Everything dog owners should know about this contemporary (and somewhat controversial) treatment for dogs.
CBD products are everywhere, but do they work? More importantly, are they safe for dogs?
Well, despite a long history of having a bad reputation that stymied studies, scientists have now gotten the opportunity to explore just how beneficial CBD oil can be for people and dogs.
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1. History of CBD Oil
2. What is CBD Oil?
3. Best CBD Oil for Dogs
4. Science behind CBD Oil for dogs
5. What Health Issues Can CBD Oil Help Dogs With?
6. Are There Dangers Related to CBD Oil for Dogs?
7. How To Choose a CBD Oil Product for Your Dog?
8. Does the Price of a CBD Oil for Your Dog Matter?
9. What Form of CBD Oil is Best for Dogs?
10. Frequently Asked Questions
A Quick History of CBD Oil
All it takes is three letters to raise eyebrows and ignite conversation: CBD. Despite being discovered in 1940, CBD products have hit the pet product industry by storm–CBD oil being the most popular. In fact, it wasn’t until CBD began to show significant efficacy in pain relief and neurological diseases in people in the 2010s that it began to gain traction and a positive reputation. Now, study after study shows the benefits of CBD extend to man’s best friend.
Knowing that CBD oil can help dogs is just the tip of the iceberg, though. Despite its discovery being more than seven decades old, science continues to catch up with consumer demand. Studies take years, yet dog dads and moms do not want to wait to provide their precious pups with chronic pain relief, seizure relief, and decreased anxiety. So, it’s vital to understand what you’re paying for if you’re looking for CBD oil for your dog. Since the FDA has yet to regulate CBD products for people or pets, dog owners have to know what to look for and buy from a trusted company.
If you want to know more about CBD oils for dogs, don’t fret. We have you and your doggo covered. This article will answer the most common questions about CBD oil for dogs. Like:
- Is CBD safe and effective for dogs?
- What ailments can it help with and how do you know how much CBD is appropriate for your dog?
- How do you compare CBD products to make sure you’re getting what you pay for?
- Where can you buy the best CBD oil product for your dog?
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD is a short way of saying “cannabidiol.” Cannabidiol is one of many chemicals and active ingredients found in cannabis. CBD is derived from hemp, which is a form of the cannabis plant that only contains the most minute amount of THC (.3%). It does not cause an altered mental state like the more notorious active ingredient in cannabis, THC. In other words, CBD does not cause a dog to feel “high.” Yet CBD is found in medical marijuana because of its health benefits for people.
CBD oil is the most common product that uses extracted CBD from the cannabis plant. The oil acts as a carrier for the chemical that allows CBD to be ingested or used topically.
Because CBD products for people quickly proved to have a wide array of uses, it’s not surprising that people soon wondered if CBD should benefit man’s best friend.
What Are the Best CBD Oils for Dogs?
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These oils are made in America, broad spectrum (which means no THC), third-party verified, and affordable. You can choose between naturally flavored or peanut butter flavor, and your dog will love the comfort and relaxation of canine CBD oil.
cbdMD Calming Tinctures
This high-quality CBD oil tincture combines CBD with other ingredients for a better calm that will relax your dog despite the circumstances. This tincture includes valerian root, chamomile, and melatonin for a long-lasting deep calm that relieves dogs of anxiety.
cbdMD CBD Balm
This mixture of CBD oil, shea butter, beeswax, and olive oil is a great way to provide pain relief on hot spots or cracked skin. It can soothe sore skin and prevent dermal issues from worsening.
cbdMD CBD Soft Chews
These tasty chews are easy for senior pets to eat, and they provide dogs with lasting pain relief for sore joints.
The Science Behind How Does CBD Oil Works for Dogs
So, CBD does not have a psychoactive effect on pets or people, but it does affect your pet’s brain and body. How does CBD interact with a dog’s body? Brace yourself, this gets a little technical.
There is one part of your dog’s body that CBD affects: the endocannabinoid system (ECS). You also have an ECS system, although your dog’s is more sensitive than your own. The ECS system regulates the body’s balance of sleep, hunger, memory, and certain self-preservation mechanics like stress control.
The ECS is a signaling system connected to the body’s nervous system and immune system. This system uses a network of receptors that turn on or off to regulate how relaxed a dog feels, how the immune system should react, and other things. In other words, cannabinoids act as the “on/off” signal that turns receptors on, initiating a process that leaves dogs feeling more relaxed and in less pain.
Your dog’s body has cannabinoids already, but over time they tend to be less effective. This can be caused by poor diet, lack of exercise, or age. Or some dogs wind up needing a bump in cannabinoids to trigger their system to reduce inflammation or stress. So, CBD acts as this bump in cannabinoids. When CBD oil enters your dog’s system it initiates a chain reaction. This reaction begins with signaling the immune system to stop sending red and white blood cells to areas that are inflamed due to arthritis or other long term issues. It also interacts with serotonin receptors, which many people believe reduces stress and anxiety. These effects can then help with secondary issues like digestive issues and appetite. The ECS is also connected to the brain mechanism that causes seizures, which is why CBD oil can significantly reduce the number of seizures epileptic dogs suffer.
In terms of scientific and medical research, CBD oil continues to prove itself safe and beneficial for most dogs.
What Health Issues Can CBD Oil Help Dogs With?
CBD oil for dogs is one of the most promising and recent veterinary drug therapies with a great number of uses. Until studies are published, though, we will stick to discussing study proven applications for CBD oil with dogs. So for what canine health conditions does CBD oil work well?
If you know about the history of CBD, this one won’t surprise you. Just as one of the first human applications of CBD was to treat epilepsy, the same is true for dogs. Dr. Stephanie McGrarth and her team at Colorado State University dosed two groups of epileptic dogs with CBD oil and a placebo. The study showed a 33% improvement in the dogs that were administered CBD oil.
Osteoarthritis & Related Pain
Osteoarthritis causes dogs extreme pain and discomfort and limits a dog’s ability to partake in physical activities they once enjoyed. CBD has proven to reduce osteoarthritis pain and inflammation. A study out of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell recorded a significant reduction in pain in dogs with osteoarthritis. These dogs also became more physically active.
Can CBD Oil Be Used to Treat Dog Anxiety?
There is anecdotal evidence that CBD oil works to calm dogs and reduce dog anxiety. Which is to say, that many, many dog owners report that their dogs show a reduction in the symptoms related to anxiety after taking CBD oil.
Can this anecdotal evidence be trusted? For the most part. Because the ECS system is connected with calming mechanisms, it seems highly likely that dog owners’ reports are accurate. Of course, many studies are currently being performed, so it’s likely that these observations will be backed up in the near future.
Furthermore, many veterinarians report recommending CBD for dog anxiety. In fact, anxiety is the second most frequent reason vets suggest CBD oil for dogs.
Can CBD Oil Improve a Dog’s Appetite?
Appetite improvement is a difficult health problem to pinpoint improvement on since it’s often tied into other health issues. For example, a dog experiencing pain may feel lousy and not want to eat. The same is true if a dog is stressed out or anxious. Logic tells us if CBD oil can reduce pain, it will likely increase that dog’s appetite, yet there are currently no scientific studies that measure CBD oil’s effect on a dog’s appetite alone.
Many dog parents do see an improvement in their dog’s overall disposition, including appetite, after administering CBD oil, though.
Can CBD Oil Work for Dogs with Cancer?
There are no studies that suggest CBD oil can cure or prevent cancer nor can CBD oil reduce tumor size. It does alleviate various symptoms and side effects related to cancer and cancer treatment. CBD can help with inflammation which reduces pain and improves mood, appetite, and mobility. It likely also reduces the anxiety associated with going to the vet and cancer treatments.
Are There Dangers Related to CBD Oil for Dogs?
Like anything else your dog may ingest, dog parents need to pay careful attention and watch for some side effects that may occur. Like almost any substance, different dogs react differently to CBD. The most common side effects include:
- Low-Blood Pressure This may make your dog lethargic and tired.
- Shakes or Tremors: If you notice your dog shaking, discontinue CBD use.
- Dry Mouth: You may notice your dog drinking a bit more water than usual.
- Loose Stools: CBD oil can cause some dogs to have diarrhea or loose stools.
Talking to your vet and dosing your dog with the recommended amount of CBD oil can minimize side effects. If you believe your dog is uncomfortable or having a negative reaction, discontinue use. CBD does work its way out of a dog’s system within a few hours, depending on the potency.
How To Choose a CBD Oil Product for Your Dog?
The lack of regulation in the world of CBD products can make finding the best CBD oil for your dog tricky. Your dog can’t verbalize that it’s working, after all. But sticking to reputable brands with positive reviews can help.
Natural vs. Organic: When selecting a CBD oil, organic products are considered safer. Organically grown hemp is not treated with pesticides and other chemicals that can be harmful to dogs. The “organic” label is regulated with measurable standards and specific processes. When a product is labeled as “natural,” it may have been grown and processed with fewer chemicals, but the term is only loosely regulated. Furthermore, CBD cannot be used in its natural state–it has to be processed to be in a form your dog can use. So, the word “natural” can be a red flag.
Does the Price of a CBD Oil for Your Dog Matter?
Yes. When it comes to CBD products (for people or pups), you get what you pay for. Lower priced CBD oils often have lower levels of CBD. You will want to pay attention to strength and concentration rather than overall volume since some CBD oils can be inflated with additives.
Note: Some CBD oils and supplements will have other ingredients that can work in conjunction with CBD, but other ingredients do not make up for low levels of CBD.
Reputable Products Will Have Analyses
To combat the inconsistencies in the industry, reputable brands want to stand out and prove their quality. They often do this by using third-party companies to analyze the amount of CBD content in their products.
Watch Out for Overly Lofty Claims
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is… Unless it’s your dog.
As we’ve outlined, CBD studies are still relatively recent. If a company makes claims that studies do not support or seem outlandish, they are more interested in sales than your dog’s wellbeing.
Made in the USA is Made for Your Pup
Pay attention to where your dog’s CBD oil originates. Look into the company you plan to purchase from. If their hemp or CBD originates out of the U.S. it could have potentially gone through a process using dangerous chemicals like hexane and butane. These can be toxic to your dog.
Reputation and Reviews
“You can’t buy a food reputation: you must earn it.”
Reputable brands, like cbdMD, are well-known for a reason–they work. Choose a brand that is carried by many suppliers, but still do your research. Most reputable brands share where they harvest their hemp along with where they process it, and they share how they process it. Furthermore, read what other dog owners have to say about the company.
What Form of CBD Oil is Best for Dogs?
You will find tinctures, oils, capsules, and treats. Oils and tinctures are often easier for dog parents to adjust dosage as needed. They can be added directly into your dog’s food or dropped directly into your dog’s mouth. Both tinctures and oils are liquids, which makes them quite versatile.
Treats can be a great option once you know how your dog responds to CBD and what dose works best for them.
You will see a wide array of CBD topicals. These are for site-specific pain. Because your dog is covered in fur, a topical may not be all that effective. But if you’re looking for targeted inflammation relief, they are a good option.
Broad Spectrum vs. Full Spectrum vs. CBD Isolate
Full Spectrum CBD includes other natural extracts from the hemp plant. These include essential oils, vitamins, minerals, other cannabinoids, and other elements called “terpenes.” Terpenes give plants their scents. Full spectrum CBD does contain the most minute amount of THC (less than .3%). Many people believe having all these elements together makes a CBD product more effective.
Broad Spectrum CBD includes terpenes and all those other good things, as well, but does not contain any THC. This means that broad spectrum products offer the benefit of the natural harmony of hemp plants without THC, which can be harmful for dogs in large amounts. The process used to remove the THC and process Broad spectrum CBD is more costly, so these products often have a higher price tag.
CBD Isolate, as its name suggests, is a form of CBD without any other extracts from the hemp plant. It is considered the purest form of CBD. Like broad spectrum CBD, it does not contain THC.
Other Common FAQs About CBD Oil for Dogs
Will My Dog Get High from CBD Oil?
No. CBD has no psychoactive effects. Full spectrum CBD oil is the only form of CBD oil that contains THC, and it only contains less than .3% THC, which is not enough to have an effect on your dog.
How Much CBD Oil for Dogs with Joint Pain?
Always follow a product’s dosing guidelines, since different CBD products will have varying dosage instructions. One common rule is one mg of CBD for every ten pounds your dog weighs. Always pay careful attention to a product’s CBD concentration and never exceed dosage guidelines.
Can CBD Oil for Dogs Cause Diarrhea?
Yes. Some dogs’ digestive systems do not react well to CBD oil, causing diarrhea (and sometimes vomiting). If this happens, you should discontinue use. You can try a smaller dose and gradually ramp up to a full dose. Sometimes dogs’ tummies need a little time to adjust.
Can CBD Oil Help Dogs with Cancer?
CBD oil cannot cure cancer. Nor can it prevent cancer or treat cancer in any way. It can help dogs feel temporary relief from some symptoms of cancer and associated side effects of cancer treatment though. Many dog owners report their dogs to have better appetites after using CBD oil. Studies show dogs also tend to have less pain and improved mobility after ingesting CBD oil.
Can CBD Oil Help Dogs with Epilepsy?
Yes. Scientists at Colorado State University performed a study showing CBD use led to 89% of dogs with epilepsy experiencing reduced seizures.
Will CBD Oil Help Dogs with Allergies?
There currently are no studies that support that CBD oil can help dogs with allergies.
Does CBD Oil Calm Dogs Down or Help with Separation Anxiety?
Most dog owners see a reduction of anxiety and noise phobia in their dogs from CBD use. Because the endocannabinoid system affects the brain’s neuroreceptors that trigger stress or anxiety, it is highly likely that those dog owners are correct.
How Long Does CBD Oil Stay in a Dog’s System?
All dogs process CBD slightly differently. This all depends on age, metabolism, weight, dosage, and more. For the most part, though, dogs will feel the effects of CBD oil for about 4 to 8 hours.
Do CBD Oil Topicals Work for Dogs?
Yes and no. Generally, CBD topicals work since the ECS is connected to the epidermis. Yet dogs have a layer of fur over their skin, which can impede CBD’s effectiveness as a topical.
Conclusion: CBD is Creating Better Dog Lives
Emerging studies show that CBD oil can have a profound benefit for dogs with epilepsy and osteoarthritis. Because CBD affects the ECS, which regulates stress, anecdotal evidence that suggests CBD can help with anxiety is likely correct. We anticipate more studies to come out in the near future that verify this information and other health benefits of CBD oil for dogs. Until then, most people and vets agree that CBD oil can help dogs manage chronic pain, anxiety, and mobility.
When choosing a CBD oil for your dog, be sure it stacks up against the competition. Better CBD oils most often:
- Offer third-party analyses of CBD levels
- Are grown and made in the U.S.A.
- Are forthcoming about their process and formula
- Have established a good reputation
Also, remember that you get what you pay for. Usually, higher quality CBD oils with higher concentrations and safe processing guidelines come at a higher cost. Although, with more players in the game, you can now find high-quality and affordable CBD oil for your dog.
No, CBD oil doesn’t get your dog high, but it may come with other side effects like dry mouth, diarrhea, low blood pressure, and drowsiness. CBD is safe for dogs in moderation and when dosing guidelines are followed closely.
CBD oil is not a magical cure-all, but it can improve the lives of many dogs. CBD oil has helped countless dogs find relief from seizures and a reduction in osteoarthritis pain. When used with realistic expectations, CBD oil can create better lives for canines. While the CBD industry may seem like the Wild West, don’t let it intimidate you. Focus on researching reputable brands with clearly labeled products, and making the right choice for your dog will be a cinch.