WALTHAM-ON-THE-WOLDS, ENGLAND — Mars Petcare on Feb. 22 shared results from its study conducted by its Waltham Petcare Science Institute, demonstrating the effectiveness of THC-free cannabidiol (CBD) in dogs. According to the study, CBD can help significantly relieve stress caused by car travel or being left alone.
The study was randomized, placebo-controlled and blinded, and focused on a single oral dose of 4 mg per kg of body weight of CBD.
Published in Frontier in Veterinary Science, the study aimed to understand the impacts of separation anxiety and car travel on a dog’s stress levels and see if broad-spectrum CBD could positively influence levels of canine stress.
“We know pet owners try various approaches — from training to medications and supplements — to help their dogs cope with stressful situations often with mixed results,” said Jennifer Welser, DVM, DACVO, chief medical officer of Mars Veterinary Health. “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.”
The study examined how CBD affected 20 dogs experiencing stress caused by car travel and being left alone. Research measured the dogs’ cortisol levels, ear temperature, heat rate and typical behavioral signs of stress (whining, trembling and panting). The study noted that car travel elicited the most pronounced stress response in dogs.
Dogs then either received a placebo or a CBD capsule and were exposed to the stress-causing incidents two hours following administration. Dog stress improved following the administration of CBD, with dogs experiencing significantly lower cortisol levels, exhibiting less whining and seeming more relaxed compared to the dogs given the placebo.
Prior to this study, Waltham conducted a similar study, which showed that a daily oral dose of CBD over six months is safe for healthy adult dogs. According to Mars Petcare, these studies advance the understanding of CBD safety and efficacy in dogs.
CBD is currently available as an unregulated supplement for pets in many parts of the world. In the United Kingdom, new CBD food, beverage and supplement products for pets require an approved Novel Food application for market entrance.
In the United States, individual states have taken it upon themselves to regulate CBD and hemp-based products, with some, like Idaho, banning these ingredients for use in animal nutrition entirely. Following this, the FDA announced it planned to seek a new regulatory pathway for the use of these ingredients in human and animal foods.