CBD for dogs? Can it calm your pet’s thunder fears?: Ervolino

CBD for dogs? Can it calm your pet's thunder fears?: Ervolino

3-minute read


It was a dark and stormy night…

(Well, technically, it was a dark and stormy morning. Last Sunday. Around 3 a.m.)

I was snoring away, minding my own business, when a loud clap of thunder prompted my otherwise Garbo-esque coonhound to jump onto my bed and graft herself to my waist.

Charly is, for lack of a better word, aloof — not unlike the troubled, high-strung ballerina played by Greta Garbo in “Grand Hotel.”

“I vant to be alone.”

Charly doesn’t like to share my bed. Or snuggle on the couch. 

As for kissing, fuggedaboutit. In our seven years together, she has licked my face only once, and that was because I had peanut butter on my nose.

Every night, before I go to bed, I say, “Do you want to come upstairs with Daddy? You wanna go beddy-bye? Snoozy-woozy? Get under the blanky-wanky?”

And, every night, she rolls her eyes and turns away.

She prefers to sleep on the sofa. Or next to the radiator in the dining room.

One night, she slept in the bathroom with the door locked. When I called out to her, she turned on the water and said, “I can’t hear you. I’m in the shower!”

But when a thunderstorm comes along…

Last Sunday’s storm was so loud, it woke me up. I might have gone right back to sleep, though, had Charly not jumped up onto the bed, twitching and shaking. 

I hated seeing her so frightened. So I got up, took her into the living room, wrapped her in a blanket and turned on the TV with the sound up.

Way up.

Charly is used to a loud TV. And stereo. And car radio. Those loud noises don’t seem to bother her in the least.

But thunder…?

Experts believe that there is more to your dog’s fear of thunder than meets the eye. And ear.

In a recent interview with AKC.com, canine behavior expert Trista Miller said that while thunderclaps are much louder to dogs than to humans — their hearing is a lot more powerful than ours — pups also have certain instincts that go way, way back to their cave ancestors. 

“It’s a survival thing to want to find shelter,” Miller said. “Thunder is a big part of it. But I think dogs are also sensitive to changes in air pressure and potentially static electricity.”

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Since this is one of the worst times of the year for storms, I’ve naturally been concerned.

The day after the storm, I brought up Charly’s plight with friends: “I hate seeing her like that,” I said. “She was a nervous wreck!”

One pal was adamant: “Get Charly some CBD! Pronto!”

CBD? But isn’t that…?

Yes! According to Wikipedia: “Cannabidiol (CBD) is a phytocannabinoid discovered in 1940. It is one of 113 identified cannabinoids in cannabis plants, along with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and accounts for up to 40 percent of the plant’s extract.”

Cannabis! The “gateway” drug!

I imagined coming home one day and finding Charly out on the porch, smoking a joint — her eyes bloodshot, her pupils enlarged, her voice slurred.

HER: “Wassup, Daddy-O?”

ME: “I am so disappointed, Charly! Are you really smoking weed? Pot? Mary Jane? Satan’s Spinach?”

I did a little research, though, and, as it turns out, CBD oil won’t get your pet high. It won’t get you high, either. But it can help with management of pain and anxiety.

The AKC has endorsed the use of organic CBD chews and oils. Other calming treats are available at most pet stores and online. Formulas vary, but the most effective ingredients include casein, tryptophan, melatonin and L-theanine. 

When I awoke on Monday morning, to a “yellow alert” from John Elliott on CBS, I felt a little panicky. He said the weather would be “decent” all day. “But,” he added, “tonight…hoo, boy!”

Hoo, boy? Is that bad?

And what is a yellow alert, anyway?

(Answer: A yellow alert is a warning that severe weather is possible over the next few days. An orange alert is worse. And a red alert is three ‘Hoo, boys” and one “Run for your life!”)

Faced with the peril of another loud night, I figured it might be time to pick up some CBD oil, just in case. But how much would I need?

According to caninejournal.com, “A safe rule of thumb is 0.2 mg of CBD per pound.”

Oh, great. There’s math involved?

I hate math. And I have no idea what Charly weighs, anyway. 

We had more thunder on Monday night, but sleeping with Big Daddy seemed to help. Ditto for Tuesday. And Wednesday. 

No longer “aloof,” Charly has been in my bed every night, kicking my chest and exhaling lamb breath in my face.

(I bought her a nice toothbrush, but she ate it.)

By Wednesday night, I couldn’t take it anymore and ordered her back to the sofa.

“Out! Go! Begone!”

I vant to be alone.

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