Some pet owners are turning to CBD products because if its glowing claims. WebMD explores the research and whether it’s safe to use. With the rise of interest in the legal cannabis market and the need for natural healthcare due to increased veterinary costs, dog owners are using CBD to treat…
CBD Oil for Dogs: What to Know
These days, you can find cannabidiol (CBD) products pretty much everywhere. The trendy ingredient is a natural compound found in marijuana and hemp. CBD by itself doesn’t cause a “high,” but research suggests it might help with insomnia (problems falling or staying asleep) and anxiety, along with other medical conditions.
CBD’s popularity has many dog owners turning to it as an alternative treatment. Of course, you want to do everything you can to help your pet. But does CBD really work? And is it safe? Here’s what you need to know.
Currently, you can find CDB products for your dog in the form of oils and treats. There’s not a lot of research or a formal study to back up the claims on its uses and benefits. Evidence is mostly anecdotal, or unscientific. Experts aren’t sure how much of the CBD is actually affecting the dog’s body or if it’s just being removed. More research is needed.
But some dog owners think CBD oil can be used to:
- Ease inflammation
- Soothe nausea
- Stimulate appetite
- Ease pain
- Control seizures
- Boost heart health
- Lower anxiety
One small study looked at how CBD affects dogs with epilepsy. Most of the dogs given CBD oil from a hemp plant had seizures less often after 12 weeks. All dogs were given their usual epilepsy drugs during the clinical trial.
There’s limited information on CBD’s side effects and risks when used in dogs. Experts don’t yet know proper dosages or what amounts can be toxic.
So far, the FDA has approved only one CBD-based prescription drug to treat seizures in humans. Based on some of the side effects humans have had, here’s what to watch out for:
Dry mouth. It may temporarily limit the amount of saliva, or spit, your dog makes. They may be very thirsty.
Low blood pressure. CBD can cause a sudden temporary drop in blood pressure for humans. While a drop of CBD may seem small, it may cause lightheadedness for your dog.
Drowsiness. Its calming effects may make your dog sleepy if you give them a lot.
Fertility problems. Some studies found this in male animals exposed to CBD.
Always check with a veterinarian first if you’re thinking about giving your dog CBD.
Is It Legal?
Laws around CBD can be confusing. It’s illegal to market CBD as a dietary supplement for humans or add it to food. The FDA is cracking down on companies that do so.
In many states, veterinarians aren’t allowed to recommend it for pets or give any kind of dosing information.
Experts say more research, regulation, and standard practices are needed before CBD can be safely given to dogs and other pets.
Colorado State University: “Results from CBD clinical trial to assess efficacy on seizure frequency in dogs ‘encouraging,’” “CBD clinical trial seeks dogs with epilepsy.”
American Kennel Club: “CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know.”
American Veterinary Medical Association: “Cannabis use and pets.”
Oklahoma State University: “The Use of CBD in Dogs and Cats.”
FDA: “What You Need to Know (And What We’re Working to Find Out) About Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-derived Compounds, Including CBD,” “FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD),” “FDA Warns Companies Illegally Selling CBD Products.”
Harvard Health: “Cannabidiol (CBD) — what we know and what we don’t.”
Frontiers in Veterinary Science: “US Veterinarians’ Knowledge, Experience, and Perception Regarding the Use of Cannabidiol for Canine Medical Conditions.”
5 Things To Consider Before Giving CBD To Your Dog
With the rise of interest in the legal cannabis market and the need for natural healthcare due to increased veterinary costs, dog owners are using CBD to treat their dogs for various health conditions, including pain, inflammation, anxiety, seizures, and arthritis.
The CBD for dogs rage started after CBD was legalized in the United States in 2018 for human consumption. The 2018 Farm Act removed CBD from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Schedule 1 category. Meaning, it’s no longer considered a controlled substance.
Since then, CBD is the new health kick among Americans and worldwide. In the summer of 2019, a Gallup survey found that one in seven US adults use CBD products for various health conditions, including pain, inflammation, anxiety, seizures, and arthritis.
Since both humans and dogs have an endocannabinoid system with cannabinoid receptors in their bodies, dog owners and some veterinarians believe that CBD can also benefit dogs.
If your dog has been chewing up stuff, peeing inside the house, and barking uncontrollably — all signs indicate that he has anxiety. The good news is that CBD can help. Fortunately, CBD has anti-anxiety properties that can also benefit dogs.
However, before you run out and buy CBD for your dog, you should know all you can about it. The first thing you want to do is talk to your veterinarian if he hasn’t spoken to you about it already.
What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol , is a chemical compound that’s part of the endocannabinoid system, found in both humans and animals. It’s the non-psychoactive cannabinoid that’s derived from either the cannabis plant or hemp plant. CBD doesn’t give you the “high” like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) does.
CBD was discovered in 1940 by Roger Adams, the first professor at the University of Illinois, to extract CBD from cannabis. In 1946, Dr. Walter S. Loewe conducted the first CBD lab test, which proved that it doesn’t produce the psychoactive “high.” By the 1960s, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli chemist, synthesized cannabinoids, including CBD, THC, and many others. After that, the first CBD oil was produced by the British Pharmacopoeia.
How Do Dogs Benefit from CBD?
CBD has many health benefits for both humans and dogs. Although there’s little research on CBD for dogs, there’s evidence that they can benefit from the plant in various ways, including anti-nausea, anti-anxiety, shiny coat, improved appetite, joint health, and arthritis.
The way it works is with the endocannabinoid system, found in all living things with vertebrae in the central and peripheral nervous system. The endocannabinoid system is composed of cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors. CBD binds to the cannabinoid receptors to produce homeostasis (balance) in the body. It’s used to treat anxiety, pain, mood, seizures, and many other health conditions in humans. Like humans, dogs have an endocannabinoid system that works the same way as the human system, and they can benefit from CBD like humans.
5 Things You Should Know About CBD for Dogs
There are five things you should consider before buying CBD for your dog. Here’s what you should know.
Check the Certificate of Analysis (COA)
Most importantly, check the Certificate of Analysis (COA) on the label. It will give lab test results, including the amount of THC in the product. Ideally, for dogs, you want zero THC.
There are three tests you should look for on the COA. They are:
- Microbial Test – Gets results for pathogens like salmonella or E. coli.
- Heavy Metals Test – Shows results for pollutants, such as lead.
- Pesticides Test – Detects pesticides, which is necessary because some organic CBD products are contaminated from other crops.
If you can’t find the COA on the CBD seller’s website or the product’s label, and the seller doesn’t offer any information, it’s time to move on to another seller. Authentic CBD for dogs will have a COA since they have nothing to hide. To find a reputable CBD vendor, ask your vet, talk to your furbaby friends, or search the web. You can also find CBD products for Dogs at reputed vendors like CBDMEDIC .
Choose CBD with No THC
CBD is found in both the cannabis and hemp plants. However, the CBD in cannabis has more than 0.3 percent THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid that gives you the “high,” whereas CBD from hemp has within the legal limit, ie. 0.3 percent. Although there’s evidence that the CBD from cannabis can’t get you “high,” it still has that small THC percentage. THC of any amount is toxic for dogs and should be avoided. It can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and many other adverse reactions. Check for CBD products for dogs with zero THC.
Never Use Hemp Oil
Beware. The label is where manufacturers will get you. Many manufacturers will label their CBD products as “hemp oil” and describe it as beneficial to your health. Hemp oil contains little or no CBD and is not therapeutic for dogs. If the product is labeled as “hemp seed oil,” it’s perfectly acceptable to give to your pup if CBD is added to it. Always check the COA to be sure of the amount of CBD in the product.
Choose Broad Spectrum CBD
Broad-spectrum and CBD isolate products are best when it comes to our furry pals. Broad-spectrum CBD oil is most beneficial to dogs since it not only contains CBD; it also has many natural cannabinoids and terpenes. CBD isolate only contains CBD. Check the COA for this information.
Check the Dosage
Your vet should have some knowledge of CBD, including information about dosage since CBD for dogs is not regulated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) yet, and dosage isn’t established.
A 2018 study on the “pharmacokinetics, safety, and clinical effectiveness of CBD treatment in osteoarthritic dogs,” determined that CBD is both safe and effective for dogs. Results for dosing were also included. The research suggested that the dosage for dogs should be according to their weight, which is 2 mg/kg.
3 Health Conditions in Dogs that CBD Can Treat
Three common health conditions in dogs that also occur in humans can be treated with CBD. They are:
Pain can be debilitating for both dogs and humans. When it is, your dog wants relief just as much as you do. CBD can help relieve your dog’s pain and ease its suffering. A 2006 study indicated that cannabinoids, such as CBD, can help alleviate pain for those suffering from neuropathic, migraine, fibromyalgia, inflammatory, and cancer pain. A highly significant survey, the researchers propose using CBD as an alternative to opiate use, a growing epidemic, for pain management.
Epilepsy and other seizure disorders can affect both dogs and humans. As one of the first health conditions to be approved for treatment with CBD, the research is extensive and conclusive — CBD can help treat seizures. The researchers of one of the most recent reviews on CBD’s effectiveness for the treatment of seizures encourage the use of CBD with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs).
Like humans, dogs display certain behaviors when they have anxiety. People with anxiety disorders often panic, yell, or snap at you. Dogs with anxiety will chew up things, bark, or pee in the house. Since CBD relieves anxiety in humans, it could work for pets as well. One article from the American Kennel Club (AKC) about CBD for anxiety in dogs suggests that CBD has a calming, yet drowsy effect.
Is CBD Legal for Dogs?
In response to CBD’s growing interest for pets, the 2018 Farm Bill passed into law, which took both CBD and hemp-based CBD off the federal control substances list, making CBD legal in the United States. CBD for pets, however, is still taboo and comes with much controversy since veterinarians are hesitant to talk about it. With extensive research and evidence that CBD is safe for pets, more pet parents will accept it to treat their furry babies.
About the Author: Kimberley Dawson is a content specialist who frequently writes about CBD, Cannabis, and other alternative pain relievers.