Does your dog have separation anxiety – and you’re tired of your belongings being destroyed while you’re gone? Or perhaps your dog barks continuously during a thunderstorm. If this describes your best friend, read on to learn what causes your dog's stress.
Stress starts in your dog’s brain
Your dog’s stress starts in her brain - deep in the Limbic System, which is responsible for emotions, fear and anxiety. The nerve cells in the Limbic System communicate by generating electrical impulses that travel along the cells’ membrane. When the impulse reaches the end of the nerve cell it triggers the release of a neurotransmitter into the space (or synapse) between it and the next cell. The neurotransmitter binds with receptors on the next cell, which cause a unique message to be sent along that cell for processing, and an electrical impulse along that cell’s membrane so it can communicate with its neighbor. In an anxious dog these cells generate too much electrical current, causing them and their neighbors to hyperactivate.
Cannabinoids modulate the electrical activity
Studies monitoring the electrical activity of the brain have shown that stress may be the result of hyperactivity of the neurons of the Limbic System. Cannabinoids have been shown to bind receptors, preventing neurons from generating electrical currents and calming them. It is also believed that cannabinoids redistribute blood flow within the brain in ways associated with a reduction in stress.
Whether or not you use cannabinoids for your dog, however they’re calmed reducing the hyperactive neurons in your dog’s brain may help calm his anxiety – and when they feel better, you’ll feel better!