With the rise of interest in the legal cannabis market and the need for natural healthcare due to increased veterinary costs, dog owners are using CBD to treat… Have you thought about trying CBD for your dog’s pain, seizures, or anxiety? Here’s everything you need to know about CBD for dogs.
5 Things To Consider Before Giving CBD To Your Dog
With the rise of interest in the legal cannabis market and the need for natural healthcare due to increased veterinary costs, dog owners are using CBD to treat their dogs for various health conditions, including pain, inflammation, anxiety, seizures, and arthritis.
The CBD for dogs rage started after CBD was legalized in the United States in 2018 for human consumption. The 2018 Farm Act removed CBD from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Schedule 1 category. Meaning, it’s no longer considered a controlled substance.
Since then, CBD is the new health kick among Americans and worldwide. In the summer of 2019, a Gallup survey found that one in seven US adults use CBD products for various health conditions, including pain, inflammation, anxiety, seizures, and arthritis.
Since both humans and dogs have an endocannabinoid system with cannabinoid receptors in their bodies, dog owners and some veterinarians believe that CBD can also benefit dogs.
If your dog has been chewing up stuff, peeing inside the house, and barking uncontrollably — all signs indicate that he has anxiety. The good news is that CBD can help. Fortunately, CBD has anti-anxiety properties that can also benefit dogs.
However, before you run out and buy CBD for your dog, you should know all you can about it. The first thing you want to do is talk to your veterinarian if he hasn’t spoken to you about it already.
What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol , is a chemical compound that’s part of the endocannabinoid system, found in both humans and animals. It’s the non-psychoactive cannabinoid that’s derived from either the cannabis plant or hemp plant. CBD doesn’t give you the “high” like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) does.
CBD was discovered in 1940 by Roger Adams, the first professor at the University of Illinois, to extract CBD from cannabis. In 1946, Dr. Walter S. Loewe conducted the first CBD lab test, which proved that it doesn’t produce the psychoactive “high.” By the 1960s, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli chemist, synthesized cannabinoids, including CBD, THC, and many others. After that, the first CBD oil was produced by the British Pharmacopoeia.
How Do Dogs Benefit from CBD?
CBD has many health benefits for both humans and dogs. Although there’s little research on CBD for dogs, there’s evidence that they can benefit from the plant in various ways, including anti-nausea, anti-anxiety, shiny coat, improved appetite, joint health, and arthritis.
The way it works is with the endocannabinoid system, found in all living things with vertebrae in the central and peripheral nervous system. The endocannabinoid system is composed of cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors. CBD binds to the cannabinoid receptors to produce homeostasis (balance) in the body. It’s used to treat anxiety, pain, mood, seizures, and many other health conditions in humans. Like humans, dogs have an endocannabinoid system that works the same way as the human system, and they can benefit from CBD like humans.
5 Things You Should Know About CBD for Dogs
There are five things you should consider before buying CBD for your dog. Here’s what you should know.
Check the Certificate of Analysis (COA)
Most importantly, check the Certificate of Analysis (COA) on the label. It will give lab test results, including the amount of THC in the product. Ideally, for dogs, you want zero THC.
There are three tests you should look for on the COA. They are:
- Microbial Test – Gets results for pathogens like salmonella or E. coli.
- Heavy Metals Test – Shows results for pollutants, such as lead.
- Pesticides Test – Detects pesticides, which is necessary because some organic CBD products are contaminated from other crops.
If you can’t find the COA on the CBD seller’s website or the product’s label, and the seller doesn’t offer any information, it’s time to move on to another seller. Authentic CBD for dogs will have a COA since they have nothing to hide. To find a reputable CBD vendor, ask your vet, talk to your furbaby friends, or search the web. You can also find CBD products for Dogs at reputed vendors like CBDMEDIC .
Choose CBD with No THC
CBD is found in both the cannabis and hemp plants. However, the CBD in cannabis has more than 0.3 percent THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid that gives you the “high,” whereas CBD from hemp has within the legal limit, ie. 0.3 percent. Although there’s evidence that the CBD from cannabis can’t get you “high,” it still has that small THC percentage. THC of any amount is toxic for dogs and should be avoided. It can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and many other adverse reactions. Check for CBD products for dogs with zero THC.
Never Use Hemp Oil
Beware. The label is where manufacturers will get you. Many manufacturers will label their CBD products as “hemp oil” and describe it as beneficial to your health. Hemp oil contains little or no CBD and is not therapeutic for dogs. If the product is labeled as “hemp seed oil,” it’s perfectly acceptable to give to your pup if CBD is added to it. Always check the COA to be sure of the amount of CBD in the product.
Choose Broad Spectrum CBD
Broad-spectrum and CBD isolate products are best when it comes to our furry pals. Broad-spectrum CBD oil is most beneficial to dogs since it not only contains CBD; it also has many natural cannabinoids and terpenes. CBD isolate only contains CBD. Check the COA for this information.
Check the Dosage
Your vet should have some knowledge of CBD, including information about dosage since CBD for dogs is not regulated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) yet, and dosage isn’t established.
A 2018 study on the “pharmacokinetics, safety, and clinical effectiveness of CBD treatment in osteoarthritic dogs,” determined that CBD is both safe and effective for dogs. Results for dosing were also included. The research suggested that the dosage for dogs should be according to their weight, which is 2 mg/kg.
3 Health Conditions in Dogs that CBD Can Treat
Three common health conditions in dogs that also occur in humans can be treated with CBD. They are:
Pain can be debilitating for both dogs and humans. When it is, your dog wants relief just as much as you do. CBD can help relieve your dog’s pain and ease its suffering. A 2006 study indicated that cannabinoids, such as CBD, can help alleviate pain for those suffering from neuropathic, migraine, fibromyalgia, inflammatory, and cancer pain. A highly significant survey, the researchers propose using CBD as an alternative to opiate use, a growing epidemic, for pain management.
Epilepsy and other seizure disorders can affect both dogs and humans. As one of the first health conditions to be approved for treatment with CBD, the research is extensive and conclusive — CBD can help treat seizures. The researchers of one of the most recent reviews on CBD’s effectiveness for the treatment of seizures encourage the use of CBD with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs).
Like humans, dogs display certain behaviors when they have anxiety. People with anxiety disorders often panic, yell, or snap at you. Dogs with anxiety will chew up things, bark, or pee in the house. Since CBD relieves anxiety in humans, it could work for pets as well. One article from the American Kennel Club (AKC) about CBD for anxiety in dogs suggests that CBD has a calming, yet drowsy effect.
Is CBD Legal for Dogs?
In response to CBD’s growing interest for pets, the 2018 Farm Bill passed into law, which took both CBD and hemp-based CBD off the federal control substances list, making CBD legal in the United States. CBD for pets, however, is still taboo and comes with much controversy since veterinarians are hesitant to talk about it. With extensive research and evidence that CBD is safe for pets, more pet parents will accept it to treat their furry babies.
About the Author: Kimberley Dawson is a content specialist who frequently writes about CBD, Cannabis, and other alternative pain relievers.
CBD for Dogs: Everything You Need to Know
In certain states, medical marijuana is an option for people seeking relief from ailments like seizures, pain, anxiety, and cancer.
Pet parents and veterinarians alike are naturally wondering whether cbd for dogs, in the form of products such as cbd oil for dogs or cbd dog treats, can provide the same benefits.
Here’s everything you need to know about CBD for dogs.
THC vs. CBD for Dogs
CBD is one of over 80 different chemical compounds called “cannabinoids” that have been derived from the cannabis (marijuana) plant. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), perhaps the most famous cannabinoid, CBD is not psychoactive.
Instead, CBD shares important metabolic pathways with a class of drugs called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen and Rimadyl. These pathways control many processes in the body, from inflammatory responses to blood clotting.
Do not give dogs straight marijuana or any product containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive component of marijuana. There is simply not enough research to justify the use.
CBD-based products, however, may help improve your dog’s quality of life when used in conjunction with other therapies.
Why Use CBD for Dogs?
CBD is often mentioned as a useful therapy for a variety of conditions, including pain management, arthritis, anxiety, seizures, and even cancer. Although the use of CBD in treating each of these conditions is under-researched, there are varying levels of scientific evidence for each scenario.
Because CBD shares metabolic pathways with anti-inflammatory drugs, it makes sense that it would help with certain inflammatory conditions (anything that ends with -itis is an inflammatory condition).
Osteoarthritis, often abbreviated as arthritis, is one of the most common inflammatory conditions in dogs.
One in four dogs will be diagnosed with arthritis in their lifetime, and by some estimates, as many as 60% of dogs exhibit some degree of the disease.
Research has shown that CBD can provide substantial pain relief in dogs with arthritis when given twice daily at appropriate doses.
In theory, the anti-inflammatory benefit seen in arthritic dogs could also be seen in dogs with other types of inflammatory pain, especially back pain from intervertebral disc disease (IVDD).
Preliminary studies in people have shown that combo products containing both CBD and THC are more beneficial for pain relief than when either drug is given alone. But no such research has been done on dogs, so THC should not be given to them.
Seizures are probably the most-studied application of CBD in people, but limited research exists for pets. In dogs, seizures can be caused by a vast number of underlying conditions.
With regards to idiopathic epilepsy specifically, there is some research that suggests that CBD could be useful in reducing seizure frequency in these dogs. However, these benefits are only seen with dogs that are given traditional anti-seizure medications at the same time.
Like seizures, the term “cancer” is an umbrella term that refers to an extremely diverse set of specific diseases, each with their own set of beneficial treatments.
In people, CBD has been studied for possible use in cancer patients, both to treat the tumor(s) directly, as well as to treat the secondary symptoms of cancer and chemotherapy. Very limited research has been done on the use of CBD for dogs with cancer.
However, the anti-nausea effects of CBD seen in people who undergo chemotherapy have also been documented in rats and ferrets, suggesting that dogs receiving chemotherapy may benefit from CBD treatment.
Perhaps the biggest misconception is that CBD is useful in managing a dog’s anxiety. In theory, it is possible that CBD, by reducing pain and inflammation, could indirectly reduce anxiety caused by pain or inflammation.
But because CBD is not psychoactive, it is unlikely that CBD has the ability to directly treat canine anxiety in the way that Prozac and other medications do. The use of CBD for anxiety in dogs, as with most conditions, requires substantially more research.
Potential Risks of CBD for Dogs
Overall, CBD itself seems to be incredibly safe in dogs and cats. However, numerous scientific papers have found that when given at the recommended doses, CBD does cause an elevation in an important liver value on bloodwork called alkaline phosphatase (ALP).
We are not yet sure whether the elevation of this liver value has any medical significance. It could signify that CBD causes irritation or damage to the liver. Alternatively, it could be an artificial finding in which the drug interferes with the way the lab measures the liver value.
Anecdotal reports do exist of dogs becoming somewhat sleepy or sedate if they receive extremely large doses of CBD, but those effects appear to resolve on their own with time.
CBD doesn’t appear to have any drug interactions when it’s given to a dog that’s on an anti-inflammatory drug like Rimadyl.
Because there is a theoretical risk of drug interaction, as with any medication, you should consult your veterinarian first before treating your dog with CBD.
THC Dangers for Dogs
Unlike CBD, THC ingestion can cause serious problems for your pet.
“The most significant [issue] is THC toxicity, meaning, essentially, they are high,” says Dr. Gary Richter, owner and medical director of Montclair Veterinary Hospital in Oakland, California. “Depending on how significantly a pet has been overdosed, the effects of that can be quite long-lasting, even days.”
During these episodes, a pet may not be able to stand or eat. If you suspect THC toxicity, take your pet to the veterinarian immediately. Secondary effects of THC, especially respiratory depression, should be monitored closely to avoid complications.
Overall, life-threatening risks for dogs from cannabis are “exceedingly rare,” Dr. Richter says. There is no documented lethal dose for THC in dogs. In fact, a dose of THC 1,000 times greater than the dose needed for a dog to feel “high” is still not lethal.
THC toxicity more often occurs when a pet has eaten a product that also contains chocolate, coffee, or raisins. “Even if the THC toxicity is not excessive, they can sometimes have problems due to these other ingredients,” says Dr. Richter.
How Much CBD Can You Give Dogs?
Though there are some topical treatments, CBD oil is typically administered orally to dogs, and giving the correct dosage is imperative. “As is the case with any medication, success has everything to do with dosing,” Dr. Richter says.
Studies on using CBD for dogs with arthritis or seizures generally use a dose between 2-8 mg/kg, with most papers erring on the lower side of that estimate (roughly 1-2 milligrams per pound of body weight), twice daily.
This dosage has been found to be both safe and somewhat effective for just the conditions studied (arthritis and seizures). Additional research is needed to evaluate the necessary dosages for CBD in treating other conditions.
One complication in attempting to properly dose dogs with CBD is that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found that many CBD products actually contain little, if any, CBD.
The only FDA-approved cannabinoid product, Epidiolex, could theoretically be prescribed by a veterinarian for epilepsy in dogs, although this would likely be cost-prohibitive. Because it is FDA-approved, though, the CBD content of this product would be accurate, unlike most other CBD products on the market.
Can Veterinarians Prescribe CBD for Dogs?
U.S. veterinarians are forbidden from prescribing/dispensing CBD, and cannot encourage or instruct clients to purchase CBD products.
However, they are free to talk to you about the potential risks and benefits of a treatment plan you may have devised on your own. If you are considering giving CBD to your dog, speak to your vet, and you may want to also speak with a veterinarian who has experience with CBD.