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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 properly 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, you do not need to be the founder and CEO of a Fortune 500 company to afford hemp-based CBD. 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 depending on a variety factors. Concerned pet owners have tried to look for more cost-effective and safer alternatives. Could CBD for dogs be that alternative?
CBD – an Introduction
CBD is chemical cannabidiol that’s found in high concentrations in marijuana plants. 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.
In animal biology, there are billions of neuroreceptors that make up the endocannabinoid system. The system is involved in emotional regulation, signal transfer, and 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.
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.
There are small-scale studies 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 effective 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 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 effective 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 with certainty.
Dogs often suffer from chronic pain in their later years. Like humans, they suffer from arthritis, rheumatism, general joint pain, and other chronic ailments that can reduce their quality of life. There are drugs available but it can be difficult to administer and the side effects can be high risk.
The appeal of CBD is that it can give anti-inflammatory and pain regulatory effects and even lower risk of cancer cell growth with few or no side effects. If it works for your dog, it will undoubtedly be one of the best treatments because of the lack of negative 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 in a similar fashion. Even antidepressants developed for humans can be effective 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 general 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 minimal study into 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. Why this is the case is not understood, but 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 or an injection.
If you give your dog CBD, it is a relatively low-risk test. The scientific data is poor regarding CBD but it is known to be a very safe drug 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 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. 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 largely report their dog does not mind, but if yours does, the only option might be administering liquid into the mouth directly. This could be distressing for your dog; if you are trying to find a pain relief drug for conditions like arthritis, you could worsen your dog’s pain.
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.