CBD Oil For Dogs Guide: Everything You Need To Know
There's a good chance you've heard of the myriad benefits cannabis, and more specifically cannabidiol, can have when used in proper dosages by humans. It can be used for treating chronic pain, anxiety, and depression, and even ease the symptoms of cancer. What you may not have heard is how using CBD oil for dogs can have similar positive impacts on the quality of your pet's life.
It can be incredibly disheartening to see our furry friend not enjoying life to the fullest. Even if you're doing everything right for your pet, sometimes they will still struggle with the same problems we do, like pain, mood issues, and even serious diseases. Fortunately, cannabidiol (also known as CBD) can help your pet through these issues, returning them back to their normal self.
If you've been considering using CBD products to help improve your dog's overall health, this one-stop guide will walk you through all of the concerns you may have and the benefits your animal could gain by using safe, high-quality CBD oils and products.
What Is CBD Oil For Dogs?
Cannabidiol is one of the active compounds found in hemp. It has a number of healing properties for humans and animals alike. CBD is not to be confused with the more well known major active hemp compound tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. THC is the compound in hemp that gives it its psychoactive properties, making it popular for recreational use.
CBD has no psychoactive properties. In fact, if you're buying high-quality CBD products, the CBD that you give to your dog will have never even come into contact with THC. CBD oil is a highly concentrated form of CBD made by placing a solvent (like olive oil or alcohol) on the surface of a hemp plant.
The plant absorbs the solvent, and as it makes its way through the plant it absorbs a high concentration of the CBD compound. The oil is then harvested and processed to create an all natural, non-toxic product that can improve your dog's well being.
How Does CBD Oil Work?
Cannabidiol works by supplementing your endocannabinoid system, or ECS. This system is responsible for regulating bodily functions like immunity, sleep, appetite, mood, and pain. It's made up of neurons in your brain called cannabinoid receptors.
Non-THC strains of CBD stimulate these neurons without producing a psychoactive effect; you get the health benefits of hemp without the high. Humans, cats, dogs, as well as birds, reptiles, and mammals, share this system, which is why they are all able to benefit from the effects of CBD.
CBD, and more specifically CBD oils, work similar to the way a vitamin works. Taking a Vitamin E supplement works to the benefit of your circulatory system by increasing your body's Vitamin E supply. CBD oils do just the same for your ECS, which is why it helps regulate mood, pain, and sleep for those with chronic health issues. While the idea of giving your pet CBD oil may seem foreign, it's very similar to you taking a vitamin.
Benefits of CBD Oil For Dogs
Cannabis oil can be used to treat a multitude of health conditions in dogs. Some of these include seizures, nausea, stress, anxiety, arthritis, chronic pain, symptoms of cancer, and gastrointestinal issues. It's important to remember that it isn't a cure for any of these conditions, only a treatment for their symptoms.
Unlike other treatments for these issues, cannabidiol has no life-threatening side effects for dogs.
1. CBD For Anxiety and Depression
The most well-known benefit of CBD in both humans and animals is its ability to help manage conditions such as anxiety and depression. If your dog has issues with chewing, urinating, pacing, or other destructive behaviors, then it's most likely a symptom of anxiety in your pet.
Chronic anxiety and depression are generally the result of a hormonal imbalance in humans, but works differently in dogs. Chronic anxiety in dogs is a physchological problem problem that is caused by behavior. This imbalance can lead to a host of negative symptoms in your dog, including abnormal and destructive behaviors, lethargy, aggressiveness, poor appetite, and poor sleep. Because the ECS system is responsible for regulating mood, sleep, and appetite, using cannabidiol reduces the effect of the symptoms of these conditions.
This helps to rebalance your pet and returns their hormones back to a normal rate of fluctuation. CBD also stimulates the adenosine and serotonin receptors in your pet's brain, which can have long-term benefits for your animal's happiness levels.
Not only are CBD oils effective for treating anxiety and depression, but they can also help with other mood or fear issues in your pet. If your dog has a hard time interacting with new people or animals, or is very averse to traveling with you, then CBD oils could be able to help.
Often, this behavior in dogs stems from a fear of unfamiliar people or animals, history of abuse/neglect, or separation anxiety. CBD oil is effective at easing the effects of all of these issues, allowing your dog to play and enjoy itself to a greater extent.
2. CBD For Seizures and Epilepsy
Most seizure and epilepsy medication (for humans as well as animals) has severe side effects. Seizures occur when your brain begins misfiring strong electrical signals throughout the body.
Standard seizure medications prevent seizures by suppressing the brain's electrical activity. While this is somewhat effective, users are left feeling dull and lethargic throughout their days, and harm is done to the liver and other organs.
Cannabidiol, if used in higher dosages, is capable of treating seizures and epilepsy without the same negative side effects. It can prevent and interrupt seizures in the short term, and even reduce their frequency if used over a long period of time.
3. CBD For Chronic Pain and Arthritis
Arthritis, back pain, and other chronic pains can all be detrimental to your dog's quality of life. A common cause behind these issues is inflammation of the joints and their surrounding areas. One healing aspect of CBD is that it can act as a pain reliever, providing quick relief to your pet's aches.
CBD oils target the neuron receptor that regulates pain in animals and blocks it from turning on. When this neuron is blocked, it stops sending pain and swelling signals throughout the body, leading the pain points to gradually go away on their own.
It works so well that researchers are considering making it a new drug class for treating patients suffering from chronic pain.
Thanks to this anti-inflammatory function of CBD, it is helpful for treating a wide variety of chronic pain issues, including:
- Intestinal inflammation
- Neuropathy pain
- Nerve-related pain
- Inflammation on oxidative stress
4. CBD For Nausea
Sometimes, your pet will unexpectedly lose their appetite, leaving you with no real explanation as to why. This is a common side effect of nausea. If you notice that your pet has been feeling nauseated or eating less than normal, CBD can help reduce the nausea, bringing their appetite back along the way.
5. CBD For Cancer
CBD has been shown to have an effect on cancerous cells that prevents them from growing. CBD also boosts the user's immune system, allowing the body to fight the formation of cancer cells. This means that giving your pet CBD dosages over the course of their life could help lower their chances of developing cancer.
For dogs that already have cancer and are being treated, CBD can help counteract the symptoms of the disease and the negative side effects of medications. Using CBD in conjunction with cancer treatment can help improve your animal's quality of life. There have even been studies in mice and rats showing that CBD can induce cell death in cancerous cells.
Despite there not being enough evidence to know why CBD is effective for treating cancer, there is enough to say that it has a positive impact. While you shouldn't use it in place of traditional cancer treatments, using it alongside these treatments can help your dog through the process.
6. Improve Coat and Skin Conditions
CBD oil can also improve your dog's coat and skin health. In humans, it is great for reducing symptoms of acne and dry skin, and these sorts of effects carry through to your pets. You can also apply CBD oil directly to your dog's coat and skin with certain forms of the oil.
This will help revive their coat, making it stronger, softer, and shinier. Also, if your pet is suffering from allergies or a skin condition, CBD oil can help alleviate their symptoms and get them back to their usual self.
7. Treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
If your dog suffers from inflammatory bowel disease, cannabidiol can help with that as well. This disease is caused by inflammation. Because CBD has the ability to reduce swelling and the discomfort, it can reduce the effects of IBD. It isn't a cure, but if used with frequency, your dog will be free from most of this disease's negative side effects.
8. Treat Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a condition that worsens your dog's sight over time. It prevents ocular fluids from draining properly due to high pressure being put on your dog's eyes. If it's a chronic condition in your pet, it can lead to partial sight loss or even complete blindness.
While any dog can experience glaucoma, there are some breeds that have a much higher chance of getting it. Because CBD can reduce swelling throughout the body, it can ease the pressure that causes glaucoma. This can reduce the effects of glaucoma and help restore your dog's sight.
9. Improve Your Dog's Overall Health
Even if your pet isn't suffering from any health issues, CBD supplements can still help to improve their overall well-being. It helps to regulate your dog's mood, sleep, appetite, and digestion by stimulating the ECS system.
It also has a preventative effect on several serious conditions that are common for dogs later in their life. Giving your dog CBD early on can benefit their health and ensure they live a long and happy life.
Should I Give My Dog CBD Oil?
If your dog is suffering from any of these conditions, you may already be considering helping your pet through the use of CBD oil. However, before you give your animal any kind of new medication, it's important to decide if it's right for your pet.
The best way to determine if CBD oil is right for your dog is by checking in with your local holistic vet. They'll be able to assess your dog and give you advice on whether or not CBD oil could help, help you determine dosage, and plenty of other useful information.
If your dog is on any other kind of medication, check with your vet before giving them CBD supplements. Mixing medications can have serious consequences depending on how the two interact with each other.
Giving CBD oil to a dog that is pregnant or nursing isn't advised since the CBD will transfer to the newborn puppies.
CBD Oil Side Effects
The chances of CBD harming your pet are exceedingly small. Like any form of medication, CBD oil can have a negative impact on your dog if improper dosages are administered.
You also must only give your dog THC-free CBD oil, as THC is toxic to dogs. If your pet has consumed marijuana or any other product containing THC, they should be taken to the vet immediately.
Some negative side effects could occur include lethargy, depression, heavy drooling, vomiting, agitation, tremors, or other unusual behaviors. If you notice any of these, speak to your vet before continuing to treat your dog with CBD.
Will CBD Oil Give My Dog A High?
In short, no. While it's a completely reasonable concern to have, CBD oil will not have any psychoactive side effects (so long as it has never come into contact with THC).
While the words hemp, marijuana, and cannabis are used interchangeably, they do not mean the same thing. Hemp and marijuana are separate strains of the cannabis plant. Marijuana, the strain you are probably most familiar with, contains a high percentage of the compound called THC.
THC is the compound that produces a psychoactive effect, which has led to its popularity as a recreational drug. Marijuana also contains the CBD compound, so those who use it recreationally can still benefit from the effects of CBD.
Hemp, on the other hand, is a strain of cannabis that contains less than 0.3% of THC, which is too low to have any psychoactive effects on the user. While marijuana is currently illegal throughout most of the United States, hemp is legal in all 50 of them.
This is why you've likely seen hemp lotions and oils in your local grocery stores, and it's why purchasing CBD oil for your pet is completely legal.
Types of CBD For Dogs
Once CBD oil has been extracted from a hemp plant, it's very easy to package it in a variety of forms. One of the most effective methods for administering CBD to your dog is directly as an oil, or tincture. This produces the quickest results and is the easiest way to control your dog's dosage.
You can give them the oil by mouth, place it on a treat, or mix it into their food. This form of CBD oil for pets is best for dogs with more severe conditions, like seizures, since it is such a concentrated and fast acting solution.
CBD oil also comes in topical forms, like salves or creams. If your dog is suffering from skin conditions like rashes or allergies, then this method allows you to apply the CBD directly to the affected area. It's also good for animals that have acute pains.
Another popular option is CBD dog treats. These are dog treats with the CBD oil mixed right in, which makes administering it to your dog easy and fun. These treats will most likely be standard dog biscuits or soft chews, which are great for older dogs.
CBD treats work well for treating just about any of the previously mentioned conditions, but it takes a little longer before the effects start to set in.
Finding The Best CBD Oil For Your Dog
If you've never purchased a CBD product before, it can be intimidating when first faced with all of the different forms, strains, and concentrations. In order to make sure you're getting the very best you can for your pet, there are a few factors to keep in mind.
Most importantly, make sure you never get your pet a CBD product that comes from a marijuana plant or has ever had contact with THC. THC is toxic to dogs, and CBD oil that comes from marijuana plants can carry traces of THC.
It's also important that the CBD product you choose is organic. If the product you purchase isn't organic, it could contain pesticides, fungicides, or solvents that would be harmful to your animal.
The higher the purity, the better. A purity level indicates how much of the product you are buying is CBD oil and how much of it is additives. It can become more expensive as you look at higher purity levels, but this helps to ensure that the product you are getting will be as effective as possible.
If you're not sure which form of CBD to get for your pet, getting it in a tincture form is a good way to start. It's the easiest way to control dosages, takes effect quickly, and is a simple way to introduce your pet to CBD supplements.
CBD Oil Dosage For Dogs
Proper dosage is essential with any kind of medication, and CBD supplements are no exception. Too little, and your dog won't be able to enjoy the benefits of the medicine.
Too much, and they could experience negative side effects. You should also ease your pet into taking CBD. Giving them half dosages at first is a good way to get them accustomed to the medication without overwhelming their system.
The best way to determine dosage is to speak with your local holistic vet. They can help you decide how much to give your dog, how often, in what form, and more.
Dosage is generally determined by the weight and size of your dog. A good rule of thumb is to give your dog one drop of CBD oil for every 10 pounds that they weigh. So if your dog weighs 30 pounds, you would give them three drops of CBD oil.
You should place the tincture under their tongue once a day. You can also check out our CBD Dosage Calculator to help you find the right dosage for your pet.
Fortunately, CBD has little to no negative effects on dogs, so you have the ability to increase or decrease the dosage based on their reaction to the supplement.
For the first week, monitor your dog's behavior. If they start to behave unusually or exhibit signs of lethargy, consider lowering the dosage. If they don't show any improvements over the course of a week, then upping the dosage should help.
CBD Oil For Dogs: The Bottom Line
If you're considering giving your pet CBD supplements, whether it's to treat conditions affecting your dog's quality of life or simply to improve their overall health, then hopefully this article has helped with your decision.
If you're still unsure, talk to your local holistic vet about any concerns you may have. They're the best way to decide if CBD supplements are right for you and your pet.
So long as you purchase CBD products from a reputable seller and are responsible with how you administer it, you should quickly see an improvement in your pet's everyday life.
Dr. Ivana Vukasinovic
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Belgrade
Ivana Vukasinovic grew up in Serbia and attended the University of Belgrade where she received a degree in Veterinary medicine in 2012 and later completed surgical residency working mostly with livestock. Her first year of practice was split between busy small animal practice and emergency clinic, and after two more years of treating many different species of animals, she opened her own veterinary pharmacy where an interest in canine and feline nutrition emerged with an accent on fighting animal obesity. In her free time, she acts as a foster parent for stray animals before their adoption, likes to read SF books and making salted caramel cookies.
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