CBD for Dogs for Fireworks: Does it Work? Whether it’s the 4th of July or Halloween , dog owners often have mixed feelings about celebrations that involve fireworks and other loud activities. "What can I give my dog for fireworks anxiety?" Full spectrum CBD has been proven to help calm your pet and manage PD and C-PTSD during fireworks.
CBD for Dogs for Fireworks: Does it Work?
Whether it’s the 4th of July or Halloween , dog owners often have mixed feelings about celebrations that involve fireworks and other loud activities.
It’s common for pups to develop noise phobias throughout their lives – which are defined as an intense reaction of panic or stress when exposed to sudden or unusually loud sounds.
Dogs are among the most sensitive pets, which makes them great at communicating with us and interpreting our needs. But that sensitivity also makes them prone to phobias, anxiety, and an inability to calm down after becoming agitated.
Traditional remedies for dogs that show their behaviors include using weighted blankets or allergy medications like Benedryl, which can produce a mild sedating effect. Some dog owners will even forgo the fun themselves to keep their pets away from any potentially upsetting sounds.
While these can all work in some situations, an increasing number of pet owners have also begun to advocate using pet-safe CBD as a way to keep dogs calm and receptive to commands during fireworks.
The rise in recommendations of CBD for dogs coincides with a general increase in CBD’s popularity. Over the last five-or-so years, CBD has grown from a niche supplement used in holistic medicine circles, to a mainstream product available in big box pet stores.
What is Pet CBD?
- Pet-safe CBD products are made from hemp plants – a type of cannabis that contains anti-inflammatory compounds called cannabinoids.
- Of all cannabinoids, CBD is recognized as producing the most potent effects. Researchers have found that CBD interacts with receptors in dogs’ immune systems to stimulate reduced inflammation.
- Hemp plants contain very low amounts of the cannabinoid THC, which is known to produce psychoactive effects (a high) and is harmful to dogs. Hemp grown by certified producers in the US is limited to 0.3% THC – a safe amount for pets.
- To make CBD oils and other products, producers extract CBD from hemp plants and infuse it into a carrier oil, treat recipe, or topical balm.
The claims about CBD’s ability to soothe dogs with noise phobias do make sense:
CBD is a proven anti-inflammatory supplement, as shown in clinical studies . Phobias, anxiety, and other forms of stress all cause internal inflammation. By decreasing this inflammation – the theory goes – CBD reduces anxiety and stimulates the release of hormones and enzymes that return the body to a normal state of calm.
Research related to CBD’s ability to reduce inflammation, stress, and anxiety is becoming more established. In 2021, a clinical study published in the journal Veterinary Sciences showed “for the first time the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD directly in dogs’ immune cells.”
But does the science of CBD line up with feedback from real dog owners who have tried CBD with their pets? There’s lots of talk from dog owners who use CBD on the internet – but to find out what people really think, we need to separate the marketing content from the genuine owner comments.
Online reviews of pet CBD products can be glowing, with hundreds of customers lining up to provide 5-star reviews and stories of how CBD change their pets’ lives. While most of these testimonials are likely to be true, it’s important to be discerning about where reviews come from.
Comments posted on the websites of CBD brands can be manipulated by companies to appear more favorable. Reputable CBD brands won’t make up reviews, but they might highlight the best feedback while pushing less positive comments further down the list.
We recommend checking independent sources of reviews like Google, Facebook, and Reddit when trying to get a sense of opinions in the dog owner community. Even here, there’s no guarantee that content is totally representative (welcome to the internet in 2022), but you’re more likely to see unbiased results.
A look at relevant posts on these platforms does seem to show evidence that CBD helps reduce firework and noise sensitivity in a majority of dogs.
In one Reddit thread where dog owners asked for 4th of July fireworks advice, several commenters mentioned that CBD had worked for their pets:
“ CBD oil has worked wonders for my dog. 3-4 drops in her food in the morning and at night (she’s a 70lb boxer). She still notices the booms if they’re loud enough, but she doesn’t pant and tremble uncontrollably anymore. I don’t think she’ll be 100% chill on July 4th because of the sheet amount of shit that gets popped off, but I don’t think she’ll be cowering in the bathroom again this year.”
Other dog owners discussing strategies for managing pet anxiety during fireworks on dogforum.com also had positive things to say about CBD supplementation:
“I used CBD oil for Murphys firework anxiety last year but you have to start at least one week before so that it has a chance to build up .. ( I have to say it worked quite well all but the loudest and closest explosions were ignored)”
At the same time, a sizeable number of dog owners report disappointing effects from trying CBD oil with their noise phobic pups.
This perspective was represented in a 2020 study published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science, which exposed dogs taking CBD to simulated firework noise. The study found no significant difference in reaction between dogs taking CBD and those that weren’t:
“When the fireworks track started, there was a visible change in the demeanor of the dogs… a tucked tail, shaking, or nervous vocalizations like whining.” However, the study didn’t ultimately find any evidence “in support of an anxiolytic effect of CBD in dogs when supplemented at 1.4 mg CBD/kg.”
Although, it’s worth pointing out that most experts recommend giving dogs CBD for several weeks before expecting to see any effects. The authors of the study recognized this, writing that “CBD may need to be dosed for longer than 7 days in order to produce anxiolytic effects.”
Is Pet CBD safe for dogs?
CBD is completely safe for dogs when it’s made according to pet-friendly standards. That means it contains less than 0.3% THC, no xylitol, and is available in an appropriate concentration for a dog’s size.
- Pet CBD should always be made from US-grown hemp plants, not marijuana plants. This ensures that CBD extracts don’t contain unsafe levels of other cannabinoids, such as THC.
- The best pet CBD producers regularly submit their products for independent quality testing and make the results accessible to customers. These lab tests show exactly how much CBD is contained in a product, along with any other cannabis compounds and impurities like pesticides or heavy metals.
So what’s the conclusion? There’s no doubt that CBD supplements work for many anxious dogs, making them calmer and helping them to behave more normally when exposed to phobia triggers like fireworks.
Furthermore, growing research on both humans and dogs is providing real evidence on how CBD and other cannabis compounds interact with the immune system to reduce inflammation and stress.
That said, it’s also true that not every dog owner who’s tried CBD oil for noise phobias has been impressed with the results. Feedback from independent sources like Reddit and Facebook is mixed, with some comments stating that CBD had little effect on their pup’s fear of fireworks.
The bottom line is that CBD possesses real anti-inflammatory properties that may induce calm in frightened pups – it just won’t work every time for every dog.
What Can I Give My Dog for Fireworks Anxiety?
Is your dog scared of fireworks? I’m guessing the answer is probably yes. As the owner of a rescue farm myself, holidays with fireworks have been my least favorite. Every Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve holiday, my home was filled with panicked howls, whimpers, and the sound of dogs pacing. Before discovering the calming power of full spectrum CBD for dog fireworks anxiety, I wondered “What can I give my dog for fireworks anxiety?” Seeing the animals on my farm cower and shake every time a firework burst just broke my heart. Since using CBD for fireworks anxiety, the animals on my farm no longer shake, pace, or panic during fireworks.
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Is Dog Fireworks Anxiety Common?
According to a 2015 study, published in Applied Animal Behavior Science, which took into account 5,000 dogs of 17 breeds, the answer seems to be YES, in fact they found that:
- Dogs are more afraid of fireworks than they are of gunshots, thunderstorms, or heavy traffic.
- Only 10 percent of dogs exhibited fear of thunderstorms.
- Only 14 percent of dogs reacted to gunshots.
- Yet, 21 percent of dogsshowed “strong or very strong signs of being fearful” during fireworks.
- Fear of loud noises increases with age.
But it’s not just dogs who suffer when fireworks explode. In a 2010 study, surveying 3,527 dogs and cats, roughly 46 percent of cats displayed a level of fear of fireworks that was recognizable to the pet owners. The study also revealed that although dogs exhibit a more outward display or fear of fireworks while cats exhibit cowering behaviors, the duration of fear-based responses did not differ between dogs and cats. Of the animals observed, six percent were injured because of their fear-based reactions.
Why is My Dog Afraid of Fireworks?
Loud fireworks are often a trigger for panic disorder (PD) and canine-post traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD). PD and C-PTSD are more than just a reaction to fear. They can cause unexpected urination, defecation, vocalization, salivation, trembling or shaking, increased and unfocused motor activity, decreased motor activity or freezing, random destruction, and escape behaviors.
Beyond just pets having intense fear and panic reactions to fireworks, human anxiety can be triggered as well. This can then create a chain reaction, causing anxiety in your pets. Veterans and survivors of shootings are more likely to have an episode of PTSD on fireworks holidays. Also, children are often afraid of the sound of fireworks, which can then trigger cat and dog fireworks anxiety as well.
These panic responses occur because of the fight or flight reaction that happens in the body. When you, or your pet, is responding to acute stress and external stressors, the sympathetic nervous system is activated, due to the sudden release of hormones. These hormones stimulate the adrenal glands, triggering the release of adrenaline and noradrenaline, which results in an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration. It can take up to an hour for the body to return to normal after the threat is gone, which is why so many dogs continue to pant and panic long after the fireworks end.
The Dangers of Fireworks Fear
Exhibiting signs of fear can mean a wide range of things for different pets. For some, it means they are suffering from separation anxiety or general anxiety which often manifests through barking, pacing, and panting. But for others, fear and panic can lead to dangerous results. These panic reactions can be seen directly on my farm, Nina, a Doberman, and Odie, a miniature schnauzer, are terrified of fireworks. Their reactions range from barking incessantly to pacing, panting, and hiding – all depending on how close and loud the fireworks are. Despite living in an area with daily thunderstorms, noise anxiety is a very real issue for my sweet Nina and my sassy Odie, and it peaks during fireworks.
In recent years, multiple reports have surfaced of older dogs and even puppies suffering fatal heart attacks during fireworks displays. Additionally, during these noisy celebrations there are increased incidents of dogs running through sliding glass doors or running away. In fact, more dogs are lost on July 4th and January 1st than any other days of the year.
How To Calm Your Dog During Fireworks
- Keep your pet inside. Your natural instinct might be to let your dog face their fear and join you outside. However, they may panic and try to run away or become more aggressive. Instead, let your dog run and exercise outside earlier in the day and before the fireworks begin, bring them inside.
- Keep their environment calm. To avoid the bright lights contributing to your pet’s anxiety, close the curtains or blinds. You may find that playing soft music helps keep them calm as well.
- Keep guests away from your pet. New people can cause more anxiety in a panicked dog. If there are lots of people around, keep pets in their own calm space, rather than letting them roam.
- Wrap or Swaddle your pet. Putting something with weight or slight pressure on your pet creates a calming effect, according to a recent study. Just like weighted blankets can help people with anxiety, a comfortable weighted shirt or swaddle can give your pet a sense of feeling grounded and calm. Though be sure they are still able to move around freely. You can find vests, like the Thunder Shirt, at your local pet store. You can also save money by wrapping your pet’s chest in an ace bandage (but not too tight!!) to create the same effect.
What Can I Give My Dog For Fireworks Anxiety?
Despite all of the frightening facts about fireworks, if you’re still wondering ‘What can I give my dog for fireworks anxiety?’ there’s a safe, natural option: Full Spectrum Hemp CBD for dog fireworks anxiety.
A 2013 article published in Neuropharmacology also found that: “In addition to modulating basal anxiety states, recent studies suggest an important role for the endocannabinoid (eCB) and glucocorticoid systems is the modulation of emotional states and extinction of aversive memories in animals.” This means that CBD can help in facilitating extinction of negative emotion surrounding triggers, like fireworks, and helps manage PTSD and anxiety or panic disorders in people and animals. CBD has been shown to help manage PD, C-PTSD, and PTSD on holidays when fireworks will be used.
Even more interesting: A 2019 study published in the Permanente Journal found that CBD also has a calming effect on the central nervous system and is better tolerated than other psychiatric medications.
Although many vets recommend giving your pet children’s Benadryl, it is important to remember that this drug is not intended for animals and may have side effects. For example, Benadryl can put a strain on a dog’s liver and kidneys if they are already experiencing issues in those areas. So remember, when you find yourself wondering, What can I give my dog for Fireworks Anxiety? Remember, CBD is a safer, natural alternative to help your cat or dog’s fireworks anxiety.
Since using CALM: CBD Oil, the animals on my farm no longer shake, pace, or panic during fireworks. Instead, they are able to rest and nap despite the noise, without the sedative effect of Benadryl.
CBD Dosage for Dog Fireworks Anxiety
Cannabinoids in the hemp plant, including CBD, interact with the endocannabinoid system. Every mammal has an endocannabinoid system, which has receptors that instruct the cells how to heal and restore homeostasis in the body. Dogs have twice the amount of receptors than people, which means that CBD and other cannabinoids are incredibly effective.
Despite common misconceptions, dosing CBD has very little to do with your dog’s size and weight. Our CALM: CBD Oil for Dogs and Cats with anxiety has a standard dose (1mL) containing 9mg of CBD. However, your pet may need more, or less, CBD for fireworks anxiety. Some dogs have a more sensitive endocannabinoid system than others, so the optimal dose of CBD for dog fireworks anxiety can vary between dogs.
For example, even though Nina is four times the size of Odie, she only needs around 9 mg of CBD to relieve her fireworks anxiety. In contrast, Odie needs 20 mg or more to calm down. Two dramatically differently sized dogs who require dramatically different CBD dosages for the same ailment, because their endocannabinoid systems are not identically sensitive.
That’s why we have a range of dosage recommendations based on our experience and research. For noise and fireworks anxiety, we suggest a dose of 9mg before the triggering event. Then, if your pet is still anxious after 15-20 minutes, you can administer another 9mg until you see results.
If your dog doesn’t seem to be responding to the initial dose, it is perfectly safe to give them more without fear of overdosing. If you feel nervous about experimenting to find the upper limit of their sensitivity, rest assured, it is completely safe. Numerous studies have proven the safety of cannabis based medicine at even extreme high doses. Doses of up to 640 mg of CBD rich extract were well tolerated by dogs, with only mild adverse effects such as diarrhea.
How Else Can I Help My Dog Scared of Fireworks?
Frustratingly, fireworks do not actually need to have sound. In fact, many fireworks displays in Europe use so-called “quiet fireworks,”. A town in Italy even passed a law that all fireworks must be quiet. Currently, a few cities and towns in the U.S. are petitioning to enact similar laws. However, the number of petitions seem to be growing.
To get involved, find and contact your local congressional representative here to urge them to enact stricter fireworks laws. You can request that they consider requiring all fireworks to be quiet fireworks in their cities and towns. Until more quiet fireworks laws are enacted, you can do your part to help reduce fireworks noise by attending controlled fireworks shows in your community rather than buying your own.