As a human, many of us know how arthritis can cause endless discomfort as we age. Swelling and inflammation can cause pain and degrading cartilage can lead to grating, clicking, or popping.
Osteoarthritis in dogs is much the same. Aging or injury (or both) can cause the hips, knees, ankles, and spine to become increasingly sore, and many medications are inadvisable for dogs to take long term.
CBD oil can be given to dogs with arthritis without the worrisome stomach side effects or potential damage to internal organs that many commercial painkillers have when used long-term.
Your vet can help you decide if CBD oil is the right form of therapy to alleviate your dog’s discomfort that is caused by arthritis. It may be useful as a supplemental addition to a plan already in place, or may be used as the cornerstone of a new plan.
Before giving CBD to your pet, be sure to research it and talk to your veterinarian to make sure you understand all the ins and outs.
What is CBD
CBD, or cannabidiol, come from the Cannabis sativa plant. CBD is a phytocannabinoid, which means it is a cannabinoid that comes from plants. Humans and other animals like dogs make cannabinoids inside our bodies as well, but these are called endocannabinoids.
How CBD Interacts with the Body
Living things have an endocannabinoid system, or ECS. The endocannabinoids work through the ECS to interact with the body’s central and peripheral nervous systems. Endocannabinoids help control and regulate core body functions like regulating temperature and appetite, as well as affecting mood and sleep.
Cannabinoids are also very good at modulating how pain signals reach the brain. For conditions like arthritis, cannabinoids can be extremely useful as they can dampen down pain signals and relieve the sensations of pain.
Phytocannabinoids work indirectly with the ECS to help endocannabinoids do their job better. When phytocannabinoids are introduced, natural endocannabinoids gain strength and also end up with a longer lifespan inside the body.
CBD isn’t the only phytocannabinoid. There are more than 100 others, including cannabigerol (CBG) or cannabinol (CBN). There are also other chemical compounds like terpenes, which affect the smell of things, and flavonoids, which affect the taste.
Difference between CBD and THC
Another phytocannabinoids people have heard about is tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC. The difference between THC and the other cannabinoids is that THC is psychoactive, making it a controlled substance.
Psychoactives can interact directly with the central nervous system (brain) and change your perception of what’s going on around you. Most people associate THC with getting “high” from cannabis; it can lead to feelings of euphoria or even paranoia.
If CBD and THC come from the same plant, how can it be legal? The answer to that lies in how different types of C. sativa plants are classified by the U.S. government: either as marijuana (illegal at federal level) or industrial hemp (legal at federal level.)
Basically, industrial hemp is any plant with less than 0.3% THC, and marijuana is any plant with more than 0.3% THC. When you buy CBD products, unless the seller can prove their product is legal, you should be very wary about using it yourself and even more wary of giving it to a dog.
THC toxicity in dogs
Humans can handle THC in fairly large doses, but dogs absolutely cannot. This means that you simply can’t take the risk of giving your beloved dog CBD from a source that you can’t verify uses industrial hemp only.
Without third party batch testing, you have no way of knowing if a CBD product manufacturer has ensured their product has less than 0.3% THC. Since more THC could make your dog very sick or even prove fatal, this isn’t a chance you want to take.
Types of CBD Oil for Dogs
After you’ve made sure you’re getting your CBD from a legal and verified source, you should consider where on the spectrum you want the CBD potency to land. There are three basic types of CBD oil:
CBD isolate is just what it sounds like – CBD that’s been isolated from all other compounds in the hemp plant, purified, and suspended in a carrier oil to create a tincture. CBD isolate guarantees there’s no THC in it (with proper documentation).
While isolate may seem like the obvious choice, what many people don’t understand is that the other chemical compounds in the hemp plant are also beneficial. In fact, when you combine them, they become more than the sum of their parts – the benefits are magnified.
This is known as the entourage effect, which is why most people opt for a CBD oil that is further along the spectrum. For example, there’s broad-spectrum CBD oil, which has other non-psychoactive cannabinoids in it as well as select flavonoids and terpenes.
Finally, there is full-spectrum CBD oil which includes every beneficial compound from the hemp plant including that trace legal amount of THC. This gives the product the highest level of efficacy. All of the compounds work together to make the results more powerful.
As long as you buy a product from a legit manufacturer who tests their product by the batch and can prove the potency, the amount of THC won’t be enough to harm your pet. Just check the labeling or ask for a certificate from the seller that shows the makeup of their product.
The Best CBD For Dogs
Full-spectrum CBD is usually considered the best kind to use when making CBD treats for dogs, but there’s one very important note: Make sure the oil you buy has third-party testing to make sure the THC content is very low.
While THC makes humans “high” or “gives us the munchies”, the same isn’t true for dogs. Too much THC can give a dog THC toxicity, which is life threatening. This is why selecting your products carefully is so important.
At Yummy CBD, we only create full-spectrum products, with the CBD infused into a special coconut oil base that breaks down easily in the body. We send all of our batches to be tested by a third-party lab, and post the results on the packaging using a QR code.
This means you can verify CBD potency and THC content before you buy, making sure the product you get is both legal, and safe for your dog. When you buy Yummy CBD oil, you know you’re getting a quality product.
Benefits of CBD Oil for Arthritic Dogs
Osteoarthritis is thought to be diagnosed in at least one out of four dogs, and up to 60% of canines may suffer from arthritis at some point in their lives. It’s a progressive disease, which means it will just keep getting worse as your dog ages. Treating the symptoms is critical to keep your beloved pet comfortable.
Signs of Canine Osteoarthritis
Some dogs show more signs of arthritis than others. Dogs who are heavier may show signs sooner, as their weight will exacerbate the symptoms. Things to look for include:
- Your dog appearing depressed or unwilling to play
- Stiffness in your dog’s gait
- Limping when walking
- Inability to go up and down steps or get onto a bed or couch
- Whining when lying still
- Excessive panting (sometimes a sign of discomfort)
- Snarling or snapping when held or moved
- Disinterest in food or treats
Damage to joints or the spine caused by arthritis can often be viewed on an X-ray and diagnosed by your veterinarian. Together, you can decide if CBD oil should be part of your dog’s management plan to control inflammation and discomfort.
The NSAID problem
The most common and cheapest route for arthritis treatment is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, only very specific types of these drugs can be prescribed safely for dogs, as many are toxic to canines. Others may work to reduce inflammation and discomfort, but have severe side effects on the liver, kidneys, or gastrointestinal system.
One study showed potential serious side effects on the renal system in dogs that were given NSAIDs regularly for chronic conditions like arthritis. In fact, the number of adverse side effects from NSAIDs was higher than for any other veterinary drug currently prescribed.
A review of 64 different studies and clinical trials investigated the use of NSAIDs in young, healthy dogs, and more than 50% of them had significant negative side effects. Senior dogs like those that commonly have arthritis could reasonably be expected to have an even higher rate of adverse effects.
CBD: A potential alternative
While CBD isn’t always right as a standalone treatment, it can be a more holistic therapy without the known side effects of NSAIDS when it comes to managing inflammation and pain. For arthritic dogs, it could be key to helping them have improved quality of life.
Research in human patients has revealed that while cannabinoid receptors are found throughout healthy joint tissue, they are also concentrated in degenerated chondrocytes (joint cells). Many researchers think these cells could respond favorably to CBD.
Of course, veterinary research hasn’t gotten as far as research on how CBD could help humans, but there is still plenty of evidence that CBD could be ideal for dogs with inflammatory conditions like osteoarthritis.
CBD contains natural anti-inflammatories, and also helps boost endocannabinoids that can support dampening of discomfort signals to the brain. Both of these attributes can be helpful in caring for dogs with arthritis.
Best CBD Oil for Dogs with Arthritis
The best CBD oil for dogs with arthritis is generally reported by pet owners to be full-spectrum. The entourage effect helps it work more effectively. As long as you get CBD oil that has been third-party tested for appropriate THC content, it should be safe for your dog.
Using a CBD product made with the right carrier oil is also important. You want a fatty oil because the CBD works better in a fat carrier, but you also want a type of fat that breaks down quickly and won’t add to your dog’s weight.
Yummy CBD oils are all full-spectrum and are made with a coconut oil which breaks down swiftly and doesn’t easily get converted into body fat. It’s also a smooth oil that blends well if you need to mix it into food.
We batch-test our product through a third party, and link to the certificate for each batch right on the product packaging. You can scan the QR code and instantly see the potency and THC content, to verify its safety for your dog.
CBD dose for dogs
Talk to your veterinarian about the best starting dose for your dog. In most cases, the low end starts around 0.2 mg per pound of body weight. It can go all the way up to 4 mg of body weight if needed.
That’s a pretty big range. The best way to accurately dose is to have your vet weigh your dog and do the calculation. Then mark the dropper you use for your CBD oil at the appropriate measurement so you can dose the same way each time.
CBD application for dogs
If your dog will let you, stick the dropper under their tongue, squirt the CBD in, and hold their muzzle gently closed for a minute so the oil soaks into the sublingual tissues and into the bloodstream.
If your dog doesn’t like this form of administration, don’t fight it. Instead, consider one of the following tricks to get them to eat their CBD dose, which will just take a little longer to take effect on their body:
Squirt it on their food
You can just dribble the oil over their dry food and stir it around. If your dog doesn’t always finish their bowlful, try giving them the CBD oil on a small amount first and have them eat that, then give them the remainder of their usual portion. Alternately, you can mix in wet food and give it at the beginning of mealtime.
Add it to special snacks
CBD oil blends in easily with many foods dogs love. Try mixing their dose in a little bit of peanut butter or canned pumpkin. They might surprise you with how quickly they eat it up. You can also use a syringe and inject the CBD oil into the middle of a soft dog treat or a little bread roll.
Make your own CBD dog treats
If you can handle the math, try baking your own dog treats. A recipe with peanut butter is usually a good start. Make sure you take the total mg of CBD oil used and divide by the number of treats so you know exactly how much CBD is in each one for accurate dosing.
If you have any questions about whether or not CBD is safe for your particular dog, talk to your vet. Your pet’s safety and comfort is the primary goal!