As any dog owner knows, dogs are more than just pets; they are part of the family. They go on trips with us. They get included in the Christmas card photo. Some people even get winter clothes for them. As a result, most people will do anything to help their dogs wherever they can. It can be discouraging when your canine companion is either allergic to a medication that is supposed to help, or that medication just isn’t doing enough, and they need something more. Many owners are not sure where to turn.
Recently, CBD has experienced a rise in popularity. Not just for use on people, but also for use on dogs and other pets. This has led to a lot of people asking, what is CBD, and what are the benefits for pets?
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound known as a cannabinoid. These are compounds that are found in Cannabis plants, also called hemp and marijuana. Along with the cannabinoids are terpenes, which give Cannabis it’s distinct aroma and flavor. Present in marijuana plants, but only in trace amounts of hemp plants is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Most people have heard of THC the compound causing the psychoactive effects of cannabis.
Because they are both cannabinoids, CBD and THC are often coupled together, leaving many people thinking that CBD can get you high. This is an unfair connection, as cannabidiol has shown no psychoactive effects on people or animals. In fact, many users report that the only mental difference they feel is a greater sense of calm.
There are also those who are concerned about the legality of CBD. But they don’t need to worry. Most CBD products are extracted from hemp rather than marijuana. This is because hemp is richer in cannabidiol than THC making it easier to get pure CBD. In 2018, industrial hemp (that is, Cannabis sativa L., that has less than 0.3% THC content) was legalized federally across the United States. This means that hemp-derived CBD products are legal in all 50 states. The legality of cannabidiol products that have higher THC content varies from state to state, as marijuana (Cannabis with a THC content of over 0.3%) is not federally legal yet.
But this still leaves the question, why should I give my dog CBD?
What benefits does CBD have for dogs?
There are a number of reasons why pet owners have been turning to CBD to help with their dog’s health. Some use it to help with their dog’s mobility, others to manage seizure activity, while others use it just to assist the dog’s overall wellbeing.
Because of the rise in popularity of CBD, there has been a rise in the number of studies conducted on how it affects humans. Unfortunately, the research on dogs is still preliminary, but it is happening. One recent study looked at how CBD could help dogs with epilepsy. This study gave one group CBD along with some antiepileptic medication that the dogs were already taking. The group with the cannabidiol treatments saw a decrease in frequency of their dog’s seizures.
Osteoarthritis is a common problem for older dogs. It can make movement difficult for them because of the inflammation that is caused by the condition. CBD has been reported to have anti-inflammatory effects. A study organized by Panacea Life Sciences tested to see if CBD could help improve the mobility of dogs with age-related movement impairment. After four weeks of giving their dogs cannabidiol two times a day, most of the owners noted improvement in their dog’s ability to run, get up from a sitting position and climbing stairs, common ailments for older dogs.
An anxious disposition is yet another issue that many dogs deal with. Separation, loud noises, or environmental stressors can exacerbate the feeling of nervousness in dogs. Dog owners have reported when they give their do CBD that they observe a calming effect leading to less barking or other behaviors.
The research on CBD and dogs is still preliminary, but it is encouraging. It is worth paying attention to it to see what else we can learn.
Can CBD hurt dogs?
This is an understandable fear. After all, it just takes a quick internet search to find out that THC is toxic to most animals. You should not give your dog any large amount of THC. However, CBD appears to be safe for most dogs. While many cannabidiol products do contain THC, it is at a very low level (less than 0.3% if you recall), so is not likely to cause any problems. But that doesn’t mean CBD is not without side effects. Some owners report that their pets seem more subdued and can experience changes in appetite. These reports mainly appear to be when the dog is given high doses of CBD over a short period of time. They also report that these side effects tend to go away after reducing how much cannabidiol is given or stopping the dosage altogether.
You should talk to your veterinarian before you start giving CBD to your dog, especially if that dog is already on medication. Your vet will likely know if there will be any potential interactions between the CBD and your dog’s medication. Once you do start giving CBD to your dog, keep an eye on them. Make sure to note any changes in their behavior and habits. If you see anything concerning, stop giving them the CBD and consult with your vet.
It is also a good idea to keep CBD well out of your dog’s reach. While cannabidiol does not appear to be toxic to dogs, as mentioned before, it’s not something you want them to pull down off a shelf and eat. It is also smart to keep any CBD treats separate from your dog’s normal treats and food. This is to keep anyone from mistaking a CBD biscuit with a normal Milk Bone.
If you’re nervous about giving your dog cannabidiol, there are some precautions you can take. The main one is paying attention to where you buy your CBD. The CBD industry is young. As a result, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still trying to get a handle on how to regulate it. These regulations are coming (with help from Panacea Life Sciences), but it does take time. Unfortunately, some products on the market take advantage of the lack of regulations to sell substandard products.
Make sure that the cannabidiol manufacture that you buy your products from are open about their manufacturing practices. You should ensure that the products are quality controlled by a third-party accredited laboratory to show the products potency and purity It helps to read the reviews of their products. See what other people are saying about them. Another good idea with any supplement is reading the label carefully. Be sure that what you are giving your dog has no more than 0.3% THC content.
How to give a dog CBD
If you have dropped anything in front of a dog, you probably know that they will eat or try to eat anything and everything. But there are many dogs that if you try to give them something that is even a little bitter, they will spit it right out. As a result, it can be very difficult to give them any kind of supplement. So, if you want to give your dog CBD, you may need to get creative or count on the creativity of the CBD industry.
One way to give your dog some cannabidiol is to mix it into their food. Just putting in a drop or two of CBD Oil in with their dry or wet food before you feed them may help get your dog the benefits you’re looking for. But if your dog is more of a picky eater, that may not be enough. There are several CBD manufactures who make CBD dog treats. These have the cannabidiol along with all of the other ingredients your dog loves.
The fastest way for your dog to receive the effects of CBD is by rubbing the CBD oil onto the inside of their jowls or gums. This way, the cannabidiol enters your dog’s bloodstream more directly. It doesn’t have to digest like it does with treats and food. Another similar way is by rubbing the CBD onto the pads of your dog’s paws. This may be a good way to give your dog CBD if they have inflammation in their paws.
Cannabidiol, like any supplement, is not a cure-all. However, it may have a positive impact on your dog’s life and wellbeing. If your dog struggles with inflammation, an anxious disposition, or seizures, you may want to talk to your vet about whether CBD would be helpful for your dog. It may be able to help your pet live their best furry life.
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