Research Investigates Ways to Make Dogs Calm During Car Travel

  • Updated February 2, 2024

  • Published February 2, 2024

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Research Shows CBD Helps Dogs Stay Calm During Car Travel

Researchers at the Waltham Petcare Science Institute in the United Kingdom published a study in the Journal of Animal Science concerning the effect of CBD on reducing tension levels in dogs during frequent car travel. The blinded study had dogs that experience stress symptoms during car trips take THC-free CBD over six months to determine if CBD eased canine discomfort.

In this study, 19 dogs went on a series of car journeys. The researchers collected data on their behavioral and physiological responses before, during, and after each car ride. The dogs experienced high stress during the journeys as measured by changes to physical factors like heart rate, serum cortisol, and heart rate variability. Stress behaviors like lip licking, whining, and yawning were also recorded.

This was a placebo-controlled study. Nine dogs were given CBD (one of 10 was dropped from the study), and 10 were given a placebo. The dogs came from kennels and were not exposed to regular car travel. The dogs given CBD received 4/mg/kg of body weight of CBD each morning for six months and, approximately two hours later, were taken on a car trip. The two-hour timeframe was chosen because prior studies found peak CBD levels are reached in a dog’s bloodstream between 1.5 and 2 hours after dosing.

The results of the study found that a daily dose of CBD had a positive effect on dogs experiencing discomfort due to car travel. The blood cortisol level, whining and other stress-related behaviors were significantly reduced, suggesting CBD delivers some calming effects. The researchers also found,

“The effect of CBD decreased over time following 6 mo of daily treatment, however, it is not known whether this was due to habituation to the CBD or to the tense situation. These results suggest that while CBD may be beneficial, it is likely best used in combination with other interventions in order to have long-term benefits.”

This study adds to the evidence of prior studies that have found CBD is beneficial for dogs and other animals. There is agreement in government agencies and pet care companies that more research should be conducted before CBD can be recognized for its therapeutic value for pets and farm animals. In the meantime, consumers purchase CBD for pets and report positive experiences, including reducing their dog’s tension level when taking car rides or when left at home alone.


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