Why Dogs Don't Want To Go Outdoors

Why Dogs Don't Want To Go Outdoors And How CBD Can Help

Written by: Dr. Athena Gaffud

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Time to read 8 min

Dogs may hesitate to go outdoors due to anxiety, past traumas, medical issues, or aging. Anxiety manifests as restlessness and avoidance, while negative experiences like confrontations with aggressive dogs can instill a lasting fear. Medical conditions such as arthritis and seizures make outdoor activities painful. As dogs age, they encounter physical limitations that diminish their enthusiasm for outdoor excursions. 

CBD has been beneficial in managing these issues by interacting with the endocannabinoid system to alleviate anxiety and pain. It is available in various forms like oils and treats. However, it's important to consult a veterinarian before starting CBD, choose high-quality products, and monitor the dog's response to ensure safety and effectiveness.

Why Don't Dogs Want to Go Outdoors?

A Dog Reluctant To Go Outdside

Many dogs show reluctance or fear when it comes to going outdoors, which stem from various reasons including anxiety, past negative experiences, medical issues, or aging.

  • Anxiety in dogs manifest in different ways – some dogs show signs of restlessness, excessive panting, trembling, or even avoidance behaviors like hiding.

  • Past negative experiences deeply impact a dog's perception of the outdoors. A dog that experienced a traumatic event during an outdoor activity, such as encountering aggressive dogs or getting lost develop a fear response towards similar situations.

  • Medical issues, such as arthritis or injuries, also cause reluctance in dogs to engage in physical activities outdoors.

  • Aging is a natural process that affect a dog's mobility and energy levels, leading to reduced enthusiasm for outdoor adventures.

Fear or Anxiety

Fear and anxiety in dogs lead to reluctance or refusal to go outdoors, with signs such as trembling, pacing, excessive barking, or hiding. Identifying triggers and using desensitization techniques, positive reinforcement, and a safe environment help dogs overcome their fears and associate positive experiences with previously feared situations.

Past Negative Experiences

To help dogs overcome traumatic outdoor experiences, gradually reintroduce them to outdoor environments in a controlled and positive manner. Use desensitization techniques, positive reinforcement, and create a safe space for the dog to build new, positive associations with outdoor activities.

Medical Issues

Medical conditions such as arthritis, chronic pain, or seizures cause dogs to avoid going outdoors. Arthritis and chronic pain make movement challenging and outdoor activities less appealing. Seizures also make dogs anxious about being outside. It's important to work with a vet to manage these conditions and improve your dog's comfort and quality of life.

Aging

As dogs age, they experience physical limitations and sensory decline, making outdoor activities challenging. To cater to their needs, provide softer walking surfaces and opt for shorter, more frequent walks. Adjust the intensity of activities and choose quieter, familiar outdoor spots to reduce anxiety and discomfort.

How Can CBD Help with Dogs' Fear or Anxiety?

How Can CBD Help with Dogs

CBD, derived from hemp plants, has shown promising results in helping dogs manage fear and anxiety. It interacts with the endocannabinoid system in dogs, potentially reducing anxiety symptoms and promoting relaxation. With the rising popularity of CBD for pets, there is a wide range of products available, including CBD oil, treats, and capsules specifically formulated for managing fear and anxiety in dogs.

  • CBD's Effect on the Endocannabinoid System

CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system in dogs, which helps balance mood, reduce anxiety, and promote overall well-being. Research has shown that CBD's interaction with this system can have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects, making it a promising option for managing conditions like arthritis or joint pain.

CBD disrupts the consolidation of fear memories via anandamide-mediated activation of dorsal hippocampus CB1 and CB2 receptors,” (Stern, C., et al, 2017).

Additionally, CBD's ability to influence appetite regulation through the endocannabinoid system is beneficial for dogs struggling with eating disorders or digestive issues. Read “ 7 Ways To Boost Your Dog’s Appetite: Including CBD Oil Tips

  • Reduction of Anxiety Symptoms

CBD has been linked to a reduction in anxiety symptoms in dogs, such as excessive barking, trembling, destructive behaviors, restlessness, pacing, panting, hypervigilance, separation anxiety, aggression towards other animals, compulsive behaviors, and reactivity to triggers inducing anxiety.

A single dose of CBD-free distillate can significantly reduce canine stress during separation and car travel, with varying effects depending on the measure and test,” (Hunt, A., et al., 2023).

  • Promotes Relaxation and Calmness

CBD's calming properties help alleviate anxiety and phobias in dogs, making it an ideal solution for scenarios like thunderstorms, fireworks, separation anxiety, or vet visits.

When incorporated into their routine, CBD aid in calming down nervous pups and assisting them in staying composed during challenging moments. It's important to start with a low dosage and gradually increase it as needed, observing your dog's response to determine the optimal amount for their individual needs.

What Other Benefits Can CBD Provide for Dogs?

CBD offers a range of benefits for dogs, including pain relief, anti-inflammatory properties, improved digestion, enhanced appetite, and potential anti-tumor effects. It may promote overall health and well-being in dogs. Studies have shown that CBD can help manage pain, reduce discomfort, and improve mobility. Additionally, it has been linked to improved digestive health, promoting a strong immune system and optimal well-being.

  • Pain Relief

CBD has been recognized for its potential to provide pain relief in dogs, particularly those suffering from conditions like arthritis or chronic pain. Read “CBD Oil For Dogs With Joint Pains.”

  • Anti-inflammatory Properties

CBD's anti-inflammatory properties make it a valuable supplement for dogs with conditions like arthritis or allergies, alleviating pain, swelling, and discomfort while promoting better mobility and overall well-being. Read “Dogs' Allergy Alleviation: CBD Oil's Soothing Effects.”

  • Improved Digestion and Appetite

CBD may support improved digestion and appetite in dogs, enhancing nutrient absorption and promoting gastrointestinal health. Read “Dogs' Appetite Revival with CBD Oil: Understanding its Impact.”

  • Anti-tumor Effects

Emerging research suggests that CBD possesses anti-tumor properties that could benefit dogs with cancer. While more studies are needed to confirm CBD's efficacy in cancer treatment, preliminary findings show promise in slowing tumor growth and potentially enhancing the effectiveness of conventional therapies. Read “CBD Oil's Supportive Potential in Dogs' Cancer Care”.

How Can CBD Be Administered to Dogs?

CBD for dogs is administered in various forms to suit different preferences and needs. Common methods of CBD administration include CBD oil, treats, topicals, and capsules, each offering unique benefits and ease of use for pet owners.

CBD Oil

CBD oil is a popular choice for dog owners seeking precise dosing and easy administration of CBD. By placing drops of CBD oil on the gums or mixing it with food, pet parents tailor the dosage to meet their pet's individual needs.


Administering CBD oil to dogs involves understanding the appropriate dosage for their size and condition. It's essential to consult a veterinarian to determine the right amount of CBD oil to give to your furry friend. Check “CBD Dosage Chart for Dogs


The bioavailability of CBD oil like CBD Full-Spectrum Happy-Furever™ Oil is crucial; when administered on the gums, it enters the bloodstream more quickly than when mixed with food.


The absorption rate of CBD oil varies depending on the dog's metabolism and health status. Some dogs experience relief from anxiety, pain, or inflammation shortly after taking CBD oil, while others require consistent doses over time to see noticeable effects.

CBD Treats

CBD treats offer a convenient and enjoyable way to give dogs their daily dose of CBD. With a variety of flavors and formulations available, CBD treats like CBD Full-Spectrum Happy-Furever™ Chews are a palatable option for picky eaters and can be used as a tasty reward during training or relaxation.

CBD Topicals

CBD topicals are ideal for targeting localized discomfort or skin issues in dogs

CBD topicals are applied directly to the skin and are ideal for targeting localized discomfort or skin issues in dogs. From balms to creams, CBD topicals offer targeted relief and is beneficial for dogs with arthritis, skin allergies, or minor injuries.

CBD Capsules

CBD capsules offer a convenient and discreet way to administer precise doses of CBD to dogs

CBD capsules offer a convenient and discreet way to administer precise doses of CBD to dogs. With consistent CBD content per capsule, pet owners easily control their pet's CBD intake and incorporate capsules into their daily routine.

What Are the Potential Side Effects of CBD for Dogs?

While CBD is generally well-tolerated by most dogs, some pets may experience mild side effects such as drowsiness, dry mouth, or gastrointestinal upset. It is essential to consult a veterinarian before starting CBD treatment for pets to ensure proper dosing and monitor any potential adverse reactions.


Common side effects of CBD in dogs include changes in appetite, changes in weight, and in rare cases, diarrhea or vomiting. Keeping a close eye on dogs when introducing CBD helps pet parents monitor how they respond to the supplement. If you notice any unusual symptoms or behaviors, such as excessive lethargy or unusual agitation, it's crucial to contact your vet immediately.


Remember, every pet is unique, so what works for one may not work for another. Your holistic veterinarian provides tailored advice based on your pet's individual needs and health conditions. CBD can interact with certain medications, so professional guidance is essential to avoid any potential complications.

What Precautions Should Be Taken When Using CBD for Dogs?

Before starting CBD for dogs, consult a vet for dosing guidance. Choose high-quality CBD products and monitor your dog's response closely. Look for organic or third-party tested products and keep track of dosage and effects.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do some dogs refuse to go outdoors?

There could be a variety of reasons why a dog may not want to go outdoors, including fear, anxiety, past negative experiences, physical limitations, or even boredom.

How can CBD help with a dog's reluctance to go outdoors?

CBD has been shown to have calming and anti-anxiety effects on both humans and animals. By reducing anxiety and fear, CBD can help a dog feel more comfortable and relaxed in outdoor environments.

Is CBD safe for dogs?

Yes, CBD is generally safe for dogs when given in the appropriate doses. It is important to consult with a veterinarian before giving your dog any CBD products, as they can advise on the proper dosage and potential interactions with other medications.

Can CBD be used as a replacement for behavior training?

No, CBD should not be used as a replacement for proper behavior training. It can be used as a helpful supplement to address underlying anxieties and fears, but it is important to also address the root cause through training and behavior modification techniques.

What forms of CBD are available for dogs?

CBD for dogs can come in various forms such as treats, oils, topical creams, and even pet-specific products like shampoos and sprays. It's important to find a form that works best for your dog's needs and preferences.

Are there any potential side effects of giving CBD to dogs?

While CBD is generally well-tolerated by dogs, some potential side effects may include drowsiness, dry mouth, and changes in appetite. It's important to start with a low dose and monitor your dog's reaction before increasing the dosage.
Dr. Athena Gaffud, DVM

Author: Dr. Athena Gaffud

Dr. Athena is a seasoned, board-certified veterinarian with comprehensive expertise in general practice, veterinary medicine, laboratory operations, and veterinary writing. She is passionate about animals and holistic health. 

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