When an animal’s instincts reveal a threat to their safety, they instantly develop stress and fear responses. Once the danger is eliminated, behavior resumes as normal. In the wild, this perception is critical because it has the potential to prevent harm. But in a domestic pet’s situation, these can progress into cases of chronic or irrational fears.
There are a multitude of situations that can bring trauma to an animal whether they were rescued from an abusive situation, if they were a shelter dog, or if they were stray when you found them. In some cases, dogs view living inside a house as a ‘captive’ scenario instead of being free outside which instills a type of stress.
Technically, that makes sense. We create an environment where our furry friends have to depend on us for every aspect of their lives. Then we leave for entire days at a time. For a dog or a cat that’s an eternity. They have no idea how they will survive inside this huge box if we decide to not return – fear, stress, anxiety, trauma.
Treating Trauma For Our Companion Pets
Many animals suffer from some form of trauma whether it’s of their own volition or preexisting conditions. The first step in helping a domestic pet with these issues will be a professional, either a vet or a behavioral specialist. In many cases when health issues are ruled out as the potential cause for the issues, the plan of care involves prescribing medication.,
If for instance, an anxious episode erupts when there are loud noises, such as thunder, or when it comes time to travel in a car, anti-anxiety medications are the solution. In addition, daily prescriptions are required if there are chronic situations at home. These pharmaceuticals are strong, chemically-laden, meant-for-human- consumption, medications with the potential for harmful side effects for our furry friends, including the potential to increase their stress and anxiety.
When you give a companion animal already unsure and scared, a substance that further impairs them, the fear and stress become amplified. There are instances, of course, where doctor-prescribed medication is critical, and often the only option. But there are also instances where it is just a ‘presumption,’ instead of assessing the situation and properly attempting to eliminate the sources causing the problems.
Cannabidiol As An Alternative To Pharmaceuticals
Despite the debates that pet parents and pharmaceutical companies can go around regarding the harsh side effects experienced by their pets when ingesting the substances, they are at times the only viable option for treating serious medical conditions.
As pet parents, the ultimate goal is to ensure the animal is taken care of to the best of our ability and that of the medical community for the condition they’re suffering. Often, depending on the severity, these types of drugs are imperative.
But in addition or as an alternative in some cases, there are organic, nontoxic substances that can be incorporated boasting the ability to potentially relieve symptoms associated with some of these ailments as well. Claims suggest that cannabidiol or CBD oil derived from the hemp plant offers a solution for pets suffering with varying degrees of trauma. For guidelines on CBD relating to dogs go to this link.
There are minimal scientific studies with CBD specifically relating to companion animals suffering with anxiety in order to show evidential effects. But because all mammals have an endocannabinoid system or ECS which similarly mediates cannabis, a ‘metadata’ study finds it will affect all mammals the same. Scientists have not figured out precisely how the compound helps anxiety in mammals, but through a multitude of studies on other species, they know that it does work.
Claims suggest in its capacity, CBD has the potential for boosting levels of serotonin in the brain, improving overall mood, helps with recall or memory, and alleviates symptoms of stress. It also boasts reducing symptoms relating to physical issues like chronic pain. This can often trigger moments of reactivity or anxious episodes in itself.
Moments Or Chronic Episodes of Trauma And Fear
CBD oil products are incredibly versatile in their use. Check online with companies like Pet Hemp Company to learn the various options. The claim is these have the capacity for use on an ongoing basis for those pets who suffer with chronic conditions.
Fortunately, cannabidiol is an organic, nontoxic, non psychoactive derivative of the hemp plant with minute side effects, if any. That means your fur baby can take it regularly and, depending on their body chemistry, should have no adverse reactions.
There are some pets, though, who won’t need to be subjected to ongoing treatment. Some animals have momentary fears and phobias that just need to be handled in that instant, like if there’s a thunderstorm, or if they need to take a ride in the car. A simple one-time dose to get the critter through the trauma experience and then they’re back to normal.
As pet parents who adopt or rescue animals, we’re not always privy to what they’ve been subjected to in their previous life. These dogs and cats can’t speak their truth to us. When they show their fear and upset, we need to react immediately to bring comfort to their little souls. Click to read about animals treating using cannabidiol through rescue organizations.
It may run much deeper than you know or it could just be a trigger that passes when the activity stops. It doesn’t matter. Chronic, momentary – as their new parents, it’s our responsibility to stop it and keep it from happening again. We are here to make their journey peaceful, joyful, loving, and well, however we need to make that happen.
Story by Luka Young