CBD for Your Dog: Your Most Important Questions Answered
CBD is one of the most talked-about options in the holistic wellness space, and it’s no surprise why. However, this holistic remedy does bring up its fair share of questions.
If you’re currently exploring the world of CBD and how it can help your four-legged friend, you may wonder a lot of things. What is it? How does it work? Is it safe? Is it effective? Part of the journey in getting all your top CBD questions answered is learning all about the many CBD benefits for dogs and how it can help them live happier and healthier lives.
So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at CBD, the many situations it’s used for, and how it may be the perfect holistic option for your pup!
What is CBD?
Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is CBD, and where does it come from?
CBD is short for “cannabidiol,” a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant.
The cannabis plant comes in two varieties: marijuana and hemp. The main difference between the two plants is the tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, content. The marijuana plant contains high levels of THC (the psychoactive component that marijuana is known for). The hemp plant, however, contains trace amounts of THC – generally, no more than .3%. CBD can be extracted from both of these plant varieties; however it’s the hemp variety that’s sourced for CBD products made for dogs and other animals.
Is CBD legal?
Hemp-derived CBD products are legal in all 50 states, so you never have to worry about accessibility issues.
Will CBD get your dog high?
As mentioned above, only CBD from the marijuana variety of the cannabis plant contain high levels of THC (the compound responsible for the psychoactive effects associated with “getting high”).
Since hemp-derived CBD products only contain trace amounts of THC (0.3% or less), you don’t have to worry about your pet experiencing any kind of high.
Another significant CBD fact is that hemp-derived CBD is also non-addictive. Your pet will not develop a dependency to CBD and can instead simply reap its many potential health and wellness benefits.
How does CBD work?
When cannabinoids like CBD are introduced into the body, they interact with something called the endocannabinoid system.
You can think of the endocannabinoid system as you would any other regulatory system in the body like the immune system or the central nervous system.
The endocannabinoid system in particular plays a role in regulating key physiological processes such as appetite, sleep, pain response, and mood.
Both us and our dogs have an endocannabinoid system. In fact, the system is present in all mammalian bodies, where its job is to remedy any imbalances in order to achieve homeostasis, a.k.a. optimal function of and steady equilibrium among our internal processes.
So how does the endocannabinoid system work exactly?
Simply put, the endocannabinoid system is made up of cannabinoid receptors called CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors. The below picture shows how these receptors are spread all throughout the body, located in important organs like the brain and lungs and in important systems like the immune system and vascular system.
When cannabinoids like CBD enter the body, they interact with the endocannabinoid system either by binding directly to and activating the CB1 and CB2 receptors, or by performing certain actions that influence the endocannabinoid system indirectly.
These interactions are what result in the potential health benefits a person (or animal) can experience when using CBD or other cannabinoids.
For example, the cannabinoid THC can modulate pain at the spinal cord and brain level when it activates CB1 receptors, while activating the CB2 receptors can help support the body’s normal inflammatory response.
Specifically, How Can My Dog Benefit from CBD?
Now that we’ve talked a little bit about how CBD works on the molecular level, let’s discuss the outward signs of CBD’s effect on your dog.
CBD for Mobility
As your dog starts to get up in years, you may notice changes to his mobility as a normal part of aging. Maybe he’s no longer able to enjoy his daily walks the way he used to, or maybe he struggles to climb the stairs in your home.
Many pet parents turn to CBD for this very situation. CBD supports healthy joints and flexibility, provides connective tissue support, and can help relieve occasional joint stiffness by maintaining joint mobility and supporting bone health.
It’s no wonder so many of our customer success stories revolve around senior dogs who got the spring back in their step thanks to CBD!
CBD for Pain
Do you know how to tell if your dog is in pain? Dogs are notorious for hiding their discomfort, a trait they inherited from their wild ancestors. Usually, by the time a dog has made their pain known, it’s progressed to a very uncomfortable point.
Naturally, no pet parent ever wants to see their dog in pain. Whether your dog is recovering from an injury or recent operation, or is experiencing occasional discomfort from normal aging or from normal daily exercise and activity, CBD can help.
CBD supports a normal inflammatory response in the body, which helps with occasional stiffness and soreness while also supporting healthy cellular activity and normal muscle recovery.
CBD for Stress
Stress can affect dogs just as much as it can people. There are various reasons why a dog may feel stressed or nervous, including loud noises (like thunderstorms and fireworks), changes in the household (such as bringing a new baby home or having family over for a special gathering), changes to their usual routine (such as traveling, hospitalization, or moving to a new home), and separation from their loved ones at times when they’re left home alone.
Other times, you may simply have a dog on your hands who is dealing with hyperactivity. Hyperactivity is often caused by excess energy and can lead to destructive behavior.
Fortunately, CBD can help. CBD has a calming effect on the nerves, which automatically promotes relaxation in animals and supports a normal emotional balance. It helps animals cope with external stresses (including environmentally-induced stress) and situations that may cause nervousness and helps them maintain a normal and relaxed disposition.
CBD for Wellness
In the same way that we take vitamins and other supplements in order to support our immune system, dogs can benefit from immune-boosting foods and holistic options as well, especially in their senior years, when added support can make all the difference in improving their quality of life.
In addition to assisting and supporting the immune system, CBD also supports normal cardiovascular and neurological function, promotes long-term health, and helps maintain physical and mental wellbeing.
Is CBD safe for pets?
CBD products are perfectly safe for your furry friend as long as they’re derived from the hemp variety of the cannabis plant.
Products derived from the marijuana variety of cannabis, however, are NOT safe for animal consumption, as they typically contain high levels of THC and can thus be toxic to animals.
As for side effects, hemp-derived CBD rarely produces side effects in pets, with most pet parents simply observing slight lethargy in the beginning of the introduction process. That is one of the reasons CBD is such a popular holistic option among pet parents.
Below are the most commonly reported side effects, but every dog is different, and you may find that your four-legged friend exhibits none of these side effects at all.
The important thing is to closely monitor your dog’s behavior and activity levels when first introducing CBD (and to introduce it slowly), so that you can best determine the perfect dose for your pup.
Most Common Reported Side Effects:
CBD can lead to a decrease in the production of saliva. This typically presents itself as an increased thirst in your pet. Ensure that your dog always has access to fresh water so that he can satisfy his thirst as needed.
CBD can promote relaxation in animals, so your four-legged friend might seem a little sleepy when they’re first introduced to CBD. This may be ideal if you’re using CBD to help your dog manage stress or nervousness, but if your dog ever seems too drowsy, you can always adjust their dose accordingly.
Lowered Blood Pressure
If you administer too high a dose of CBD to your pet, it may cause a temporary drop in blood pressure. The drop itself is small, but it can create a temporary feeling of lightheadedness in your pup. Be sure to stay within the recommended dosage range for your dog’s weight whenever offering them CBD.
If you’ve ever introduced a new food or supplement to your dog’s healthcare regimen, you probably already know that diarrhea is almost an expected side effect. In this case, the gastrointestinal upset is not caused by the CBD itself but rather by the carrier oil that’s used in the product. This is why it’s important to slowly introduce CBD to your dog, as it gives his body time to acclimate. It’s also a good rule of thumb to offer CBD at mealtime as opposed to on an empty stomach.
When first introducing CBD to your pet, it’s always best to start with a smaller dose and then gradually work your way up to a full dose over a series of days.
And it’s good news that today’s top pet CBD brands have developed creative, functional ways for our canine companions to enjoy CBD in forms that are safe and, in many cases, already familiar to them.
What are the most common CBD products for dogs?
CBD oils are commonly referred to as CBD tinctures.
CBD tinctures come equipped with a dropper (usually 1mL in size), which takes out the guesswork when it comes to giving your pet CBD. With a tincture, you always know just how much CBD oil your animal friend is receiving and can easily adjust the dose as needed.
CBD oils are best administered sublingually (under your pet’s tongue). This allows the CBD to quickly diffuse into the blood through the tissues located underneath your pet’s tongue.
Alternatively, with a pet tincture, you can also administer CBD oil at mealtime.
CBD Bites and Chews
What dog doesn’t love a tasty morsel of goodness?
CBD bites and chews make it easier than ever to introduce CBD into your pet’s health regimen. They come in various shapes and sizes and are usually formulated with delicious ingredients that pets already love — like coconut, peanut butter, and turmeric.
Some pet CBD companies even manufacture CBD-infused peanut butter and CBD-infused coconut oil. CBD oil products like this are a big hit among animals!
Not all CBD pet products need to be consumed.
Sometimes, animal lovers seek out specific CBD benefits that can be achieved simply through topical application.
Since CBD can help support healthy skin, CBD-infused coconut oil for pets is a popular go-to in moisturizing the dry skin of noses or cracked paws. It’s also a great option to turn to for hot spots.
What is the best pet CBD brand?
Not all pet CBD products are created equally.
This is one of the biggest reasons why it’s important to know your CBD facts when purchasing a product for you or your pet.
This is especially vital considering the CBD space isn’t regulated by any official governing bodies, meaning it’s all too easy to come across low-quality products or even products that contain no CBD whatsoever despite what their labeling says.
For that reason, here are seven must-haves to tick off your criteria list when you’re researching a CBD company:
1. Hemp-derived CBD only!
This not only ensures that your CBD is legal in all 50 States, but it also guarantees that your CBD product doesn’t contain high traces of THC, which can be toxic to your pet. (Ultimately, a Certificate of Analysis will give you the most detailed breakdown of your CBD, which we discuss further down this list).
2. Full-spectrum CBD oil is king!
Avoid broad-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate and go straight for full-spectrum CBD. Again, full-spectrum CBD contains the most cannabinoids, and studies have shown that these cannabinoids work together synergistically in order to produce the most potent results for your health or your pet’s health. In short: the more cannabinoids, the better. Some companies will tout CBD isolate as a purer product since it contains 100% CBD and nothing else. The reality, however, is that CBD isolate is simply cheaper to make since it eliminates all the other cannabinoids in the production process. While it certainly can offer health benefits, full-spectrum CBD is a great deal more robust.
3. CBD products should be natural and all organic.
As with organic food, the cannabis plant’s quality can be altered by the way that it’s grown. Best practices mean plants that haven’t been treated with pesticides or other harmful chemicals. The method of extraction makes a difference as well, with CO2 extraction being the best option. It produces cleaner, purer, and healthier hemp CBD oil. In addition, CBD pet products should be non-GMO and free of soy, dairy, corn, and gluten as well.
4. Buy from a CBD company that is compliant with The National Animal Supplement Council.
The NASC ensures that retailers practice ethical behavior and that they’re 100% committed to manufacturing only the safest and highest quality of products. NASC-compliant companies undergo rigorous quality audits to ensure their supplements (CBD included) are top-of-the-line. With no formal governing bodies monitoring the CBD space, the NASC seal of approval is a sure way to find premium quality CBD for your pet.
5. A Certificate of Analysis (or COA) will show exactly how much CBD a product contains.
Any reputable company should be able to provide you with a Certificate of Analysis. If they can’t or won’t, that’s a red flag. This important document ensures that your CBD product contains no contaminants that can be toxic to your pet, while also providing a comprehensive breakdown of all the different cannabinoids and terpenes that are present in your CBD. (Terpenes are natural compounds that are also derived from the cannabis plant and added to CBD products to produce certain desired results; some are best for promoting relaxation, for instance, while others can be used to support the body’s inflammatory response). A Certificate of Analysis will also allow you to ensure that the THC levels in your product are at 0.3% or less.
6. Play detective and research any CBD company you’re considering.
Make sure that the company is in right-standing with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Simply search online for “FDA dog CBD,” and you’ll find a list of offenders who have made false claims about their products in the past. Reading client reviews will also give you a clear idea of brand reputation and customer service, and you should always check out a company’s rating on Better Business Bureau.
7. Ensure the CBD has been lab-tested by a third party and not a company that the retailer is affiliated with.
The Certificate of Analysis should list the name, address, phone number, and sometimes even website of the lab that tested the CBD, allowing you to contact them and ask any questions you might have. This ensures total transparency in the lab results and guarantees that the Certificate of Analysis is accurate and authentic.
Where can I buy CBD oil?
The internet is full of CBD companies and retailers who sell hemp-derived CBD products.
That said, you should never purchase a CBD product without thoroughly investigating the company behind it first.
Do your homework, read reviews, and research the company in question as much as you can. Use the 7-step buyer’s guide provided above as you begin to compare different CBD brands and don’t stop searching until you’ve found a company that checks off all the boxes.
How do I know what CBD dosage to give my dog?
Your veterinarian or other trusted pet health and wellness expert can best help you determine the optimal CBD dosage to give your dog based on a few determnining factors. Here are some guidelines to help you, as an educated pet parent, best understand CBD dosages.
There are different types of CBD products, from CBD dog treats to CBD oil for dogs, so deciding on a dose of CBD can be confusing at first. But, once you know the factors involved, finding a CBD dosage is much easier.
As with all things, some dogs may react differently than others. For this reason, you should watch your pet carefully and adjust their dosage accordingly.
The amount of hemp oil you give your dog depends on their weight and their particular ailment. A good formula to use when deciding on a dose of CBD for your dog is: 0.25mg of CBD per pound of dog. This means for a 9-pound dog, a good CBD dose to start with is 2.25mg.
For therapeutic benefits for stress, CBD can be used as needed. For more serious ailments, pet parents should follow a set schedule to avoid flair ups.
Another factor to consider is the age of your pet. This can affect the potency of the CBD dose. A younger dog will not be as affected by a CBD dose as an older, full-grown dog. Because of this, younger pups may need a higher dose to get the desired effect from their CBD oil.
Lastly, the type of CBD product that a pet owner uses will affect the dose. A CBD tincture is pure hemp oil and will most likely result in the most fast-acting benefits. A CBD dog treat contains CBD, but also other ingredients. This can affect how quickly the CBD is absorbed in your dog’s system.
Regardless of the delivery method, all quality CBD products are very effective depending on your furry friend’s needs. Always be sure to follow the dosage instructions and closely monitor how your dog reacts. Based on your dog’s response, you can increase or decrease the CBD oil dosage to fit your needs.
How Much CBD is in a CBD Dog Treat or CBD Oil?
When buying CBD products, the package usually lists the total amount of CBD in the package (like the box of treats or bottle). Because of this, it’s important to read the box or bottle carefully so you don’t assume one is more potent than the other when, in fact, each treat may contain the same amount of CBD.
To figure out how much CBD is in each treat or each dose of CBD oil, scan the back of the package and determine how much CBD is in each drop or CBD treat. With CBD oil and tinctures, you may have to do a little math. That depends on if the CBD dose is determined per drop or on how many drops are in the dropper itself. Most products will tell you how many milligrams are in a full dropper and if this is the case you can figure out the CBD dose easily.
If the CBD oil or hemp oil says it contains 35 mg of CBD per full dropper, you can fill the dropper yourself and dispense the oil to confirm how many drops are in the dropper. Let’s say there’s an average of 30 drops in each full dropper. You would just divide 35 mg by 30 drops. This would tell me there is about 1.2 mg of CBD in each drop of CBD oil. Now you know how to start your dog’s dose of CBD!
As mentioned above, we always recommend consulting with your trusted vet or other pet health expert when starting a new health remedy for your pet.
CBD for Your Dog – Final Thoughts and Next Steps
CBD is taking the holistic world by storm, and it’s easy to see why.
People all over the world are turning to this holistic option for a host of reasons, from fighting free radicals and supporting healthy immune function to promoting relaxation and helping with occasional discomfort.
Fortunately, these days, our beloved four-legged friends can take part in the exciting world of CBD too, thanks to CBD pet companies that are dedicated to crafting the best CBD products for our dogs and cats to support their health and happiness.
If you’ve been on the fence about giving CBD a try, why not make today the day you take a leap to see the results for yourselves?
Best Friends Pet Hotel proudly partnered with Honest Paws in 2020 to offer a superior-quality pet CBD product line (available at all of our locations) that our pet parents can trust.
Honest Paws uses 100% pure full spectrum CBD hemp oil from hemp plants cultivated in Colorado; made in the USA and thoroughly lab tested.
Honest Paws pet CBD products are human grade, organic, 100% natural, and completely vegan. Additionally, they’re non-GMO, soy free, dairy free, corn free, and gluten free.
Honest Paws is certified with the National Animal Supplement Council for all their products and undergo rigorous quality audits to achieve the highest standards in the CBD space.
We invite you to explore our entire collection of Honest Paws pet CBD products, which are available across four unique condition-specific lines: Calm, Mobility, Relief, and Wellness.
To learn more about Honest Paws pet CBD products for your dog, visit our products page, or call your local Best Friends Pet Hotel, and someone will be happy to answer any questions for you.
All of our Honest Paws pet CBD products can be purchased curbside at your local Best Friends Pet Hotel.
CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know
As with any pet wellness trend, when it comes to CBD oil for dogs, there’s a lot of information floating around the internet, and it’s difficult to know what’s accurate and what’s exaggeration. Of course, you want to do what’s best for your pup, which leads to the question: What do I need to know about CBD oil for dogs?
The AKC’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Jerry Klein, explains what CBD oil is, what it does for dogs, and its safety concerns and potential side effects.
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis and hemp. Dr. Klein says it is essential to note that in most cases, CBD oil does not contain delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound that gives marijuana its psychoactive properties. In fact, most CBD products are derived from hemp and not from marijuana.
How Does CBD Affect Dogs?
Currently, there has been no formal study on how CBD affects dogs. What scientists do know is that cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid receptors located in the central and peripheral nervous systems, which help maintain balance in the body and keep it in a normal healthy state.
What Dog Health Problems Can CBD Oil Treat?
While there’s no definitive scientific data on using CBD to treat dogs, there’s anecdotal evidence from dog owners suggesting it can treat pain, especially neuropathic pain, as well as helping to control seizures.
According to Dr. Klein, CBD is also used because of its anti-inflammatory properties, cardiac benefits, anti-nausea effects, appetite stimulation, anti-anxiety impact, and for possible anti-cancer benefits, although there’s no conclusive data on this use.
The AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF) is sponsoring a study through the Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to evaluate the use of CBD in treatment-resistant epileptic dogs. The CHF hopes that this will be the first study to gain scientific data on the use of CBD in dogs with this condition.
Possible Side Effects of CBD in Dogs
While there’s no scientific data on the side effects of CBD usage for dogs, there are potential side effects based on how CBD affects humans. To minimize any potential side effects, make sure you are following the proper dosage.
- Dry mouth: Research has shown that CBD can decrease the production of saliva. For dogs, this would manifest as an increased thirst.
- Lowered blood pressure: High doses of CBD have been known to cause a temporary drop in blood pressure. Even though the drop is small, it might create a brief feeling of light-headedness.
- Drowsiness: Dog owners have used CBD to treat anxiety. The calming effect of CBD can also cause slight drowsiness, especially when using higher doses.
Risks of Using CBD Oil for Dogs
The safety and risks of using CBD for dogs have not yet been researched. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved CBD and has not issued a dosing chart. Therefore, we do not know what size dosage would be toxic. Any medication or supplement carries the risk of a reaction. It is always advisable, when giving your dog something new, to start out with small amounts and then closely monitor the effects. And always check with your veterinarian first.
CBD Products on the Market
If you and your veterinarian decide that you should try CBD as a treatment for your dog, there are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing CBD oil. Not all oils are the same; you’ll want high-quality CBD oil to have a better chance of it working.
- Look for organic. If the CBD oil is not organic, it at least should not contain pesticides, fungicides, or solvents.
- Don’t only shop based on price. Higher quality and purity are usually associated with a higher cost. A cheaper option could contain toxic substances such as pesticides, herbicides, or heavy metals. Make sure your CBD oil is free of additives.
- Get the analysis. The manufacturer should provide a certificate that certifies the amount of CBD that is in the product. Many CBD products contain only small amounts of CBD. You’ll also want to make sure there is little or no THC in the product.
- Buy CBD as a liquid. You can buy dog treats containing CBD, but the best form to administer is an oil or tincture. This way, you can adjust your dog’s dose drop by drop.
The CBD Wellness Trend
Why are we hearing so much about CBD oil now? Dr. Klein points to the legalization of marijuana in many places, which has triggered interest in potential health benefits of marijuana-related products. “We are likely to see continued interest in CBD and an increase in research about its uses and efficacy in the coming years,” he says.
Learn more about the CBD study funded by the Canine Health Foundation.
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Does CBD Work for Dogs?
Topper, a 7-year-old Ibizan Hound, could hardly walk after being diagnosed with severe arthritic changes due to Valley fever. “The pain became so debilitating he had to be carried outside to eat, drink, or use the bathroom,” recalls owner Christy Moore. “He was on pain medication but it wasn’t working. A friend recommended pet CBD. Within three days he could walk on all four legs and I was crying tears of joy. It was the miracle we needed.”
Lady Amelthia, a Greyhound, was so petrified of thunderstorms she would destroy a crate to escape. “Holding her only made her claw to get away. A ThunderShirt reduced her from 100 to 90 on the anxiety scale,” recalls owner Jenn Boswell, director of the Alabama Greyhound Adoption Center. “Veterinary-prescribed trazodone took it down to a 50. Tried three drops of CBD oil and it went down to a 5.”
Success stories abound of dogs overcoming anxiety, slowing seizures, and even beating cancer due to cannabidiol (CBD), one of more than 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. But how can one substance help so many unrelated problems? Or can it?
Cannabinoids are substances including CBD and THC that mimic the endocannabinoid chemicals naturally produced in all vertebrates. Receptors for endocannabinoids are found throughout the body. The body’s endocannabinoids act as master regulators that signal other systems when to speed up or slow down, working to stabilize the body and return it to homeostasis. Cannabinoids from the cannabis plant affect these same receptors, each in slightly different ways. For example, THC causes a high, while CBD does not.
Is It Harmful?
Unlike THC, which can cause toxicity and even death in dogs when given at prescribed human dosages, the worst CBD has been documented to do is cause diarrhea and changes in some liver enzyme values after several weeks. The main concern with CBD is that it inhibits a chemical in the body called cytochrome P450 that is responsible for metabolizing most drugs. If a drug’s efficacy depends on its metabolized product, CBD could render it less effective. If a drug’s safety depends on it being cleared from the body within a certain time frame, CBD could cause it to build up to toxic levels. Never give your dog CBD without your veterinarian’s knowledge if your dog is taking other drugs.
Does It Work?
Research with dogs is still scarce, but there’s a huge body of research (about 23,000 published papers!) looking at CBD’s effect on laboratory animals and humans, with encouraging results for pain, especially arthritic pain, itchiness, anxiety, and cancer, all of which have at least one canine study as well. The results in dogs? It depends.
Arthritis: Several studies have looked at CBD’s effectiveness against arthritic pain, all with positive results. A Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine study found dogs given CBD at a rate of 4.4 mg per pound twice daily for a month showed significant improvement in pain relief and quality of life. Lead investigator Joe Wakshlag, DVM, Ph.D., DACVN, said that some dogs were initially so decrepit that their owners considered euthanasia, but that after just days on CBD they were trotting around and even climbing stairs. A Baylor University study found similar improvement, adding that CBD worked better when delivered in a liposomal formulation.
Itchiness: Two recent double-blind, placebo-controlled dog studies report CBD significantly reduces itchiness. An Australian study conducted by the company CannPal found their CBD product reduced itchiness, inflammation, and skin lesions by 51 percent after eight weeks of treatment. An American study conducted by the company ElleVet found their product, which combines CBD with another cannabinoid, CBDA, significantly reduced owners’ reports of itchiness.
Cancer: Cannabinoids are reported to induce cancer-cell death and prevent metastasis. In a Cornell University study of CBD, dogs, and cancer, researchers found CBD along with a standard chemotherapy drug reduced cancer-cell proliferation in vitro more than the chemotherapy drug alone. Anecdotal reports from veterinarians have claimed CBD shrunk cancer cells or put dogs into remission.
Behavior: Anxiety, and especially noise reactivity, is a major reason dog owners seek help using CBD. But despite anecdotal reports of its effectiveness, no controlled study so far has shown it to be particularly effective. A study from the University of Western Australia may show promise for aggressive behavior. Shelter dogs with aggressive tendencies exhibited less aggression toward humans when tested after 15 days of CBD administration. In a study from the University of Kentucky, physiological measurements of anxiety in response to noise were not significantly different for CBD versus placebo, and were worse compared to trazodone (a drug commonly prescribed for anxiety). Note, however, that in this study the CBD was administered four to six hours before testing, which may have been too long a waiting period.
Seizures: Lots of anecdotal reports hail CBD’s success combatting seizures in dogs, but the single controlled study delivered moderate results. In this Colorado State University study, dogs given CBD for 12 weeks had 33 percent fewer seizures than those given a placebo, but it didn’t work for every dog. These researchers are now working on a larger trial using higher CBD doses. Note that THC has been reported to cause seizures, so it should never be included in any CBD product for seizure control. In addition, CBD’s effect on cytochrome P450 could interfere with prescribed anti-seizure drugs, so never use it without your veterinarian’s consent.
Other: There’s also evidence from laboratory animals that CBD is effective in promoting bone healing, fighting infection, treating inflammatory bowel disease, slowing degenerative myelopathy, quelling nausea, and relieving pain, but these have yet to be specifically examined in dogs.
How to Choose CBD For Dogs?
With hundreds of CBD products on the market, and little regulation of them, it’s not easy to know which is best. Look for a product with the National Animal Supplement Counsel (NASC) Seal of Quality Assurance, and one that has a third-party certificate of analysis that includes potency, lists all ingredients, and discloses the possible presence of heavy metals, mycotoxins, or pesticides. Avoid edible products formulated for human consumption, which often contain ingredients such as xylitol that are toxic to pets.
Choose broad-spectrum products, which include other cannabinoids and substances known as terpenes that are also in the cannabis plant. CBD seems to work best when it’s in conjunction with these rather than isolated. But avoid full-spectrum products that include THC.
Aim for about 0.1 to 0.2 mg per kilogram of your dog’s weight, given twice daily by mouth. Work up gradually, but beware that more is not always better with CBD, as sometimes the response is biphasic, meaning that it doesn’t work if you give too little or too much.
Is It Legal?
Many veterinarians are reluctant to suggest CBD, whether because they believe CBD is not yet sufficiently proven helpful or because they fear professional or legal repercussions. CBD products are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for dogs, but neither are common supplements such as glucosamine or fish oil; nor the majority of human-approved prescription drugs routinely prescribed in veterinary practice.
While it is legal to sell hemp-derived products containing less than 0.3 percent THC, until recently the American Veterinary Medical Association did not approve of veterinarians suggesting any cannabis products, including CBD, for patients. Even now, the law is unclear enough that many veterinarians fear repercussions if something went wrong due to their suggestion of CBD.
While some veterinarians are hesitant to suggest CBD, almost all are eager to discuss it once you bring it up. Of course, some veterinarians are more versed in its pros and cons than others. The main concern is its possible interaction with prescribed drugs.
Overall, the evidence is compelling that CBD can help at least some conditions. The endocannabinoid system is the largest system in the body, and the least explored. Every year brings new discoveries—and new claims. It’s the beginning of a brave new world of health, but as with any new path, expect some wrong turns, dead ends, and false hopes. CBD is not a miracle drug, but it may be the miracle your dog needs.
This article originally appeared in the award-winning AKC Family Dog magazine. Subscribe today!