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.
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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Corroon J, Phillips JA. A cross-sectional study of cannabidiol users. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. 2018;3(1).
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CBD for Dogs: Everything You Need to Know
In certain states, medical marijuana is an option for people seeking relief from ailments like seizures, pain, anxiety, and cancer.
Pet parents and veterinarians alike are naturally wondering whether cbd for dogs, in the form of products such as cbd oil for dogs or cbd dog treats, can provide the same benefits.
Here’s everything you need to know about CBD for dogs.
THC vs. CBD for Dogs
CBD is one of over 80 different chemical compounds called “cannabinoids” that have been derived from the cannabis (marijuana) plant. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), perhaps the most famous cannabinoid, CBD is not psychoactive.
Instead, CBD shares important metabolic pathways with a class of drugs called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen and Rimadyl. These pathways control many processes in the body, from inflammatory responses to blood clotting.
Do not give dogs straight marijuana or any product containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive component of marijuana. There is simply not enough research to justify the use.
CBD-based products, however, may help improve your dog’s quality of life when used in conjunction with other therapies.
Why Use CBD for Dogs?
CBD is often mentioned as a useful therapy for a variety of conditions, including pain management, arthritis, anxiety, seizures, and even cancer. Although the use of CBD in treating each of these conditions is under-researched, there are varying levels of scientific evidence for each scenario.
Because CBD shares metabolic pathways with anti-inflammatory drugs, it makes sense that it would help with certain inflammatory conditions (anything that ends with -itis is an inflammatory condition).
Osteoarthritis, often abbreviated as arthritis, is one of the most common inflammatory conditions in dogs.
One in four dogs will be diagnosed with arthritis in their lifetime, and by some estimates, as many as 60% of dogs exhibit some degree of the disease.
Research has shown that CBD can provide substantial pain relief in dogs with arthritis when given twice daily at appropriate doses.
In theory, the anti-inflammatory benefit seen in arthritic dogs could also be seen in dogs with other types of inflammatory pain, especially back pain from intervertebral disc disease (IVDD).
Preliminary studies in people have shown that combo products containing both CBD and THC are more beneficial for pain relief than when either drug is given alone. But no such research has been done on dogs, so THC should not be given to them.
Seizures are probably the most-studied application of CBD in people, but limited research exists for pets. In dogs, seizures can be caused by a vast number of underlying conditions.
With regards to idiopathic epilepsy specifically, there is some research that suggests that CBD could be useful in reducing seizure frequency in these dogs. However, these benefits are only seen with dogs that are given traditional anti-seizure medications at the same time.
Like seizures, the term “cancer” is an umbrella term that refers to an extremely diverse set of specific diseases, each with their own set of beneficial treatments.
In people, CBD has been studied for possible use in cancer patients, both to treat the tumor(s) directly, as well as to treat the secondary symptoms of cancer and chemotherapy. Very limited research has been done on the use of CBD for dogs with cancer.
However, the anti-nausea effects of CBD seen in people who undergo chemotherapy have also been documented in rats and ferrets, suggesting that dogs receiving chemotherapy may benefit from CBD treatment.
Perhaps the biggest misconception is that CBD is useful in managing a dog’s anxiety. In theory, it is possible that CBD, by reducing pain and inflammation, could indirectly reduce anxiety caused by pain or inflammation.
But because CBD is not psychoactive, it is unlikely that CBD has the ability to directly treat canine anxiety in the way that Prozac and other medications do. The use of CBD for anxiety in dogs, as with most conditions, requires substantially more research.
Potential Risks of CBD for Dogs
Overall, CBD itself seems to be incredibly safe in dogs and cats. However, numerous scientific papers have found that when given at the recommended doses, CBD does cause an elevation in an important liver value on bloodwork called alkaline phosphatase (ALP).
We are not yet sure whether the elevation of this liver value has any medical significance. It could signify that CBD causes irritation or damage to the liver. Alternatively, it could be an artificial finding in which the drug interferes with the way the lab measures the liver value.
Anecdotal reports do exist of dogs becoming somewhat sleepy or sedate if they receive extremely large doses of CBD, but those effects appear to resolve on their own with time.
CBD doesn’t appear to have any drug interactions when it’s given to a dog that’s on an anti-inflammatory drug like Rimadyl.
Because there is a theoretical risk of drug interaction, as with any medication, you should consult your veterinarian first before treating your dog with CBD.
THC Dangers for Dogs
Unlike CBD, THC ingestion can cause serious problems for your pet.
“The most significant [issue] is THC toxicity, meaning, essentially, they are high,” says Dr. Gary Richter, owner and medical director of Montclair Veterinary Hospital in Oakland, California. “Depending on how significantly a pet has been overdosed, the effects of that can be quite long-lasting, even days.”
During these episodes, a pet may not be able to stand or eat. If you suspect THC toxicity, take your pet to the veterinarian immediately. Secondary effects of THC, especially respiratory depression, should be monitored closely to avoid complications.
Overall, life-threatening risks for dogs from cannabis are “exceedingly rare,” Dr. Richter says. There is no documented lethal dose for THC in dogs. In fact, a dose of THC 1,000 times greater than the dose needed for a dog to feel “high” is still not lethal.
THC toxicity more often occurs when a pet has eaten a product that also contains chocolate, coffee, or raisins. “Even if the THC toxicity is not excessive, they can sometimes have problems due to these other ingredients,” says Dr. Richter.
How Much CBD Can You Give Dogs?
Though there are some topical treatments, CBD oil is typically administered orally to dogs, and giving the correct dosage is imperative. “As is the case with any medication, success has everything to do with dosing,” Dr. Richter says.
Studies on using CBD for dogs with arthritis or seizures generally use a dose between 2-8 mg/kg, with most papers erring on the lower side of that estimate (roughly 1-2 milligrams per pound of body weight), twice daily.
This dosage has been found to be both safe and somewhat effective for just the conditions studied (arthritis and seizures). Additional research is needed to evaluate the necessary dosages for CBD in treating other conditions.
One complication in attempting to properly dose dogs with CBD is that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found that many CBD products actually contain little, if any, CBD.
The only FDA-approved cannabinoid product, Epidiolex, could theoretically be prescribed by a veterinarian for epilepsy in dogs, although this would likely be cost-prohibitive. Because it is FDA-approved, though, the CBD content of this product would be accurate, unlike most other CBD products on the market.
Can Veterinarians Prescribe CBD for Dogs?
U.S. veterinarians are forbidden from prescribing/dispensing CBD, and cannot encourage or instruct clients to purchase CBD products.
However, they are free to talk to you about the potential risks and benefits of a treatment plan you may have devised on your own. If you are considering giving CBD to your dog, speak to your vet, and you may want to also speak with a veterinarian who has experience with CBD.