CBD for Pets: Benefits, Uses, and Things to Consider
These days, it may feel like you’re hearing about CBD oils and other new CBD products having a positive impact on health and wellness—for us and for our dogs and cats.
But what exactly are CBD products for pets? Do they really work? And more importantly—are they safe?
It can be hard to sift through all the marketing speak and get down to the facts about CBD for dogs and cats. I’ve put together this reference article to help you learn all about the terminology, the potential benefits, and the things you should consider when speaking to your veterinarian and shopping for products.
What is CBD?
CBD is the abbreviation used for cannabidiol, one of the chemical compounds derived from either hemp or marijuana plants.
CBD acts on the endocannabinoid systems (ECS) of both humans and pets, including dogs and cats. The endocannabinoid system is a unique communications system in the brain and body that affects many important functions, including how a pet feels, moves, and reacts.
When extracted and used in oils, chews and other products, CBD can potentially assist with a variety of different conditions including calming, relaxation, and potentially even osteoarthritis pain relief for our pets.
Differences Between Hemp and Marijuana
Both hemp and marijuana are varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant. Both contain CBD, but the main difference between the two comes down to the THC levels found in both plants.
THC is abbreviated for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol , which is the chemical compound responsible for the intoxicating effects associated with cannabis.
Hemp has less than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight at the time of harvest. But marijuana has greater than 0.3 percent THC.
Can CBD Get My Pet High?
CBD is the non-intoxicating component of both hemp and marijuana plants. Unlike THC, CBD cannot get you or your pets high, if dosed appropriately.
However, CBD can influence brain activity in pets, which leads to some of the potential benefits, such as a reduction in stress and anxiety for dogs and cats.
Pets should never be given an intoxicating level of THC. It’s important to discuss dosage instructions with your veterinarian and to never experiment with products not created specifically for pets.
Is CBD Safe for Dogs and Cats?
Studies have shown that CBD products have a wide margin of safety in both dogs and cats. Multiple veterinary studies published in the past two years have shown that, even when given high levels of CBD, pets experienced no major adverse effects ( 1 ) ( 2 ) ( 3 ).
Remember, CBD contains no intoxicating properties and will not get your pet high.
As more research is conducted, we will all gain more information regarding the effect of long-term use of CBD products in pets.
Potential Benefits of CBD for Pets
Hemp-derived CBD products for pets are still new in the veterinary space, so the scientific verdict is still out on what CBD can and cannot do from a medical perspective.
Hemp-derived products work conjointly with a pet’s natural endocannabinoid system, which helps to regulate many of the body’s different functions in our dogs and cats.
Based off of both human and veterinary literature, CBD products may also help pets in the following ways:
- Anti-inflammatory (i.e. hypersensitivity, dermatitis)
- Reduction in pain
- Reduction in seizures and convulsions
- Immune system support (i.e. autoimmune disease, cancer)
- Nervous system support
- Cardiovascular system support
- Reduction in anxiety
- Gastrointestinal support
There is also anecdotal evidence to support the use of hemp-derived CBD products for pets. A 2018 survey revealed that pet owners endorsed hemp CBD treats and products because of perceived improvement in numerous ailments including pain, inflammation, anxiety, digestive system issues, and aid with sleep. A few published peer reviewed studies showed that using hemp-derived CBD oil improved the lives of dogs with osteoarthritis ( 4 ) ( 5 ).
How Do Cats and Dogs React to CBD?
Significant research still needs to be performed to thoroughly compare the differences between the endocannabinoid system of pets and how this system responds to phytocannabinoids (synthetic and plant-based cannabinoids) like CBD.
There are two major types of cannabinoid receptors in a pet’s body—CB1 and CB2. These receptors help to balance and regulate a pet’s immune and central nervous system, which can ultimately influence inflammation, pain, allergies, and mood.
There are three main components of the endocannabinoid system: the receptors, the endocannabinoids and the enzymes. The endocannabinoids (chemicals naturally produced in a pet’s body) are generated on demand and bind to the receptors, especially in times of stress, disease or injury.
Phytocannabinoids, like CBD, work similarly to the endocannabinoids by also binding to the cannabinoid receptors.
Dogs have the highest density of CB1 receptors in the brain compared to any other species, including humans. A recent publication indicated that cats appear to have lower absorption and possibly faster elimination of CBD compared to dogs. Therefore, cats may need to be dosed more often to maintain appropriate blood levels of CBD.
Every pet is different, and not all dogs and cats will see the same results from using CBD products. Talk to your veterinarian if you have any concerns or questions about how your pet is reacting to a specific product.
CBD Pet Products: Understanding the Landscape
Pet parents will find a variety of CBD products on the market, and each has a different use and is designed to serve a specific purpose. While products vary by manufacturer and brand, below are a few common CBD product types and labeling information that interested pet owners should become familiar with.
CBD Oil for Pets
CBD oil for pets—also known as an oil tincture—consists of an extract (either full or broad spectrum) that has been suspended in a carrier oil. A common oil is usually MCT /coconut oil, fractionated coconut oil, but others can be used ( 6 ).
The biggest advantage to using CBD oil is that it is dispersed to pets using a measured dropper. This allows you to dose your pet much more accurately and adjust the dose (up or down) as often as needed. Also, since oil is administered either under your pet’s tongue, cheeks or in your pet’s mouth, it has the potential to be absorbed more quickly through mucous membranes than if your pet swallows a pill or capsule.
The two main disadvantages of using an CBD oil tincture is that some pets don’t love the taste of plant material extract and oils are more difficult to travel with due to possible leakage.
When giving CBD oil to your pet, we recommend dropping it directly in their mouth (the preferred method) or you can put it in a treat or on top of their food. When dosing directly in a pet’s mouth, consider placing it on the side, up against your pet’s cheek, rather than directly on the tongue.
CBD Treats and Chews
CBD treats and chews are a great way to get CBD extract into your pet, especially if they enjoy taking treats. These products are made similarly to regular CBD oils, but then the final oil product is infused into a treat or chew.
The benefit of using a CBD chew for your dogs or cats is that it is easier to administer, because they are usually tasty and pets enjoy the taste. The downside is that the dose can’t be incrementally adjusted (up or down), which doesn’t provide as much control as the oil tincture.
CBD Topical Products for Pets
Administering cannabidiol directly to the skin is another popular way to utilize CBD products. These products are designed to alleviate local conditions including aches and skin issues. This method of application is effective because there are cannabinoid receptors found in a pet’s skin.
When applying a topical CBD product to your pet, we recommend placing it on a non-haired area (or a shaved area) and making sure your pet does not lick the site for at least 30-45 minutes.
CBD Capsules and Pills for Pets
Capsules are made in a similar way to regular CBD oils for pets, but the final oil product is suspended in a gel capsule. These are popular options because they work for pets that are adverse to the taste of CBD oil or who happen to be picky eaters. Also, capsules are ideal for traveling. They are less messy and easy to carry around.
There are two downsides of capsule CBD products for pets. Just like chews, the dosing cannot be easily adjusted (up or down) when giving pets capsules. Also, a pet’s body does not absorb these as easily as an oil product.
When administering a CBD capsule to your pet, consider placing it directly into their mouth or in a fun treat (like pet-safe nut butter, cream cheese, or a pill pocket).
Full-Spectrum Vs. Broad-Spectrum CBD Products
When researching a product for your pet, the CBD effects are not the only thing you should consider. When you see the terms “full spectrum” and “broad spectrum” on labels, it provides some insight into what other compounds are in the products.
Broad-spectrum CBD products for pets are extracted from the hemp plant. They include all of the other compounds from the plant—except THC. In broad-spectrum products, the THC is entirely removed after the initial extraction.
Full-spectrum CBD products for pets are extracts that contain all of the compounds naturally found in the original hemp plant, including cannabinoids (THC and CBD), terpenes and flavonoids. Full-spectrum, hemp-derived products contain less than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight. All of these active compounds work together to provide amplified health benefits, a phenomenon called the entourage effect.
You may also come across the phrase CBD isolate when researching products. CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD and is made by extracting it from the plant and removing all other compounds except for CBD. Isolate is usually 99 percent pure. However, there is evidence to support that it is more beneficial to use a full-spectrum or broad-spectrum product over isolate therapy due to the added benefits of the entourage effect ( 7 ) ( 8 ).
What Are Terpenes?
In addition to full-spectrum and broad-spectrum labeling found on CBD pet products, you may notice references to terpenes. Terpenes are essential oils found within marijuana and hemp plants that give the plant its distinct odor and taste. Each plant species has a different terpene profile. This specific profile is based on several factors in the environment that the plant is grown in such as the humidity, temperature, light, quality of the soil and more.
Terpenes have their own effects on a pet’s body and can work with cannabinoids to improve medical benefits. An example of this is the terpene linalool (also found in lavender). This has been shown to improve anti-seizure activity when given along with CBD.
Are CBD Products Legal for Pets?
Yes, hemp-derived CBD products are legal for pets, assuming they meet the requirement of containing less than 0.3 percent of THC. You don’t need a prescription for these products.
Previously illegal to grow in the U.S., the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp production and gave the CBD industry a path for use and testing in the United States.
It’s important to do your research on products before administering anything to your pet. Not every manufacturer is created equal. Carefully research where your products are sourced and verify that the company producing it is a reputable one.
How to Talk to Your Veterinarian About CBD
If your pet is suffering from anxiety, arthritis or another medical condition that you believe may benefit from CBD pet products, it’s important to have a conversation with your veterinarian to discuss options that make the most sense for your dog or cat’s specific lifestyle.
However, keep in mind that research surrounding CBD products are still a work in progress, and some veterinarians may not be legally allowed to discuss, recommend or dispense products or may not feel comfortable doing so.
Below are some tips to get the conversation started and help it go smoothly:
Understand your state’s laws. Your veterinarian is mandated by the state veterinary medical board as to how much they are allowed to guide you regarding CBD products. Some states—like California—allow veterinarians to discuss cannabis but not recommend, administer, dispense, or prescribe it. There is advocacy work being conducted to change certain laws to give veterinarians more room to discuss, recommend and hopefully one day dispense CBD products in their practices, but understanding the current state climate is an important place to start.
Be open and honest. When approaching the topic with your veterinarian, start with an open dialogue about why you are interested in starting your pet on a CBD product. If you have already started a product, consider bringing the product to the clinic with you so your veterinarian can evaluate the product with you.
Share resources with your veterinarian. Some regulations restrict a vet’s ability to outright discuss or recommend CBD products to their patients. Oftentimes, it’s up to the pet parent to bring up the topic with their veterinarian, and sharing resources and information can be one way to start the conversation.
Be prepared for potential limitations . Veterinary medical boards in each state are still working on guidelines to provide veterinarians with rules surrounding cannabis. Due to the murky legal environment, some veterinarians may have a limited knowledge base on the subject. However, most veterinarians can provide you with available information on how to reduce the risk of adverse events from occurring if you choose to use a CBD pet product on your own.
How to Know a CBD Product is Right for Your Pet
Picking the right CBD product to fit your pet’s specific needs is a decision that requires research, conversations with your veterinarian, and testing. Not all products work for all pets, and some pets react differently to CBD (and other cannabinoids) than others.
You know your pet—so if you think a CBD product can be beneficial, the path may be worth exploring further. In addition to having a conversation with your veterinarian, here are some tips to help you choose the right products.
Understand your pet’s needs. Choosing the right product for your pet will depend on your pet’s overall health and wellness needs. Common reasons why people choose a CBD product for their pet includes anxiety, pain, arthritis, cancer, seizures, allergies, and more. If your pet has anxiety, a systemic (whole body) product like a CBD oil may be a good fit. If it is a local problem (i.e sore elbow, or hot-spot), you may want to research topical products.
Consult others and read reviews. If you know a friend, family member, or neighbor that has had success with a CBD product for their pets, it’s worth having a conversation to discuss their pet’s symptoms and which products worked and didn’t work for them. This is true for online reviews, forums, or chats, where you can research the types of products that anecdotally worked for other pets who might have the same symptoms as your own. This will help spearhead discussions with your veterinarian.
Do extensive company research. As previously mentioned, not all CBD pet product manufacturers are created equal. Before choosing a product, research the company and manufacturing process behind it. Look for products from brands that are open and up front about their testing policies and procedures. Research how companies source their ingredients and understand where those ingredients come from. Consider products that are formulated by or endorsed by veterinarians with CBD knowledge and experience. Because these are products you’ll be giving to your pet, trusting the brand creating them is a vital part of the overall equation.
If you elect to purchase a CBD product for your pet, research is a crucial first step. Click here to find out what you should look for in a high-quality CBD pet product.
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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The Benefits Of CBD Oil For Dogs
The good news is that it can help with many of your dog’s health issues from allergies to cancer. The bad news is that the CBD industry for pets is still unregulated. That means the majority of pet owners might be getting ripped off.
So today I want to talk about all the good things CBD oil can do for your dogs. Then I’ll show you how to find the best product for your dog and talk about how to give it.
What Does CBD Oil Do For Dogs?
There’s a messenger system in your dog’s body called the endocannabinoid system. It helps regulate sleep, appetite, pain, the immune system and more. CBD impacts the activity of the messengers in this system and stimulates the nervous, digestive and immune systems, as well as the brain. And it can do this because the endocannabinoids in CBD are very similar to the ones found in your dog’s body.
That’s why the benefits of CBD can be deep and significant. And why CBD oil is the fastest-growing healthy plant in the world!
6 Ways CBD Oil Can Help Your Dog
Let’s take a look at common conditions where CBD can help dogs. And after I’ll talk about which CBD oil you should buy and general dosing information.
1. Dogs With Joint Problems
If your dog has joint pain, your vet might prescribe NSAIDs or other pain meds like Gabapentin. But NSAIDs can cause deterioration in joints and soft tissues … and they can damage your dog’s liver. Gabapentin can also cause kidney damage. Plus, it’s not all that effective.
CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory that doesn’t carry the same risk of side effects as drugs. It works by binding to CB1 receptors in the brain. These receptors stimulate the immune system to reduce inflammation. CB1 receptors also change the way the brain responds to pain.
CBD also binds to CB2 receptors found in the nervous and immune systems. When this happens, the body may produce more cannabinoids naturally. This helps reduce inflammation even more and reduce the pain associated with it.
In fact, researchers at Cornell University found that dogs taking CBD for arthritis were more active and showed a decrease in pain.
Some of the common people buy CBD Oil for dogs as an anti-inflammatory for joint problems include:
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
- Sprains and strains
- Torn ligaments (CCL)
2. Dogs With Cancer
Sadly, 50% of adult dogs will get cancer. Cancer is a massive health challenge for dogs, especially if they undergo chemotherapy or radiation.
Cancer researchers are always looking for new ways to treat cancer and release the pain and nausea that can go with it. And CBD has been extensively researched as a cancer-fighting substance.
A study in mice showed that CBD slowed the growth of mammary cancer cells. And in 2018, researchers found that CBD increased survival time in mice with pancreatic cancer. Other animal studies show CBD oil has cancer-fighting abilities and can slow the growth of tumors.
In another study, cancer cells became more sensitive to treatment with CBD. That means CBD can increase the effectiveness of conventional cancer treatments.
CBD also kills cancer cells by blocking their ability to produce energy. And it can stimulate the immune system to produce killer cells that cause death in cancer cells.
Researchers also found that CBD blocks a cannabinoid receptor called GPR55. This is important because GPR55 increased the growth rate of cancer cells in mice.
CBD oil can also help with nausea associated with many cancer treatments. And studies have shown CBD can significantly reduce cancer-related pain.
3. Dogs With Seizures And Epilepsy
It’s estimated that about 5% of dogs suffer from seizures. They can be terrifying for both dogs and their humans … and they can cause anxiety.
Most vets treat epilepsy and seizures with antiepileptic drugs. Common options are phenobarbital or potassium bromide. But these drugs are extremely harmful to your dog’s liver and other organs. And even if the drugs don’t cause unmanageable side effects, they don’t always work …
So researchers at Colorado State University got excited when they studied CBD as a treatment for epilspsy in dogs. A whopping 89% of dogs that received the CBD had a reduction in seizures.
In human trials, CBD even worked in patients with drug-resistant epilepsy. In one study, 7 out of 8 patients saw a marked improvement within 4 to 5 months.
CBD reduces the frequency and severity of seizures because of how it interacts with the endocannabinoid system. It’s believed that abnormal electric charges of the neurons in the nervous system cause seizures. But CBD can bind to receptors in the brain … researchers speculate this can improve the functioning of the nervous system.
4. Dogs With Anxiety
Anxiety is a common reason dog owners turn to CBD. Anxiety can appear in different forms, including:
- Noise phobia
- Separation anxiety
Of course, there are anti-anxiety drugs available … but CBD is being studied for anxiety because it doesn’t carry dangerous side effects.
Most human users of CBD take it for pain, anxiety and depression. Over a third of these users report that CBD worked “very well by itself.” CBD has even helped manage anxiety and insomnia in children with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). And animal studies show its antidepressant effects aren’t just for people.
CBD can work quickly given directly by mouth when your dog gets stressed. It usually only takes 5 to 20 minutes to work. But CBD appears to be most beneficial for anxiety when given over a period of time. So if your dog is prone to stress, a daily dose might work best.
A 2012 study looked at stress in rats exposed to cats. The rats given repeated doses of CBD had less anxiety than those given a single dose.
Researchers aren’t certain how CBD relieves stress and anxiety, but it’s thought that it can help regulate serotonin. Serotonin is a hormone that regulates mood, social behavior, digestion, sleep and appetite.=
5. Dogs In Pain
Probably the most promising research on CBD is that done on pain. From nerve pain to arthritis, it works well … without the harmful side effects of pain medications.
CBD binds to both CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain and nervous system and this helps change the way your dog’s brain perceives pain. Plus, CBD can help manage the other symptoms that accompany pain, such as sleeplessness and nausea.
CBD can also help manage acute pain from injuries.
6. Dogs With Allergies
Allergies are on the rise in dogs. And they’re difficult to treat … so, sadly, allergies are a common reason dogs are euthanized. Skin conditions in general are one of the most frequent reasons for vet visits.
The endocannabinoid system is also found in the skin … and that’s good news for dogs with allergies. It means CBD can help relieve dry and itchy skin. And it can promote the growth of new healthy skin cells.
You can give CBD internally for allergies, or use it externally for hot spots or interdigital cysts.
Now that you know a bit more about WHY you would give your dog CBD oil to your dog, let’s about HOW to choose a good quality product.
How To Choose The Best CBD Oil For Your Dog
CBD (Cannabidiol) is a naturally found substance in cannabis and hemp. Both deliver amazing health benefits … but there are differences.
Cannabis (marijuana) contains a relatively large amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is what causes the psychoactive activities of cannabis. It’s why marijuana can give a “high” or “buzz.”
CBD oil made from hemp contains much lower amounts of THC. To sell hemp legally, it must contain less than 0.3% THC. So while your dog can still enjoy the calmness and reduction in anxiety that CBD provides, he won’t get high. And that’s important … because you might enjoy the high, but your dog definitely doesn’t!
Your dog will also get the same pain-relieving and immune-supporting benefits from hemp CBD.
But not all hemp CBD products are the same …
1. Look For A Full Or Broad Spectrum Hemp
Check the label of your CBD product to make sure it’s full spectrum or broad spectrum.
This means your dog’s CBD oil contains not just CBD, but other important cannabinoids that occur naturally in full-spectrum hemp. This includes CBC (Cannabichromene) and CBG (Cannabigerol).
Researchers have looked at CBC for its …
- Cancer-fighting activities
- Ability to block pain and inflammation
- Positive effect on brain cells
CBG is also studied for its medicinal use. It can decrease inflammation in the digestive tract and it can protect nerve cells and the eyes. It also supports healthy bladder function and fights cancer cells.
A full-spectrum CBD oil will also contain terpenes such as limonene, alpha-pinene, and beta-pinene. These are also naturally occurring medicinal substances found in all hemp.
Together, cannabinoids and terpenes create the entourage effect. This happens when compounds in hemp oil work synergistically to boost the medicinal properties of hemp oil.
CBD extracted with CO2 (I’ll talk about this in a moment) pulverizes the terpenes. This will make them hard to detect in testing and they won’t show up on the Certificate Of Analysis …
… but they’ll still be there and will contribute to the CBD oil’s medicinal effects.
CBD extracted with solvents will better preserve the terpenes. So you will find them noted on the Certificate Of Analysis.
But I don’t recommend solvent extracted products, which leads me to my next point …
2. Make Sure Your Dog’s CBD Uses CO2 Extraction
There are two common ways to extract the CBD oil from the hemp plant:
As you’ve probably guessed, CO2 extraction uses carbon dioxide to extract oil from the plant. Using a high-pressure chamber, CO2 puts pressure on the hemp. This breaks down the hemp and releases the oil.
This method of extraction creates oils with a higher concentration of CBD. That means your dog will get more from his supplement. Of course, that also makes the product more expensive … but it’s better than the alternative.
The cheapest way to extract oil from the hemp plant is with solvents, such as …
- Petroleum products
But residue from these solvents will be in the product and they can be toxic to your dog.
Some CBD extraction uses natural solvents, such as ethanol or olive oil. This is much safer for your dog but these oils can destroy the hemp plant’s waxes and the resulting oil isn’t as beneficial.
3. Look For A Certificate Of Analysis
If your dog’s CBD oil doesn’t have a certificate of analysis (COA), run away!
A certificate of analysis is a document that shows the amount and type of cannabinoids in the CBD product. And it usually comes from a third-party laboratory,
COAs protect your dog from poor quality products and the manufacturer should have one for each batch of hemp. If there isn’t a COA on the company’s website, you’ll want to ask for one before you buy any CBD oil.
When looking at the COA, there are 5 important things to look for.
CBD Is The Same As Advertised
This is more common than you would think … in fact, we were once tricked by this!
What you might see is something like “500 mg CBD” on the product label. But don’t take the label at face value! Make sure the COA says the same amount as the label does.
Some lab tests express the CBD content in mg/g. So to calculate the amount of CBD, you need to know how many grams are in the bottle of CBD.
For example, let’s say the COA shows 16.9 mg/g CBD. To calculate how much CBD is in the product, multiply the number of mg/g by the number of grams the bottle weighs. (A typical 1-ounce dropper bottle of CBD will weigh 30 grams.) This will give you the total mg of CBD in the bottle. In this example, it’s 507 mg (16.9 mg/g x 30 gram bottle).
CBD Is Really Full Spectrum
Again, never take the label at face value! Some CBD is from isolate, which means it won’t have other important cannabinoids and terpenes.
Remember the entourage effect? You won’t get this extra boost with CBD isolate. So how do you find out if your dog’s CBD is from isolate? The COA will show that the product only contains CBD and no other cannabinoids. Stay away from these products.
There’s Not Too Much (Or Too Little) THC
If your dog’s CBD contains more than 0.03% THC, it’s probably marijuana and not hemp. It’s not legal and your dog won’t enjoy the psychoactive effects.
You also want to avoid products with zero THC. If there’s none, then your dog’s CBD is from isolate … and the health benefits will be fewer.
A Third-Party Did The Tests
Once again, never take the manufacturer’s word that the product is high quality. Make sure the product was properly tested by a third party lab. Unfortunately, the CBD industry isn’t regulated, which leaves you vulnerable to poor products.
There’s No Contaminants
You need to know where and how the hemp that’s used to make the CBD oil is grown. This plays a huge role in those test results you see in the COA.
Always look for an organic product to reduce any environmental toxin risks. You want to know that the soil and water it’s grown in is as clean as possible. That’s because hemp plants are really good sponges and can absorb contaminants as they grow. And it’s why heavy metal toxicity can be a concern when looking at CBD oils.
So be sure that you check the COA for any contaminants such as pesticides, heavy metals and solvent residues.
Cost Shouldn’t Be A Priority
It can be hard to compare products and some people give up and look at costs only …
… but this is not the best approach!
You want a high-quality and safe product for your dog. Extracting CBD from hemp requires a lot of plant material as well as careful monitoring.
If the product you’re considering has a price that’s significantly lower than the competition, there’s probably a reason for that …
But the most expensive doesn’t mean it’s the best CBD oil for dogs …
Instead, consider what we’ve reviewed …
- How was the CBD oil extracted? (CO2 is best.)
- Is the CBD concentration different than advertised? (CBD on COA should match the bottle.)
- Is it full-spectrum? (The product should have other cannabinoids, not just CBD.)
- Is the THC content worrisome? (THC should be less than 0.3% but higher than 0%.)
- Is it organic? (Hemp is a sponge for contaminants.)
- Was it third party tested? (If you can’t find a COA online, ask the manufacturer for one.)
These variables are what you need to look for when determining the quality of a product. The cost is never a sure sign of a product’s quality.
Side Effects Of CBD Oil For Dogs
The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association surveyed dog owners. They wanted to see what, if any, side effects they noticed. And the great news is that there weren’t any major effects reported.
The most consistent side effects noticed were:
- Sedation 19%
- Overactive appetite 5%
- Lack of energy 4%
- Panic reactions 2.7%
- Dry mouth/excessive drinking 2.3%
- Nausea 1.7%
- Vomiting 1.7%
- Increased seizures 0.69%
- Impaired mental functioning 0.68%
This means the most likely side effect you may see is that your dog gets sleepy. And that isn’t a bad thing. Especially if your dog suffers from seizures, anxiety, or has any pain, and you’d like to give CBD oil a try …
… but some CBD oils will have other additives and may not be safe.
Caution With CBD Oil Additives
You want to be sure there are no chemical additives or preservatives in the product you buy. These will cancel out the health benefits, even if the hemp is grown organically.
Also be aware of companies who have added essential oils (EOs) to their CBD oil. Even though they’re “natural,” EOs can affect animals profoundly.
If your holistic vet has recommended using a CBD oil with an EO, then follow her dosing recommendations. She’ll know what’s best for your dog’s unique health needs.
Some will recommend using CBD with frankincense as it’s good for tumor reduction in cancer patients. But always check with your holistic vet or herbalist first.
Dogs Taking Other Medications Or Supplements
If your dog is taking any other medications or supplements you will want to check with your holistic vet as well. CBD oil has many health benefits but it can change how your dog metabolizes some medications or supplements.
Researchers have looked at how CBD oil changes metabolism in humans. It can be similar to grapefruit, which causes significant reactions. So if your dog is taking any of the following medications you’ll need to ask your vet about dose changes:
- Allergy medications
- Liver or kidney medications
- Heart medications
- Anxiety medications
Hopefully, your holistic vet has helped you find alternatives to the medications above. But even then … CBD can affect herbs and natural supplements.
This doesn’t mean you can’t give your CBD oil if he uses other supplements or medications. You may just need to make adjustments. CBD changes the metabolism of other things but sometimes for the better! Meaning you can use less of another product or skip on the medications altogether.
And less is often more.
CBD Oil Dosage For Dogs
Each bottle of CBD has a specific concentration expressed in milligrams (mg). Most dogs are okay with the taste, so you can just put it on your dog’s food.
Dr Robert Silver recommends giving your dog 0.05 to 0.25 mg/pound of body weight, twice daily. He also suggests starting with a lower dose and working your way up. If 0.05 mg/pound is enough, stay at that dose. There’s no need to increase unless the lower dose stops working. If that happens, increase the dose to 0.125 mg/pound, twice daily and only continue to increase if your dog needs it.
For anxiety or health prevention, you’ll usually find that the lower doses work well. But if your dog is dealing with pain or immune issues, you’ll probably need a larger amount.
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CBD oil for dogs is a natural, safe remedy that can help your dogs with pain, anxiety, caner, seizures and more.
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