DIY Dog Toys to Help Your Pup with Anxiety

Matt Weeks April 26, 2021 0 comments

Help your pup through anxiety with simple and effective DIY dog toys.

Anxiety lessens quality of life for all of us. In dogs, it may result in behavior that trash houses or leads to self harm through chewing skin. But, CBD may help and pet owners can add it to DIY dog toys that have a therapeutic purpose. The right dog toy can soothe and engage your pup while providing an outlet for the stress that leads to destructive behavior. Further, adding CBD may provide an extra boost of help for anxious dogs.

Truthfully, DIY dog toys, with added CBD, can be fashioned out of basic household items. But most importantly,  veterinarians increasingly approve of the use of CBD to help pets.

Which CBD Products are Good for Dogs?

The most important thing about making DIY dog toys with CBD is to choose the right kind of CBD products.

Veterinarians recommend pet-specific brands of CBD. While humans and dogs share certain characteristics, as mammals, many of the internal systems are different. Importantly, CBD-enriched foods that are meant for human consumption may include additives, like artificial sweeteners, that are toxic to canines. This is why the best bet is to spend money on CBD treats made specifically for dogs.

What about CBD Products for Cats?

Interestingly, a study published in the journal Animals (2019), found that cats and dogs process CBD differently from each other.[1]Deabold, Kelly A. et al. (2019). Single-Dose Pharmacokinetics and Preliminary Safety Assessment with Use of CBD-Rich Hemp Nutraceutical in Healthy Dogs and Cats. Animals. 9(10), 832. … Continue reading. It is not recommended that CBD dog treats are shared with feline friends in the same household.

Making DIY Dog Toys

Many dog owners find the best way to construct DIY dog toys is to take existing toys and stuff these with CBD treats. Whichever kind of toy the dog likes best — rubber Kongs, hollow balls with small openings — any sort of treat-dispensing toy, is an excellent and easy way to dispense CBD treats to your pet.

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The point is to give your dog an activity that is challenging, yet achievable. If their minds and efforts are engaged in extracting a treat, they will not be feeling stress or boredom. The reward at the end of the challenge is a delicious CBD treat that also may act to reduce stress.

Some dog owners make their own treat dispensers — either dog games like this one made from empty water bottles, out of cardboard from all of those online store deliveries.

In the end, using items your dog already enjoys, such as a tennis ball with a slit in it, is a great way to construct a toy you know he or she will engage with. All it takes is a durable material, a small hole, and some canine medicine.

DIY dog toys are simple to make — the important part for therapeutic benefit is using them correctly.

How to Use CBD Dog Toys

Canine anxiety expresses itself in a variety of (see next section), and the best use of DIY dog toys will target the specific stress your dog is under. For example, dogs that feel acute separation anxiety can be calmed by being given a CBD-treat-dispensing toy as you leave. The toy gives them something to do while you’re out and the CBD will calm their nerves until you return.

Dogs that feel anxiety from car rides should be given a toy about twenty minutes before a trip — the same goes for dogs who get nervous when seeing other dogs on a walk. Taking CBD twenty minutes prior to a known stressful event gives the CBD time to work its way through the digestive system and into the rest of the body.

It’s also important to pay attention to the dosage. Just because your DIY dog toys can hold five CBD treats doesn’t mean they should. Dosage guidelines for CBD in dogs is serious business. While CBD has a high safety profile, studies on dogs are not complete nor extensive. One work around is to include a single CBD pet treat within the others.

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What Qualifies as Canine Anxiety?

Most of the time, dogs wear their emotions on their face. It’s easy to tell when a dog is happy, scared, or angry. But anxious? While dogs experience anxiety in similar ways to humans, they do not always express it in ways that are easy to flag.

The biggest causes of anxiety in dogs are fear, being left alone, and aging. That means that nearly every dog is a candidate to face anxiety. Normal situations, like taking a car ride or seeing another dog out the window, can produce powerful feelings of stress. Most of the time, dogs can deal with their anxiety naturally. But sometimes it becomes overwhelming and they begin to display specific behaviors that reflect their inner turmoil.

The most commons symptoms of canine anxiety are peeing in the house, excessive panting, destructive actions, compulsive pacing, barking in excess, drool, and repetitive behaviors. If a dog displays any of these symptoms in a recurring fashion, there’s a good chance it’s suffering from serious canine anxiety. Importantly, because aging is a key trigger of anxiety in pets, this condition can begin to manifest at any time.

If you notice your dog suddenly becomes incontinent when you leave the house or starts chewing up the pillows, it’s time to consider helping them calm down in a safe way — and DIY dog toys with CBD are a great way to do that.

How CBD May Help

Thanks to our similarly functioning endocannabinoid systems, dogs react to CBD in much the same way that humans do — with one major exception. Dogs’ systems are awash in CB receptors. They far outnumber the number humans have. So anytime a dog consumes a dose of CBD, it’s going to hit harder and produce more potent effects.

Despite its potency, CBD is safe for dogs. Countless reports, including this study published in the Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (2018), are investigating how dogs respond to different doses of CBD.[2]McGrath, Stephanie et al. (2018) A Report of Adverse Effects Associated With the Administration of Cannabidiol in Healthy Dogs. Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. Vol. … Continue reading

Just like in humans, CBD may calms nerves and soothes the impulses that arise from stress and anxiety. It’s a natural, easy way that pet owners can help their dogs adjust to separation, aging, or stressful situations. However, the owner must administer it correctly.

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A word of warning, however. Cannabis can be powerful medicine for dogs by soothing anxiety and even potentially help manage symptoms of cancer. But THC is dangerous for dogs. The high number of CB receptors means the psychoactive element hits dogs harder — and can do real damage.

Stick to CBD for dogs — and help man’s best friend find some relief.

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Author avatar

Matt Weeks

A writer living and working in Athens, GA, Matt's work has appeared in various newspapers, books, magazines and online publications over the last 15 years. When he's not writing, he hosts bar trivia, plays in local bands, and makes a mean guacamole. He holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and a master's degree in organizational theory. His favorite movie is "Fletch."

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