Take Barnaby, for example. A 15-year-old dog who has become reactive and fear aggressive as a result of old age. It only took a week of taking CBD for his owners to already notice a change in his mood, which made it easier to work on his behaviors. Can CBD oil help with dog training for phobias and other behavioral problems? Explore how hemp oil may support canine behavior modification training. As CBD oil affects the endocannabinoid receptors in the dog’s body, it also helps to calm the mind and reduce the need to display aggression. Learn more.
CBD for Dogs With Aggression: Why and How It Works
CBD for dogs with aggression might be an unexpected remedy for a behavior problem that has plagued countless dogs (and their owners) over the past decades. Statistics show an increase in bite-related hospitalizations, even fatalities.
Being the owner of an aggressive dog is a very stressful experience because of the ever-present, lingering fear that your dog might seriously hurt another person or another dog. This, of course, does not mean that you love your dog any less. You want to help him become a safer member of society and gain a calmer state of mind.
As CBD oil is rising in popularity and taking the world by storm, the pet industry is welcoming a variety of CBD-based products on the market. Many dog owners are now wondering if this is just another hype or something that could actually help their sick, anxious, and aggressive dog. Can CBD truly be helpful for canine aggression?
Aggression in Dogs
How are fear and aggression connected?
Aggression is a strong violent reaction to a perceived external threat. Just like humans, dogs have three natural fear responses: fight, flight, and freeze. Aggression is a manifestation of the fight response. This is how we know that all aggression is essentially born out of fear.
There are many different threats a dog can perceive, such as other dogs, competitors, intruders, etc. Fearful and aggressive dogs cannot discern between an actual threat and a perceived threat. This is why many aggressive dogs are called unpredictable, as their owners struggle to understand their triggers.
Studies have shown that the majority of dog bites happen at home, where one would expect dogs to feel safe. Over half of all people who get bitten are children. Dogs with aggression are suffering from internal fear and opting for the fight response, ultimately making them very challenging to live with.
The idea of a supplement that could help these dogs feel calmer in their environment, not to mention in the world at large, comes as a saving grace to many dog owners who are struggling with fear in their own homes. Thankfully, more and more connections have been made between CBD oil and the improved moods of anxious dogs, giving hope to many owners that their aggressive dogs can be helped after all.
CBD Oil for Dogs
What is CBD? Can a dog get high?
CBD stands for cannabidiol and it comes from the cannabis plant. It can be used as an ingredient in a variety of products, such as edibles, ointments, tinctures, and oils. The CBD in these products is primarily derived from hemp (not marijuana), meaning it contains little to no THC and therefore does not have any psychoactive consequences. Your dog will not get high from CBD.
How does CBD work?
All mammals have a natural endocannabinoid system, known as the ECS. This is a system that regulates many functions in our body, most notable ones being sleep, inflammation, pain, memory, and moods. The way CBD works is by stimulating the ECS receptors, therefore impacting all functions regulated by this system.
Dogs with anxiety and aggression notably suffer from imbalanced moods, sometimes even as a result of physical pain or sickness. Since CBD oil impacts exactly the receptors that regulate moods and pain, it could ease several of these symptoms at once, resulting in a more balanced system and a calmer dog.
CBD Oil and Canine Aggression
Is there proof that CBD can help dogs with fear aggression?
Most of the feedback on successful CBD help for aggressive dogs has come directly from the owners that have reported seeing changes in their dogs’ state of mind. CBD oil can be used as a regular treatment or as extra help on special occasions, such as the New Year’s Eve fireworks, welcoming a new family member, taking a trip to the vet, etc.
Take Barnaby, for example. A 15-year-old dog who has become reactive and fear aggressive as a result of old age. It only took a week of taking CBD for his owners to already notice a change in his mood, which made it easier to work on his behaviors. Stories like these are an inspiration to struggling owners, but they can also be an encouragement to those who work in rescue and daily encounter anxious and aggressive dogs.
One foster dog mom has noticed how much calmer her PTSD fosters are, after giving them CBD treats. She notes that the visible shift in their mood opened the doors to easier socialization and further behavior modification.
While there is much research still to be done on this topic specifically (the first veterinary studies have mainly been focusing on the physical ailments), there are two notable studies that give us a good insight into the value of CBD for aggression in dogs.
In the first study, researchers studied mice who exhibited territorial aggression and found that CBD reduced their aggressive reactions and behaviors. In the cases where aggressive attacks still happened, they were much shorter in duration.
The second study exposed rats to a snake, their predator, with the intent to observe the panic-induced reactions. When faced with the threat, the rats dosed with CBD had significantly diminished fear responses. In both cases, the researchers concluded that CBD could help prevent or reduce fear-born behaviors, such as panic and aggression.
While the research on this topic is still at the beginning, it is evident that the starting point is already more than promising, indicating that there is massive potential for helping fear aggressive dogs with CBD.
Are there any dangers to using CBD for dogs with aggression?
While CBD is generally considered safe, there are still some things you should keep in mind before giving it to your anxious and aggressive dog. Always consult your holistic vet before making any significant changes in your dog’s diet, which includes adding a supplement such as CBD. It is also important to find a good product of high quality, so please do your research before deciding on a final purchase.
The most important thing with CBD is the dosage, which is why you should always carefully read and follow the instructions of the manufacturer. Some possible side effects may include lower blood pressure, drowsiness, and an increased notion of thirst. If you notice any of these symptoms, be sure to check-in with your vet and readjust the dosage.
Finally, it is crucial to understand that CBD can help dogs with anxiety and aggression, but it cannot cure them or take away the cause. It is a very valuable asset for managing aggression in dogs but should not be considered a replacement for consistent training.
Fear is always present in the life of aggressive dogs. It controls their responses, putting their owners in a state of anxiety as well. Many owners are now finding comfort in recognizing the value of CBD oil for dogs with fear and aggression. It can be used alongside their regular training and rehabilitation. CBD oil stimulates the natural system that regulates the dog’s moods, resulting in a calmer dog with a more relaxed state of mind.
While there is still much research to be done, the first studies have been very promising. They indicate that there is an optimistic future ahead for dogs with aggression. This comes as a relief to the owners who are walking this challenging path with them every single day. Since living with an anxious dog often feels like a dead-end street, there is strong hope in knowing the promising effects of CBD for dogs with aggression.
Kriss, Randa. “CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know.” American Kennel Club, 05/02/2019.
Hartmann, Alice. Lisboa, Sabrina Francesca. Buzolin Sonego, Andreza. Coutinho, Débora. Villela Gomes, Felipe. Silveira Guimarães, Francisco. “Cannabidiol attenuates aggressive behavior induced by social isolation in mice: Involvement of 5-HT1A and CB1 receptors.” Science Direct, 02/05/2019.
De Mello Schier, Alexandre Rafael. Pinho de Oliveira Ribeiro, Natalia. Cardoso de Oliveira e Silva, Adriana. Cecílio Hallak, Jaime Eduardo. S. Crippa, José Alexandre. E. Nardi, Antonio. Waldo Zuardi, Antonio. “Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent, as an anxiolytic drug.” Brazilian Journal for Psychiatry, June 2012.
Luna’s passion for learning about canine psychology and behavior began when she adopted a severely reactive puppy from a local shelter. She is now a big advocate for positive reinforcement and compassionate training. As a writer, she strives to spotlight the topics that fly under the radar and be the voice for all who cannot speak for themselves.
CBD Oil for Leash Reactive Dogs
CBD oil can be a part of a training program to help address behavioral problems in dogs such as separation anxiety , aggression , and phobias .
Although we find that many of our customers have success using Lolahemp to help provide calming relief for their pets, we also believe that proper training methods can make a world of difference, especially for rescue dogs with neglect or abuse in their past.
We want to make sure our readers have all of the tools available to help their loving pups live happy, long, and healthy lives.
Raises the Reaction Threshold
One of the ways that professional dog trainers use CBD oil in training programs is to help raise the reaction threshold for dogs with phobias. Let’s take a moment to understand what the “reaction threshold” is and how it can help you with desensitization and reconditioning training programs.
The reaction threshold is a very helpful concept to understand when working with dogs who have any kind of phobia including separation anxiety, travel phobias, noise phobias, hyperactivity, or aggression in response to certain triggers. It refers to the moment that your dog becomes reactive when exposed to a trigger.
When reconditioning (the training used for most dog phobias), it is important to keep the dog under the reaction threshold. That is, you are looking for the moment when they are close enough to the stimulus that they are aware of it, but not yet reactive to it. Then, reward calm behaviors with tasty treats and praise, while slowly getting closer to the stimulus.
For example, consider a dog who is reactive when they see another dog on a leash. They may react by pulling on the leash and lunging toward the other dog even when they are 50 feet away. However, since CBD may help the reactive dog, they may only begin to react when another pooch is 20 feet away. This is called a “higher” reaction threshold.
When the reaction threshold is high, you have more opportunities to reward calm behavior in the presence of a diminished stimulus, speeding up the desensitization and reconditioning process.
Although not all dogs experience the same calming benefits of CBD oil, many of our customers say that Lolahemp has made a noticeable difference in their dog’s reactivity. So, using CBD for dog reactivity might be an answer, although you can never know precisely how much it will affect your dog.
Hear the story of Lilly the Border Collie , for example.
Helps Your Dog Focus
Some dogs have a lot of problems with focus during training sessions. For example, many food-motivated dogs get so excited about earning treats that they become hyperactive during training, offering random behaviors in hopes of rewards.
Others do great with training in familiar environments but struggle to focus around strange sounds, people, or other animals. While enthusiasm is certainly welcome during training sessions, hyperactivity can become a block to ideal learning conditions.
Again, the calming effect that many dogs experience with CBD may offer pro trainers and dog owners another tool in the toolbox of positive reinforcement-based training. Whether you are looking to rehabilitate a dog with significant phobias or teach a hyperactive Boxer some new tricks, CBD oil may help keep focus possible.
Supports an Active Lifestyle
Many of us train our dogs for athletic sports such as flyball, agility, dock diving, lure coursing, and more. One of the best things we can do for athletic dogs is to help support their overall well-being by doing what we can to reduce inflammation, soreness, and stiffness from a long or vigorous workout.
Unfortunately, according to the FDA, veterinary drugs prescribed for pain and inflammation can have dangerous side effects including gastrointestinal problems and negative impacts on liver and kidney function.
Lolahemp, an all-natural CBD oil made from organic hemp, is safe and available without a prescription.
Teach an Old Dog New Tricks
As dogs get older, soreness and stiffness become a barrier to the things they once did, including those fun training sessions. If your dog is getting up in years, then CBD oil may help you keep activity levels as well as interest in training up.
While many people say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, it just isn’t true. As long as your older dog isn’t suffering, training can be a fun way to get their mind and body moving well into their senior years. After all, they brought their A-game into your life and they deserve to be supported in their golden years.
Many of our customers report improvements in mobility and interest in games for their older dogs after adding Lolahemp to their daily regimen.
CBD Oil for Dog Trainers: Lolahemp Affiliate Program
Are you a professional dog trainer who has already discovered the benefits of using CBD oil for the dogs in your care? We would like to invite you to give our organic, full spectrum, and lab-tested CBD oil for dogs a try.
We also offer an affiliate program that offers you a small commission for each sale through your unique URL with no obligation to purchase our product in advance or carry inventory.
Joey is the founder of Lolahemp. In 2015 he and his mother launched Lolawawa’s Pet Boutique, an e-commerce store for pets and pet lovers that donates a portion of profits to animal rescue efforts. In 2018 the son and mother duo launched Lolahemp after the success their own rescue chihuahua, Lola, had with hemp products. Joey & Susan are the visionaries behind the brand, oversee day-to-day operations & marketing, and run all of the company’s philanthropic efforts.
CBD for Dog Behavior – August 2022
Can CBD help with managing dog behavior, and if so, which cbd is the best for dogs?
The American Kennel Club describes aggression in dogs as any threat to harm an individual, whether this individual is human or another animal (1 ) .
There are different forms of aggression, and it is essential to determine the cause to deal with the issue at hand appropriately.
Aggression may be due to guarding territory or protecting a family member, resource guarding, fear, frustration, prey drive, or pain.
Knowing why a dog is aggressive is key to figuring out the best plan for stopping this frightening behavior.
Meanwhile, reactivity is commonly confused with aggression. Reactive dogs overreact to certain things or situations, and triggers may include men with beards or hats or small children.
Leash-reactive dogs tend to growl, bark, or lunge toward things that make them nervous or fearful.
Genetics, the lack of proper socialization, or a combination of both can cause reactivity, and fear is typically the driving force.
Fear is a common cause of aggression. A dog that is scared chooses to run from which it is afraid.
When a dog is trapped and cannot flee from the inciting cause, it fights to preserve itself.
Fearful dogs may not give additional warnings other than their body language. The bites themselves are typically quick snaps and may occur when the person is leaving and has his back turned.
Destructive behavior, on the other hand, is typical with separation anxiety (2 ) . The damage caused is usually around entry and exit points, like doorways and windows.
Dogs in a state of heightened anxiety may also be at risk of harming themselves. Attempts to break out of dog crates, windows, and even doors can result in painful injuries.
How CBD Works for Dog Behavior
CBD affects the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which includes receptors throughout the body. The purpose of this complex network is to maintain homeostasis (balance) among bodily functions and processes.
The ECS affects every part of the body, which is why it is believed that cannabis products can help with a wide range of medical conditions, from anxiety to inflammation.
This system is a bridge between the body and the mind. As CBD oil affects the endocannabinoid receptors in the dog’s body, it also helps to calm the mind. When the dog is relaxed, there is no need to display aggressive behaviors.
CBD for Anxiety, Pain, and Inflammation
Probably the biggest misconception is that CBD is useful in managing a dog’s anxiety. However, CBD may indirectly help reduce anxiety by reducing the pain and inflammation that caused anxiety.
According to the authors of a 2017 study published in the PLOS One Journal , many conditions in dogs share striking similarities with their human counterparts (3 ) .
Interestingly, the first scientific research conducted on CBD oil use in pets is the 2017 Cornell University study , where CBD oil was given to dogs with osteoarthritis two times a day (4 ) .
In the said study, some of the conditions thought to be relieved by the consumption of hemp-based CBD dog treats and products were: joint pain , inflammation, anxiety and phobia, digestive system issue, and pruritus (itching) (5 ) .
Overall, CBD is regarded as safe in dogs and cats, as noted by researchers of a study (6 ) .
However, a 2018 scientific report published by the Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association indicated that, when given at the recommended doses, CBD caused an elevation in a principal liver value on bloodwork, called alkaline phosphatase (ALP) (7 ) .
An extensive study using clinically-applicable doses is needed to evaluate the long-term effects of CBD on the canine liver and gastrointestinal function.
Many cases of aggression, reactivity, and fear in dogs are rooted in anxiety. Meanwhile, CBD oil is showing great promise in reducing anxiety in both humans and dogs.
Studies have shown that CBD oil may help reduce a dog’s anxiety levels by reducing the probable cause of anxiety, like pain and inflammation.
Veterinarians are not legally allowed to prescribe or even recommend cannabis products, like CBD, to their veterinary clients (8 ) .
On the federal level, CBD remains categorized by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, the same as heroin.
However, veterinarians can enter into discussions with the dog owners concerning the appropriate medical use of cannabis products.
Before giving CBD to pets, consult with a veterinarian who has experience with CBD for advice.