Why is my dog hyperactive?
Apparently, true hyperactivity in dogs is a rare disorder. Chronic hyperactivity—or hyperkinesis as it’s clinically known—is a little diagnosed though possible canine condition, which can present with the same types of distractedness and energy bursts as found in hyper dogs.
Hyperkinesis isn’t a psychological or training issue but instead stems from biological markers such as constant high heart rate, salivation, super high energy metabolism, rapid breathing, and suppressed urination.
But it goes without saying that there’s a lot of dogs with a lot of energy out there, who aren’t hyperkinetic. Talk to any owner, and it’s a good bet that, at some point in their dog’s life, they’ve had to deal with over-distractedness, impulsiveness, fidgeting, or an inability to listen to commands.
So, where is all this non-hyperkinetic hyperactivity coming from?
What makes CBD a good solution?
Some dogs are exercised to the point of exhaustion, given plentiful mental and social stimulation, well-trained, and carefully observed for signs of anxiety—and yet they keep bouncing off the walls!
This is when things really start to get difficult for owners. It can feel overwhelming to have tried every method in the book and still find your four-legged-friend ready for more.
Strategies at this point include crate training, time-outs, solidifying household routines, and even mobile doggy gyms, such as this entertaining project out of Arizona, where hot weather impedes midday walking.
For us, CBD offers a solution that stands above these other options, thanks to its safety, consistency, and its ability to boost other tried-and-tested calming measures—not to mention its more general wellness benefits.
CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is one of tens of cannabinoids discovered in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids are the natural equivalent of biological ‘endocannabinoids,’ which are produced by the body and used by the endocannabinoid system to affect the function of major organs and internal systems.
While a relatively newly-discovered bodily system, we know that it affects almost every area of the body—organs, bones, muscles, blood vessels, etc. We also know that a main function of endocannabinoids is to stimulate responses to inflammation and distress, keeping homeostasis as the body reacts to changes in the outside environment.
According to UCLA Health, the endocannabinoid system is able to produce these beneficial effects in processes relating to “pain, memory, mood, appetite, stress, sleep, metabolism, immune function, and reproductive function.”
Cannabinoids, and particularly CBD, are able to effectively activate the endocannabinoid system and induce the same de-inflammatory and anxiety-reducing processes on demand.
How does this help dogs with hyperactivity? Studies indicate that CBD’s effect on the endocannabinoid system increases the potency of endogenous elements such as anandamide, an endocannabinoid that acts as a regulator of inflammation, mental motivation, and pleasure/reward cycles.
Boosting endocannabinoids such as anandamide bolsters your dog’s ability to process and manage their energy, contributing to a more stable and relaxed daily state of being. On their own, CBD and the endocannabinoid system are unlikely to solve canine hyperactivity. But they’re a great way to boost the effectiveness of other training methods and wider lifestyle changes.
Perhaps even more interestingly, a 2013 review in the journal Cell Metabolism discusses, cannabinoids may be able to affect glucose tolerance, as well as energy and metabolic regulation—providing a direct way of managing sudden energy bursts.
NOT a sedative
We mentioned it up top, but it’s worth repeating here: CBD oil is not a sedative, so using it on dogs with lots of excess energy isn’t going to knock them out—nor should you want it to.
The theory here is that dogs who are hyperactive (but aren’t suffering from hyperkinesis) will benefit from CBD’s ability to increase homeostasis in the body, reducing internal inflammation.
While this process isn’t intoxicating, anyone who’s tried CBD for themselves can attest to a sensation of relaxation, a little like having a massage, a glass of wine after work, or the feeling after a really good yoga class.
In this way, using CBD to build a more relaxed foundation gives your dog a better opportunity to begin learning those behaviors that can help mitigate their hyperactivity. A more relaxed dog should be more susceptible to training through treats, crates, habits, and responsible socialization—all things that help instill a healthy level of discipline.