Tallulah is my sweet 11 year old rescue. I got her back in 2010 as my first dog "as an adult". This was my first time ever having an amazing little being in my life, full time, and new responsibility of another life in my hands.
Independence Day rolled around and I went out onto the roof of my building to join my neighbors in a little celebration, not really thinking anything of it. When I got back I couldn't find Tallulah anywhere. A deep panic set in. Even though I'd only had her for a month I was already so in love with her and couldn't bare to think she had escaped! We lived in a studio on the third floor of the building... "Did she slip out?" I called her, searched under the bed, behind the couch, in the closet... then suddenly I heard little scratches coming from the bathroom. She had somehow heaved her tiny little 8 pound body into by bathtub. I found her trembling and soaking wet from the water from my shower earlier. She was obviously freaked out but I didn't really understand or know what had happened.
The next year I went out for the Fourth of July, really not even considering what might happen (again, I had really little information about dogs at this point, I was only 21). This time when I returned, she had tried to dig her way into the bathroom by scratching and biting at the door. She had scratched her little paws raw and tore a chunk out of my door frame and corner of the bathroom door. It was then that I realized we had a serious problem.
Over the next five years I tried everything from noise desensitization exercises, to loud music, to thunder jackets, to happy hoodies, to swaddling, to anti-anxiety aroma therapy diffusers for dogs... you name it! Nothing seemed to work and her anxiety in general was getting worse. She was much more skiddish even day to day. If you dropped a pot she would jump, even the clicker scared the bejeezus out of her. Enter, Hemp and Cannabidiol (CBD).
We have since moved out of our studio apartment on the third floor, gotten her a "Daddy" and a brother too. We live in a great little neighborhood in East Hollywood in an old Spanish style building with original french windows, archways and conveniently located right across from a GIANT PARKING LOT. Which means, every holiday, not just Fourth of July, the neighborhood kids head over there and launch fireworks for HOURS. This was like torture for all of us. Tallulah would run around and pant and scratch at all the doors so we would leave everything open for her. She tried to escape the apartment, claw through my thighs and trembled so much that she shook our entire queen bed. I knew that CBD had amazing benefits for people and so I started giving her CBD cookies. Suddenly, she was able to be calm and even aloof to the celebratory commotion outside.
I was thrilled at the results! As someone who is very against pharmaceuticals this was a great option for me, I could ease my baby's suffering without the risk to her other little organs or her precious little body. Soon, I started seeing my clients using CBD to treat a whole range of ailments in their pets.
Are you interested in using cannabinoids for your pets?
It's important to first understand that the Endocannabinoid system exists in all mammals including our four legged pals, horses, rabbits and us humans. The layman's term definition of Endocannabinoid system (ECS): a biological system of neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors throughout the central nervous system and brain. The ESC regulates a variety of processes including: fertility, mood, appetite, pain-sensation. It does a lot more too but thats what we really need to know for these purposes. What's really exciting about this shared ECS system is that all the research and studies that have been done with CBD for humans can pretty much indicate how it will react in pets as we have the same system that dictates how these cannabinoids will bond and metabolize in our systems and more importantly affect, mood, pain, appetite, etc.
What is CBD or Cannabidiol?
CBD is a non-intoxicating compound found in marijuana and/or Hemp and has even been found to counteract the psychoactive effects of THC. What does this mean for your pet? All the benefits, none of the tripping out. CBD has been found to help children with epilepsy by reducing symptoms and there are still ongoing studies into its cancer fighting abilities. Now keeping in mind that we share this ECS system with our pets, this is pretty exciting news for our best four legged friends. If you are considering using a CBD for your pets be sure to look into pet specific lines like CannaCanine. They also have more specific information on how CBD acts in the ECS system and how it interacts with all of the specific receptors.
CBD and Epilepsy
CBD has been reported to contain both anticonvulsant and anti-epileptic activity. This is great news for anyone who has a little dog suffering with seizures caused by epilepsy. Current treatments for this condition include Phenobarbital, which can cause short term side effects such as anxiety, anemia and lethargy with long term side effects such as liver damage. As with most "big pharma" solutions it comes with a myriad of disappointing side effects and long term body damage. Using CBD as a natural alternative could add years to your dogs life*.
A more recent clinical study completed by Cornell suggests that CBD oil twice daily* can actually provide comfort and increased activity for dogs suffering from osteoarthritis. With more studies on the rise and the data mounting we are really starting to learn how this natural derivative could be of great help to our favorite companions.
Tallulah, CBD and the Possible Solution to Anxiety*
Since Starting Tallulah on CBD I have seen such a massive improvement in her ability to stay calm. It really has taken the edge off and allowed her, in my opinion, to live a fuller and happier life. When I work with my training clients one of the first things we talk about behaviorally is: Could these behavioral problems be caused by an underlying health concern? Can these behavioral problems be solved by addressing underlying anxiety/ PTSD. If you have a rescue pet, unfortunately, there really is no way to know what their history is or what they may have gone through. Often times, even a short stint in a shelter situation can have lasting effects of PTSD. After starting a mild CBD regimen for their pets, my clients have found it helps to get their dogs into a better mental state to be able to work and train. Although there isn't much data or studies to show the effects of CBD in animals for anxiety, since we share the same ECS we can potentially point to studies done in humans for anxiety as anecdotal evidence. I also recommend WINPRO Focus treats for anxiety. I have seen such great success in so many clients dogs and in my own pets with their performance products (not CBD based) in conjunction with a CBD regimen.*
Now you may be wondering... Where is my Vet in all of this? Can't I just get a prescription from there?
Even though medical marijuana is on the rise and there are state making the transition to recreational legalization ( we live in California where recreational Marijuana is now commonplace) it is still federally regulated and your Vet risks losing their license for suggesting or prescribing CBD. Now, with the rise of research in the field and the clear evidence of CBD's lack of psychotropic qualities things are shifting. Also, because farmers are pushing to be able to grow hemp as a more sustainable and cheaper alternative to other crops the federal government is looking to loosen up some restrictions. With that said, CBD as a real medical solution may not be far off. I feel like it sure beats the other anti-anxiety options for dogs like Prosac or Zoloft which as pharmaceuticals come with their own sub set of adverse physical effects*.
In the meantime look for reputable pet CBD oils and treats (CannaCanine) and even hemp based cookies such as Pet Relief, which can be found online or in small pet stores. If you are concerned your dogs behavior might be due to a medical issue check in with your Vet. Also, be sure to check back in on my next post about Balanced health and my new journey using their service to naturally treat my own autoimmune disorder. Sometimes your body has a bigger story to tell than what your blood is saying....
*These statements are not medical advice nor should they be used instead of the advice and guidance of a veterinarian. You should speak to a medical professional before adding any new supplements or medication to your dog's regimen especially those suffering from serious illnesses. Source 1 | Source 2 | Source 3