Dogs find solace during Fourth of July through stress-relieving edibles


Logan Lowrey-Rasmussen

Although the sparks of excitement during the Fourth of July came and went with the usual fanfare, canine owners around the United States decided to try something a little offbeat: offering dog-friendly treats to their canine friends to quell firework-related anxieties. This trend has been covered by the New York Times, with pet owners touting the growing advantages of Cannabidiol, or CBD.

CBD is a non-psychoactive chemical compound found in the cannabis plant, unlike Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is attributed to getting users “high.”

Betsy and Andy Firebaugh of Santa Cruz, Calif. told NPR they discovered the idea to treat their dog’s Fourth of July anxieties with CBD after they tested a CBD supplement for one of their socially-anxious Australian shepherds, Angus. Originally skittish around new visitors, Angus’s positive response to the supplement inspired the couple to give CBD to their other dog, Seamus, who also deals with anxieties related to loud noises.

In preliminary studies completed in 2015 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, research revealed “CBD has shown therapeutic efficacy in a range of animal models of anxiety and stress, reducing both behavioral and physiological (e.g., heart rate) measures of stress and anxiety.”

The study also advises that individuals must take caution: while there is scientific evidence detailing the therapeutic benefits of CBD, the topic remains infrequently researched, especially in canines.

“We just don’t know what these products are doing,” Dr. Tom Hansen, of San Francisco Veterinary Specialists, told NBC. “There is anecdotal information, but no science behind it because it’s a Schedule 1 drug.”

Hansen said official studies combined with real-time results have differed from individual to individual, highlighting the importance and need of research about cannabis and canines.