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CBD, Dogs and Thunderstorms

Dogs and Thunderstorms

I love thunderstorms, well, at least when I’m at home and they are not spawning tornados or massive hail, but a nice little thunderstorm or rain shower adds a level of coziness.  The rain drops hitting the roof, the beautiful ambience of lightning and thunder all while the entire family is glued to the TV watching the local weathermen interrupt our favorite TV show or sports team to tell us what we could of predicted by simply looking outside.  Living in Kansas City, very glad to have the weather come on in those massive storms. Unfortunately, while we all may be able to keep our calm, maybe even enjoy thunderstorms, our four legged little furry friends often times have the worst experience and heart pounding anxiety during a thunderstorm.  

Thunderstorms can make your calm, cool and loving dog turn into an absolutely scared, anxious and nervous wreck.  While there are several different theories about why many dogs hate thunderstorms exactly, ranging from the pure volume of the thunder that the feel is something threatening or even the static electricity created that often times makes them wonder throughout the house finding a place that allows them to be more grounded, either way it is not fun for the rest of the family or our furry friends.  While all dogs are a little different and there’s simply no cure all for each and every dog, turning your dog to CBD could be an option to help keep them calmer, super calm or even asleep if its late, during the next thunderstorm.

While there’s been studies on the benefits of CBD for humans, there’s been little discussion about its benefits for our pets, dogs in particular.  Dogs, like humans, have what is called an endocannabinoid system (or ECS), which is a regulatory system that helps regulate our immune system. It's basically a signalling system that helps keep all of the systems within the body in balance.  Its essentially not taught in to any one in medical school or veterinary school. But the ECS is made up of essentially three parts, the endocannabinoids, the cannabinoid receptors, as well as the enzymes that make and breakdown all the endocannabinoids.  

Endocannabinoids, of which CBD is one that can be provided externally, bind to receptors (which in humans its CB1 and CB2 as well as we are learning about more) that are basically found throughout the entire body, including the brain.  Taking external endocannabinoids such as CBD help activate these receptors in your dog's body. So when some of the functions in the animals body begin to get out of “whack”, the receptors help regulate proteins in the dogs cells, which essentially sends messages throughout the nervous system that something is out of balance that needs to be regulated and adjusted back into balance.

Some of the key body and mental functions that the endocannabinoid system is thought to be responsible for include things like your dogs mood, appetite and metabolism, brain function such as memory, body control and immune responsiveness.  So if the dogs endocannabinoid system is deprived of cannabinoids, it can easily begin to have an imbalance in several key functions that can cause it to become overly anxious and out of character during things like thunderstorms or fireworks.  

CBD is a great option to try for overly anxious dogs that have trouble getting through thunderstorms.  While you cannot overdose on CBD, you can over shoot the right dose for you dog and still not get the desired effects.  So we suggest and nice slow and steady, start low, approach, to where if you know a thunderstorm is coming, begin dosing your dog, 30-60 minutes prior.  The exact dose again, depends on the size of the dog and may take some time do dial in. If it's a small dog, say 10lb little shih poo, perhaps start with about 30-60min before the storm comes approximately ¼ of a dropper of full spectrum CBD in a 15ml/350mg strength.  If needed, gradually increase the dose each storm and even re-dose as the storm approaches.  If its a much larger dog, such as a German Shepherd, you may start with a half a dropper or more.  

Again, every dog is different, like people, no two individuals or dogs have the exact same endocannabinoid system, so finding the correct dose may take some time.  But hopefully, if you stress out about thunderstorms, not because of the actual thunder and storm part, but because of your dog’s emotional storm, just know there may be a path to fixing it.  It may take a little bit of patience and trial to find the exact dose for your dog.

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