You may or may not have already heard of the rescue fox that is taking Instagram by storm, but Juniper the Fox is definitely a force to be reckoned with. With 2.8 million followers, her account is full of adorable pictures and videos of her and her fellow rescue friends-- that come in all kinds of species of different shapes and sizes. Animals have a variety of personalities just like people, but being a rescue animal can increase the chance that they will suffer from anxiety in some form or another due to their past experiences.
Studies have already shown that CBD oil can help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety in humans, so why couldn’t CBD oil be administered for anxiety in our pets as well? In this article we’re going to examine the special case of Juniper the Fox, as well as delve into whether or not CBD oil is right for your four-legged friend.
Meet Juniper, the Happiest Fox
The story behind every Instagram star has a beginning, and Juniper’s started in a fur farm, as a domestic fur-bearing animal. These farms use the pelts of animals such as North American Red Foxes and minks, whose pelts are used for items such as coats, hats, and gloves. She was only five weeks old when she came into the care of her current owner, who used the experience she had with raising foxes to welcome the young fox into her home.
Because she was the descendant of domesticated animals that had also been raised on fur farms, Juniper had lost most of her wild instincts, and most likely would not be able to survive in the wild. Tame foxes like Juniper have over 4,000 genetic differences that separate them from wild foxes. One of those differences is tameness, and the willingness to accept human interaction. Luckily she had the opportunity to stay with her current owner, and grow into the sassy red fox that she is today.
A New Life for Juniper
The Ups and Downs of Being a Rescue Fox
Being a rescue fox meant that she had to adapt to a new life, one very different from either the wild or a pelt farm. Having a domestic fox is very different from having a domestic cat or a dog, and Juniper’s owner has had to make adjustments to life with a rescued fox. The have a tendency to mark their territory, and therefore cannot ever be 100% house trained. Most states also require that domesticated foxes have their own outdoor enclosure, and when they are in the house, can very quickly destroy floors and furniture due to the fact that they like to dig.
Although Juniper looks at ease in her social media posts, foxes are easily stressed by new situations and new people. Not unlike some domesticated pets, they typically bond with one person and can find lots of people and loud noises especially frightening. Juniper is sometimes seen with some of her foster siblings, but most foxes tend to be what humans would perceive as aloof for the majority of their lives. Foxes, although they look like dogs and can act like cats, are still entirely different from both and when interacting with other creatures have their own sets of verbal and non-verbal communication cues.
Juniper’s human posted a picture in March with the fox and some CBD oil, and one of those trademark Juniper the Fox grins-- complete with snaggletooth. CBD oil can be safely used for a wide variety of ailments for pets, and foxes, and has proven to especially help with anxiety symptoms. Juniper’s owner administers the CBD oil on a daily basis, and has seen improvements to her temperament and level of anxiety. Her stress levels from overstimulation have decreased since she’s been on the CBD oil, and there is a noticeable difference in her behavior. Rescue animals like Juniper benefit from this calming treatment, and can help them become less anxious and more willing to interact with their humans or other animals in the household.
Is CBD Right for My Pet?
CBD oil (cannabidiol) is the compound extracted from cannabis, with the therapeutic properties of cannabis, without the tetrahydrocannabinol. In recent years there have been many states that have legalized CBD oil for humans, who take it for a wide variety of ailments including pain management, arthritis, seizures, and anxiety. There are very few side effects to it and it is generally non-addictive, which is why it seems to be available in many drug stores and pharmacies.
Although there are limited studies about its effects on humans, there are even less so on animals. Where CBD oil is legal for humans, pet owners can purchase it for their pets without a vet’s prescription or approval. To make sure CBD is right for your pet, consider these points.
1. Seek out expert advice first
Although in most states you don’t need to have a vet’s approval for CBD oil, it is still a good idea to have that conversation with them before embarking on a CBD oil treatment plan. While not known to have side effects, there is a risk of complications if your animal takes other medications. You’ll want to consult your vet if you pup or kitty is on any other kind of prescriptions, as there is the possibility for an adverse reaction. Vets have seen the strength of pharmaceuticals increase when an animal is taking CBD, so there may be additional adjustments needed for dosage purposes as well.
There is also less oversight in items made for animal consumption, and there have been reports of animals getting sick from contaminated products. Since no official studies have been done on CBD and its use in animals, you can never be sure that the dosage is the correct amount for your pet.
2. Keep expectations realistic
Some pet owners swear that CBD oil has changed the life of their pet for the better-- and they are anxiety free. Smaller trials have been conducted based on the effects that CBD can have on osteoarthritis and dogs, but these are not finalized studies, although the results have been encouraging. Dosage is extremely important when it comes to CBD and your pet, and the studies to determine this amount have not been done yet.
If you pet suffers from anxiety, it is highly recommended bringing it up with your vet, and to see if CBD oil might be an option in their situation. Keep in mind that every pet can respond differently, and just because one pet responds to the treatment and appears to have anxiety under control, does not necessarily mean that your little friend will as well.
3. Choose products with care
If you do decide that CBD oil is right for your pet’s anxiety, then make sure to take the time to research brands and get a feel for the type of products that are available. CBD for pets is largely unregulated, so it is hard for pet parents to know which products have been formulated responsibly, and which have not, without a little digging. Look for those products that have the seal from the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) as well as follow the Good Manufacturing Practices. There is a greater chance that products that have these labels are made with safe ingredients and are packaged responsibly.
A reputable company should also have a certificate of analysis that proves how much CBD and THC that the product contains. It also will list how the product did against a test for contaminants such as heavy metals and fungicides.
Recommended CBD Products for Pets
After considering these important points, and speaking to your vet about starting a CBD treatment, perhaps using CBD to treat anxiety in your pet is a good option. We’ve put together a list of a couple products you might want to consider using, but always make sure to do your own research first. This will ensure you’re really getting the best possible CBD treatment for your pet’s anxiety.
- True Leaf Hemp Oil has received the NASC approval for hemp seed oil, dental sticks, and chews that help to alleviate anxiety in dogs. This hemp oil combines hemp seed with other active ingredients to soothe your dog when they are at their most anxious. It also promotes the reduction of hyperactivity so your pet is calmer throughout the day as well.
- Treatibles Soft or Hard Chews for dogs or cats is another great option that is NASC approved. Their blend of broad spectrum hemp oil helps instill calmness and ease in your anxious pet. In addition, they also support a healthy digestive and immune system and promotes better joint flexibility as well.
- Charlotte’s Web has offered CBD oil products for humans for a couple of years, but now it also has NASC certified hemp oil for dogs as well. Their CBD bites and oil come conveniently packaged together, so pet parents can administer the calming oil each day, and use the bites when some particularly stressful situations arise.
CBD oil can have some amazing effects on the anxiety levels of your pet, just like they do for people and even Juniper the Fox. Since long-term and in-depth studies have yet to be done on pets and CBD oil, make sure to do your research first to ensure you’re giving your four legged friend the best possible treatment.