Dogs and cats often suffer from hyperactivity, which is a canine disorder characterized by frantic activity, short attention spans, and lack of self-control.
Hyperactive dogs show visible symptoms, such as rapid heart rate, panting, salivation, abnormal urination, and the inability to adapt to external stimuli.
Veterinarians often use stimulants with hyperactive dogs, including drugs such as methylphenidate and d-amphetamine to slow their nervous system down. However, these medications may even be life-threatening for your dog.
Dog owners are turning to natural alternatives to treating hyperkinesis. In a survey conducted in 2016, pet owners reported that they often recommend CBD to others because of their health benefits in conditions like anxiety and attention disorders. Canine with anxiety conditions can exhibit hyperactive behaviors (1).
Multiple studies on humans and animals reveal that CBD has anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects after consumption (2). Since the endocannabinoid system is shared by all mammals, experts believe that giving CBD oil to hyper dogs may ease anxiety and improve their attention.
CBD Oil for Hyperactive Dogs: Best Products in 2020
1. Royal CBD (Best Overall)
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Why We Recommend Royal CBD Oil for Hyperactive Dogs
Royal CBD has recently extended its product line up, adding 3 potency options of CBD pet oil for dogs of different sizes. From 125 mg up to 500 mg of total CBD, this oil features an organic full-spectrum extract — meaning your dog receives all of the beneficial compounds from hemp, especially the synergy from cannabinoid and terpenes. If your dog is fussy about taking regular CBD oil, this one will change their game, as it comes in the bacon flavor loved by all carnivores in the world. Royal CBD has a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re searching for a risk-free to try out its products. The brand also sells CBD pet treats for owners of hyperactive dogs who prefer predictable dosing for their cats with cancer.
2. Gold Bee (Best Organic)
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Why We Recommend Gold Bee CBD Oil for Hyperactive Dogs
Gold Bee is a California-based company that has recently released its first line of CBD oils for humans and pets after spending several years in the superfood industry. Gold Bee makes full-spectrum CBD oils sourced from organic, non-GMO hemp plants. The oils are available in three potencies, including 300 mg, 600 mg, and 1200 mg. While the company lacks low-potency oils for dogs, such as 125 mg, their strongest option is great for large canines that need higher doses of CBD in their routine. These are both high-quality and affordable CBD oils for dogs. Each batch undergoes rigorous testing in a third-party laboratory to prove its potency and purity.
3. CBDistillery (Runner Up)
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CBDistillery is one of the most reputable brands on the market these days. The company also offers a wide product selection, including tinctures, capsules, gummies, topicals, vapes, and CBD isolate powders.
CBDistillery has two options of CBD pet oil in its collection — 150 mg and 600 mg — designed with both small and large dogs in mind. Similar to the two above companies, this one also makes full-spectrum extracts to leverage the benefits of CBD using other cannabinoids and terpenes.
If you’re shopping for CBD on a budget, CBDistillery will be your best bet. All of the company’s products are third-party lab tested and extracted with CO2 for consistent potency and highest purity.
4. CBD Pure (Good Value)
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About CBD Pure
CBD Pure has three types of CBD products: full-spectrum CBD oil, high-potency CBD capsules, and CBD-infused cream. If you want to give your hyperactive dog CBD oil, we suggest that you stick with oils and capsules, as topicals don’t involve the administration route that would help relieve anxiety and enhance focus in dogs. Also, remember that CBD Pure doesn’t have high-strength oils in its line up, so if you’re looking for something more potent, we recommend the company’s softgel capsules — especially if you have a large dog. The capsules contain 25 mg per piece, and the cream has been infused with 750 mg of full-spectrum CBD. CBD Pure has Certificates of Analysis for all its products and a 90-day return policy that allows you to return the product for a full refund if you decide that it doesn’t work for your cat.
5. Charlotte’s Web (Best Variety)
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About Charlotte’s Web
The guys at Charlotte’s Web deserve credit for starting the global CBD rush. This is the company that helped the now-late girl Charlotte Figi reduce their seizure attacks from several events per day to one attack per month. Charlotte’s story was even broadcasted on CNN. Since then, the company has become one of the most recognizable names in the industry. Charlotte’s Web offers the broadest selection of CBD pet products among all the companies on this list. You can choose from CBD oils, treats, and CBD-infused creams. However, the oil is only available in one potency option — 500 mg — so if you want a wider choice, we suggest that you check out Charlotte’s Web pet treats or pick a CBD oil from one of the other four brands we recommend.
What is Hyperactivity in Dogs?
Also known as hyperkinesis, hyperactivity is a canine condition that manifests in impulsive behavior, frantic activity, drooling, panting, rapid heart rate, infrequent urination, and lack of trainability.
In a 1993 study, the authors concluded that hyperactivity in dogs is a rather normal behavior in specific breeds or behavior conditioned by the owner — not a physiological condition. They mentioned that dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin are the main neurotransmitters in the brain involved in this disorder (3).
Hyper dogs are known to have attention problems or difficulty in staying focused. As mentioned, vets typically use stimulant drugs such as d-amphetamine to tackle this condition in canines.
However, organizations like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty in Animals (ASPCA) consider these drugs dangerous for dogs.
The side effects associated with using stimulants in hyperactive dogs include increased heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and overall activity.
Because of that, many pet owners are seeking holistic treatments, such as CBD oil.
Can CBD Help Hyperactive Dogs?
The cannabis plant contains over 400 active compounds, of which 115 have been identified as cannabinoids. CBD and THC are the two major cannabinoids; they are responsible for the majority of therapeutic applications of cannabis.
THC is the primary intoxicating compound and should not be used with dogs as it may lead to toxicity.
CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t have intoxicating properties and is praised for its wide range of health benefits.
A 2016 survey reveals that the majority of pet owners support CBD because of its improvements in conditions such as pain, anxiety, and inflammation. Dogs with anxiety disorders are known to exhibit similar symptoms to hyperkinesis (4).
The American Kennel Club states that canine anxiety is often accompanied by symptoms such as destructive behavior, pacing, restlessness, aggression, barking, and compulsive behavior. These are the same symptoms of hyperactivity in dogs, so experts speculate that the two conditions are related.
Many animal and human studies have shown that CBD exerts calming actions on the brain, helping patients who suffer from anxiety disorders. Although the mechanism of action and effective dosage are still not fully understood, scientists believe that relief from CBD is the same as that of conventional medicines.
The anxiolytic effects of CBD are associated with its interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) (5). The EECS is a recently discovered network of receptors present in all mammals; it responds to cannabinoids like CBD, triggering a wide range of positive responses, including curbed anxiety.
How Hyperactive Dogs Benefit from CBD Oil
Hyperactive dogs may experience relief from CBD due to its modulatory effects on the ECS. The ECS consists of neurotransmitters, known as cannabinoids, and two types of receptors — CB1 and CB2.
According to research, dogs can suffer from the same health conditions as humans. Scientists can use them as suitable models to get a better understanding of how various diseases work between the two species (6). They have also mapped out the spatial distribution of CB1 receptors in the central nervous system of healthy canines.
This research shows that, just like humans, dogs could reap the health benefits from certain cannabinoids such as CBD because their ECS works in a similar manner (7).
A 2019 study supports this concept, indicating that dogs have higher concentrations of CB1 receptors in their brains than humans do (8).
Studies on targeting CB1 receptors in humans were conducted as early as in the 1990s and describe the effects of CBD on anxiety. Researchers found that the dose of 300mg of pure CBD was able to treat anxiety in the subjects. They also compared the potency of these effects to benzodiazepines such as Valium (9).
There is a research paper in the Neurochemical Research Journal that indicates CBD can inhibit the reuptake of serotonin, making the neurotransmitter more available for the body (10). Serotonin facilitates many functions that are associated with feelings of happiness, well-being, and calm.
Scientists have come up with a theory that the modulation of serotonin levels by CBD may help maintain emotional stability and reduce anxiety.
Since dogs and humans share the same endocannabinoid system, and dogs have more CB1 receptors in their brains, we can hypothesize that CBD oil can provide similar results in hyperactive or anxious dogs.
However, dog parents should always talk with a veterinarian experienced in CBD therapies before choosing to incorporate CBD oil into their dog’s diet.
The Pros and Cons of Using CBD Oil for Hyperactive Dogs
- Human studies have proven that CBD helps relieve anxiety and the symptoms of hyperactivity. Since all mammals have the same endocannabinoid system, hyperactive dogs could also benefit from taking CBD oil.
- Studies conducted on animals have shown that CBD can exert certain actions on the brain that can alleviate anxiety in dogs, thereby preventing hyperactivity.
- Dogs can tolerate CBD in doses ranging between 2–2.5 mg/kg, as reported by the Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (JAHVMA) (11).
- CBD is available in various formats for dogs, including oil drops, capsules, and pet treats.
- Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t support the use of CBD oil in dogs, the agency hasn’t received any direct reports of dangerous side effects in animals that took cannabis products.
- Studies on CBD use specifically in hyperactive dogs are limited. Researchers have not fully understood the long-term effects of CBD yet.
- Despite its excellent safety profile, CBD still has a few side-effects, such as low blood pressure, dry mouth, drowsiness, and changes in appetite.
- CBD is known to interact with many medications, including those prescribed by veterinarians.
- The FDA doesn’t endorse the use of cannabis and its derivatives in animals.
CBD Oil vs Alternative Treatments for Dogs: A Quick Comparison
Herbal products are quite common among dog owners who want to treat hyperactivity in their four-legged friends.
The following herbs are known to have relaxing properties:
- Lemon Balm
These herbs can reduce separation anxiety in dogs that experience severe stress. The plants are often administered by brewing teas, but owners can also use them as soothing aromas.
In a similar manner, CBD can be infused into edibles and beverages. There are also reports from dog owners that use CBD oil in their humidifiers to promote relaxing vibes at home so their dogs can feel safe and sound.
Some veterinarians also believe that CBD regulates the activity of the GABA receptor in the brain, which works as its handbrake. When the brain gets too excited, GABA slows it down by balancing certain neurotransmitters. Likewise, CBD can make serotonin more available in the body, which further eases anxiety and can stabilize mood.
How to Choose the Best CBD Oil for Hyper Dogs
CBD products are sold in different formats based on their cannabinoid spectrum.
You can find full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate.
Full-spectrum products contain all of the chemical compounds naturally occurring in hemp plants. There are even essential fatty acids, which can provide anti-inflammatory effects upon consumption.
However, full-spectrum CBD also comes with trace amounts of THC (0.3% or less). THC is the intoxicating component that can make the dog feel high. In full-spectrum CBD oils, there’s not enough THC to induce intoxication, but some dog owners can feel apprehensive about such products.
Broad-spectrum CBD oil is a safer alternative for dog owners who want their dogs to benefit from CBD and other cannabinoids — but without THC. The THC has been removed after initial extraction; however, the other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids are still present in the end product.
Finally, dog owners can purchase pure CBD oil; this type of CBD consists of pure, isolated cannabidiol and has no odor or flavor. CBD isolates are often administered to animals during clinical trials to maximize the accuracy of dosage assessments.
Important Considerations for CBD Buyers:
- Look for Certificates of Analysis (COA) to confirm the potency of CBD advertised on the product’s label. These documents also tell you if the product is free of contaminants or potentially dangerous additives such as pesticides and solvents. If the company can’t provide COA for its products, it’s a sign that you should look for CBD oil elsewhere
- Choose CBD oil over other formats. Many veterinarians highly recommend CBD oil in liquid form, as it makes administration easier and more accurate. Pet owners should follow dosing instructions provided by the veterinarian to avoid side-effects and potential interactions with other medications.
- The best CBD oils for hyperactive dogs are made from organic hemp and natural ingredients. Pay close attention when browsing through different CBD treats, as these products are most likely to be infused with inappropriate ingredients such as wheat or synthetic flavorings.
- Only purchase from reputable companies that have lots of positive reviews from returning customers. You can also reach out to other dog owners for advice on finding high-quality CBD products online or near you.
- Consult a veterinarian if you have any doubts about supplementing your hyperactive dog with CBD.
CBD Dosage for Hyper Dogs
There are no CBD dosage recommendations as of today. The FDA has yet to investigate the safety and efficacy of CBD in animals before they rule out any dosage charts for hyperactive dogs.
Pet owners and veterinarians may look through past studies to see how dogs take CBD to reduce anxiety and the symptoms of hyperactivity.
One clinical trial in 2019 tested how epileptic dogs would respond to a CBD dose of 2.5 mg/kg twice a day for 12 weeks. The researchers didn’t observe any life-threatening reactions within that threshold.
However, remember that the studies were conducted on dogs with a different medical condition. Hyperactive dogs may have a different response when taking CBD in such amounts
The best way to determine the right dosage for your hyper dog is to consult a veterinarian.
Different CBD Products for Hyperactive Dogs
As we said, there are a plethora of different CBD products on the market. Dog owners can choose from the following formats:
CBD oil is one of the most common hemp supplements administered to hyperactive dogs. They come in glass bottles with droppers that allow for easy and accurate dosing under the dog’s tongue. Administering CBD oil this way avoids the first-pass metabolism in the liver, providing faster onset of effects than other forms of CBD.
CBD can be infused into pet treats, which is perhaps the easiest method to give CBD to hyperactive dogs. These dog treats are made to be very appealing for canine with the product available in tasty flavors such as bacon or cheese. Pet owners should carefully read the label to make sure there aren’t any biologically appropriate ingredients in the snack.
Some people also find capsules and pills compatible with their dogs, which can be taken just like most supplements. Dog parents often hide the capsules in their dog’s food to mask the distinctive hemp oil flavor that comes along.
How to Calm a Hyperactive Dog
Many dog owners quickly label their dogs as “hyperactive,” but this isn’t always the case. According to the book Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Small Animals, hyperactivity in dogs is rare.
A dog that has high energy levels may not be getting the necessary amounts of physical, behavioral, and social attention on a regular basis. Dogs that are difficult to settle down may have to deal with an array of other factors, including lack of stimulation, poor diet, or genetic predispositions.
Take the following steps to address those needs and make sure that the dog’s alleged hyperactivity doesn’t result from the lack of attention.
Exercise Their Body
This is an absolute priority. The dog should always get the right amount of exercise throughout the day, especially if it’s a high-drive breed with a sporting or herding heritage. Such dogs may even require a special workout routine.
Although there is no universal pattern for canine exercises, it is safe to assume that dogs remaining active by the end of the day could get more stimulation. Playing games such as tug and fetch, which require the dog to stay focus, can release some of the extra energy
If your dog is more oriented at running, you can run and tug around with them; this is an excellent way to burn energy. Adding rules to the game can also make the exercise more engaging and fun for the dog.
Dog parents may also want their dogs to get involved in sports such as agility coursing or lure. These two activities will surely exhaust them even more, keeping hyperactivity at bay.
Positive social interaction with other canines in places like dog parks are also recommended, especially for dogs that need the company of others.
Keep Their Brain Occupied
Physical and mental exercises go hand in hand for hyperactive dogs. Mental workouts can be as engaging for the canine as physical training.
Most canines have high energy levels — patents of puppies, clap your hands! — so it will be necessary to work them out to physical exhaustion. However, for many breeds, working on their brains is a more effective way to get them tired.
You can try simple things such as shaping games or try teaching them new tricks that require focus
If you want to force the dog to tap into their senses, we recommend games that use a dog’s nose. Such exercises will provide an additional challenge for their brain. Last but not least, puzzle games involving the dog working for their food can be effective brain teasers that will make them ask for a break.
Establish the Right Manners
Constant barking or jumping at pet owners is a sign that a dog is seeking attention, which can be misunderstood as hyperactivity. In fact, these wrong behaviors may simply be signs of a lack of manners.
Teaching your dog the right manners through training can improve their social skills and help them get what they want the right way. Doing so also helps them to manage their impulsiveness. This is also a common symptom among hyper canines.
Make Adjustments in Their Diet
Dog owners are often tempted to bulk buy bags of affordable dog food at their local store to save on the product. However, canines are not machines, and what goes into their stomachs can directly affect the way their neurotransmitters function — it works the same way with humans.
Most cheap canine foods are usually chock-full of filler ingredients, colorings, wheat, sugar, and byproducts. It is just fast food for animals. Dog parents should look into different pet food and always pick products designed for carnivores (meat-eaters).
Feeding a pet low-quality food can negatively impact their mood and behavior, so taking care of high-quality and biologically appropriate ingredients is paramount if you want to keep their energy levels balanced.
Final Thoughts on CBD and Hyper Dogs
Hyperactivity — also known as hyperkinesis — is a disorder in animals that involves high impulsive behavior, problems with focus and attention, and constant frantic activity. Hyperactive dogs can also show symptoms such as salivation, panting, rapid heart rate, infrequent urination, and the inability to adapt to day-to-day stimuli.
Scientists claim that hyperkinesis isn’t a physiological problem in dogs, but rather a trait associated with specific breeds or a problem on the dog owner’s side. Hyperactive dogs are usually described to have short attention spans; doctors usually prescribe stimulant drugs for this problem.
Unfortunately, the health risks of these drugs outweigh their potential benefits. Dogs that take stimulants can experience life-threatening symptoms such as high body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure.
The above risks are the reason why many dog parents seek out alternative treatments for their hyperactive dogs.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a popular natural treatment for hyperactivity. It can be used by humans and dogs to alleviate a wide range of health concerns, including anxiety disorders, overactive brain, and attention deficits. Studies show that the ECS is the same among all mammalian creatures, so it’s possible that consuming CBD oil could be beneficial to help hyperactive dogs unwind.
- Gamble LJ, Boesch JM, Frye CW, et al. Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs. Front Vet Sci. 2018;5:165. Published 2018 Jul 23. doi:10.3389/fvets.2018.00165
- Schier AR, Ribeiro NP, Silva AC, et al. Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent, as an anxiolytic drug. Braz J Psychiatry. 2012;34 Suppl 1:S104‐S110. doi:10.1590/s1516-44462012000500008
- Luescher, A (June 1993). Hyperkinesis in dogs: Six case reports. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1686557/pdf/canvetj00367-0050.pdf
- Gamble LJ. et al. op. Cit.
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- Freundt-Revilla J, Kegler K, Baumgärtner W, Tipold A (2017) Spatial distribution of cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) in normal canine central and peripheral nervous system. PLoS ONE 12(7): e0181064. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0181064
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- Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (2018. A Report of Adverse Effects Associated With the Administration of Cannabidiol in Healthy Dogs. Retrieved from: https://www.ahvma.org/wp-content/uploads/AHVMA-2018-V52-CannabisAdverseEffects.pdf.