, some veterinarians and pet owners say CBD, an extract of hemp or marijuana, can ease a pet’s fear.
Along with picnics and barbecues, the Fourth of July brings a less pleasant yearly ritual for many dog lovers: worrying about a family pooch who panics at the sound of firecrackers.
Betsy and Andy Firebaugh of Santa Cruz, Calif., have reason for concern. They live on a mountain ridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean — a usually peaceful scene, except at this time of year, when people illegally set off firecrackers at local beaches. The explosive booms send their otherwise happy Australian shepherd — Seamus — into a frenzy.
“If he’s outside, he can freak out and run away,” Andy says. Or the dog will hunker in a corner inside the house, reduced to a quivering lump of cinnamon-brown fur. One year on the morning after Independence Day, the couple looked everywhere for Seamus.
“We finally found him underneath the bed, cowering,” Betsy recalls. “He wouldn’t come out.”
But to quell the dog’s nerves this year, they say, they may try something new: giving him a squirt of an extract of marijuana that’s mostly cannabidiol (CBD), a component of the cannabis plant that, unlike a better-known component, THC, doesn’t induce a high.
CBD has drawn a lot of attention in recent years from neurologists and other researchers intrigued by hints that the chemical might prove helpful to people; there’s been preliminary study of possible benefits in reducing chronic pain, anxiety and seizures in humans, for example.
So it’s probably no surprise that some folks are interested in CBD’s therapeutic potential for Fido or Fluffy, too.
Betsy initially got a prescription for medical marijuana to help with her own joint pain. While at the medical marijuana dispensary, she also picked up a vial of CBD oil designed for pets, on the advice of the manager.
The supplement has already yielded good results in their other dog, Angus — a sweet blue merle Aussie who was abused as a puppy by previous owners, and still sometimes “becomes Frankendog” around canine strangers, Betsy says. Occasional doses of the cannabis extract in high-stress situations, she says, help to mellow him out.
The Firebaughs aren’t the only ones exploring marijuana-based therapies for man’s best friend. A growing number of firms are marketing CBD for noise anxiety and other ailments in companion animals. Denver-based Therabis specifically advertises one of its hemp-derived CBD supplements as an aid to help dogs get through the Fourth of July.
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