Overcoming Separation Anxiety

Most of us are glad the pandemic is easing and places are opening up. In fact, many people are going back to the office after more than a year at home. Although this may be exciting for you, your dog may not be so happy!

He/she may begin to suffer from separation anxiety, a nervousness that occurs in dogs when left alone. After having your undivided attention, they are confused by the change in their routine. Remember that dogs are creatures of habit. Suddenly they are wondering: “where did you go?”

I have seen dogs suffering from separation anxiety eat through drywall and tear through doors. In many cases there will be destruction or excessive barking and sudden toileting in inappropriate places. A dog with separation anxiety might try to escape from an area where he’s confined or left alone or separated from his owner.

Fortunately, I have a lot of experience in helping dogs overcome separation anxiety and learn that being away from you is okay. Together we will practice “alone time” for your dog, starting in short increments and increasing the time each day until your dog is comfortable with you being gone.

A few tips in the meantime:

  • Don’t make a big deal of your coming and going. Practice leaving and coming back in without a lot of fuss. If your dog jumps all over you when you get home, we will need to address this behavior.
  • Don’t allow your dog to be attached to you at the hip and follow you throughout the house.
  • Scatter some treats around the house to satisfy the hunting or foraging instinct in your dog.
  • Leave interactive toys that will keep your dog busy and rotate them weekly to keep your dog’s attention.
  • Crate training may be the perfect option for your dog to feel secure and have a place to call his own. You may want to leave an article of your clothes that smells like you in your dog’s crate.
  • Make sure your pup is well exercised. A tired, happy pup will be less stressed when you leave.
  • Dogs pick up on your emotions. The more you stay relaxed and act like everything is normal, the more likely your dog will be to follow your lead.

Although dogs were the big winners during COVID, now it’s time to return to our normal schedules.

Three Suggestions for Those Who Grieve a Pet

We euthanized our fantastic and beloved dog, Maksim, in mid June.  He was a fantastic guy to be around and a great help in my business.  I still struggle with his loss and have asked my dear friend, and respected animal chaplain, Russell Elleven, for some guidance on how to deal with my grief. 

Rev. Russell Elleven, DMin is a Unitarian Universalist minister and trained animal chaplain. He offers free monthly support sessions via Zoom.

Here’s what Russell has to say…

Three Suggestions for Those Who Grieve a Pet

When our beloved pet dies, we are often thrown into the abyss of grief. Animal lovers know, for the most part, that the joy of bringing an animal home will one day result in the death of our companion. And when that day comes it hurts. It hurts a lot. It hurts so much that we often don’t know what to do in order to make the hurt go away. Who will understand our grief? Who can we talk to about the pain?

As an animal chaplain I listen to folks who are grieving the loss of their animal companion. Each person and each relationship is different. And at the same time, there are some striking similarities with grieving pet parents. At first there is a numbness. Even if the death was imminent the initial reaction is often one of disbelief. This quickly turns into pain and often the inability to do much else than think of our beloved companion.

There is no timeline for this grief. Don’t allow anyone to tell you differently. There are no steps or stages to your grief because everyone experiences loss in different ways. Your loss, and your grief, is unique.

And yet, there are some things many people find helpful while in the throes of grief. I offer you three things that have been helpful to many of the people I talk to when their pet has died.  It may be that only one of these suggestions is helpful at any particular time. I encourage you to try at least one of these strategies as you grieve.

1. Read a book: There are many wonderful books on the topic of pet loss. For some folks reading, a solitary venture, is what helps most. Being able to think about your beloved companion while reading a book about pet loss can be very soothing for many people. One of my favorite books to recommend was written by a colleague of mine, The Rev. Gary Kowalski, and is titled Goodbye Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who has Lost a Pet. If you are a reader of books you will likely appreciate Gary’s voice and his ability to comfort you through his words.

2. Find Support: You may not be much of a reader and that’s okay. You can find support in other ways. One of the ways to find support I appreciate greatly is support groups. There really is nothing better than being in a room (either virtually or in person) with others who “get it.” Not everyone will understand or appreciate your pet loss grief. But inside a pet loss support group you will find others who really do understand and will not judge you for the grief you feel after losing a beloved companion. Should you have any difficulty finding a group, do not hesitate to reach out to me and I’ll help you find one. I do not believe it can be overstated how helpful a support group will be for most people on this journey. Taking the first step to join a group can be intimidating for some. However, it is almost always the case that individuals are glad they took that slight risk for all the support received. If my group would be helpful, we meet on the first Wednesday of the month at 8:00 pm (eastern). Just contact me (www.animalchaplain.net) for the zoom link & password.

3. Forgive Yourself: I acknowledge this is easier said than done. For many of the people I talk to there is a persistent feeling of guilt, particularly when it comes to euthanasia. Did I request euthanasia too early? Did I wait too long? Was my companion in pain? Was my companion afraid? All of these internal messages can get in the way of our healing. Inevitably, the people I listen to are incredibly kind and loving pet keepers. And inevitably, these people did the very best they could for their companion. It doesn’t feel good to hold ourselves accountable in this way and our companion, we know, would have offered us immediate forgiveness. Even after death our beloved companions continue to teach us.  

Your pet would have wanted you to feel better. I do too. Try reading something supportive. Try reaching out to a support group. Try forgiving yourself knowing you did the best you could. None of these things will bring immediate relief. But by doing something, you will find the grief becoming lessened while still honoring the pet who blessed you with so much love and affection.

Rev. Russell Elleven, DMin is a Unitarian Universalist minister and trained animal chaplain. He offers free monthly support sessions via Zoom. Connect with him at www.animalchaplain.net

Dog Separation Anxiety

We know that 2020 has been an unusual year both for our canine friends and us. Your dog may have been used to you and the kids being home with the COVID restrictions and they were loving every minute of the extra attention! However, with some kids going back-to-school and some parents going back to the office, your dog may be exhibiting signs of loneliness and stress that manifests itself in the form of separation anxiety.

Separation anxiety creates behavior issues that can range from mild to severe, from barking for 5 minutes to tearing apart drywall. Remember that dogs are pack animals and don’t understand the concept of being alone. Symptoms of separation anxiety may include:

  • Destruction. Have you ever come home to the stuffing out of all your couch cushions? Your dog may chew on the furniture or anything they can get their teeth on.
  • Escape. To find you or rejoin you, your dog may chew through a door or scratch a window frame or dig large holes under a fence. In some severe cases, dogs have been known to throw themselves through a plate glass window. This can be very dangerous!
  • Urinating or defecating. Dogs that are normally housetrained may poop or pee in the house upon your departure.
  • Barking and howling. Some dogs may bark uncontrollably when their parents leave, which can be very disturbing to the neighbors.
  • Excessive drooling and sweating in your absence: Your dog might also drink excessively to make up for the lost fluids.
  • Pacing and Panting: This behavior is usually displayed when your dog suspects that you’re getting ready to leave the house. Some dogs can also show signs of depression during the pre-departure period.

Getting Ready for Separation

Here are some tips to help your dog overcome separation anxiety:

  • Start by leaving your dog for short periods of time. Depending on the severity of the separation anxiety, you may have to start with 5-minute increments and then increase the time as your dog becomes comfortable with being alone.
  • Leave your dog with some interactive toys like food puzzles or Kongs.
  • Before you leave, make sure you take your dog for some exercise. A tired dog is less likely to misbehave!
  • If you have been crate training your dog, he may be comfortable being left in the crate while you are gone. Giving him the run of the house could lead to destruction.
  • Do not punish your dog for bad behavior after you come home.  Dogs relate punishment to their current behavior so they will be unable to link your actions to their previous misdeeds.

If you need help with separation anxiety, Greg Knows Dogs can help! Maybe it’s time as the kids go back-to-school for your dog to go back as well!

Greg Knows Dogs Training

Greg Knows Dogs Featured in 614 Magazine!

Reprinted from July 2019 Issue of 614
Greg Knows Dogs Helps Dogs and Their Human Companions Learn Together
By Laura Dachenbach

The love in the eyes of your dog as it sits at your feet is truly heart-warming. Making you happy is what makes your dog happy. That’s why your dog needs rules – to know what makes you happy. Enter Greg Schneider. About 15 years ago, Schneider turned his career skills in education, coaching and counseling to the canine world and began Greg Knows Dogs, an in-home dog training program. Having trained over 2,000 of Central Ohio’s, it’s perhaps fair to call him a bona fide dog whisperer. However, Schneider insists, “I’m really not teaching dogs. I’m teaching people.” (614) sought out Schneider’s advice for what every well-behaved dog should know, and how to get to that point.

(614) What are the basics that every dog should know?
GS: Number one is “come”. “Stay” would be another one. There’s something that I call voice control. Let’s say your dog is running towards another dog, you should be able to stop that dog with your voice. I think those kinds of things. Probably the number one thing people call me about is what I call “door manners.” The doorbell rings, their dog goes crazy, barking, jumping, trying to run out the door – so having a boundary your dog needs to stay behind while you greet your guests, or sign for your package, or get your pizza.

What do you think is the ideal training age?
I’ve worked with folks who are literally on their way home from the breeder. The value of working with a dog that young is that you can get right on top of the housetraining issues. And then there’s a whole raft of behaviors that I call “puppy nonsense”: mouthing, nipping, chewing, jumping, destroying things. So if you want to get on the preventive side of that, the earlier you work with someone, the better. If those things are going well, then you want to work on commands, we can wait a few months […]. What I’ve usually found is that “come” is not usually reliable until they are six months of age; their brains are just not developed enough […]. So for a pup I would say, three, four, five months. Maybe four months. Adult dogs we can start anytime.

What bad habits do owners inadvertently get their dogs into?
I usually get calls from people saying something like, “My dog runs the show here.” So just being firm and having some rules just overall so the dog can look to you for guidance, look to you for direction, One of the things I have found is when people are trying to teach their dog to walk, they let the dog pull into other people […] or to interact with another dog. If we do that often enough, the dog basically says, “I don’t care about walking with you. I want to go meet the new person.” So I think teaching your dog to walk nicely by your side is probably something that people should focus on more than they do. I can’t stand retractable leashes. That’s a really good way to develop bad habits. And then probably not working on “come” enough and kind of accepting that. If your dog doesn’t have the “come” command, you really run the risk of losing the dog, or the dog getting into mischief, maybe a fight with another dog.

Which is the most important factor when it comes to training: intelligence of temperament?

GS: I might go with temperament. Sometimes smart dogs are the hardest to train because they figure out workarounds […]. If we have a dog that is willing to please, I think we’ll go a lot further than the dog who is super-intelligent and can figure out ways around things. On the other hand, there are super-intelligent dogs [that are like], “You tell me once, I got it”. Overall though I’d say probably temperament is more important.

How can we better communicate with out dogs?
Better communication would be consistency, voice tone, and body language. So what I generally say is if you’re giving a command, you should use your normal speaking voice. If your using “come,” do that more like a “party invitation” voice. And if you’re having to give your dog a verbal correction, like “no” or “off,” a little bit sterner tone.

What’s it like working with older dogs?
Working with an older dog, I think, is actually easier. You don’t have to deal with the puppy nonsense. Most of the time when you have an older dog, they at least know “sit” and “stay,” and maybe “down”[…]. When I went through my training my dog was seven-years-old, and that was rough too because I was learning what to do too. Working with older dogs, actually it’s kind of nice.

Dog Training and Children

Dogs and children usually go together like peanut butter and jelly. Most people have fond memories of growing up with a dog, playing hide and seek, fetch and other fun games.

Dogs and kids can be the best of friends. However, they can be the worst of enemies if not trained properly.

Kids often think of dogs as jungle gyms. They try and ride them like a horse. They poke and prod various parts of their bodies. When it comes to roughhousing, they often don’t realize the strength of a dog.

It is no wonder that 2.25 million children are bitten by dogs each year.  All dogs, even well-trained gentle dogs, are capable of biting when provoked, especially when eating, sleeping or caring for puppies.

Some dogs just naturally get along with children, but not all dogs like children. In fact, some dogs are afraid of children.

Keeping Your Dog and Children Safe

The best way to ensure your dog behaves around children is through dog training. He needs to be taught boundaries, obedience and socialization so he knows how to react around people, before you even worry about little people. The best time to start is when he is a puppy —  to build a foundation of trust. Here is when he will learn not to jump on people, not to steal toys, and to get used to the volume of noise children can make!

Positive reinforcement goes a long way to getting dogs to adapt to children. When your dog is behaving well around children, be sure to give him a lot of praise and belly rubs. He will soon make a positive association between kids and fun.

Just like dogs, your children need to be trained how to act around the dog. A dog should be patted gently and should never be kicked or hurt. These types of behaviors can breed aggression in the dog.

Kids can be taught to help with the dog but they should always do so with adult supervision.

Dog Breeds That May Be Bad for Children
According to dogreference.com, here are 20 breeds of dogs that may have issues with children:

  1. Weimaraner
  2. Rottweilers
  3. Akita
  4. Alaskan Malamute
  5. Siberian Husky
  6. Saint Bernard
  7. Bull mastiff
  8. Australian shepherd
  9. Shih Tzu
  10. Jack Russell Terrier
  11. Pekingese
  12. Shar Pei
  13. Doberman
  14. Chow chow
  15. Chihuahua
  16. Dalmatian
  17. Greyhound
  18. French bulldog
  19. English toy spaniel
  20. Afghan hound

None of the breeds listed above are “bad” breeds. They may just not be right for small children because of their size, temperament, history or genetics.

Here are some tips to teach your children:

  1. Never approach an unfamiliar dog and always ask for permission before petting a dog.
  2. Never approach a dog that is eating, nursing puppies, or sleeping.
  3. Don’t poke, hit or pinch a dog.
  4. If a dog is in his crate, don’t disturb him. This is his safe haven where he can get away from all the noise and bustle.
  5. Understand there are times when the dog may want to be alone.

Tips for Dog Owners:

  1. Never leave a small baby or toddler alone with a dog.
  2. Teach your dog to treat the dog with respect and be careful of playing too rough or getting the dog all wound up.
  3. Make sure your pet is well socialized as a puppy so he is comfortable around dogs and other people.

If your dog reacts negatively when your child is around, contact me to help with this issue. With training, patience and respect, we can turn your home into a harmonious one where there is a safe relationship between your dogs and kids. 

Realistic Expectations of a Puppy

Who doesn’t love a puppy? These are sweet, warm and cuddly. All of their silly actions make you laugh. You want to love them and spoil them.

However, puppies are also high maintenance and dog owners need to have realistic expectations of their behaviors. Here are some of the mistakes that puppy owners make that Greg Knows Dogs can help you with:

  1. Puppies are too young to be trained. I have heard many clients say: “Oh that is just normal puppy behavior” as ways to excuse a puppy’s jumping, whining, mouthing and more. Realistically, puppies are a blank canvas. Puppies are like babies in that they are born innocent. Every noise, every place, every person is new to them. They don’t know the difference between right and wrong. Puppyhood is the perfect time to begin training your dog, to lay the foundation to be a well-behaved adult dog.
  2. Puppies will try and train you. Most dogs are natural born leaders, so if you don’t assume the role of pack leader, they will. They will try and get you to follow their schedule, their behaviors, unless you educate them right from the start. Once Greg Knows Dogs teaches you to be the leader, your puppy will start following your commands.
  3. Puppies can speak English. Unfortunately, no dogs can speak English. They will eventually learn a few words, but initially it is better to teach them in a language they understand. From their mom and their litter mates they learn to use guttural sounds and body language. Therefore, when you start to barrage your puppy with “sit” and “stay” commands, he has no idea what you are saying. Eventually he can learn the sound of certain spoken words and relate them to actions, but this will take awhile. Whereas a puppy learns its own canine language immediately. Greg Knows dogs uses voice commands and body language so your dog will start listening. I never use shock or prong collars to get your dog to behave. If your dog does something good, follow it with a belly rub and a lot of praise. He will know from your voice tone if he has done something wrong.
  4. Don’t correct the puppy after the fact. Never correct your puppy after a misbehavior. He won’t put two and two together. For instance, if your puppy has an accident in the house, admonishing him afterwards will not do any good. Know that if you don’t have the time to address his misbehavior right then, you may need to recreate the situation later.
  5. Puppies should be crate trained. Without a doubt, crate training makes housebreaking easier. But there are certain advantages and disadvantages you can talk with me about when it comes to the training plan we develop.

Every puppy needs to know basic obedience – sit, stay, and come. They also need to be housetrained. The breed of your pup and its maturity will determine the speed of the progress we can make.

With your help, your pup can either grow into a loving, loyal, trouble-free pet or a spoiled, misbehaving dog. Remember that newborns can’t walk right away. Your commitment to education and nurturing holds the key.

Does Your Dog’s Barking Bother You (or your Neighbors?)

When a dog barks endlessly, it is very annoying for you, your neighbors and believe it or not your dog. Dogs should not bark at inappropriate times like when visitors come to your door, the mail man passes your house, or at other dogs when out on a walk. This is called nuisance barking.

On the flip side, dogs bark and growl as a natural means of communication. You can’t expect a dog not to bark at certain times. It would be like asking a newborn baby not to sleep! What is important is to find out why your dog is barking. Since barking dogs is the number one complaint I receive from pet owners, I always get to the root of the issue first before I try and fix the behavior.

Dogs generally bark for the following reasons:

  • Believe it or not, the main reason dogs bark is because they are afraid. He is trying to tell you he is stressed. He is looking to you to keep him safe. If he doesn’t perceive you as the “pack leader”, he will assume the role himself. That means he gets to set the rules and boundaries and is in charge and it is his job to protect you. If your dog feels secure, he doesn’t need to bark or be on patrol to protect you from strangers at the door. You have to let him know that “you got this.”
  • Dogs are pack creatures and don’t like to be left alone for long periods of time. A dog left alone continuously may develop separation anxiety, which is a whole different issue. Dogs with separation anxiety will not only bark, but can destroy things or start marking in the house. Is it because your dog misses you so much? He is probably barking because he is bored.
  • Just like children who don’t want to share their toys, dogs are very protective and territorial of what they perceive as theirs. That could be as small as the food bowl or as large as your house and yard.
  • I once met a dog who only barked at men. Why? Maybe he was abused by a man prior to his adoption. Or what about the dog who barks at the vacuum cleaner? Some dogs only bark at specific things or people.
  • Dogs will often bark at other dogs as a means of saying hello.
  • If your dog barks because he is hungry and you immediately get his dinner, you have taught him to bark to get what he wants. Wait a few minutes to fill his dish

There is no magic wand to teach your dog NOT to bark. However, with consistent training and patience, getting your dog to bark only when it is appropriate is very doable.

Here’s a few tips for overcoming excessive barking:

  • Don’t shout at your dog … that will cause him to bark more. Speak calmly and firmly without yelling.
  • Issue a command to your dog and if her quiets down, offer a lot of praise. Do not use the words “shut up” as he won’t understand this.
  • Remember that a quiet dog is a calm dog. If he barks when you are away, try to wear him out before you go.
  • The sooner you stop the barking the better before it becomes a bad habit that is ingrained.

Most of all don’t let the excessive barking continue because it will only get worse and could develop into aggression. If your dog starts barking when you come through the door, do not look him in the eye or pet him until he calms down. Call me – Greg Schneider at Greg Knows Dogs because I’d love to help you have a well-behaved dog!

Practice Makes Perfect

As a Columbus dog trainer for 14 years and owner of Greg Knows Dogs, I am still amazed how my dog training methods help me to see a major change in dogs in the first lesson. In fact, some of my customers think I cast a spell on the dogs or have a magic wand! I always end the lesson with something like this…“Your dog is going to take a nap from working so hard with us.  He’s going to wake up and think he’s had a bad dream and is ready for things to get back to the way they were.”

The key to dog training is consistency and communication. I teach you how to communicate with your dog so that he understands what you are saying. Although dogs come to understand certain words in English, when you speak in a language your dog understands and combine this communication with body language, you will be successful in your dog training efforts.

Once I leave a client’s house after a lesson, the process of training your dog needs to continue. Here are some tips to keep you on track. You need to practice your training exercises every day to get the best results.

  • Establishing yourself as the “leader”. Remember your dog needs to see you as the “pack leader” (or “boss” or whatever word you want to use). Otherwise, he will try and take control and think you are an equal. He prefers to learn from you and have rules so he will feel more secure. You will need to be leader-like and consistent. I don’t mean being physical with your dog. Use authoritative voice tones. Your dog will regularly test you and you need to win every time. If you keep reinforcing good behavior, your dog will learn to follow your new rules and behave the way you want.
  • Reinforcement is Important. If you are correcting your dog and he shows signs of yielding, reinforce his response by leading him to the right behavior, then praising him. Praising is very important and should be done the minute your dog displays the behavior you want. If you don’t praise your dog, you are missing a golden opportunity for your dog to understand exactly what you want.
  • Once you have praised your dog, practice the behavior again until your dog learns door manners, not to jump up, not to bark at the doorbell, etc. You should keep repeating the same exercise until you are guiding and praising your dog for the right decision.
  • Set up temptations to misbehave. If you are distracted, your dog is distracted. If you are in a rush, don’t use this time to try and train your dog. The minute you let your dog get away with his bad behavior, he will revert and test you. Set up the opportunity to misbehave when you are ready to teach him.
  • Do your homework. I leave clients with a series of exercises to ensure success. The exercises are designed specifically for each client. I recommend doing the exercises several times each day at different times of day, in different places, etc.

Practice will pay off because you will have a happier dog who knows the rules. Remember your dog wants to please you – he just doesn’t know how until you show him!

Marijuana and Dogs

In a prior blog we discussed the preliminary advantages of CBD oil on dogs.  CBD is a non-hallucinogenic component of marijuana. However, if you have marijuana around the house or even smoke marijuana, know that it can be harmful to your dog.

Effects of Marijuana on Dogs
Can dogs get high from ingesting marijuana or even second-hand smoke? It’s absolutely possible and the effects can even be more dramatic in small dogs. In high quantities it could be life-threatening. Your dog may start acting paranoid, lethargic and over reactive.

Let’s look at the facts about ingesting marijuana, second hand smoke, and marijuana edibles.


  • According to Trupanion, a major pet insurance provider, it costs on average of $500 to treat marijuana toxicity in dogs. To date, Trupanion policies have paid nearly $180,000 in suspected marijuana toxicity.
  • Trupanion saw marijuana toxicity cases increase by 50% from 2014 to 2015. It’s not surprising that Colorado and Washington (where recreational marijuana is legal) have seen the highest cases of marijuana toxicity in dogs.
  • The ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center saw a 144% increase in pet marijuana overdose calls from 2010 to 2015. Dogs account for 95% of marijuana toxicity cases.
  • How can you tell if a dog has broken into a stash? Effects of marijuana ingestion may include:
    • Lethargy
    • Lowered blood pressure
    • Loss of coordination
    • Incontinence
    • Breathing problems
    • Dilated pupils
    • Coma
    • Panting
    • Pacing
    • Hyperactivity
    • Seizures
    • Easily startled by sudden sounds
  • Secondhand smoke can cause a “contact” high in dogs. If a dog has any respiratory issues to begin with, inhaling second hand smoke can make the condition worse.
  • Marijuana edibles (candy, brownies) that contain chocolate can be doubly bad for your dog since chocolate alone is poisonous for a dog.

What to Do
What should you do if your dog has ingested marijuana? To be on the safe side, induce vomiting or take him to the vet.  Be frank with your veterinarian. Without full disclosure you dog may be tested for other poisons, which can be expensive.

Is CBD Oil Good for Your Dogs?

Although CBD oil is currently sold in Ohio, its use with both humans and dogs can be controversial. It’s hard to keep track of the numbers – currently 8 states have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes (California, Colorado, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Vermont, and Washington) and 29 states for medicinal purposes. 50 states have approved the sale of CBD oil.

You may have heard many stories on the news about marijuana and CBD oil being used to curb anxiety, cancer and more. However, it is important to note the difference between marijuana and cannabis (CBD) versus hemp for the purposes of this discussion.

Like many other products that started out being consumed by humans, it quickly spread to the pet industry. The sale of pet-related hemp products have risen dramatically with more than 1,000,000 websites now selling hemp online (including Amazon).

This begs the question: are dogs going to pot?

The Difference Between Human Marijuana and Pet Related CBD

For many years, hemp was illegal across the United States because it was lumped in with all forms of cannabis. Where recreational marijuana is legal, you can find all forms of cannabis from all dispensaries. It comes in all formats – seeds, powders, oils, brownies, etc.

Know there is a big difference between the herb cannabis versus marijuana.

Both hemp and cannabis come from the plant Cannabis sativa. The cannabis plant contains more than 80 chemicals called cannabinoids. The two main types of cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Products containing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, have a psychoactive component that creates the “high” many people talk about. Veterinary products generally do not contain THC but are compromised of the pain-relieving substance cannabidiol, or CBD.

Marijuana has a THC content of 10 – 15%, while hemp has a THC content of 0.3% or less. The hemp that has therapeutic effects on dogs contains CBD. Therefore, hemp should not get your dog high.

The Facts

  • According to the ASPCA’s animal poison directory, marijuana — the Cannabis Sativa L.plant — is toxic to dogs, cats and horses.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved marijuana or CBD for use in animals.
  • It is illegal for vets to prescribe cannabis to pets in all 50 states because of federal and state laws. There is a thin line between educating pet owners about cannabis versus prescribing a Schedule 1 drug.
  • There has been no long-term research to determine the effects of either hemp or marijuana on dogs.
  • Hemp products are available legally in all 50 states.

However, many veterinarians such as Dr. Greg Richter, a veterinarian in California, and Dr. Rob Silver, a holistic vet and pet herbalist in Colorado, have diligently been trying to educate pet owners and legislators on the benefits of treating pets with cannabis (not just CBD). Silver has even published a book, Medical Marijuana & Your Pet: The Definitive Guide, which draws on his research and experience to help people determine whether cannabinoid treatment is right for their animal.

The Benefits of CBD and Dogs
A few studies have shown that CBD can relieve ailments in dogs caused by:

  • Anxiety and Stress
  • Arthritis
  • Back pain
  • Cancer
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Seizures

What are the risks? Dosage is key. As with any medication, pet parents should consult their veterinarian first before treating their dog with cannabis oil. Unfortunately, there has been no research to determine the exact dosage for CBD oil in dogs.

How should it be administered? The most common method is through a tincture or oil sold in a small bottle that comes with a dropper, and is recommended for use by the drop or milliliter and spread on a dog’s tongue.

Proceed with Caution
At Greg Knows Dogs, we are dog trainers not veterinarians, so understand we are not dispensing medical advice. Instead, with all the conflicting research, it’s important to educate yourself. Whatever you decide to do, start very slowly with CBD oil to not endanger your dog. And marijuana itself? We’ll cover that in the next blog.