CBD for Dogs – Does it Work?

Does CBD oil work for Dogs?

Image Credit: Jonny McLaren on Unsplash

In the West, dog care expenses are high. Within the UK alone, pet care costs are approximately £4 billion annually, predominantly from expensive drugs, surgeries, the regular flea jabs, and dentistry. When a dog falls ill, it can cost thousands of dollars to have them adequately treated. Not seeking treatment could be emotionally devastating to the owner(s), but the procedures are not always financially feasible. Insurance can cover some costs but is expensive. Contrary to when seeking traditional treatment, hemp-based CBD is affordable.

Many of the drugs currently used to treat dog illnesses have similar risks to those of humans: accordingly, the side effects can worsen the state of the illness depends on a variety of factors. Concerned pet owners have tried to look for more cost-effective and safer alternatives. Could CBD be that alternative treatment for your furry friends? Pet owners are already using CBD oil to help soothe their dogs. Owners are doing this to help combat separation anxiety, social anxiety, fears, i.e thunderstorms, and long distance traveling.

An Introduction to What CBD Is

CBD is a chemical compound known as a cannabinoid. The scientific term for CBD is called cannabidiol. It’s found in high concentrations in the cannabis plant family, including hemp. Hemp products have been used for thousands of years to make clothing, food, oil, and medicine. There are over 100 different cannabinoids in cannabis, but CBD is one now being used for medical marijuana.

Industrial hemp, sourced from the cannabis plant, is grown in large quantities, but there are more specialized strains that are high in CBD. The CBD can be easily removed and purified, producing an oil that is clear, smells earthy, and doesn’t tastes too unpleasant. Unlike the cannabis plant, hemp is legal around the world since it contains minuscule amounts of THC (the psychoactive compound that makes users high).

In animal biology, billions of neuroreceptors make up the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The endocannabinoid system is involved in

  • Emotional regulation
  • Pain sensory
  • Signal transfer
  • Other essential functions of the brain and body

CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system and alters the way that other cannabinoids (which are neurotransmitters–the signal packets of the brain) bind to receptors. This produces a broad and varied response across much of the body.

The Potential Medical Benefits of CBD oil for Dogs

Unfortunately, the medical benefits and risks of CBD have been poorly studied because of the illegality of the plant it is found in. The illegality of CBD is at odds with its the medicinal benefits, the high tolerability, low psychoactivity, and safety record of the drug itself. This is a shame, as CBD could have benefited people and their pets earlier.

Small-scale studies are showing that CBD can address some forms of previously untreatable childhood epilepsy; it is also being investigated for its potential to help autistic patients. Cannabis is said to offer generalized anti-inflammation, anticonvulsant effects, and even minimize cancer cell formation. Many drugs intended to diagnose/treat conditions in dogs have side effects that can be as serious as the condition itself.

On the other hand, there is a lot of hype surrounding hemp oil. Many anecdotal accounts point to it being useful for nearly all medical conditions. Most of these statements have not been evaluated and overstate the psychoactive effects and benefits, so it is impossible to tell whether CBD was the deciding factor in recovery. Combine this with the dubious scientific value of many studies into CBD and it makes it difficult to get accurate information.

CBD (Cannabidiol) For Dogs

Now that CBD is legal in some countries, pet owners are exploring its use on their dogs. CBD for dogs is not well-researched. We know that dogs have an endocannabinoid system very similar to ours (all mammals do) but it can sometimes be difficult to establish how useful it might be as there is a lack of interest and activity from the scientific community. We cannot, as a result, confirm the likely risks and benefits of CBD for your dogs with certainty. Dogs often suffer from chronic pain in their later years.

5 Medical Conditions Humans and Dogs Share That CBD Could Help

Name of Medical Condition Description
Arthritis Many dog breeds like labradors and Golden Retrievers are prone to joint issues later in life. This casues difficulty walking and running and can very stressful for them as it causes a lot of pain.
Cancer If your dog is loosing weight rapidly and unexpectedly, check for lumps and bumps as this could be a sign of cancer. Like human, dogs go through cehmotherapy, radiation and immunotheraphy.
Dementia Dogs can also develope degenerative brain diseases such as dementia. This is commonly known as Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome which is the canine verison of dementia.
Heat Disease Chronic valvular disease, is a common medical condition found in dogs. In fact, 40% of dogs suffer from chronic valvular disease. Howver, it ismore commonly found in smaller breeds. For larger breeds, they are more suseptibal to dilated cardiomyopathy which can lead to heart failure.
Obesity Is the most common health issue amoung dogs and cats.This medical condition will more than likely lad to joint and heart problems.To check if your dog is over-weight, look at them from above. They should have an hour-glass figure and a small layer of fat surround their rib cage.

All of these medical conditions can affect not only a humans quality of life but dogs too. There are drugs available for treating these ailments, but it can be difficult to administer and the side effects can be high risk.

The appeal of CBD is that it can give and pain regulatory effects and even lower risk of cancer cell growth with few to no side effects. If it works for your dog, it will undoubtedly be one of the best treatments because of the lack of adverse side effects and low-risk ratio.

Because a dog’s biology is somewhat similar to ours, dogs often respond to treatments that humans respond to. Even antidepressants developed for humans can be useful for some anxious dogs. For this reason, it is assumed that dogs will be able to access the benefits of CBD.

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence regarding CBD from people who have experimented themselves. The consensus seems to be that it does not affect the dog’s personality or cause odd effects, but instead gives a lot of relief to immune conditions like arthritis, bad digestion and especially certain types of seizures.

Administering CBD for Dogs

Currently, there has been a minimal study on CBD for dogs. However, one study has shown that, if administered orally, it is not very effective. The concentration in the blood was much lower than expected. This isn’t fully understood, however, it suggests two possible ways of getting around this. One is to administer CBD in higher concentrations than appropriate for a human and the other is to administer as a topical ointment (CBD cream) or as an injection.

If you give your dog CBD, it is a relatively low-risk test. The scientific data is poor regarding the drug, but CBD is known to be safe for mammals to take. It is also cheap and available in pure, unadulterated and independently verified concentrations, so it could be a lot cheaper than current traditional treatments for your dog.

CBD oil for dogs is just starting to emerge as a market. In countries where CBD is legal, you should be able to buy a CBD product suitable for your dog. You can buy now-available CBD biscuits for dogs or can buy your own biscuits and add the CBD yourself. Cooking with CBD can be a fun activity after all. There are pet products like oral injectors, creams, suppositories, and injections that can be easily adapted for administering CBD for dogs.

You can add CBD to your dog’s food. They have very sensitive noses, however, so they might reject the food. Pet owners who have done it this way report that their dog does not mind, but if you have a picky pooch, this might not be an option. Administering liquid into their mouth directly could be another option. This is done through a tincture. It doesn’t have a pleasant taste and could be distressing for your dog. Training is critical if this is the method you’re willing to take with your dog as you could worsen your dog’s pain if it suffers from joint issues or other pain-related conditions. Rewarding is also essential if this is the approach you want to take, reinsure your pet that this is okay.

Suppositories work very well, as do lotions rubbed into exposed parts of the skin. It is up to the pet owner to find the most effective way of administering one of the many CBD products that are available. It could make a huge difference in your dog’s life, and if it does not turn out to be effective, it was at least a relatively affordable experiment that had a very low-risk profile.

You should always measure your dose to easily compare the impacts and look for side effects. Discontinue if your dog’s condition isn’t improved or worsened. Talk to your vet before trying CBD.

Niamh Tumilty
Niamh Tumilty
Niamh Tumilty is a writer and multimedia producer for cannabisMD where she is constantly evaluating the continued growth of CBD and its presence in the news. Her research and writing on cannabis and CBD can be found at niamhtumilty.com.

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