As the use of cannabis to treat a number of medical conditions became increasingly popular among us humans, holistic veterinarians started wondering if cannabis-based extracts could also help our pets.
CBD is a non-intoxicating compound that produces effects through several different biochemical pathways in all mammals, however, in humans it mostly found its use in treating seizure disorders and anxiety.
However, when it comes to using cannabis for dogs, you have to be extra careful.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a cannabinoid responsible for producing intoxication in humans (but is generally considered safe) can actually be really harmful to dogs, and is fatal in highly concentrated dosages.
What is CBD and what does it do for dogs?
The discovery of CBD, and subsequently THC, propelled further discovery of the endocannabinoid system—a lipid signaling network responsible for mediating many processes inside the body through the interaction between cellular activators and receptors.
It soon turned out that humans produce our very own THC (called anandamide) but only in small dosages and in times of need. Anandamide is quickly degraded by an enzyme called FAAH.
In dogs, CBD produces effects by interacting with several receptors: TRPV1, 5-HT1A and GPR55.
Shortly after consumption, CBD activates TRPV-1 receptors and helps regulate body temperature, and reduces chronic or acute pain and inflammation.
When 5-HT1A receptors are stimulated, there is a significant increase in dopamine secretion, which produces antidepressant and anxiolytic effects.
CBD also blocks GPR55 signaling, which has shown a great potential to decrease reproduction of cancer cells.
The science behind CBD oil for dogs
Although CBD has great promise as a medical treatment, most researchers and veterinarians warn that we still lack in-vitro clinical trials.
Most of the studies regarding cannabis are conducted on rats, fewer on humans and even fewer on dogs.
So far, we only have one study that’s dealing with using CBD for dogs.
The full study has not yet been published, but the preliminary data is extremely promising. Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital started the research on using cannabidiol for canine epilepsy. In July 2018,Dr. Stephanie McGrath has revealed the initial findings:
“89 percent of dogs who received CBD in a clinical trial had a reduction in the frequency of seizures.”
The positive effects of CBD for dogs are also backed by studies done on other mammals and real-life stories from dog owners.
Later in this guide, I’ll share with you some interesting feedback from dog owners like yourself.
What are the health benefits of CBD for dogs?
CBD has been shown to have positive effects on your dog’s overall health in addition to being effective in treating specific medical conditions. CBD can be used alone or combined with other medications.
CBD helps with allergies and skin issues in dogs tweet this
Itching, scratching, licking, chewing…Skin issues can be very irritating to both our dogs and ourselves.
Just like humans, dogs can be irritated by substances like pollen, food, insect venom (or flea saliva), dust, or even some types of pet shampoo.
Itching usually affects a dog’s belly, armpits, ears, paws, and cheeks. It can go on for months and even years in some extreme cases.
CBD is a possible solution: It has anti-inflammatory properties and relieves the inflammation that causes itching, hives, and blisters.
CBD reduces anxiety in dogs tweet this
CBD is known to reduce anxiety levels in people, so it’s not a surprise it’s working for dogs too.
Some dogs have very high levels of anxiety which can make your daily walk in the park a walk of hell. Dogs suffering from anxiety tend to show symptoms and reactions such as urination, excessive barking, and even destructive behavior.
Companion dogs often develop separation anxiety and find being separated from their owner difficult. Some dogs feel anxious when left alone in the house and can show excessive distress behavior.
By consulting your vet first, and by adding CBD to your dog’s life, you can help your fluffy friend feel much more relaxed. Yes, you can enjoy a walk in the park without having to avoid other dogs.
CBD reduces learned fears and phobias in dogs tweet this
Fear of fireworks and thunderstorms are very common in dogs. Unfortunately, on a summer-long weekend or during a major storm, there is little you can do to calm a nervous dog.
A fear of loud noises can cause great distress for your pet. CBD may help calm your dog and stop the problem from getting worse.
CBD reduces aggressive behavior in dogs tweet this
Aggressive behavior in dogs is a much more complex issue. There are a number of factors that can cause canine aggression, such as medical problems, behavior issues, and trauma. It is usually triggered by a specific situation.
Aggression is often managed by taking behavioral classes with your dog, and using CBD can also help your pet feel more calm and relaxed. It reduces the likelihood of your dog being triggered by specific situations and generally diminishes aggressive behavior.
CBD boosts appetite and relieves digestive problems in dogs tweet this
Some dogs are just easy to feed and will eat almost everything, but problems can arise with dogs that are picky eaters. There can be a number of reasons why your dog might be picky. If your dog usually has a good appetite and you notice some changes, it could be one of many digestive problems. Also, too many treats can spoil your dog, which could lead to it wanting to eat only that, not proper food.
It’s important to keep in mind and just accept that some dogs (sometimes depending on a breed or age) don’t have that much of an appetite.
But, if you think there is something wrong with your dog or if it’s constantly picky about food, consult your vet who can recommend the best CBD food supplement
In fact, CBD treats can reduce nausea and boost appetite, as well as calm an upset stomach.
CBD helps with arthritis, joint and mobility issues in dogs tweet this
Arthritis is an umbrella term for abnormal changes and degenerative conditions caused by inflammation in joints, and it is one of the most common orthopedic issues in dogs. Arthritis is very common in large breeds, but it also affects smaller dogs.
The main cause of arthritis is tissue damage caused by joint physical trauma, stress, infection, even an immune system disorder. The most common joint disorder is hip dysplasia.
With arthritis, cartilage can’t be regenerated as fast as it’s wearing off. Because of that, the bony layer becomes more exposed to inflammation. This leads to thickening of the protective layer around the joint making it less elastic and mobile.
The blood vessels surrounding the inflamed joints become swollen and inflamed and calcium deposits accumulate, all of which makes the condition very painful, making it uncomfortable for our pets to walk or move.
Because CBD is known for its anti-inflammatory and pain-killing effects, it has caught the attention of vets treating orthopedic illnesses.
Studies and pet owner experiences indicate there are no serious side effects, so getting to a right dose for your dog will be a safe journey. By taking CBD orally, your dog will be relieved from the two most annoying symptoms related to inflammation: swelling and pain.
CBD helps our dogs with cancer tweet this
Cancer is one of the most common causes of death in dogs over the age of 10. The statistics say that half of the dogs over the age of 10 will suffer from some form of cancer. Fortunately, half of those cancers can be treated and cured successfully if noticed on time.
If you ever find a lump or swelling anywhere on your dog’s body, or a wound that won’t heal, contact your vet immediately. Decreased mobility, lethargy, inability to urinate or any changes in appetite can also indicate cancer.
Cancer and the accompanying therapy can make the life of our dogs very painful and uncomfortable. Dogs with cancers and tumors undergoing therapy can suffer from pain, appetite loss, seizures, and convulsions.
The most common conventional therapies for cancer in dogs are chemotherapy, surgery or (more recently) antibody therapy. Sometimes therapies are used in combination.
Like in humans, these therapies are very intense and hard on the body. That’s why more and more vets are recommending CBD to ease your dog’s way to recovery.
Cannabidiol has what it takes to relieve fatigue, improve appetite, reduce inflammation as well as relieve pain.
CBD helps heal glaucoma in dogs tweet this
Glaucoma is a very common eye condition in some dog breeds. It’s manifested as the high ocular pressure which causes inadequate draining of fluids in the eye. If the condition is chronic, it can lead to partial sight loss, even to complete blindness.
About 40 percent of dogs diagnosed with glaucoma lose their sight completely, despite the early diagnosis or treatment. High ocular pressure can also be reduced to normal with CBD treatment.
CBD relieves seizures and epilepsy in dogs tweet this
Epilepsy is a medical condition that causes repeated seizures. This can be a very frustrating experience for both you and your dog.
One minute your dog is just fine, the next he’s on the floor, drooling, uncontrollably shaking and twitching. This usually means one thing— epileptic seizure, which can last from one to several minutes.
During a seizure, there is an abnormal electrical activity burst in the dog’s brain. That makes it behave in an unconventional way, without any control of its body. Seizures affect between 1 and 5 percent of dogs.
Veterinarians usually prescribe phenobarbital to stop seizures in dogs, however, this drug can have numerous side effects in both dogs and humans. So, more and more vets are willing to give pet owners another option—CBD.
Which CBD product is the best for my dog?
Since CBD has become popular for both human and animal use, there are a variety of products on the market.
You can get your dog CBD dog products at your local pet store, online or through your vet if he has a holistic approach to his practice.
However, the FDA issued a warning to veterinary professionals and pet parents about products claiming to contain CBD.
FDA tested several products and found that some of them nearly didn’t contain any CBD at all. So before buying any product read the labels carefully, check all the information about the product on the internet and consult your vet.
When buying a CBD product, ideally you’d want it to have a lab result with it, just so you can be sure what you’re buying.
CBD comes in different forms. Every dog is different, so it could take some time to find out which one is your dog’s favorite.
Melt the peanut butter and mix it with the yogurt and CBD oil. Divide the mixture into cupcake molds or papers and put them in the freezer. Once cooled off, the treats are ready for your dog to enjoy.
Simple as that!
Again—make sure not to use peanut butter that contains xylitol, as it is extremely toxic to dogs.
If your dog is not interested in CBD treats, you can try simply dropping CBD oil onto his gums. Also, there are CBD dog tinctures that are not as potent as the oil – you can put them directly into your dog’s mouth or add it to his meal
For external use, the best results are accomplished with topicals, which can be applied directly to painful joints or irritated skin.
Also, some companies make their products as capsules, which can be easier to use if your dog doesn’t mind pills.
Some good and reputable brands that you should check out are Canna Pet, CBDistillery, Green Mountain CBD.
How much CBD oil should I give to my dog?
Every dog is different but CBD dosage largely depends on its size and weight.
Upper, but it’s recommended to start with the smallest amount and gradually increase the dosage until you see positive results.
- Tier 1 (low dosage): 0.05mg x lb — twice daily
- Tier 2 (medium dosage): 0.125 mg x lb — twice daily
- Tier 3 (high dosage): 0.25 mg x lb — twice daily
For example: If your dog weighs 15 lb, then the dose to use is 0.05 x 15, which is 0.75 mg of oil twice a day.
Stick to that dose for some time. If your dog responds well but you still don’t see enough improvement, you can go to the next tier.
Experiences of dog owners with CBD therapy
I did some digging around on Reddit and a few other forums to see what pet parents are saying about giving CBD to their dogs.
Are they satisfied? Did they notice any difference in their dog’s condition?
Here are some interesting comments from dog owners who used CBD in some form to help their pups:
To wrap this up
If your dog is in need of a natural way out of a medical condition, try finding some organic CBD hemp, but stick to trustworthy and established products. If you have tried using CBD products for your dog, please share your experience with us in the comment section.