CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know
As with any pet wellness trend, when it comes to CBD oil for dogs, there’s a lot of information floating around the internet, and it’s difficult to know what’s accurate and what’s exaggeration. Of course, you want to do what’s best for your pup, which leads to the question: What do I need to know about CBD oil for dogs?
The AKC’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Jerry Klein, explains what CBD oil is, what it does for dogs, and its safety concerns and potential side effects.
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis and hemp. Dr. Klein says it is essential to note that in most cases, CBD oil does not contain delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound that gives marijuana its psychoactive properties. In fact, most CBD products are derived from hemp and not from marijuana.
How Does CBD Affect Dogs?
Currently, there has been no formal study on how CBD affects dogs. What scientists do know is that cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid receptors located in the central and peripheral nervous systems, which help maintain balance in the body and keep it in a normal healthy state.
What Dog Health Problems Can CBD Oil Treat?
While there’s no definitive scientific data on using CBD to treat dogs, there’s anecdotal evidence from dog owners suggesting it can treat pain, especially neuropathic pain, as well as helping to control seizures.
According to Dr. Klein, CBD is also used because of its anti-inflammatory properties, cardiac benefits, anti-nausea effects, appetite stimulation, anti-anxiety impact, and for possible anti-cancer benefits, although there’s no conclusive data on this use.
The AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF) is sponsoring a study through the Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to evaluate the use of CBD in treatment-resistant epileptic dogs. The CHF hopes that this will be the first study to gain scientific data on the use of CBD in dogs with this condition.
Possible Side Effects of CBD in Dogs
While there’s no scientific data on the side effects of CBD usage for dogs, there are potential side effects based on how CBD affects humans. To minimize any potential side effects, make sure you are following the proper dosage.
- Dry mouth: Research has shown that CBD can decrease the production of saliva. For dogs, this would manifest as an increased thirst.
- Lowered blood pressure: High doses of CBD have been known to cause a temporary drop in blood pressure. Even though the drop is small, it might create a brief feeling of light-headedness.
- Drowsiness: Dog owners have used CBD to treat anxiety. The calming effect of CBD can also cause slight drowsiness, especially when using higher doses.
Risks of Using CBD Oil for Dogs
The safety and risks of using CBD for dogs have not yet been researched. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved CBD and has not issued a dosing chart. Therefore, we do not know what size dosage would be toxic. Any medication or supplement carries the risk of a reaction. It is always advisable, when giving your dog something new, to start out with small amounts and then closely monitor the effects. And always check with your veterinarian first.
CBD Products on the Market
If you and your veterinarian decide that you should try CBD as a treatment for your dog, there are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing CBD oil. Not all oils are the same; you’ll want high-quality CBD oil to have a better chance of it working.
- Look for organic. If the CBD oil is not organic, it at least should not contain pesticides, fungicides, or solvents.
- Don’t only shop based on price. Higher quality and purity are usually associated with a higher cost. A cheaper option could contain toxic substances such as pesticides, herbicides, or heavy metals. Make sure your CBD oil is free of additives.
- Get the analysis. The manufacturer should provide a certificate that certifies the amount of CBD that is in the product. Many CBD products contain only small amounts of CBD. You’ll also want to make sure there is little or no THC in the product.
- Buy CBD as a liquid. You can buy dog treats containing CBD, but the best form to administer is an oil or tincture. This way, you can adjust your dog’s dose drop by drop.
The CBD Wellness Trend
Why are we hearing so much about CBD oil now? Dr. Klein points to the legalization of marijuana in many places, which has triggered interest in potential health benefits of marijuana-related products. “We are likely to see continued interest in CBD and an increase in research about its uses and efficacy in the coming years,” he says.
Learn more about the CBD study funded by the Canine Health Foundation.
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Is CBD Safe for Dogs?
These days, it can seem as though there’s a new health trend popping up every day. One of the latest hot topics is that of CBD – otherwise known as cannabidiol.
From oils to edibles to lotions, CBD comes in many forms. This product is used to impart a feeling of relaxation and calm without the “high” felt from THC, which is the psychoactive compound found in marijuana.
You may be wondering – if I can receive these benefits, can the same be said for my pet? In this article, we’ll cover what CBD is, the benefits for dogs, and how to safely give CBD to your dog if you choose.
What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound found in the hemp (cannabis) plant.
Dating back to the 3rd century , cannabis was known for its healing properties and was used to treat a variety of illnesses and ailments like gout, malaria and cognition troubles.
Fast forward to modern day, the two most studied compounds of the cannabis plant are CBD (cannabidiol), and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). These two compounds are similar, with one key difference. THC is responsible for the ‘high’ that many people associate with marijuana. CBD on the other hand, can provide many benefits for the person (or pup) using it – without the intoxicating feeling.
Why Give Your Dog CBD?
Many dog-parents out there swear by CBD. And there are plenty of reasons for it. The most common being that as dogs age, many will develop aches, pains and anxiety (as humans do). There are plenty of medications that can be prescribed for these conditions, but many people find that they lose their effectiveness over time.
This is where CBD oil starts to become a larger, stand-out player.
CBD oil can help reduce anxiety in dogs – especially separation anxiety or a noise phobia (think thunderstorms or fireworks). It can also help reduce pain and inflammation – giving a dog suffering from arthritis a better quality of life.
If you choose to give your dog CBD in an edible oil form, it can begin to work in as quickly as 5-20 minutes after it’s administered. For anxious pooches, research has suggested that its efficacy improves if given over a period of time rather than all at once.
Benefits of CBD
Like we do, our pets have an endocannabinoid system that allows CBD to have an effect. This system allows the CBD compound of the cannabis plant to work its magic for our furry friends, just like it would for us.
Because of our similar endocannabinoid systems, many researchers are led to believe that dogs can experience most (if not all) of the same benefits that CBD provides for humans.
Some of the benefits of CBD for dogs are said to be:
- Decreases stress and helps with anxiety : It has been reported that giving your pet CBD oil can reduce stress associated with social/separation anxiety .
- Help to improve appetite : CBD triggers receptors in the brain that stimulate your pup’s appetite; it can help to decrease symptoms of nausea and can relax the central nervous system, making eating easier on your pup’s digestive tract if they’re feeling unwell.
- Decrease pain : Especially when it comes to inflammation and pain caused by auto-immune diseases like arthritis.
- Can prevent epilepsy or seizure episodes : In a recent study , 89% of dogs had fewer seizures when given CBD oil.
- Can help soothe skin conditions : CBD helps to repair the skin barrier, so that bacteria and allergens have less of an effect on your pooch.
- Helps with noise phobias : CBD products can help keep your pup calm during a thunderstorm or a night of fireworks.
Though there isn’t enough research to support being safer than traditional medicine, one key selling point for many people is that CBD has little to no negative side effects for dogs. Many show improvement with their conditions in as little as a few weeks.
Is CBD Safe for Dogs?
Yes, CBD is safe for dogs. Research from the WHO shows there is no abuse or dependence potential for animals using CBD, and determined that CBD may be a useful treatment for a number of medical conditions from anxiety to nausea.
However, it’s important to note that there still isn’t a high amount of scientific evidence yet to support its exact benefits for your furry friend. The few recent studies that have been conducted returned encouraging results – but it’s not yet a definitive answer.
As for veterinarians, you might find that many that are split in their recommendations. The primary reason for this is that it’s simply too early to tell whether or not CBD is an effective supplement for your pup.
“We haven’t found anything that’s super alarming about CBD. But on the flip side, we still know very little about it and it’s really important for owners to know that and use it with caution until we have more information.”
– Stephanie McGrath, neurologist and assistant professor at Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
One word of caution: because it appears to be metabolized in the liver – similarly to humans – some vets caution against giving CBD to dogs with known liver issues.
If you decide to give your dog CBD, it’s important to know how much you should give. Like any new health supplement, food or medication, introduce it slowly. If needed, you can carefully increase the dosage.
See below for a handy CBD serving size chart for your dog:
It’s certainly up to you to choose how frequently to dose your dog with CBD. There are some recommendations out there advocating for once per day, others push for every 8 hours. A large part of the dosage decision depends on the symptoms that your pup is dealing with and their severity.
A good rule to follow is that your dog should experience some relief from their symptoms. Start small, and work up to a larger dose if needed.
Best CBD Products for Your Pup
We recommend our own Full Spectrum CBD Tincture for Dogs. We’re invested in providing our dogs with holistic ways to support their best health, whether that’s through balanced raw dog food, quality CBD, or a combination of the two. Our CBD tincture is derived from organically grown hemp in Minnesota, without GMOs, and has been 3rd party tested.
But if you choose to look elsewhere, it’s important to look for a few key things from a CBD supplier:
- Third-party testing. Since CBD products are not currently regulated by the FDA, you should look for information revealing the products have been tested by a third party. This means that a lab has verified the claims made on the packaging. You should find this information on the company’s website. For instance, you may see a seal of approval from the U.S. Hemp Authority, which means that company’s products meet its stringent standards of have passed a third-party audit.
- What ingredients are in it? On the product packaging and/or website, you should find a full list of ingredients in the CBD product. Make sure to consider all the ingredients in the product, and check with your vet before giving to your dog.
- Is it organic? Consuming organic helps you avoid the use of most synthetic pesticides found in conventional agriculture. Look at the ingredient list to see if they’re using organic.
- Where is the cannabis grown? Look for products grown in the U.S. since they are subject to industrial hemp regulations.
Now that you know what to look for in a supplier, you can choose the medium you want to give your dog CBD.
CBD comes in many of the same forms for pets as they do for humans. For example, you can feed:
- Oils that can be taken orally or mixed in with food
- CBD edibles in the form of chewable treats or filled capsules
- Topical creams or ointments used on the skin
It’s a good idea to speak with your vet or trusted pet-care provider to see if they have recommendations for products that may work for your pup.
Finally, if you can, try and find a local provider or pet supply shop that carries CBD products that are within your budget. You should always do your research to determine the right product type or amount administered for your pet. It may take a few tries to find what works best – but your pup will certainly thank you for it.
FAQs about CBD Use in Pets
A: Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a cannabinoid produced by the plant Cannabis sativa, commonly known as marijuana. After many anecdotal reports of CBD’s potential health benefits, studies are now underway to look at the potential benefits of CBD for controlling pain from conditions such as osteoarthritis, calming anxious pets, and as a possible treatment for epilepsy in dogs. CBD is being used by many pet owners today, so it’s essential to know enough about it to discuss the potential risks of use.
Q: Is CBD psychoactive?
A: No; however, there are several possible reasons a dog who has ingested CBD may look high:
- The product that the pet ingested contains both THC and CBD. There are many products on the market, some even labeled for use in pets, that contain both CBD and THC at varying concentrations, so check the labels or look up the product online to see what’s in it.
- The pet ingested enough of a CBD product to cause THC toxicity. Hemp can legally contain up to 0.3% THC, so if a pet ingests a large amount of a hemp-based CBD product, mild THC toxicity can occur.
- The product has not undergone quality assurance testing and contains THC.
- The dog also found some marijuana or THC edibles. Ask about any other cannabis products in the home.
Q: What are the most common signs reported in pets after the ingestion of CBD products?
A: Vomiting, lethargy, inappetence, and diarrhea are the most common clinical signs reported. Ataxia can occasionally occur with large ingestions.
Q: How do I treat these cases?
A: Most cases need no treatment, aside from symptomatic care for gastrointestinal upset if it occurs. If it’s a large dose, where the THC content might be a factor, mild sedation, urinary incontinence, hyperesthesia, and ataxia could develop, and the pet should be confined to prevent injury from misadventure. If you see significant signs that look like THC toxicity, treat the pet in front of you and provide IV fluid support, anti-nausea medication, and good nursing care as needed.
Q: Is there anything special I need to know about pet hemp treat overdoses?
A: Products sold as “soft chews” can have an osmotic effect when large amounts of chews are ingested and pull fluid from the body into the gastrointestinal tract. In mild cases, this can lead to diarrhea and dehydration. In severe cases, hypernatremia, hyperglycemia, hyperkalemia, azotemia, and acidosis can occur. Aggressive fluid therapy, while monitoring hydration status and electrolytes in these pets, is critical.
Q: What about interactions with other medications? Any long-term effects to be concerned about?
A: CBD is an inhibitor of cytochrome P450 and has the potential to affect the metabolism of other drugs. While this appears to be of minimal clinical significance in most cases, this may be important when CBD is used in a pet for seizure control. Doses of other anticonvulsants may need to be adjusted. Remember that owners may discontinue anticonvulsants on their own if they feel that CBD is controlling their pet’s seizures, so this is an important discussion to have.
CBD has also been shown to cause dose-dependent elevations in liver enzymes in various safety studies. This has not been noted in acute overdose situations but could be a concern in pets taking CBD long-term. Monitoring liver enzymes and total bilirubin in these pets is recommended.