If you live in a major US city, you’ve probably already seen or heard them these past few months; Deafening bangs or staccatos of loud pops and crackles, all accompanied by brilliant flashes - they seem to appear at all hours of the day. For some it’s a minor inconvenience, but for pet owners it’s a cause for concern.
According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, nearly 80 percent of display firework revenue is associated with Independence Day celebrations across the United States. We love celebrating our independence by being loud and proud, and pet owners in the past have accepted that fact. They have sat, huddled with their furry friends in dark rooms, waiting for the night to end. It is, after all, just one night.
Now, however, fireworks aren’t relegated to the vaunted Fourth. With large-scale displays facing cancellation due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a glut of fireworks has entered the market, flooding American cities with huge amounts of legal - and illegal - pyrotechnics. The result is an unending stream of loud noise - a nuisance for many of us humans, but an absolute nightmare for our pets.
Recently, our founder Maria Calabrese had the opportunity to sit down with veterinarian, Dr. Tim Shu, founder and CEO of VETCBD. The two talked about pets, their reactions to fireworks, and how those reactions can be mitigated through the careful application of CBD therapeutic products.
Tim originally hails from Texas, where he studied at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University. In Texas, he explains, “Cannabis has been heavily stigmatized... growing up, my understanding and my knowledge of cannabis was that it was something dangerous”.
However, after moving to California and learning more about cannabis, Tim’s views changed dramatically. “I really looked at the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis and why it was working well in people.“ He pauses, then continues. “As healthcare practitioners, we really have to explore all therapeutic avenues for our patients.”
Tim took a deep dive into the world of therapeutic cannabis, poring over preclinical tests, academic studies, whatever he could find. His conclusion was that cannabis was indeed therapeutic, and in certain applications surpassed other medications that he was prescribing.
As Tim explains: “When I was in practice, there were certain kinds of medications that I frequently prescribed... and some of these medications, I would have to warn these owners - potential side effects include GI ulcerations, liver damage, and kidney damage.”
While many of these side effects don’t present themselves unless an animal experiences an overdose, overdosing can unfortunately be common in the veterinary world. Our pets’ physiology can vary greatly, leading to differences in their rates of absorption for particular drugs.
For those pet owners with particularly noise-averse dogs, this can add additional stress when fireworks are involved. The owner must choose between their furry friend being on the verge of a nervous break - or potentially overdosing their beloved pet.
Sileo, for instance, is a common medication prescribed to noise-averse dogs. When dosing is too high, it can cause trouble breathing, low blood pressure, and muscle tremors as well as actual loss of consciousness. The FDA recently had to issue a warning for the medication due to reports of accidental overdosing.
“Now, CBD isn’t side effect free”, Tim concedes, but “the potential side effects of CBD are rare and very mild... GI upset and fatigue.” That means that pet owners can apply CBD - still carefully, of course - but without fear of potentially injuring their animal while attempting to alleviate other symptoms.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to control others’ usage of fireworks during these trying times. We do, however, have control over our pets’ therapeutic options. Maria herself can attest to the benefits of CBD therapeutics.
She uses VETCBD’s products for her German shepherd - Roxy. Initially, Maria used these formulas to help relieve Roxy's joint pain brought on by old age. However, with the recent onslaught of fireworks Maria noticed that Roxy's behavior had changed. She lounged on her bed or walked the house, undeterred by the noises outside.
We here at GBL don’t think that cannabis is a miracle drug - no compound can solve every problem, nor can it solve problems with no side effects. We do, however, think that cannabis’ therapeutic potential is massive, and that the negative stigma surrounding products derived from it should be discarded and replaced with knowledge. After all, if CBD represents a safer and more effective treatment for our pets and even ourselves, why wouldn’t we use it?