Humans use CBD oil for pain relief, combating stress, and more. Is CBD effective for dogs, too?
The health benefits of CBD oil have become increasingly accepted by conventional medical practitioners, but did you know CBD oil for dogs is also available? We spoke to a handful of veterinarians to find out more information, including the pros and cons of CBD oil for dogs.
Benefits of CBD Oil Use For Dogs
Many of the benefits that CBD provides to humans are applicable to dogs as well, such as providing pain relief, combating anxiety, and preventing seizures. CBD has further been shown to reduce the harm caused by damaged blood vessels, prevent damage caused by an irregular heartbeat, and protect blood vessels in both humans and canines.
CBD is primarily used by humans for pain relief, physical therapy, and stress release. Studies have found the compound to be effective as an analgesic and an anti-inflammatory. In certain human patients, it has even been shown to have antidepressant properties.
In contrast, THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol; the principal component of marijuana strains of the cannabis plant) has its own unique medicinal benefits. THC is the primary cannabinoid that leaves users feeling “high”. CBD, however, has no mind-altering psychoactive properties — making it safe to use on animals.
Treatments with CBD and other hemp-based products show plenty of promise, according to Dr. Joe Wakshlag, DVM at ElleVet Sciences. “The effects rival or exceed that of traditional drugs such as nonsteroidals,” he says.
CBD And Homeostasis
The state at which the body performs at its optimal level is known as homeostasis.
The body can be compared to a “well-oiled machine” when it is in homeostasis, whereas being sick or leading an unhealthy lifestyle can disrupt it. Research shows that CBD can play an important role in maintaining homeostatic functions within the central nervous system while exerting analgesic effects in various chronic pain conditions.
If your dog appears sick or is uncharacteristically lethargic, it might be a good time to speak with a veterinarian about the benefits of CBD — especially if he or she displays signs of chronic, age-related ailments such as joint disease or poor digestion.
Symptoms of canine degenerative joint disease include difficulty climbing stairs, difficulty getting up, a loss of muscle mass, and vocalization of pain. Digestive disorders may cause loss of appetite, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, or chronic abdominal pain.
Risks Of CBD Oil: CBD Isolate VS Whole Spectrum
Despite its benefits, CBD is not a miracle drug. It has been found to cause side effects such as dry mouth, low blood pressure, and drowsiness.
“It’s also important to remember that there is a big difference between CBD isolate — which is essentially a pharmaceuticalized compound — and use of full spectrum hemp extract that contains a concentrated, identified amount of cannabidiol (CBD),” explains master herbalist and CBD authority Elizabeth Moriarty.
We tend to see side effects and lack of efficacy in the isolate as compared to the full extract when comparing equal quantities of CBD. This is often referred to as ‘entourage effect’. The formal term is network pharmacology — which simply means that compounds work together synergistically to buffer harmful effects while emphasizing beneficial effects. Call it the intelligence of nature.
“CBD oil use in pets appears to be very safe but in all honesty, we don’t have a lot of experience with it,” adds Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM, and member of the Pet Life Today advisory board.
Mainstream knowledge of CBD’s benefits remains limited, but Dr. Wakshlag remains optimistic. “The possibilities for medical benefits are just beginning to be explored,” he says.
This sentiment is echoed by Ben Finley, an organic chemist and medical editor for Dispomed Veterinary Equipment. “That being said, as with humans, you should still use it in moderation,” Finley warns. While this applies more to cannabis products which also contain THC, the “in moderation” rule should be adhered to with CBD as well. The best bet is always to first consult your vet for advice on dosage and be informed of any potential risks. But also consider that mainstream doctors, be it for dogs or humans, may be programmed and limited in scope. Best to suss out a vet or doc that is familiar with holistic medicine or functional medicine.
How Do I Administer CBD Oil To My Dog?
The three most common ways to administer CBD to your dog are through dog treats, pills, and CBD oil.
Dog treats are probably the easiest and quickest way to get CBD into your dog’s system. Most of these treats are delicious and dogs love them, although in some cases, the CBD-infused dog treat may be less potent than other forms of the medicine.
CBD pills for dogs are generally considered to be more effective. You can even mix them in with their doggie treats, making them that much easier to administer if your pet happens to be temperamental when it comes to swallowing meds. Simply add a CBD pill to their dog food, or coat a CBD pill in an organic nut butter.
CBD Hemp oil is a good option when used as a painkiller, muscle relaxant, or to treat the symptoms of arthritis.
Dogs that suffer from anxiety are often given pharmaceuticals — including opiates — with challenging side effects. Meanwhile, CBD is gaining in popularity and repute among pet owners who see remarkable benefits with the use of CBD in managing anxiety in their dogs. In animals, I find the greatest impact of the use of CBD to be in managing musculoskeletal inflammation and pain, and anxiety — which can be a huge issue for both the dogs and their owners.
Making CBD Oil Work For Your Dog
Any approved method for administering CBD to your dog is fine, you just need to learn what works best with your dog. “Ultimately, it comes come down to what is doable or reasonable for the pet owner to administer to their dog,” says Dr. Wakshlag.
If you conclude that you want to try CBD for your pup, you’ll need to find a high-quality CBD product. A good rule of thumb is to make sure the product is organic, and therefore less likely to contain harmful chemicals or additives. Also, make sure that your CBD product is from a reputable manufacturer — ideally one with a good track record and verified online reviews.
Finally, record your dog’s interaction with the CBD product you choose. Track how they were both before and after their CBD treatment. Although this incredible compound offers numerous benefits, the future of CBD all depends on the safe use of these products, be it for human or canine consumption.
Chris Barry is a freelance writer based in Montreal, Canada. Visit his website.
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