Dogs have long been man’s best friend, and these days people consider their pets as integral members of their families. If you would consider alternative therapies for overcoming health challenges for yourself or close relatives, then why not explore these for your canine family members as well?
An emergent field of CBD dog therapies is bringing fascinating insights of the healing properties of the cannabis plant. This article will cover what CBD products are, whether vets recommend CBD for dogs, and some tips to keep in mind while selecting a product for your own dog.
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is a concentrated form of the cannabinoid cannabidiol, one of the two most well-known cannabinoids found in cannabis plants (the other being THC). CBD will not produce any psychoactive effects, so this oil will not get you – or your dog – high. CBD is said to possess a number of purported health benefits, from anti-anxiety to pain relief, and is legal in many states in the U.S. While THC remains an illegal drug at a federal level, the hemp plants commonly used to produce commercially-sold CBD oil are legal, as long as they contain less than 0.3% of THC.
How Does CBD Affect Dogs?
Just like humans, dogs have an endocannabinoid system within their bodies that helps maintain homeostasis – meaning, it keeps everything balanced and in check. This system can function as a go-between for the immune system, nervous system, and the body’s organs, operating continually without conscious awareness.
Cannabinoids in the cannabis plant can interact with the endocannabinoid system via receptors, producing a range of effects that some believe to be helpful for maintaining good health.
Do Vets Recommend CBD For Dogs?
Because cannabis remains illegal in many states, to varying degrees, the industry – for both medical and recreational uses – is still nascent in the United States. This means that veterinarians may not be aware of these products or their uses, or they may be hesitant to discuss it due to legal concerns. Additionally, the field of CBD research for pets is still emerging, with few solid studies to draw from, causing further gestation for some.
Despite these hurdles, certain vets do recommend CBD oil for dogs. Green Entrepreneur discussed CBD oil with a handful of vets who do recommend these products to One vet recommends using a full-spectrum hemp oil, along with a healthy diet, in order to aid with conditions including cancer. Another reported reductions in cancer progression and tumor growth.
What Dog Health Problems Can CBD Oil Treat?
As with human applications, there are many purported benefits to treating health problems with CBD oil, however solid evidence backing up each of these claims is still forthcoming. It’s also important to keep in mind that every body is different, so dogs may react differently depending on their unique physiological traits. That being said, scientists have been studying CBD treatment in dogs and their findings have been somewhat encouraging. A peer-reviewed study conducted in 2018 produced results indicating that CBD can be aid in pain management in dogs suffering from arthritis.
Anecdotal evidence is also emerging from pet guardians who use CBD to treat seizures in dogs, reporting some success.
Is CBD Safe For Your Dog?
A World Health Organization report found that, in its pure state, CBD oil appears to be safe for animals. This is why ensure that the products you purchase are organic is important. Any pesticides or herbicides applied to plants as they grow can wind up in the end product – so avoiding these toxins will be beneficial for your pet.
However other studies have indicated that dogs with weak or compromised liver function may have trouble with CBD oil, and caution should be taken in these circumstances.
While it’s possible to overdose your dog, the known side effects of CBD are mild. Known side effects can include vomiting, itchiness and a bit of drowsiness – so be sure to watch out for these symptoms.
Types Of CBD Products Available For Dogs
Different types of CBD products can help target your dog’s needs. Whether it is a cream for the skin, or a tasty treat any dog would love to eat, below are a few different types of CBD products to look into when exploring delivery methods for your pet.
Edibles can be a fun treat no matter your species. Like any good pot brownie, CBD dog treats are designed to be tasty enough for your pet to chow down on. CBD dog treats can come in flavours such as cheese, chicken, and bacon.
Topical CBD creams are formulated to help with inflammation, reduce discomfort when it comes to cuts or burns, and to help create a sense of calm for your dog to enjoy. Applying directly onto affected areas, or else directly onto skin (such as the tip of the ear), will help the product achieve its maximum effect.
Some dogs are picky eaters. For those who won’t be swayed by CBD treats or don’t like tinctures, capsules may be the best way to go. Capsules can be placed within food for smooth administration your dog won’t even notice.
CBD tinctures often come in small bottles and are administered via an eyedropper. Tinctures can be mixed with food, or even dropped directly into the mouth. CBD is effectively absorbed through the mucous membrane of the mouth, so oral delivery can be especially effective – but this also means that tinctures can deliver a stronger dose, so be mindful when administering.
Dosing CBD For Dogs
Dosing can be a tricky issue for both people and dogs, so it’s always best to follow the adage of starting low and going slow. Carefully observe your dog’s behavior after the first few doses to try to get a sense of how they are handling it.
Beyond these tips, there are a few factors to take into consideration.
The size of the dog’s body will influence the effectiveness, and potency, of a dose. If your pet is larger, you can go for a bigger dose, and vice versa for smaller animals. While not an exact science (dosing never really is), using a calculator to help you determine the proper dose based on physical factors such as weight and breed may be helpful.
CBD for Dogs Products
When it comes to dosing different CBD products, a big factor to take into account is time. For edibles like treats and capsules, it will take significantly longer for effects to take hold – sometimes an hour or more – since the digestive system takes longer to uptake cannabinoids. So be patient when observing your dog and searching for clues as to how they may be feeling, and do not give them another dose too soon after the initial dose. On the other hand, more immediate effects can be observed with tinctures when they are administered into the mouth. Tinctures can take as little as around 20 minutes to take effect, though again this depends upon the individual.
Different products have different concentrations of CBD cannabinoids – so it’s always a good rule of thumb to carefully read the packaging of your product to determine the strength before using.
Purpose of CBD for Dogs
How much CBD you give your dog should generally align with the severity of symptoms. For example, for general calming and anxiety reduction, more moderate doses may be effective. If a dog is suffering from a chronic illness, such as cancer, higher doses may be more effective in combating pain.
What You Need To Know Before Buying CBD For Dogs
There are a few factors to keep in mind when perusing the growing list of CBD products for dogs:
- Opt for products that use CO2 extraction methods, since these do not use chemical solvents which can be toxic.
- Look for full-spectrum oils, rather than isolates. Full-spectrum allows different cannabinoids, including CBD (but little to no THC) to interact and provide further potential benefits.
- Buy as local as you can. CBD for dogs products from overseas can be less regulated.
Using CBD for dogs is slowly becoming more accepted and understood as the years go on – yet this is still an emerging industry. Innovative treats, powerful tinctures, and soothing creams could help dogs overcome a variety of health challenges, although the science still has a ways to go before these benefits are established for people, let alone pooches. Some vets have begun swearing by these products, and some studies have revealed intriguing findings suggesting CBD for dogs could be worth a try.