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They say there are three states of being: Survive, Thrive, Flow… which one are you in? Which one is your pet experiencing? How can we get them (and us) closer to a state of homeostasis?
This upcoming weekend is different – for several reasons and in many ways. We’ve all been relatively homebound for some time with the COVID pandemic and our animals have gotten used to us being around – may be too much for some of them (especially cats.. jk)! Still, as much as we’ve had to socially distance, the fireworks or small bombs, depending on where you live, are constant for the next week or two. Animals don’t understand why once a year humans light fireworks or why there are extraordinarily loud noises and flashing lights everywhere. Without fail, in our years of pet guardianship and rescue work, we’ve seen countless animals, pets, and wildlife flee from the noise. Their sense of hearing and smell is so far superior to ours and they have NO way to understand what is happening. Our soothing baby voices don’t help… they have no common ground to associate that with actual calm. It seems like it’s our version of saying ‘calm down’ to them and, if you’re anything like I am, that NEVER works. Crating doesn’t help alleviate anxiety, it simply keeps us happy and them confined. The sheer terror in the faces of some animals is cringeworthy at a minimum. WE choose to shoot off fireworks causing the problem; so WE need to figure out the antidote.
Let’s understand a couple of things first:
Noise aversion is a real thing and the anxiety surrounding it can range from pulled back lips and a fast pant, to shaking, to biting through metal to get away from sounds and many things in between. Yes, there are a host of meds to give and some of them will back down the anxiety response and some of it will flatly knock them out and some, like CBD, will have an obvious calming effect. Will it take it all away? Probably not. Will it alleviate? Yes. In most cases, and ALL that I’ve seen, it takes it away a bit.
Well, let’s talk a bit about the Endocannabinoid System (ECS); this is what creates that homeostasis in the body – it’s involved in many bodily processes… appetite, memory, pain, stress, sleep, etc. Every species has an ECS and it functions in animals the same way it does in humans (also b/c we are animals). The ECS exists in all species with receptors throughout their bodies – in their brain, connective tissue, glands, immune system, and organs. These receptors are involved in a number of physiological processes including appetite, memory, and pain sensation. The ECS is providing the essential bridge between the body and mind and it’s part of what maintains natural balance in the body. It’s stimulated by internally produced endocannabinoids. Ok, nerdy stuff is almost done; now we know the ECS can also be stimulated by external cannabinoids including the non-psychoactive compound found in hemp and cannabis plants, lovingly called CBD (Cannabidiol).
This is where CBD comes into play for treating a variety of ailments.
If your pup is suffering from ailments like chronic pain, inflammation, or anxiety, you might consider giving them a pet-friendly CBD product. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound, meaning it won’t make your dog “high.” In fact, CBD oil is known for being well-tolerated, even at large doses.
We can distinguish situational and behavioral anxieties.
Situational anxiety is a reaction to an immediate stressor – charging dog, fireworks, sudden noises, thunder.
Behavioral anxiety is triggered by experience or a string of events that create stressors for them. Behavioral anxiety is complex and includes everything from separation anxiety rescue/ former shelter pattern anxiety, illness-induced, and generalized anxiety.
*We will have a follow-up post later this week on anxiety
Angsty behavior shows up in a myriad of ways:
This one is pretty obvious in that when animals are stressed, the body will react by shaking. Please watch for this, and other, signals. This one is common around this time of year.
Reluctance to go outdoors
Especially at this time of year, when the fireworks or bombs are exploding, animals may be reluctant to go outside and we should have a backup plan or go with them instead of sending them out to a stressful situation.
Vocalizing (out of the ordinary)
Excessive or out of the ordinary vocalizing can be an inability to relax or calm. Many experience this when they’re bored or lonely… as it gets attention, even negative, it’s rewarding to have that attention so when people react to it, the cycle continues.
Overstimulation leads to excessive saliva production and can occur when animals are in a panic state or feel like they may experience harm.
If you have or care for animals, you have or will see stressor signs. This time of year, especially, with this heat, the pandemic, and the fireworks, you’ll likely see it more than you’d like. Keep the calm or at least alleviate the anxiety as much as possible with a dose (or two or three or four) of CBD. Of course, we’ll recommend LIX as it’s odorless, flavorless, and the uptake is fast. I haven’t run into any animals who flatly reject it and we’ve put it through the tests. We have friends using it with cats, dogs, goats, horses, pigs, guinea pigs, a tarantula, and a bearded dragon without refusal or issue. Keep the calm, carry on, be safe, be well.