Do you have a beloved dog who has been diagnosed with cancer? If you feel that your dog is suffering from symptoms related to cancer, CBD oils might be able to help.
There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence surrounding CBD oils in relation to pain, loss of appetite, restlessness, and other discomfort associated with cancer and cancer treatment in dogs.
While CBD shouldn’t be a replacement for cancer treatments for your dog, you might want to talk to your veterinarian about the possibility of adding CBD oil as a supplement to your dog’s cancer therapy.
The Rundown Regarding CBD
Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, is one of the most common cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds which can have positive effects on the bodies of mammals, like humans and dogs.
In fact, our bodies – and the bodies of our four-legged friends – have what is known as an endocannabinoid system, or ECS. These systems are closely tied to the central and peripheral nervous systems.
Our bodies make natural endocannabinoids, which interact with receptors in the ECS and help regulate an entire host of routine bodily functions. Endocannabinoids are what help your body maintain appetite, regulate mood, balance temperature, support normal sleep cycles, and manage pain signals sent to the brain.
As it turns out, cannabinoids from plants (i.e., phytocannabinoids) can interact in similar ways with the ECS, and also help endocannabinoids work better and last longer in the body. If there is a shortage of endocannabinoids working to regulate body functions, phytocannabinoids can step in and provide a boost.
In addition to CBD, there are plenty of other cannabinoids present in the Cannabis sativa plant. The other best known cannabinoid is tetrahydrochloride, more commonly known as THC. Unlike CBD and other cannabinoids, THC is psychoactive, meaning it can cause feelings of euphoria and paranoia.
In the United States, CBD has been legalized at the federal level, but only if it is sourced from plants that contain less than 0.3% THC. To differentiate between plants that can be used for legal CBD sourcing and those which cannot, two classifications have been created by the U.S. government.
The first classification is “industrial hemp”, which is a strain bred to contain higher amounts of CBD and less than 0.3% THC. CBD oil that is manufactured from industrial hemp extract is legal for use in humans and dogs. The second classification is marijuana. This refers to any plant with more than the approved amount of 0.3% THC.
When it comes to buying CBD oils for dogs with cancer, your best bet is to use a seller who can establish the provenance of their CBD source as being from industrial hemp.
The Basics of CBD Oil Tinctures
There are three different types of CBD oils available on the market. Once you’ve established that a vendor is selling CBD proven to come from industrial hemp plants (preferably organic), it’s time to ask about what else is in the oil. CBD oils come in three types along a spectrum.
At one end of the spectrum is CBD isolate. It’s what it sounds like: a CBD extract that contains nothing but CBD that has been isolated from the hemp plant. There is no THC, no other cannabinoids, and no additional compounds like terpenes or flavonoids, which also occur naturally in the hemp plant.
CBD isolate is as vanilla as you can get when it comes to a CBD product. However, this can be the least effective type of CBD oil. To get a more balanced and comprehensive result, you want other compounds from the hemp plant in the mix.
Broad-spectrum CBD oil has other beneficial cannabinoids, like cannabigerol (CBG) or cannabinol (CBN). It may also contain terpenes and flavonoids, which affects how it tastes and smells and which have also been shown to have beneficial wellness properties.
Finally, you can choose to purchase full-spectrum CBD. This means you’re getting every beneficial compound from the hemp plant, including that legal but tiny trace amount of THC. While the THC isn’t enough to make your pet high, it can be helpful in boosting the effectiveness of CBD oils for dogs with cancer.
All of these oils are created by mixing the CBD extract with a carrier oil. CBD oil isn’t hemp oil, which is made from the seeds of the hemp plant. Instead, it’s a compound derived from the leaves and flowers of the hemp plant, which is purified into a powder then suspended in an oil tincture.
Yummy CBD oils are all full spectrum, and we use only MCT coconut oil as the carrier oil. This oil breaks down quickly in the body, so it doesn’t get trapped and stored as fat. It has a long shelf life, and it’s rare for someone to be allergic to it, unless they already have a sensitivity to coconuts.
By using full-spectrum CBD extract, we give our customers the best experience possible. This is due to what is known as the entourage effect. The cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes in the hemp plant work synergistically when kept together. CBD isolate can promote a beneficial effect. However, when you add more compounds from the hemp plant, you get an effect that’s even better. Full-spectrum CBD oil is like having the full experience.
Why Choose CBD Oils For Dogs With Cancer?
Dogs with cancer can experience a lot of awful symptoms and side effects. If your dog is in treatment for cancer, you may also be watching them suffer from side effects related to their treatment, whether that is surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation.
Fortunately, it seems that the way CBD works with human ECS is similar to how it works with doggie ECS. While there’s still a lot of research to be done on how CBD oils affect dog metabolism, early studies are promising.
Main Types of Cancer in Dogs
There are plenty of different kinds of cancer that can affect dogs, just as there are in humans.
Bone cancer, also known as canine osteosarcoma in dogs originates in the bone, when cells inside the bone start reproducing too quickly, the result is a malignant tumor that can start spreading cancer to other parts of the body.
Blood cancer, also known as canine hemangiosarcoma in dogs originates in the blood vessels. This is a fast-spreading cancer that takes advantage of the interconnectivity of the blood vessels in the body to move quickly throughout the dog’s system. This type of canine cancer is more often seen in large, elderly dogs.
Lymphocyte cancer, also known as canine lymphoma in dogs, originates in the lymphocytes, or white blood cells. This rapidly weakens your dog’s immune system, making them vulnerable to other illnesses, and can cause significant fatigue and listlessness.
Mast Cell Cancer
Mast cell cancer, also known as canine mast cell tumors, originates in blood cells that are being abnormally produced. This is the most common type of canine cancer, and often presents as a fast growing, fully vascularized tumor that grows rapidly and may burst. There is a high risk of metastasis (migration to other parts of the body), so early detection and surgical removal followed by prophylactic treatment to prevent recurrence is usually advised.
Skin cancer, also known as canine melanoma in dogs, originates in the skin cells and is usually visible as dark spots on the skin that may turn into irregular bumps or growths. Melanoma in dogs is much more common in light skinned dogs with short-haired coats. (Sun protection is important for dogs, too!) Melanomas can be very aggressive and require surgical excision before they have a chance to spread.
Breast cancer, also known as canine mammary cancer in dogs, originates in the breast or mammary tissue. It’s most common in female dogs who are unspayed, or who were spayed after a single heat cycle. Dogs have five pairs of mammary glands located between the front armpits and the groin, so there are multiple places a tumor can appear. Most owners detect mammary cancer by finding a lump in one of the glands when brushing or petting their dog.
Brain cancer, also known as canine brain tumor in dogs, originates in the brain. Cells begin to proliferate, and the tumor can press on certain areas of the brain, causing seizures and other symptoms. A current study is examining if CBD may be used for the reduction of seizures on dogs with brain tumors. CBD has been shown to be effective at reducing seizures in human children who suffer from epilepsy and other brain disorders.
Ways CBD Oil May Help
Cancer in dogs as well as some of the medical treatments for it may cause some or all of the following symptoms or side effects, which more and more dog owners are turning to CBD oil to help alleviate.
If you suspect your dog has cancer, we recommend you immediately contact your veterinarian for their professional advice regarding your dog’s specific situation. If your dog is being medically treated for cancer, be sure to consult with the vet before adding CBD oil to their regimen.
Lack of Appetite
The benefits of CBD taken while a patient is undergoing chemotherapy are well documented. If your dog is having cancer treatment and refuses to eat, a few drops of CBD oil shortly before feeding time might help kickstart their appetite. Your pup needs fuel to weather their cancer battle, and CBD may help them regain interest in their food bowl once again.
Certain types of cancer, especially those involving fast-growing tumors or cancer of the bone, or those requiring surgical removal, can cause discomfort or pain for your dog. They may whine, have trouble finding a comfortable position, or cry out if the tumor or surgical site experiences pressure. As it does in humans, CBD oil can assist with pain management, disrupting pain signals to the brain and helping your pet rest comfortably.
Fighting cancer is hard work for a furry body. You may see that your dog seems worn out all the time, with little interest in playing. Their body is simultaneously growing tumors and fighting against them, and this can be exhausting. CBD oil has been shown to aid in apoptosis, which helps cells that aren’t useful die off and stop replicating. This can contribute to slowing of tumor growth and give your dog back some energy.
Best Way to Give CBD Oils For Dogs With Cancer
Make sure you use a product that is approved for use by animals and/or has only dog-friendly ingredients.
The advantage of CBD oil tinctures is the way they can soak quickly into sublingual tissue (the soft tissues inside the mouth, and particularly under the tongue.)
The best time to give CBD oil to your dog is a little while before feeding time, especially if they have gone off their food due to cancer symptoms or side effects of cancer treatment. Otherwise, you might want to give it before bedtime, particularly if they are restless at night from discomfort.
Make sure the dog is calm, measure the CBD oil in the dropper, and quickly slide the dropper under their tongue before squeezing the bulb. Gently hold your dog’s mouth shut for a few seconds to make sure they don’t drool out the CBD dose.
Don’t let them drink water or eat for at least a few minutes. This gives the CBD oil time to absorb into the mouth and reach the capillaries (small blood vessels that can carry the CBD quickly into their bloodstream.)
In most cases, the recommended dose for a dog is 0.2 mg per pound of body weight. If your dog weighs 20 pounds, the starting dose would be about 4 mg. You can discuss exact dosing of CBD oils for dogs with cancer with your vet. It might take some trial and error to find out what works best for your dog.