A study by the Waltham Petcare Science Institute has shown that THC-free cannabidiol (CBD) can relieve multiple measures of dogs’ stress.

The study run by the institute, which is part of Mars Petcare, showed that single oral dose (4 mgs per kg of body weight) of CBD can significantly relieve measures of dogs’ stress caused by car travel or being left alone.

Dr Jennifer Welser, Chief Medical Officer of Mars Veterinary Health, said they know pet owners try various approaches to help their dogs cope with stressful situations often with mixed results.

“We’re focused on scientific inquiry that generates knowledge that can inform pet professionals’ and pet owners’ decisions. So, this study is important because it gives us new evidence that CBD at the dose studied can be beneficial for dogs in specific circumstances.”

A randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled study was conducted to investigate the effects of CBD on 20 dogs’ stress levels during two common activities, namely, being left alone and car journeys.

Physiological measures such as cortisol levels, heart rate, and ear temperature, along with behavioural indicators like whining, trembling, and panting, were collected at various intervals during the study. The results revealed significant changes in several stress-related parameters, with the car journey causing a more pronounced stress response.

After the dogs were given either a placebo or a CBD capsule, they were subjected to either a separation event or car travel two hours later. The study’s findings revealed that the administration of CBD resulted in an improvement in several stress measures in the dogs.

Dogs treated with CBD exhibited significantly less “sadness,” lower cortisol levels, less whining, and a more relaxed emotional state than those who received a placebo.

The study was originally published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science.

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