Canine anxiety is caused by a multitude of triggers that range from environmental to physical, as well as mental and emotional. Because dogs are unable to communicate with us and because we are left guessing at what might be wrong, it is difficult for humans to pinpoint exactly what the problem is with our furry companions. Most of the time, anxiety is brought on by one or more stressors that stem from one of the previously mentioned categories.
While most veterinarians will recommend prescription medication to treat this kind of ailment, there are also natural alternatives to consider as well. One of these alternatives is hemp oil for dog anxiety. For pet owners who are looking for another solution for their pet’s separation anxiety, hemp dog chews is a viable option. In fact, adding hemp products into your dog’s diet has also been shown to help with discomfort associated with daily activity and digestive issues. In the following article, we will look at the four major causes of canine anxiety and how hemp oil can help with each type of trigger.
What are the symptoms of anxiety?
Before we can delve into how hemp oil helps curb the symptoms of anxiety, we first need to establish what those symptoms are. Here are some of the most common symptoms of canine anxiety, according to The American Kennel Club:
- Urinating or defecating in the house
- Destructive behavior
- Excessive barking
- Repetitive or compulsive behaviors
These are just some of the behaviors that your dog may exhibit if he is suffering from anxiety. Some of the behaviors listed above mirror the signs of potentially severe medical conditions, so it is important to seek medical attention for your dog if he shows any of the aforementioned symptoms.
Sadly, there is no medical test to determine that your dog is suffering from anxiety, which means that you will likely be subjected to a multitude of tests to rule out all other medical concerns. If your dog is given a clean bill of health, but still exhibits the symptoms above, then he is suffering from anxiety.
What are the causes of anxiety?
According to Pet MD, anxiety triggers typically fall into one of the following four categories, i.e., mental, physical, emotional, and environmental. The following paragraphs detail examples of each of the potential causes of anxiety for your furry friend.
Environmental triggers are some of the most common sources of anxiety for dogs. Your dog depends on the safety and security of a stable home environment in order to center himself. It is fairly common for environmental triggers to be sources of temporary anxiety for dogs, like fireworks on the fourth of July, or trick-or-treaters on Halloween. However, long-term exposure to environmental triggers can manifest itself as severe rapid onset anxiety with little warning.
Here are some of the environmental triggers that can cause anxiety in dogs:
-Loud noises: fireworks, loud music, thunder, cars, construction
-Strangers: delivery people, mail carriers, solicitors
-New animals: a new pet in the home or building, a disruptive squirrel outside your window
Environmental triggers are largely controllable. If you are able to, remove your dog from situations where his environment is constantly filled with disruptive stimuli. The first step in treating anxiety is always an attempt at creating a soothing and comfortable environment for your dog to live in.
Mental triggers can be a bit more complex, as we are not capable of fully understanding the inner workings of the canine mind. Some examples of mental triggers are as follows:
-A trip to the vet
-Yelling and scolding
-Being left outside
-Being left alone all-day
Mental triggers take place when your dog associates an action with the memory of a previous traumatic experience. While an event may not have seemed traumatic at the time, the truth is you will never know what is or isn’t traumatic for your dog.
The age of your dog has a lot to do with anxiety and how it is manifested through behavior. Older dogs are more susceptible to sudden bouts of anxiety that come on seemingly out of nowhere. For most older dogs, mental faculties are not what they once were. This shapes how your dog sees the world and how he is able to absorb and digest information.
Anxiety can be especially bad if the inability to process information is paired with a new trigger. Likewise, older dogs take longer to bounce back from “traumatic events,” and something as routine as going to the Vet may induce anxiety in an older dog.
Physical triggers for canine anxiety are a bit more straightforward as we are able to point to physical pain as an obvious cut-and-dry symptom. The problem with physical triggers is that physical pain can linger. Even after a wound has healed or pain has subsided, the natural inclination for your dog is to remain anxious about his physical impairment, especially if your furry friend suffered from a serious injury.
-Sudden limitations in mobility
-The loss of a limb
-The loss of sight
Dogs rely heavily on their ability to be physical. As a result, any physical limitation will tend to manifest itself as anxiety due to your dog’s lack of understanding and confusion about his new circumstances. When dealing with a physical set back for your dog, it is important to try to maintain a normal routine as a way to strengthen his confidence.
Your dog is a creature of habit, and any change to the norm is liable to send him into an anxious state. Dogs are pack animals by nature and as a result, are genetically predisposed to rely on those around them for safety and security. If all of a sudden a member of the pack goes missing for long periods of time, or if a new addition is made suddenly, your dog may become anxious. Some examples of emotional triggers for canine anxiety are:
-Death of an owner
-Divorce, resulting in lack of pet/owner interaction
-A new addition to the home, i.e., a new baby or a new roommate
-Separation caused by longer work hours
Your dog is an emotional creature who needs the love and support of his owner. Any dip in the normal amount of affection you show your dog could result in the onset of canine anxiety. Remember, your dog is a creature of habit, and he does not understand sudden change.
Is there a cure for anxiety?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for anxiety as the condition itself can come and go quickly and without warning. A dog that has previously been susceptible to anxiety could wake up one day and not show signs of anxiety ever again. Similarly, a dog that has never shown any signs of anxiety could become anxious seemingly overnight.
Anxiety is not curable because it is impossible to determine the exact root cause. Additionally, because we cannot conduct psychoanalysis on our dogs, it limits our ability to come to a definitive diagnosis. All we can do is make our best-educated guess about what triggers our dog to become anxious and then limit his exposure to that trigger.
What can help with anxiety?
Due to the complex nature of anxiety, every case poses a slew of unique solutions to address it. Some vets will recommend a change in scenery or even an increase in exercise, but whatever recommendations your vet gives as far as lifestyle changes will almost always be accompanied by a prescription.
While some vets are more hesitant than others to break out the prescription pad, traditionally anxiety warrants some kind of medicinal addition.
The long-term neurological impact on your pet that ensues as a result of untreated anxiety is far worse than the damage prescription medication does to the liver and kidneys.
This is not to say that prescription medication is the only option, or that your dog will need to be on it forever. But when it comes to fighting the initial onset of anxiety in dogs, prescription medication will be an important part of your dog’s daily routine.
But what if I don’t want to expose my dog to the long term health risks of prescription medication? Enter hemp oil! For dog owners who are looking for a more natural and sustainable option for long-term health, hemp oil for dogs with separation anxiety is a very smart move. Whether you’re dog is suffering from joint discomfort , digestive issues, or the occasional bouts of anxiety, there are many benefits of hemp oil for dogs to take advantage of.
What is Hemp Oil?
Hemp oil’s main active ingredient is a chemical that your body, and your dog’s body, produces naturally. Inside your dog’s body exists a series of neurotransmitters dedicated to detecting and administering these chemicals that are called receptors.
These receptors regulate pain, nausea, and anxiety and exist because these chemicals are organically produced by the brain. Without being too detailed, the more of these specific chemicals that exist in the bloodstream, the more these receptors are triggered to block pain, alleviate stress, and combat nausea.
According to Harvard Health, hemp oil is produced by cold pressing the stems and stalks of the hemp plant by means of extracting the sap from the plant. This sap is then purified and made into oil.
As you can see, there are many uses of hemp oil for dogs and it’s a natural alternative that supports overall health.
How Does Hemp Oil help my anxious dog?
Still wondering, “Is hemp oil good for dogs?” Very simply, the main chemical in hemp oil works to block out the illusion of pain. Anxiety is caused by stress, which your dog then internalizes as pain. Hemp oil sends the message to your dog’s dopamine receptors that he is not in pain and balances out the stress. Dogs Naturally magazine emphasizes that hemp oil does not make your dog high. Instead, it uses the neurotransmitters that are responsible for absorption to stabilize and calm the mind and body.
Hemp oil should only be administered as directed by a veterinary professional. Before taking proactive measures to administer something new, discuss the potential side effects with a health professional. CBD will likely not cause any harm to your dog, but it is essential that you talk to your vet and find out how much hemp oil you should be giving your dog. For the most part, there is a great deal of success regarding the positive effects of treating anxiety with CBD. Talk to your vet about how hemp oil can help your anxious dog, and as always, administer with care!