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Pets, Fireworks, and Anxiety: Can You Use CBD for Fireworks?

closeup of dog's face and human hands covering the dog's ears

Many pets, usually dogs, react negatively to fireworks, making summertime — particularly the Fourth of July — stressful for pet owners and animals alike. When this fireworks-induced anxiety hits, some dog owners turn to CBD.

But is CBD actually a reliable source of anxiety relief for our furry friends? Unfortunately, there is not enough evidence to suggest that you can give your dog CBD to help deal with fireworks-induced anxiety, and you might have to rely on more traditional methods for anxiety relief.

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Causes of Fireworks Anxiety in Dogs

We all have things that make us jump or want to hide, and fireworks trigger a fight or flight response for many pets. While some dogs are unphased by fireworks, some studies have found that roughly half of all dogs have an adverse reaction to fireworks.

Since dogs are unaware of why, when, or how long the fireworks will continue, they are essentially placed on high alert for up to several days. The fact that their hearing is far more sensitive to loud sounds and bangs undoubtedly adds to the anxiety.

If you’ve had your four-legged friend for years, you likely already know what to look out for before the loud noises start. If your dog is new to the family, you should prepare for the worst so that you and your pup are as prepared as possible to deal with what might feel like an assault on your dog’s senses.

What does your dog do when they are anxious? Does their behavior change suddenly, or does your pet have accidents in the house despite being housetrained? Is your sweet furry pal acting a little more aggressive than usual?

Know the signs to be prepared for a stressful few days once the fireworks start, and look for the signs of what sets off your dog’s anxiety.

Can I Give My Dog CBD for Fireworks Anxiety?

Although we know that cannabis can have a pronounced effect on reducing anxiety in humans, THC is toxic for dogs and cats.

In theory, CBD products contain such a low maximum amount of THC (0.3%) that otherwise reasonable pet parents could assume that CBD oil might be just what their dog needs to relax around loud fireworks.

Unfortunately, we cannot wholly endorse this assumption.

One reason is that many CBD products are mislabeled, meaning you cannot necessarily be sure of what you are giving your dog. And while some promising studies indicate that CBD has therapeutic potential for relieving pain in dogs, more research is needed.

Even if we can assume that a CBD product is from a trusted source that tests and labels products accurately, relying on CBD products to counteract the loud noises your dog hates is not necessarily a good idea.

We asked Dr. Jamie Whittenburg, veterinarian director at Senior Tail Waggers, about giving dogs CBD for anxiety.

She did not mince words when she told us that pet parents should “proceed with caution” when giving their pets CBD due to a “lack of credible evidence available to suggest that CBD is effective in pets for any ailment.”

She continued, “Until much more scientific study is done on CBD and pets and the industry is regulated to ensure the safety and quality of the products, I do not recommend their use in my patients. CBD may be trendy, but that does not mean it is the best choice for your pet.”

In other words, don’t reach for the CBD treats. Giving your pet CBD to deal with fireworks is not worth it, at least not yet. There is little evidence that CBD can help reduce your pet’s anxiety during a fireworks display.

Other Ways to Help Your Dog Remain Calm

There are plenty of ways for dog owners to help destress their dogs without relying on CBD products. We asked Dr. Whittenburg for recommendations. She cautioned that what works for one pet may not work for another but suggested the following:

  • Noise-canceling headphones
  • Compressive vests
  • A safe hiding place
  • Prescribed medication

This is not an exhaustive list, but it gives you a place to start when looking for ways to help your dog feel more at home this fireworks season. You know your dog best, so your pup may need some extra cuddling once the fireworks start.

The Bottom Line

While some dog owners might turn to CBD products as a potential solution for a dog’s fireworks anxiety, it should not be a pet parent’s first resort. Until we know more, we need to consider the possibility of the risks being fatal.

So, unless you are receiving direction from a vet you trust, you should reserve the CBD for humans and rely on more traditional methods for calming down your dog this Independence Day.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I give my cat CBD for fireworks anxiety?

Like with dogs, CBD that contains more THC than advertised could be fatal, so we do not recommend giving cats CBD for fireworks anxiety.

Can dogs overdose on CBD?

It is rare, but dogs can overdose on CBD, especially if a CBD product contains more THC than it is meant to contain. Common signs of CBD overconsumption include vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, reduced heart rate, loss of balance, and diarrhea.

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