CBD for Dogs- What you need to know
Many people don’t know that dogs have the same endocannabinoid system that humans do. This system helps to maintain a healthy balance in the body. So now researchers are studying ways to stimulate this system to cure different diseases in dogs.
Our favourite family pets bring us so much joy and happiness. It can be heartbreaking seeing them suffer from debilitating pain and chronic disease. Dogs are prone to many of the same illnesses as people and so can suffer from cancer, arthritis, epilepsy and even anxiety. Watching our beloved companions struggle to do basic activities like sleep or walk can make us feel helpless. So it is no wonder that pet owners are looking to CBD to see if dogs can reap the same health promoting benefits that humans do.
So if you are wondering if CBD can help your dog, here’s everything you need to know in our guide to CBD for dogs.
What is CBD
CBD or cannabodiol is a compound found in cannabis and hemp. It has become well known in recent years for its therapeutic properties . It is important to note though that it does not contain THC which is the compound that gives marijuana its psychoactive properties. So no, your dog won’t get “high” from taking CBD! But it has been shown to have various positive outcomes such as pain relief, reducing inflammation, calming anxiety, aiding sleep and even reducing seiseizures. So CBD is a natural health alternative which is non – addictive and non – toxic.
Is CBD oil safe for dogs?
CBD is generally considered to be safe. But any new medication or supplement carries the risk of a reaction. So if your dog has any underlying health issues, always check with your vet first and then closely monitor the results. If you do decide to go ahead, these are a few things to bear in mind when you are shopping for CBD for your dog.
- The CBD market is not well regulated so there are a lot of low quality products on the market. Also, not all oils are the same. Generally speaking, the higher the price, the higher the quality. Cheaper products could have toxic substances like pesticides and herbicides which could cause problems for your dog. So don’t go for the cheapest product and buy an organic brand if you can which will have been tested more rigorously.
- Look for a full spectrum hemp. This way you will know that you are getting 100% unrefined extract that contains all the components of the original plant. This includes trace amounts of THC (0.2%). All of this contributes to the “Entourage Effect ” which boosts the healing benefits and general therapeutic effect of cannabinoids. This is CBD as nature truly intended.
- Buy CBD as a liquid. CBD for dogs comes in a variety of forms including oil tinctures, capsules and infused treats and soft toys. Experts all agree however that the best option is the oil which comes in a glass bottle with a little dropper. That’s because it’s easier to control the dose for your dog’s needs. Also the treats are probably not going to be strong enough to be effective.
Are there possible side effects of CBD for dogs?
As CBD is a rather new supplement , it’s always a good idea to check whether there are any potential side effects. At the moment there is very little scientific research done on the side effects of CBD for dogs. What is known is that at the appropriate dose, the potential side effects are relatively minor. Below are the negative effects that you should know about.
Research has shown that CBD decreases the production of saliva in dogs. This would result in your dog being thirstier than usual. But your dog needs saliva production. It’s important for their dental hygiene as well as swallowing their food. If you think your dog is showing signs of dry mouth for longer than an hour, either reduce the dose or stop giving it to them altogether.
Lowered blood pressure
High doses of CBD have been known to cause a temporary drop in blood pressure which may cause a short feeling of light-headedness.
As CBD is used to treat anxiety in dogs, it has a relaxing effect so your dog may feel sleepier than usual. This might just mean that you give them a lower dose next time. It’s a process of trial and error until you find the correct dosage where you notice your dog behaving normally again.
Increased Parkinson Disease Tremors
There is a possibility that CBD can increase tremors in people with Parkinson’s Disease. So it is assumed that dogs go through the same thing. With this in mind, small doses are recommended to begin with. This can be increased as soon as improvements are noticed.
Inhibition of drug metabolism
High doses of CBD can inhibit the production of some liver enzymes. This may interfere with the absorption of other medication your dog may be taking. It can become more potent and therefore potentially dangerous.
Are there any risks involved?
There are little to no risks associated with giving CBD to your dog. The side effects are low and most of these wear off within an hour depending on the dose that you have administered. CBD is a natural, non – toxic, non – psychoactive supplement for you dog. And remember, your dog cannot overdose on it. If they are given too much, they will just be sleepy.
If you have any concerns, speak to your vet.
How to give your dog CBD
There are a few ways that you can administer CBD to a dog.
Placing the CBD oil directly in the mouth
This is one of the easiest and best ways to give CBD to your dog. Just draw up the appropriate amount into the dropper, insert the dropper into your dog’s mouth and then squeeze the dropper. Make sure you have their favourite treat ready to give to them immediately afterwards.
Mix the CBD with food
As most dogs love their food and would eat all day if they were allowed , this is a great way to make sure they take their daily dose. Start with a small dose and gradually increase it as your dog gets used to the taste.
Mix it with something tasty
Mixing CBD into something tasty like peanut butter is another easy option that your dog will love. Just mix the CBD through the treat and them give it to them as you normally would.
Put it on a treat
Apply the correct amount of oil to the treat and allow it to soak in for a few minutes before giving it to your dog. This is a great way to help your dog associate CBD with something positive.
How much CBD oil should I give my dog?
There are a few things you should consider when deciding how much CBD to give your dog.
- The size of your dog – your dog’s dosage will really depend on their weight and size. Most high quality CBD products will provide you with very detailed instructions on how to dose their products. As a general rule, the larger the dog , the higher the dose. So check the dosage suggestions for the specific product you are using.
- Therapeutic or medicinal use – the dose you give your dog will vary depending on the condition you are treating. The dose is generally lower for therapeutic use for issues like inflammation or anxiety. More serious conditions like cancer or arthritis would usually need higher doses.
So what health problems can CBD treat?
Here is a list of conditions and how CBD can help.
CBD for dogs with arthritis
Watching your dog deal with arthritis can be heartbreaking. Arthritis in dogs can leave them in constant pain to the point that they do not want to move at all. This can then lead to weight gain which makes the situation worse. CBD is a natural anti – inflammatory that doesn’t carry the same side effects as the medication usually given by vets for this debilitating condition. CBD binds to both CB1and CB2 receptors in the brain and nervous system which helps your dog manage pain more effectively. Research has found that CBD helps reduce swelling in the affected joints and by doing so, reduces inflammation.
CBD for dogs with epilepsy and seizures
Epilepsy and seizures are a symptom of a condition that affects the brain, nervous system and spinal cord. Symptoms can vary from a twitch to uncontrollable shaking. It can be traumatic for any dog owner to witness their dog suffering so much. Again, traditional medication comes with a list of side effects. Even with the medication, up to 30% of dogs with epilepsy can still experience seizures. But research has found that CBD is incredibly beneficial for dogs that suffer with this crippling disease. It seems that CBD can affect the receptors that cause the seizures by calming the neurons during the seizures.
CBD for dogs with cancer
CBD oil has proven to be an effective treatment for pain management in dogs with cancer. It also helps significantly with reducing nausea. Scientific research has also concluded that CBD blocks the growth of tumours and could be used to reduce the chemotherapy dose. Like humans, CBD interacts with the dog’s natural endocannabinoid system which helps to manage pain and reduce inflammation. While research in this area is still in the early stages, it is highly regarded as an effective treatment for dogs with cancer.
CBD for dogs with anxiety
Dogs can experience anxiety just like humans. As a pet owner it can hard to know what to do when we see our beloved dogs whimpering, trembling and panting when they experience anxiety at going to the vet, thunderstorms, hearing fireworks etc. But CBD can help as much as it helps with humans. Again, research has shown that by interacting with the endocannabinoid system, CBD can help to sooth and calm anxiety naturally.
CBD for dogs is bound to get more popular as more research will undoubtedly be done in the future. Current research shows promise in many conditions but do your research and talk to your vet when in doubt.