February 22, 2023

New Study from Waltham Petcare Science Institute, Part of Mars Petcare, Shows CBD is Effective at Reducing Stress in Dogs

Results from a recent study performed by the Waltham Petcare Science Institute show a single oral dose (4 mgs per kg of body weight) of THC-free cannabidiol (CBD) can significantly relieve multiple measures of dogs’ stress caused by car travel or being left alone.

The aim of this randomized, placebo-controlled, blinded study was twofold:

  • To understand the impact of a separation event and car travel on canine stress.
  • To establish if a single dose of a THC-free, broad-spectrum CBD could positively influence measures of canine stress during these two events.

The study was run by the Waltham Petcare Science Institute, part of Mars Petcare, and published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science. Another recent WALTHAM study showed a once-daily oral dose (4 mg/kg of body weight) broad-spectrum THC-free CBD over a six-month period to be safe for healthy adult dogs. Together, this research adds to a growing body of evidence around the safety and efficacy of CBD for dogs.

“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 Dr. Jennifer Welser, 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 blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled study looked at how CBD impacted the experience of 20 dogs in two commonplace activities that were anticipated to cause stress – car journeys and being left alone. Researchers collected a range of physiological (e.g., blood levels of cortisol, ear temperature, heart rate) and behavioral measures (e.g., whining, trembling, panting) at different times during the study. There were significant changes in several stress-related measures, with the car journey eliciting a more pronounced stress response.

Dogs then received either a placebo or CBD capsule (~4mg/kg bodyweight) and, two hours after administration, were exposed to either the separation event or car travel. Researchers found multiple measures of the dogs’ stress improved following administration of CBD. Specifically, dogs treated with CBD were scored as significantly less “sad,” had significantly lower cortisol levels, exhibited less whining and were in a more relaxed emotional state overall than dogs that received a placebo.

Mars does not manufacture or sell products with CBD.  Currently, CBD is mostly available as an unregulated supplement. In the UK, new CBD food, drink, or supplement products require an approved Novel Food application to enter the market.  CBD products are regulated in many US states. In the European Union, CBD use as an ingredient or an additive in pet food is still under review by the regulatory authorities and not yet approved.


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