Every pet parent knows that nothing is too good for their furry baby. Why would it be any different choosing a Cannabidiol (CBD) product? What goes into choosing the perfect CBD product for your canine companion? Luckily all you need is some insight into your precious pup and a bit of know-how. And we can help with that.
So, why consider CBD for your dog? There aren’t many over-the-counter medications for dogs. Imagine if every time you had a headache or a minor problem, you had to choose between ignoring it and going to a doctor for prescription medication. This is the gray area lots of pet owners find themselves in. What’s a pet owner to do when their dog experiences moderate separation anxiety, but probably not enough to warrant going to the vet for doggy Xanax? Or when puppo scraped the pads of his paws a little before the weekend, but it will likely heal up before you can get in for a vet appointment? CBD is a great option with a variety of uses that can help fill the gap between doing nothing and responding with a prescription drug solution.
In general, CBD has shown promise in alleviating stiffness and minor discomfort including that caused by situational stressors. Meaning when those neighborhood kids start ringing the doorbell on Halloween or when fireworks start bursting in air on the Fourth of July, CBD may help your pup relax. Carsickness is a common discomfort faced by pets and any owner who has ever cleaned dog vomit out of the backseat. CBD can be a perfect solution for carsick pets. Just give your pup a dose of CBD fifteen minutes before you set off on the road again. CBD has the added benefit of stimulating appetite for some pets. It’s also a wonderful, low impact option for pets of a certain age who are taking a bit longer to jump in and out of the car.
Now that we know why, which formulas are best for man’s best friend?
CBD for Dogs: To THC or Not to THC
The first consideration is whether or not to use a formulation that includes Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the somewhat infamous compound that gives marijuana its psychoactive properties. There are minor amounts of THC in many companies’ full-spectrum formulations, less than a third of a percent. However, THC is toxic to pets. When their systems are overwhelmed with THC, it can cause ataxia, which looks like trouble walking, excessive drooling, and slow/troubled breathing. You might be wondering why anyone would use any formulation with THC with their dog when the dangers are so serious. Despite the dangers, THC does have some pain control properties. Some people prefer careful moderation of their pup’s dosage in exchange for the pain relief that can come with it. Other people prefer more natural formulations or want to take advantage of what’s known as the “entourage effect,” which is basically the idea that in its original formulations, mother nature has made a combination of organic compounds that’s more efficacious than the sum of its parts. Generally, Panacea recommends using broad-spectrum or isolate formulations, which do not include THC, for the safety of your pup.
What are the benefits of using an isolate? Isolates tend to be popular with people or pups taking high doses of CBD on a regular schedule. Sometimes isolates are a bit less expensive. And while there are already incredibly few side effects, the dosing threshold for when those side effects start to occur tends to be slightly higher.
Now Accepting Applications
This is where the rubber really meets the road. Every pup has a different tolerance for taking supplements. Some will lick the tincture right out of their owner’s hand others will find the pill hidden in a mound of peanut butter and spit it right out.
Typically, tinctures are the least expensive CBD option, so most pet owners start there. Some dogs don’t mind the taste, and their natural curiosity means they will lick it right up. Other dogs need a tincture with coconut oil or salmon oil to get their taste buds revving. Even if they aren’t interested in eating it plain, tinctures are easy to mix with other foods. You can drop it right on their evening kibble as long as it is consumed immediately. Owners can mix the tincture in with wet or dry treats. Peanut butter is an easy option.
Liquids can also be applied sublingually, which means that the tincture is absorbed right through the mucosal membranes of the mouth. If Fido lets you brush his teeth, he’ll probably let you apply the liquid to his gum line or under his tongue. This absorption method is also the fastest. It is also an option to use with soft gels. Just puncture the soft gel with scissors, and you have a tiny, premeasured dose of the tincture. The soft gels can be hidden in treats or wrapped in a bit of cheese.
Some dogs have an annoying superpower for being able to spit out any non-food item you feed them. For those tricky puppers, there are specially formulated topicals. This is also a great option for felines, which tend to be much pickier than dogs. CBD topical products need to have ingredients that will allow CBD to be absorbed into and through the skin to enter the body. Once in the blood stream, CBD activates the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) and that system is found all throughout the mammalian body. So, when you apply the CBD to the skin, it still activates the ECS enzymes all the way in their digestion system and in their brains and everywhere else.
This is a purr-fect hack for pet parents whose beloved pets don’t want to take their supplements the easy way. Give your dog or kitty a rub down with a topical CBD lotion. If they try to lick it off once you’re done, it won’t cause any harm, but try applying the lotion on the inside of their ears. The absorption rate is just as good through the ears, and it will prevent anybody from trying to take it off after the fact or at least make it hilarious to watch them try.
So, you know what formula and what application method to try, or you have some ideas, now how do you find a quality seller of good CBD? Any CBD company worth their salt won’t ask you to take it on faith that their product has in it what they say. A good CBD company will work with a third-party, independent lab to test their products for potency, residual solvents, and pesticides. Don’t be afraid to ask any company if their products come with a certificate of analysis and how you would access it.
Potency- Being told, “try our high-quality CBD” just isn’t the same as a product that comes with a certificate of analysis guaranteeing the amounts of CBD and, for full and broad-spectrum products, terpenes. CBD isn’t the only beneficial compound in industrial hemp. There are also other cannabinoids like cannabigerol, cannabinol, and cannabidiolic acid. They all have a part to play in giving CBD for dogs products amazing benefits. A good test will review the amounts of major cannabinoids like CBD and the major terpenes. Terpenes are the many compounds of the plant which imbue antibacterial properties and give it its distinctive taste and smell. You might have heard of terpenes in conjunction with essential oils. A good certificate of analysis will cover some of the terpene profile available in your product.
Residual solvents- Hardcore CBD fans will have arguments about the most effective way to get the CBD molecules out of the plant and into a product. That process is called extraction. It can use some pretty intense chemicals, and if you’re interested in biochemistry, you should consider learning more about the various extraction methods and their benefits. But, if you just want some good CBD for dogs, just check your certificate of analysis to make sure that the CBD you are purchasing has no detectable amounts of residual solvents.
Pesticides- Not every company is vertically integrated, which means that the company might purchase hemp that was grown for other purposes or to different standards than for pet health. But testing the final product ensures that no matter where they got their hemp from, there are no detectable amounts of pesticides in the final product. This is especially important in pet products as dogs are not as resilient as humans are to pesticides due to their smaller size.
Once you know you have a high-quality product, you and your pup will be off to the races. Start your pup’s dosage low. Consider a dosage of between 1- 5 milligrams per 10lbs of pet weight. There is little concern about overdosing as a high dose will likely just make your pup a bit sleepy. But start the dose low and keep an eye on the offending condition you would like to manage. Pups can acquire a tolerance over time with consistent use, but you can moderate as you go.
Have any other questions about CBD for dogs? Get in touch with our customer care team at 1(800)985-0515.