Can CBD Help My Dog?
Dogs are family. We get it; we are dog owners too. In fact, when we got pregnant with our first son, we were scared we would have to give our pup Jax away. As of today, Jax has been taking CBD for the last two years, and he is no longer the anxious, restless, crazy (well, he is still a little crazy...) dog he once was. He is still a ball of energy, but because of CBD’s calming properties, his temperament is more balanced, and we feel safe to have him around our three small children.
Since opening Happy Trails in 2018, we have witnessed CBD work wonders for dogs for various reasons, and we are here to share them with you today. Are you wondering if CBD can help your dog? Read on to learn all about the benefits and risks. Let’s start with learning about CBD.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is a compound that is found in cannabis plants. CBD products on the market mostly come from hemp rather than marijuana plants.
Cannabinoids like CBD are known for interacting with the endocannabinoid receptors in the body’s peripheral and central nervous systems. Cannabinoids and endocannabinoid receptors are part of a large regulatory system known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). When cannabinoids are plentiful and balanced within this system, they help keep the body healthy.
Dogs Have an Endocannabinoid System too!
CBD came into our lives for human health reasons, but soon we discovered that dogs could use it too. If you read What is CBD?, you’ll learn that we all have an endocannabinoid system.
“The ECS is a regulatory system responsible for vital functions including immune support, mood regulation, memory, pain response, appetite, sleep, and more. Endocannabinoids may fall below a desirable level or become imbalanced. When this happens, we can experience many of the ailments people encounter every day (insomnia, mood disorders, pain, etc.). Supplementing with CBD from a natural plant source like hemp can be extremely beneficial to counteract these imbalances.”
As it turns out, all mammals have an ECS, and that is why utilizing CBD can be a safe, natural, and effective remedy for your puppy. Let’s explore the most common reasons people seek out CBD for their dogs.
Common Ailments in Dogs CBD can help with
CBD is effective at treating inflammatory conditions because it shares the same metabolic pathways that anti-inflammatory drugs have. Osteoarthritis is prevalent in dogs; 1 in 4 dogs will experience arthritic symptoms to some degree in their lifetime. CBD can also help treat other inflammatory pain in dogs, such as intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), known to cause back pain. Many dog owners claim that CBD has also helped treat their pets' neuropathic pain.
CBD as a means of treating epilepsy and managing other seizure disorders has been one of the most studied forms of CBD use in humans; however, there are limited studies in the treatment of dog seizures. Some research suggests that CBD reduces the frequency of seizures in dogs, specifically for the disease idiopathic epilepsy . Yet, in this study, these benefits were seen while the dogs were taking regular anti-seizure medication, so it is unclear if CBD was the main factor in seizure reduction.
Fireworks, thunderstorms, loud noises, trauma, history of abuse, and more are reasons for dogs to experience anxiety. We can’t tell you how many customers have thanked us for helping us bring their pets back with the addition of CBD. The thing is, in dogs, the anxiety reduction may not be because of CBD’s anxiolytic properties. We think CBD relieves dog anxiety by reducing inflammation and other pain that creates distress, which brings on pressure. We believe that the CBD acts as a mild sedative rather than relieving anxiety directly, allowing the dog to feel more relaxed. Whatever the mechanism, it does seem to help dogs that experience anxiety.
CBD and other cannabinoids have been shown in various studies to reduce tumor size and reduce cancer cell proliferation. That being said, there have been minimal studies for the use of CBD in dogs with cancer. However, CBD has proven to help with chemotherapy's side effects (such as nausea) in human cancer patients, rats, and ferrets in various studies. For this reason, we think CBD could very well be an effective anti-nausea treatment for dogs undergoing chemotherapy.
What are the possible side effects?
It is highly recommended that pet owners follow proper dosing guidelines when treating their dogs with CBD to limit any possible side effects. Although little research for CBD side effects in dogs exists, they are assumed to be similar to the side effects of CBD supplementation in humans.
- Drowsiness: A common belief is that CBD helps treat anxiety because of its calming effects. What we believe causes feelings of calmness is the side effect of drowsiness.
- Dry Mouth: Decreased saliva production is a known side effect of CBD and could cause an increased amount of thirst in dogs.
- Low Blood Pressure: Temporary drops in blood pressure sometimes occur when people consume high doses of CBD. Though small, this drop could lead to feelings of lightheadedness. Though studies have not been done on dogs on this topic, we can expect it may be the same for some dogs.
Are there any risks for my dog?
Because of limited research, it is hard to say what the risks are, if any when it comes to CBD use in dogs. In large doses, dogs may become sleepy or mildly sedated, but this issue resolves over time. It can actually be helpful when addressing anxiety or stressful situations a dog may be in.
We think it’s always a good idea to check with your vet before starting your dog on a CBD regimen, especially if the dog is on any medications. To our knowledge so far, there are no drug interactions recorded with the use of CBD and other medications in dogs, but it is always better to err on the side of caution.
So, do the benefits outweigh the risks?
Overall, we believe CBD supplementation can be a very safe and natural option for dogs, as long as the pup is getting the proper recommended dose, which is based on their weight. Companies like Passionate Paws include dosing charts with your purchase so you can be sure you are giving your pet the right amount.
It is essential to opt for a broad spectrum or isolate product for your dog, one that will have 0% THC. THC has psychoactive properties and may cause harmful reactions and side effects.
Suppose you’re looking for a natural remedy to help your dog bounce back from an injury, increase their quality of life as they age, assist in their pain/inflammation, decrease their anxiety, or potentially help with seizures. In that case, CBD may be a really great option for you to try. It is essential to start the dose low and go slow to see how your furry friend reacts. As mentioned above, it is a good idea to consult your vet before starting your pet on a CBD regimen, especially if the dog is already taking medications or supplements.
How do I Administer CBD to my Dog?
With many different types of CBD products designed for dogs and pets, there are different ways that you can administer CBD to your dog. With oils, topical, and treats all containing different levels of CBD, finding the best that fits your pets needs is a breeze.
- Oils: An oil is a concentrated form of CBD that is sometimes infused with other beneficial ingredients that helps the dog get their dose of CBD while supporting a healthy coat. The oil we sell comes with a syringe and dosing chart. The syringe can be administered directly into the dog’s mouth (recommended if the dog does not have an appetite or is hiding due to anxiety), or can be mixed in with their food.
- Treats: Edibles are a great way to give CBD to your dog because, well, what dog doesn’t like treats?!
- Topicals: These are salves, sprays or creams you apply to the animal’s skin to help reduce inflammation, ease itching or swelling, and soothe the area. They are usually applied to exposed areas like the nose and paws, where dogs are more prone to injury.
We are hopeful that there will be more studies regarding CBD and dogs and cats in the near future, and you can be sure that Happy Trails will update you with any relevant information. Make sure to check out our Passionate Paws CBD oils or our King Kalm dog treats.
If you have any questions, feel free to call us or come into a Happy Trails near you. Find our locations and more information at HappyTrailsCBD.com.
- Randomized blinded controlled clinical trial to assess the effect of oral cannabidiol administration in addition to conventional antiepileptic treatment on seizure frequency in dogs with intractable idiopathic epilepsy - pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31067185