Anyone who has come within 100 feet of me in the last few months knows I recently got a dog. He is, at this point, a four-and-a-half month old, 10-pound dachshund named Romeo and, for the most part, he is perfect (just check my Instagram). He loves people, kids and other dogs and is generally sweet.
Unfortunately, he loves me and other people a little bit too much. We have been having separation anxiety issues, which means he barks when left alone. It is sad and stressful for him, as well as for the neighbors and myself.
I’m one of those dog humans who likes to think we’re living with our pets rather than lording over them. So in general, I’m loath to correct normal dog behaviors, but I also hate being an inconsiderate jerk. Excessive barking isn’t good for anyone involved, be it canine or human. More structure in training was a given, as was increasing Romeo’s exercise regimen. I also decided to include cannabidiol (hemp oil) in his daily regimen, something that the American Kennel Club, countless veterinarians and many others heartily endorse.
Dogs have the same endocannabinoid system that humans do, so if one understands how hemp oil affects humans, it’s a short leap to understanding how it can also help our furry friends. Though I’ve had marketers trying to sell me on hemp infused bath bombs for dogs (no, thank you), I settled on tinctures and treats, as these are the best and most popular ways to administer the compound to animals.
One of my favorite oils is the Relax formula with Passionflower from local company Cannimal. It uses Full-Spectrum Hemp oil that is as organic as one can make it. This is extremely important because full-spectrum hemp oil includes other cannabinoid compounds that isolate hemp extract does not contain which experts speculate help make it more effective. This tincture is beef-flavored and also includes passionflower herb, which is said to be adaptogenic. The formula contains natural compounds that are supposed to aid in relaxation. I give Romeo a 10-milligram pump twice a day.
Click on image to learn more about Cannimal's RELAX Formula
I supplement his hemp oil tincture regimen with hemp-infused treats, too. My favorite are the bacon bites from Super Pups, a product distributed by San Diego-based hemp lifestyle company Design Wellness. Made with leftover barley and other grains from local breweries, the lab-tested, five-milligram-infused treats are a nice addition to any kind of anxiety management program.
Though I find tinctures to be more effective, it’s nice to have low-dose options on hand.
Overall, Romeo’s separation anxiety treatment has been a success. I know that training and exercise have had a huge impact on his behavior, but it’s also clear to me that the introduction of hemp oil extract has made a significant difference. Rather than appearing drugged or lethargic (hemp oil is non-intoxicating), it seems like hemp oil appropriately relaxes Romeo. It allows him to focus on the task or moment at hand, which in turn means that training is easier and more successful.
Being happy and in the moment is a dog’s natural state. They’re not supposed to be worrying about the past or the future, which is why dog anxiety is considered a disorder.
We’re not totally out of the woods with our separation issues yet, but when I think of how far Romeo has come in the last few weeks, I feel so relieved and happy I almost get choked up. Simply put, when used with other training techniques, hemp oil helps my dog be a dog.
Writer Jackie Bryant and Romeo