The benefits of CBD for humans have been well documented, and since it works so well for man, why not for man’s best friend? A lot of people are exploring giving CBD to their pets, and the research is starting to catch up with the hopes for this holistic treatment.
While CBD shouldn’t be a replacement for medical care for your dog, you definitely can talk to your veterinarian about the pros and cons of giving CBD to your dog. Veterinarians can’t prescribe or dispense, but they can discuss CBD for dogs with you and help you make informed choices.
CBD is the acronym used for cannabidiol, which is a common cannabinoid found in the Cannabis sativa plant. CBD and other cannabinoids are chemical compounds, and they can have beneficial effects on the bodies of living things – like people and dogs.
We all have endocannabinoid systems (ECS) in our bodies. They use endocannabinoids, which are produced internally, to interact with the central and peripheral nervous systems. Endocannabinoids and the ECS help humans and animals regulate important functions like temperature, mood, appetite, pain signaling, and more.
CBD is a phytocannabinoid, which means it’s made by a plant instead of by our body. However, the great thing about phytocannabinoids is that our bodies can use them to boost the effect of our endocannabinoids or make them last longer.
CBD isn’t the only well-known cannabinoid. Another widely known compound from the C. sativa plant is tetrahydrocannabinol, usually known as THC. There’s a big difference between THC and the other hundred or so cannabinoids: THC is psychoactive, while most of the others are not.
Psychoactive means that THC skips past the ECS and latches directly onto receptors in the central nervous system, sending messages to the brain. This usually causes feelings of euphoria or paranoia, altering our perception of the world around us.
For this reason, THC isn’t legal at the federal level. For a long time, CBD wasn’t either. But when its beneficial potential could no longer be denied, the U.S. government made a distinction between two kinds of cannabis plants as part of hte 2018 Farm Bill.
Any plant that contains more than 0.3% of THC is still classified as illegal at federal level andis called marijuana. However, plant strains bred to have less than 0.3% THC and are higher in CBD are now classified as industrial hemp.
Any CBD product that can be proven to have less than the legal limit of THC is therefore legal at federal level, and can taken by consumers for a variety of reasons. CBD usually comes infused in an oil or gummy. Many pet owners who choose to give their dogs CBD either give them a CBD oil product or make a CBD-inused dog treat.
Different Types of CBD Oil for Dogs
There is a range of CBD oils available on the market. This range runs across the CBD spectrum. The spectrum starts at the bottom, with the purest form of CBD oil: CBD isolate. This is oil that has been infused with CBD and only CBD: the chemical compound is isolated and purified so nothing else is mixed into it from the hemp plant.
Broad spectrum CBD oil has more non-psychoactive cannabinoids, like cannabigerol (CBG) or cannabinol (CBN), plus selected flavonoids (which control how things taste) and terpenes (which control how things smell).
Adding these chemical compounds from the hemp plant triggers what is known as the entourage effect. CBD by itself has a certain maximum effect on the body. When used with these other compounds, the effect increases dramatically.
Finally, we have full-spectrum CBD, which – you guessed it – contains all of the cannabinoids, including the trace amount of THC legally allowed in hemp products, plus terpenes and flavonoids.
This type of CBD oil delivers the most beneficial effects, since all of the compounds work together to boost each other. Full-spectrum CBD also helps boost the efficacy of the endocannabinoids more effectively.
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.
CBD for Dogs: Conditions It’s Useful For
CBD has become pretty well known as a useful therapy for all sorts of human ailments, including anxiety, arthritis, cancer, depression, discomfort, loss of appetite, seizures, and sleep disorders. To name only a few. The usefulness of CBD for dogs is woefully under researched, but slowly evidence is beginning to mount that CBD can be just as good for dogs as for humans when given appropriately. As always, it is always advised to consult a veterinarian before giving your pet any new supplement.
If your dog suffers from anxiety, you can often see them become upset and find yourself unable to calm or comfort them. Anxiety can happen if your pet is left alone, when there are visitors in the house, if you move to a new home, when you travel, or if there is a storm.
A little CBD oil or a CBD dog treat may help calm your dog and assist them in getting through a stressful time. It could even be given to help head off anxiety attacks if you give it preemptively when you know a trigger event is approaching.
Many people prefer giving a dog CBD over doggie doses of Prozac or other anti-anxiety medications. There is a very low risk of side effects for CBD in dogs, especially if you’re giving a carefully sourced product.
Research shows that CBD shares metabolic pathways with anti-inflammatory drugs. That’s why it makes so much sense that it seems to have a therapeutic effect on inflammatory conditions. (Tip: It’s easy to remember what inflammatory conditions are: basically, if it ends in “itis”, it’s inflammatory.)
The most common inflammatory conditions include arthritis, specifically osteoarthritis. This can cause significant discomfort in the joints, often showing up as a limp because your dog hurts in their knee or hip or spine.
By giving a small dose of CBD twice a day, either as oil on their food or as a CBD dog treat, you may be able to help your dog find relief and be more mobile. This could mean extra years of healthy living for an aging pet.
There are more than a dozen types of cancer than can strike dogs. Like humans, dogs undergoing cancer treatment can suffer from discomfort, lack of appetite, and depression. While CBD isn’t a cancer cure-all, it has been shown to be beneficial for alleviating or lessinging many of these side effects.
Talk to your vet before giving your dog CBD treats or CBD oil. You may need to give it at a specific time of day or in a specific form so as not to interfere with your dog’s cancer treatment. If your dog is basically on hospice and you are just trying to make them comfortable, you have more leeway.
There are many underlying conditions that can cause seizures in dogs, some of which are age-related. The only FDA approved CBD medication for humans is in fact a seizure medication.
In dogs, CBD has been shown to be helpful in reducing frequency and severity of idiopathic seizures, but the study only looked at dogs who were also on an approved canine seizure medication and didn’t study dogs that were given only CBD.
This means you may want to discuss with the veterinarian to option of adding CBD to your dog’s regimen if they have seizures and are on medication or ready to start. But keep in mind that CBD alone may not be a good idea and could leave your dog unprotected.
CBD Dosing For Dogs
Like humans, every dog can be different and react to a substance in a different way. Most vets recommend starting with a dose on the low end of the scale and slowly increasing it until you see results.
For dogs, studies based on animals being given CBD for arthritis or seizures generally recommended a dose between 2-8 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (or roughly 1-4 milligrams per pound of body weight.) However, in reality, a veterinarian may have you to start even lower than that for your pet, at around 0.2 mg per pound of body weight (0.4 mg per kg).
There are two ways to give CBD to your dog. If they will permit it, you can squirt the dose of oil under their tongue, then gently hold their mouth closed to give the oil time to sink into the sublingual tissues.
This lets the CBD enter the bloodstream fairly quickly through the capillaries underneath the tongue, which means it’s a faster delivery system than ingestion, which requires the CBD to go through the first phase of metabolic breakdown.
However, if your dog won’t tolerate the oil under their tongue, you can give it to them in other ways:
Use the dropper to put it on their food, so they can eat it at mealtime. If your dog doesn’t always clean their bowl, try putting just a little food down at first with the oil on it, then giving the rest of the food portion.
Mix the oil in a spoonful of wet food and surprise your dog with it like a CBD dog treat. Alternatively, make your own CBD treats for dogs by mixing oil into a dog treat recipe. You’ll need to measure carefully and mix thoroughly, and keep track of how many mg you used in total. Then, simply divide by the number of treats made to know how many mg are in each treat.
Important Things to Know About CBD For Dogs
Again, it can’t be reiterated enough: THC can be toxic to dogs in large amounts. It’s critical that you don’t give your dog CBD or cannabis products if you don’t know how much THC they contain.
CBD given in massive doses has also been found to return elevated readings of certain liver enzymes in dogs. It’s not clear whether the enzymes are actually elevated or if some sort of reaction with the CBD causes a false reading, but it usually returns to normal after a few hours. However, you should avoid giving your dog more than the maximum recommended dose of CBD just to be safe.
A big advantage of CBD is that it’s not known to have a cross reaction or adverse reaction when it’s given to a dog that is on other medications. Of course, you should still talk to your veterinarian before you add any sort of supplementary therapy to your dog’s normal routine.
Don’t make giving CBD to your dog turn into a battle. If you are giving it for anxiety or discomfort, tussling with your dog to try and force a sublingual dose can just make things worse. Find another way that works for both of you.
Consider trying any of the following:
- Adding CBD to peanut butter (CBD works great when in a high fat food)
- Adding CBD to a bit of cooked pumpkin or another type of squash
- Mixing CBD into fatty meat drippings and drizzling over food
- Injecting CBD oil into a soft roll for a fast CBD dog treat
- Baking your own CBD treats using a recipe with peanut butter
CBD can benefit your dog when used wisely. Don’t forget that your vet is the best source of professional medical advice for your pet!