CBD for Dogs
Lulu the Chihuahua was struggling with major skin and joint issues. Most problematically, the then six-year-old dog was suffering from knee dysplasia, severely limiting her movement around the house. Her owner, Sian Thomas, consulted a vet but Lulu wasn’t a candidate for surgery, and Sian was concerned about Lulu’s pain level. That’s where CBD for dogs comes into play.
“She was torn up, a mess and a half, the tiny little thing,” Sian said.
On the advice of the staff at the animal rescue where she adopted Lulu, she began administering 300mg of CBD oil, a cannabis extract, into her dog’s mouth each day with a dropper. In less than a month, Lulu was back up and running.
For the unfamiliar, CBD, or cannabidiol, is a cannabis compound derived from hemp. Unlike THC, it’s non-psychoactive, meaning it won’t get you or your dog high. What it does seem to do is help with all manner of ailments, from pain to anxiety to seizures.
On her CBD regimen, Lulu was so energized that she started running around with Sian’s other dog, a five-month-old puppy. That is why CBD for dogs is all about.
“He had full puppy energy and she kept up with him,” Sian marveled, adding that the CBD oil cleared up the tiny dog’s skin issues as well.
“It made her skin wonderful. It turned me into a believer,” said Sian, who was never one to partake in marijuana. “You know I was like, ‘this isn’t real, it can’t be happening.’”
Her positive experience with her dog led her to suggest CBD therapy for a family member as well.
“Now, we’ve even given it to my granddad who has a failed knee replacement to help him heal too.”
Lulu and her human companion aren’t the only ones seeing first-hand results when it comes to treating certain chronic conditions in canines with CBD.
Chris Arzberger started to consider taking CBD for his own anxiety, and while doing research found numerous products and testimonials from people having success using CBD on their animals. It couldn’t have come soon enough as his Pug, Oscar, and Boston Terrier, Felix, were dealing with serious health problems.
The ABC’s of CBD
CBD is something that’s popping up more and more on shelves. From the beauty aisle to the pet store, the hyped compound is being seen in everything from craft cocktails to medicinal body oils. And now, there is space opening up for CBD to help dogs across North America. Both recreational and medicinal use of marijuana and marijuana-derived products are legal in Canada, and, as of December 2018, with the passing of the Farm Bill, it is federally legal both to possess and use hemp and its derivatives (including CBD) in the United States as well.
What the heck is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of hundreds of phytocannabinoids found inside cannabis sativa. Historically it is a lot less famous than its wild cousin, THC, the chemical in the plant that causes the high feeling. THC has been hogging the attention so much that illegal growers have been breeding CBD out of cannabis for generations. This is because not only is CBD non-psychoactive, it can also have a calming effect—bad news for those seeking a “high”, but ideal for tackling anxiety and pain without any psychotropic effect.
CBD has also shown promise in treating epilepsy, arthritis, and reducing inflammation—a condition that’s being linked to numerous ailments in humans and dogs alike. The current research suggests that there is a real future in developing treatment in canines and many practitioners are already seeing results in their clinics.
At 13, Oscar was having issues moving around the house and would remain immobile for most of the day until begrudgingly and painfully getting up when prompted to do so. Meanwhile, Felix suffered from canine intestinal lymphangiectasia, a disease that prevents him from processing fat and results in gastrointestinal distress.
It was the promise of a potential treatment for Oscar’s arthritis that persuaded Chris to try CBD on his dogs.
“He would walk with a heavy limp and refused to go on walks,” Chris said of his dog Oscar. “If he did get the motivation to go on a walk, he wouldn’t last long and we would have to tuck him into the compartment underneath our daughter’s stroller.”
In a matter of mere days after the first treatment, Oscar’s limp had gotten better and within a few weeks, he started running around the house again. Even the patio stairs, a long-standing source of trouble for the dog, were no longer an obstacle.
“When I would come home from work or if it was time for dinner he would start jumping around like a puppy. It was quite remarkable,” said Chris.
While CBD has completely replaced Oscar’s glucosamine tablets, Chris is hoping CBD can assist Felix as well. The Boston Terrier’s prescription medications help but come with some serious side effects.
“He is losing muscle mass, has the need for frequent urination, and occasionally gets the shakes,” Chris reports. After introducing CBD, he says he has “slowly started to lower his medications and he hasn’t had a relapse. We plan on continuing to lower his prescription medication.”
Nugget was another dog with a chronic illness. Suffering from liposarcoma of the leg, the nine-year-old Chihuahua could hardly walk. His owner Marni Eton could not afford the chemo or radiation therapy that could have potentially prolonged her companion’s life.
Does CBD for dogs help with pain?
There is currently little evidence in the research that CBD has a direct impact on pain, however, there are many dog owners reporting success in using it to treat chronic pain conditions in their dogs.
Does CBD for dogs help with anxiety?
This is another one that the data just isn’t in yet from clinical trials, though many dog owners, including some of those interviewed for this article, report success using it for that purpose.
How can CBD help dogs with cancer?
CBD is regularly being used in hospice care for dogs. While not shown to be an effective treatment for curing forms of cancer in clinical studies, clinicians and frontline workers are finding success in using it to manage the symptoms and increase quality of life in terminal dogs.
How is CBD best administered?
A simple eye dropper seems to be the simplest method. It can also be added to food. Some companies sell THC-infused dog cookies or treats.
Dr. Stephanie McGrath, a veterinarian at Colorado State University conducting clinical research into CBD, told Modern Dog she had tried a solution that was applied through the skin, though it was not particularly effective.
CBD is not a cure for cancer, but Marni says it was able to provide her dog comfort near the end of his life.
“It was the first time in a long time to see some of that pain ease,” she said of the treatment. “It sure made a difference in his pain level.”
There is an absence of long term data on CBD use in dogs, but owners are reporting more and more success with CBD in tackling a variety of ailments. We spoke with veterinarians, vet techs, and owners to cut through the hype and find out what’s actually known about the compound.
Can CBD be used instead of prescription drugs?
CBD is primarily an alternative to other anti-inflammatories on the market. While non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like Metacam are typically cheaper than CBD products, they come with a long list of side effects.
Some owners have transitioned their dogs off of anti-inflammatories completely while using CBD. Veterinary technician Keli Omalley-Izumine, also the co-founder of the LA-based Rock and Roll Rescue dog shelter, specializes in providing care to abandoned and terminally ill canines. She says that CBD has increased the quality of life for her dogs.
“It was something I’d been hearing over the years in veterinary medicine,” she said. “There was a hype but honestly, I never really believed in it.”
That was until a rescue of hers, Stevie, developed a serious form of cancer. Although an operation removed much of it, the cancer quickly grew back. Keli credits CBD with not only improving Stevie’s health, but allowing her to outlive her six-month survival window by two years and counting.
Remember though, removing your pet from any medication should not be taken lightly and should be done only under the advice of a veterinarian.
What are the risks?
CBD appears to have no reported side-effects on dogs. In humans, the World Health Organization (WHO) has found there are no adverse side effects from the use of CBD.
Too much CBD will eventually reach a toxic level in dogs, however, according to Dr. McGrath, though unlike THC, dogs appear to have a very high tolerance.
She reports using 300 mg daily in her research on a variety of sizes of dogs (“Chihuahuas to Saint Bernards”), the dosage she says, in hindsight, was fairly low. Keli, at Rock and roll Rescue said they give their cancer patients up to 1,400 mg with no visible negative effects. (Dosage is of course dependent on the size of the dog.)
Watch for symptoms of toxicity like vomiting, shaking, listfulness, and a distant look in their eyes.
Who should consider giving CBD to their dogs?
One of the areas where the drug has proven truly effective has been in the treatment of epilepsy in dogs and people alike. Research out of the Colorado State University is showing positive results when it comes to the treatment of conditions like arthritis, but most notably in epilepsy, though this data has yet to be peer-reviewed.
CBD For Canines!
These CBD products are formulated especially for dogs
CBD Oil for Pets: Success Stories
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is derived from cannabis. Unlike marijuana products, CBD oil is non-psychoactive and doesn’t create a high because it has low-THC content. This makes it a safer alternative, while still providing health benefits.
Recently, people have turned to it as a way to help their pets suffering from physical and behavioral ailments. Although still controversial, it is revolutionary for many pets who have struggled otherwise. Here are some success stories from around the country. Before you try it on your pet (or yourself), be sure to do your research and always seek the advice of your veterinarian.
Brought Back From the Brink of Death!
Emma Smith of Sherman Oaks, California started using CBD oil on her 13-year-old Pomeranian, Tinkerbell, about a year and a half ago when she was battling liver disease and having chronic seizures. She was unable to walk, eat, or use the bathroom on her own, so Smith knew she didn’t have much time. Her vet said the best thing would be to euthanize her, so she made the appointment.
At the last minute, based on a recommendation from her local dispensary, Emma decided to try CBD oil to make her comfortable in her last few hours. That night, she gave Tinkerbell a dose of CBD oil before bed and the next morning she was walking, using the bathroom on her own again, and had no seizures! She marvels, “we are still not sure how it all works, but CBD has kept our little girl alive for a year-plus longer than we expected!” Emma cautions, “the dosage is tricky at first, but we are so happy to have found CBD for our pets! We’ve continued to use CBD to control the seizures and it has worked ever since. it’s been almost 2 years, and we have seen our pup do so well on the oil that we will never stop using it. Still doing great, she’s about to have her 15th birthday, and we couldn’t be happier!”
Three Years of Sickness Halted!
Toby is a 7-year-old Great Dane/Akita mix who lives in Santa Clarita, California. His mom, Jordan, says Toby had terrible stomach problems from the moment they brought him home from the shelter at 2 months old; he vomited and had watery bowel movements every single day. “It was a struggle to convince him to eat because he knew he was going to get sick,” Jordan says. Over the years, they spent thousands of dollars trying to figure out what was wrong, to no avail. In 2013, figuring they had nothing to lose, Jordan tried Canna-Pet CBD oil on Toby. It totally changed everything. Now Toby doesn’t fight Jordan during mealtimes; he eats willingly, and there’s no more vomit or diarrhea. And so far, there have been no side effects. Jordan has been so impressed by the results that she says, “I use it on my feral foster, whom I couldn’t even touch because of her anxiety. She’s been on it for 6 months, and I can touch her, put a leash on and off her, and she will come when I call her!” Jordan also noted that her cancer-stricken hospice dog, who hadn’t been eating before the CBD oil, is now eating and much more comfortable. And she’s been lucky that her vets have responded favorably to this: “they were supportive and said they would do research themselves on it. They admitted nothing was working, so they didn’t object to trying an alternative.”
Life-changing for Abused and Neglected Dogs
Jeanie Shulz is a rescuer and provider of foster/adopter and behavioral support in the Portland, Oregon area. Over the past 20 years, she’s worked with upwards of 1,000 dogs that have special medical needs or are victims of severe abuse or neglect. The vast majority of the dogs she works with are older and have a variety of medical problems (ranging from arthritis to cancer) and severe anxiety/fear/aggression. She first learned about CBD oil from a friend who is a cancer survivor and firm believer in it. Of the 60 dogs she’s currently working with, she has 17 on CBD oil that have been taking it for various lengths of time, ranging from one week to six years.
Overall, she’s had tremendous success and only one mishap: “I’ve only had one dog that probably got more than she should have because she got into the bag of CBD cookies and ate several. She got disoriented and off-balance for a few hours and was fine the next day. That was the only negative response I’ve had and that was very minor,” she says. In all of the dogs, she saw a positive result after using it for about a week to two weeks with no interruptions. For the dogs w/ medical needs (in particular arthritis), it’s as if their joints get “oiled,” resulting in much less discomfort and more ease of movement throughout their daily activities. For example, one dog named Xena (pictured) was unable to sit and had trouble walking short distances due to severe abuse. She is now a “prancer” after being on it about two to three months, goes on short walks, and is able to sit and lie down comfortably. She’s even able to lay out and stretch on her back for a belly rub. none of which she could do before. “In all of the dogs”, Jeanie says, “I’ve seen definite improvement and no one acts ‘drugged’ or listless. It’s very gentle, unlike synthetic pharmaceuticals and all the dogs who have had bloodwork recently are doing well. their numbers look better than they ever have.”
No Longer Plagued by Thunder and 4th of July
Annie Bahr of West Chicago, Illinois got her now ten-year-old dog Cubbie from a rescue when he was only 6 weeks old. He was a great dog, trained quickly, and had no issues. But suddenly, when he was about 5 years old, he became scared of fireworks, so she got him a compression shirt to help him with 4th of July. “That did nothing,” Annie says, “Cubbie went into our basement and shredded a 5 x 5 foot area of brand new carpet.” A year or so later the fear/anxiety progressed to include thunderstorms. The vet gave Cubbie some anxiety meds, but they did nothing. He still was terrified and they were always scared that he was going to have a heart attack. As the years have gone on, his anxiety over storms and fireworks continued. Annie says, “I tried every ‘calming’ treat on Amazon that I could and even melatonin. Nothing worked. I have about 6 different areas in my home that are completely shredded.” This year, Annie’s father was diagnosed with stage-4 lung cancer. While researching, she stumbled on the benefits of CBD oil. While her father was too advanced in his sickness, Annie looked into it for Cubbie. She didn’t wait long to try it, because “the next day, we had HUGE thunderstorms. Worse than I could remember. I was afraid to try the CBD oil, so I used his melatonin treats. They didn’t seem to work. He was so upset and terrified, I decided to try the oil. Within about 10-15 minutes, Cubbie was laying by our feet on the couch as we watched TV and listened to the thunder roll. It was amazing. I have not used it since as we have no had any more big storms, but I have it ready to go and would recommend it to anyone!”
A New lease on Life – and Business
CBD oil came into the life of Beth Ann Corr of Boston, Massachusetts when her 14-year-old Sheltie, Tamu (pictured), was diagnosed with sarcoma and also had pretty serious arthritis. He was on oral chemo, and she wanted something without side effects for the arthritis. She saw a very short piece on the local news about a woman who was giving her dogs CBD biscuits and it piqued her curiosity so she set out to learn more. She found a supplier, started giving it to Tamu, and saw results!
Beth Ann says, “Tamu had not come up stairs in over a year and a half, and after about 2 weeks on the CBD, he bounded up the steps and was also able to jump in the car again! The CBD was also very helpful in keeping up his appetite during chemo.
Tamu passed away recently and Beth Ann has since adopted another Sheltie named Jazz, who was “extremely fearful of everything and very noise phobic,” so she started him on CBD and he has become a different dog.
Not only does Beth Ann supply her own dogs with it, but she is so impressed by the results, that she helps others too! After she started sharing the oil with others, “the feedback was so positive (for a variety of issues) that a business partner and I started up our own website” she says. Business is good for them, and she loves teaching others about it. She says, “it is a real education process; some people have never heard of CBD, or are under the mistaken impression that their pet will get high.”