The Animal Doctor

DEAR DR. FOX: Our dog is a very anxious 8-year-old Morkie (a Yorkshire-Maltese mix).

In your opinion, would there be any advantage to giving her a drop of CBD during anxious activities such as flying? Would it be safe to give her a drop every day? -- J.J.E., Estero, Florida

DEAR J.J.E.: First, get your dog used to being in an airline-approved dog crate. Keep it open, with soft bedding and a few treats inside, so it becomes like her den.

As for your query, I asked veterinarian Dr. Robert J. Silver to respond. I have known him for many years, and he is one of the pioneers of integrative veterinary medicine and the application of cannabis in veterinary medicine.

Here is his response:

"Your question is a good one. It is known that CBD has a calming but not sedating effect on dogs, and it works pretty well at much lower doses than we would use if your dog was in pain, had epilepsy or cancer.

"When you ask if a drop a day would help, that is an impossible question to answer for these two reasons:

"1) I have no idea what the potency and concentration are of the CBD oil you have in mind; and,

"2) I have no idea what size (weight in pounds or kilograms) your dog is, since the most successful way to give CBD is by basing the dosage on the body weight of the animal.

"Another issue here is that with the incredible popularity of CBD, there are some shysters out there who just want to take your money and give you a bogus product. So look carefully at the CBD oil you are interested in and see if there is a contact number on the bottle. There should be. Call that number and ask for a Certificate of Analysis (CoA) that will tell you what the laboratory tests said in terms of how much CBD is in the formula, and if there is any THC in it. THC can be very troubling to dogs, so we want to give them only the very small amount that is found in hemp oil, which should be less than 0.3 percent THC.

"A good starting dose for calming your Morkie is 0.1 mg of CBD for each pound of body weight twice daily. The best way to give the oil is just into the mouth, so it absorbs through the oral mucous membranes.

"I hope this is helpful. All the best to you and your four-legged companion." -- Robert J. Silver DVM, MS, CVA; Boulder, Colorado

(You can check out Dr. Silver's blog at NurseYourPet.com.)

DEAR DR. FOX: Please help me settle a discussion I had recently with a relative. She claims you cannot bring a new cat into a house that already has a cat (cats). I have heard of cases where one cat gets so bored all day alone that a new cat would be welcome. What say you? -- C.D., Naples, Florida

DEAR C.D: I really appreciate your question because it is a common misconception that you cannot introduce a cat into a home where there is already one or more cats.

You are right that cats can suffer from extreme boredom when left alone for hours during the workweek and not getting the kind of stimulation another cat could give. This can contribute to obesity and other health and behavioral problems. As I document in my book, "Cat Body, Cat Mind," two cats living harmoniously together are generally happier and healthier than those living alone.

As to your contention that a cat will get bored when home alone all day, this I can confirm from a photo just sent to me from the family who adopted our latest rescue cat, Black Bean. The photo shows Black Bean hugging his buddy cat, Zorro, who my wife and I also rescued. This family adopted Zorro a year before Black Bean.

After following the basic steps of helping the cats get to know each other and develop trust, the new owners reported a month later that Zorro is more alert and losing weight, even though he was living with a family with two young children and an old dog. And his new companion Black Bean loves to leap, chase and play.

For details of the steps best taken to introduce a new cat to the home, see my article on this topic at drfoxvet.net.

(Send all mail to animaldocfox@gmail.com or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.

Visit Dr. Fox's website at DrFoxVet.net.)

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