CBD oil for dogs: A veterinarian explains the pros and cons
CBD oil is everywhere, and seemingly in everything. You’ve probably heard someone mention CBD, especially if you live with a chronic condition like pain or anxiety, or if you follow Kim Kardashian, who had a relaxing CBD-themed baby shower to celebrate her fourth child with husband Kanye West.
As some states have begun to legalize both medical and recreational cannabis, the market has enjoyed an influx of readily available CBD, including CBD oil for dogs to treat pain, anxiety, to control seizures and more in the family dog.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the many active compounds found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is another active compound and the most well-known, due to its psychoactive properties — it’s the compound that gets you “high.”
But, much like the use of CBD in humans, not a lot is known about how CBD oil for dogs works – and if it actually works. According to the American Kennel Club, there have been no formal studies in how it affects dogs, and our expert backed that up.
“Does it actually help with pain, or does it just make them not care? We don’t know, but they seem to be less reactive to low level pain stimuli, for example arthritis and things like that, when they take the product,” explains Mark Verdino, MD, senior vice president and chief of veterinary staff at North Shore Animal League America. “And certain anxieties, they seem less reactive to certain things.”
Essentially, CBD is non-psychoactive but has a number of the same medical benefits as THC. This means you can take advantage of the therapeutic benefits for your pet without being concerned they will have the “stoned” feeling that goes with THC – which obviously would be very upsetting for a dog.
“The psychotic ingredient in it that makes people high is not present at CBD oil, and they’re not entirely sure how the CBD, the Cannabidiol, actually works to do the things that they’re claiming that it does,” says Verdino. “We don’t know, but they seem to be less reactive to low level pain stimuli, so like arthritis and things like that, when they take the product. And certain anxieties, they seem less reactive to certain things.”
The doctor shared that he uses CBD for his own dog, a senior who gets jumpy in the evenings, and it seems to relax the animal.
“At night time when the lights are dimmed down, it’s dark out, they don’t see it well in the dark, and he gets a little spooked. And when I give him the CBD, he seems to just go to sleep.”
The question is, of course, how is it working. Verdino says, “So is it helping with the anxiety, or is it just making him drowsy? I don’t know, but it seems to help. So we have a symptom, and it helps with that symptom.”
Could there be risks? At the moment, we don’t know. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved CBD for use in dogs (or humans) and has not issued dosing recommendations, and any medication or supplement carries the potential risk of reaction, so it’s important to try a small dose first and monitor how your dog reacts to it.
Verdino had some words of advice if you choose to give your dog CBD, saying, “I recommend people use a pet-specific product just so that they know that the concentration is appropriate, that there’s nothing else in it to. because look, this is a fairly unregulated industry.” Products include tinctures with a dropper that are easy to use to fill a pill pouch, such as Elevate for dogs. There are also treats available like MediPets CBD Treats, Hemp My Pet biscuits and King Kalm Crunch CBD treats.
And with good reason, as many human friendly CBD products are in gummy form. “There’s really nothing to prevent a CBD company from making it flavored with an artificial sweetener like Xylitol, which is toxic for animals. So I would definitely choose a veterinary-specific product, and I would choose one that seems to be from a more reputable manufacturer,” according to the doctor.
Bottom line? CBD products for dogs – whether oil or in a treat – have been shown to anecdotally help with some issues like pain and anxiety, but too few studies are available to conclusively say they will help. It’s best to talk with your vet about your dog’s specific issues and heed the doctor’s recommendations.
CBD Hemp Oil For Dogs: What Is It? Does It Really Work?
CBD hemp oil has various health benefits for humans, ranging from acne clearing skincare to reducing anxiety. It was even recently approved by the FDA in the form of Epidiolex. If you’re a pet parent, you’re probably wondering if CBD for pets can introduce your furry friend to a world of benefits.
You’ll be happy to know that CBD hemp oil for dogs can promote optimal wellness, from helping maintain normal emotional balance to assisting the immune system.
Here’s what you should know about CBD hemp oil for dogs.
What Is CBD Hemp Oil?
(Picture Credit: Svetlana Sarapultseva/Getty Images)
So, what is CBD hemp oil, exactly?
Hemp is a cannabis plant–a range of plants that contain cannabidiol, or CBD. You’ve most likely heard of cannabis plants and the debate circling around them. If you have, then you may be wondering if hemp oil even legal.
Is Hemp Legal?
The legal discussion surrounding hemp has been ongoing as recently as 2018.
In the 2018 Farmer’s Act, hemp was officially made legal throughout the entire United States. The act offers some strict guidelines as to what qualifies a cannabis plant as being hemp.
All cannabis plants contain CBD and THC, the latter being a chemical known for its hallucinogenic effects. These are just two of the many cannabinoid chemicals found in cannabis plants.
Plants that are considered hemp must contain less than 0.3% of THC. This amount is so minimal that ingesting even a large amount will cause no “high” effect.
All legal hemp must also come from a licensed grower and follow the individual state’s laws when it comes to dealing with cannabis plants.
How Does CBD For Pets Work?
You’re probably wondering if CBD for pets is good for your furry family members. A lot of medicines and supplements that are good for humans are not suitable for dogs. Luckily, that’s not the case with CBD.
All mammals, from humans to dogs, have a bodily system known as the endocannabinoid system, named after the cannabis plant as it was discovered first.
The endocannabinoid system is in charge of maintaining homeostasis, or balance, within the body. Receptors for the endocannabinoid system are found throughout the body, putting it in charge of appetite, mood, sleep, metabolism, the immune system, and much more.
Research has shown that introducing outside cannabinoid molecules, like those from CBD oil, can help balance the body by helping it maintain homeostasis.
Benefits Of CBD For Pets
(Picture Credit: Yurikr/Getty Images)
When it comes to hemp oil for dogs, there’s a wide range of uses.
CBD may help pets cope with occasional discomfort by promoting healthy joints. The Journal for Experimental Medicine has found that by blocking certain receptors, CBD can help manage occasional stiffness and soreness.
Another study done on dogs with arthritis had promising results when it came to giving CBD to dogs, as they became more active.
These studies show how CBD can support a healthy inflammatory response. Dogs, like people, can suffer from a range of conditions that can lead to painful and uncomfortable inflammation, like dermatitis, bowel disease, and joint pain.
A study by the journal Future Medicinal Chemistry found that CBD can help balance the body’s immune system and immune responses, helping to regulate homeostasis in pets.
As mentioned earlier, CBD can help dogs maintain normal nervous system function. A preliminary study from Colorado State University’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital showed that 89 percent of the dogs who received CBD had a reduced number of seizures.
Along with reducing physical ailments, CBD oil can also help promote emotional balance and relaxation.
Some dogs have chronic separation anxiety or get nervous when traveling. Since CBD affects the endocannabinoid system, which in turn affects mood, CBD can offer a way to help your dog manage their anxiety.
Similarly, it can help dogs who are picky eaters or those who feel nauseous when eating by increasing their appetite.
Side Effects Of CBD For Dogs
As you can see, CBD has a slew of benefits for your pooch. However, like all supplements, it will affect some dogs differently than others. You should consult your veterinarian before trying CBD products with your dog.
Possible side effects of CBD oil include dry mouth, drowsiness, and lowered blood pressure. These effects are usually temporary and not life-threatening. Observe your dog to see if they seem disoriented and thirsty.
CBD has also been shown to decrease appetite in people, so watch to make sure your dog is eating regularly.
As a pet owner, you know your dog is unique; as a result, they may react to CBD differently. Always make sure to follow a CBD oil for dogs dosage chart to minimize any side effects. Observe your dog, so you see how they react to CBD when first administered.
How To Administer CBD To Your Dog
There are a few options you have when it comes to administering CBD oil. Again, remember to look at a CBD oil for dogs dosage charts, as small dogs and large dogs need different amounts.
One of the most direct ways is to add CBD oil to your dog’s food or water. There are also treats infused with CBD oil. These can be helpful since they are infused with other flavors that can mask the taste, and depending on the source, they can also come infused with additional benefits like Omega-3.
When it comes to treating your dog with topical CBD, you have the option of sprays and balms. CBD oil, itself, can be rubbed into your dog’s skin to help with any potential pain.