As a pet owner, you’ve probably heard of CBD oil products for your dog. You may have seen them advertised on social media, or read about them in a pet care blog, or discussed them at the dog park with a friend.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. An Overview of CBD Oil
2. What Does CBD Mean?
3. What Can CBD Oil Do?
4. What Do I Look For in CBD Oil?
5. Unwanted Food-Like Ingredients
6. High-Quality Ingredients
7. Where Can I Find High-Quality CBD Dog Products?
You may even be currently using some CBD oil yourself!
An Overview of CBD Oil
As people all over the globe shift their opinions in favor of more natural and holistic healthcare options, and more information becomes available via the internet and social media, it can be difficult to know what products are worth buying and which one is all marketing hype.
Not every item with buzzwords attached to it in an advertisement is healthy, safe, or effective. It is important that, as a consumer, we know how to critically consider a health claim before spending our hard-earned money.
One of the products you may be considering, for you or your pet, is CBD oil.
Plants have an important place in our story as humans. We have often used them to enhance our lives and our health. We as a species have relied on folklore, medicine, and magic- all intertwined with local plant life- to preserve the culture and pass down information to the next generation.
CBD is one of the plants that has been used throughout history. The ancient Chinese people, for instance, used it in tea to cure a number of ailments including gout and malaria. Ancient African tribes often ate the seeds, much like we do coriander today, and built entire dishes around the flavor. Early American colonists grew hemp for textiles and rope.
But are the modern cure-all preparations worth the time and money? As a responsible dog owner, you absolutely want the best for your pet, and as a savvy consumer, you would like to make sure you’re getting a good product for the right price.
What Does CBD Mean?
First, it’s important to know what CBD means. The acronym CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is one of about 80 already known complex chemical compounds found in various parts of the hemp plant.
Hemp is a close cousin of marijuana, but with a significantly lower concentration of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the ingredient that causes a psychoactive high. The THC in some strains of marijuana is what makes people feel “stoned”.
CBD oil is extracted from the plant and distilled in alcohol to remove any impurities. It is then suspended in a carrier oil (usually fatty oils like coconut work best) and sold as various products for human and pet consumption.
It is fairly easy and straightforward to find CBD oil. Oils are widely available, in many concentrations, and some even with natural flavors, online. Because of the high demand and recent increase in popularity, they are also becoming popular products for health stores to carry.
Some CBD is sold as a tincture. A popular way to use a tincture, which is simply the cannabidiol in an alcohol solution, is sublingually - or under your tongue. This is a fast and efficient way of absorbing the CBD because it bypasses the digestive system and is immediately available to your body.
A similar method of consumption is oral sprays meant for the inside of your cheek.
CBD can be found in easy-to-use pill or caplet form. They make it easy to regulate your dose, minimize other ingredients, and carry with you if you travel or work long hours.
Vaping CBD is also becoming a popular form of use.
CBD is also found in a number of other products for pets and their humans to use, including in snacks and treats, grooming and beauty products, and household items.
What Can CBD Oil Do?
CBD oil is being touted as an instant fix for what seems like a million different ailments. Because of the widespread effect, it has on so many different body functions, it may feel like there is no limit to what it can help.
All animals have a specific network of receptor sites in our body that functions the same way across species. It is called ECS. The ECS is primarily present in our peripheral and central nervous systems and our digestive system.
ECS stands for the endocannabinoid system, and it is so named because humans discovered it researching the effects of marijuana on our bodies.
While more research is being done all the time, we are already astounded at the way the ECS affects the other systems of our bodies. The ECS appears to play an integral role in sleep, for instance, as well as mood and hormone regulation and the creation and storage of memories.
The ECS, at its base function, enables our bodies to maintain homeostasis, which is the internal biological stability that helps our body cope with changes in life. It keeps your body, and your dogs, running efficiently regardless of external factors.
The science currently available points to massive returns on such a relatively small lifestyle change.
We already understand that dogs experience the same physical and mental health concerns that humans do. Our pets may have joint problems, anxiety, and seizures. CBD may help control all of these and more.
You can try using CBD oil to help manage the following:
- Anxiety and phobias
- Nausea and digestive issues
- Inflammation and pain
- Loss of appetite
CBD can also be used to alleviate the discomfort associated with major diseases like cancer. Loss of appetite, pain, and lack of energy are all well-known side effects of cancer treatments in your pet. That burden can be eased with cannabidiol.
Aside from the potential to restore health, CBD oil could also help preserve it. Proponents of regular use claim greater energy levels, a stronger immune system, and better sleep.
The likelihood of long-term illnesses may be decreased, and neurodegenerative diseases could be avoided altogether, thanks to CBDs' ability to protect the brain from massive cell death by eliminating free radicals and toxins.
CBD oil is also being tested for the potential to have antibiotic properties.
What Do I Look For in CBD Oil?
The first question you should ask yourself should be why. Why do you want to give your pet a CBD oil supplement? What do you hope it will do?
That answer will lead you to choose a type of CBD to give. Do you want quick relief of symptoms? An oil or tincture would be your best option. Are you trying to influence your picky pet's long-term wellness? An edible treat may be a good choice.
One of the biggest factors to consider when choosing a CBD oil is purity. You want to choose a safe, clearly-labeled product with pure cannabinoid in it. Any other additives should be easily identifiable and added for good reason (like flavor or nutrition), not just to make an inferior product appear better.
Do not try and “price shop” and accidentally buy a low-grade oil. Quality cannabidiol can be pricey; it is well worth the money to ensure your pet is getting the safest, purest product. Cheaper oils maybe, at best, lower concentrations than listed and be ineffective, or at worst they could be contaminated and downright dangerous.
Make absolutely sure of the formula you choose. When buying online, the manufacturer should list the exact ingredients and the concentration of CBD in the product. Check the listing and the label to ensure there is little to no THC added to your oil.
There is some evidence of the ‘entourage effect’: some humans, and possibly some dogs, respond to CBD better when it is combined with a little THC as well. This effect is possible by using a product that contains less than the legally allowable .3% THC. Any concentration higher than that and the risk of THC intoxication increases too.
Unwanted Food-Like Ingredients
These unwanted food-like ingredients go by many names, but may include things like:
- Grain byproducts or meals from corn and wheat. Processed soy in large quantities can be especially unhealthy for a dog.
- Rendered fats (they usually amount to low-quality chicken fat)
- Artificial food dyes (which are made from petroleum and have numbers assigned to them, like ‘red dye 40’ and ‘blue dye 2’)
- Propylene glycol (you may know this as one of the ingredients in antifreeze)
- BHA and BHT (butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydroxytoluene)
- Unspecified meat and bone meal
- MSG (Monosodium glutamate, often present in canned vegetables and heavily processed meats)
- Corn syrup or other artificial sweeteners, or other sugar alcohols like xylitol (which is actually dangerous for your dog)
- Nitrates and nitrates (which add a salty flavor and preserve food, but have been linked to cancer in both human and animal studies)
It is a much better decision to invest in your dog's health and well-being by choosing quality products with whole-food ingredients you would choose for yourself to eat.
A good rule of thumb is if you can pronounce the ingredients and you have similar foods in your own kitchen, that food item is a better choice than an inferior food with heavily processed by-products.
These high-quality ingredients should be identifiable on the label. They can include:
- Meat (chicken, salmon, and beef are all readily available in animal foods)
- High-fiber carbohydrates like oats, peas, and rice
- Fruits and vegetables (like sweet potatoes, cranberries, and apples)
- Fats, especially paying attention to the ratio of omega-3s to omega-6 fats
- Preservatives. These should be natural choices like vitamin E and rosemary.
As an animal lover, you may find yourself concerned with issues of animal welfare and cruelty. There are many vegan dog products on the market, and there are many more that claim their ingredients are ‘kind’.
Animal rights activists have worked hard to shine a light on factory farming and consumer resources for avoiding this practice are readily available online via a quick Google search.
Choose something your dog likes to encourage them to eat it regularly. This is where CBD oil-infused treats can come in handy!
Organic products are undoubtedly a better choice, as they are less likely to contain any harmful pesticides, solvents, or fungicides.
These chemicals tend to be stored in the body and can disrupt hormone and thyroid function, as well as cause disease - the very thing you are trying to eliminate by using CBD oil.
Organic meats and produce have been shown to have higher amounts of some antioxidants and micronutrients as well. The nutrition profile of some organic produce is better than that of conventionally grown crops. That means more bio-available vitamins and minerals for your dog!
When choosing organic dog treats, you automatically avoid the worst of the unhealthy food ingredients as well. This can help make your choices easier to commit to, simpler to implement, and more sustainable long-term.
Growing and farming according to organic standards is also considered better for the environment, especially in regards to soil health.
Another thing to research when starting your pet on CBD is where the hemp comes from. The country it is grown in should be listed clearly on the website (if you’re shopping online) and on the bottle label.
If you cannot find growing location and contact information anywhere, or a representative for the company does not take your request for that information seriously, take heed: you have very likely found a substandard product and a sketchy business. Avoid this product.
Hemp grown in the United States is subject to strict federal safety standards. Three federal agencies regulate the farming, harvesting, and storage of hemp, the manufacturing, and packaging of hemp products, and the information and advertising related to those products.
The FDA (The Food And Drug Agency), the USDA (the United States Department of Agriculture), and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) oversee the entire complex process.
These three agencies work with farmers and manufacturers to ensure that your final CBD product is safe and actually contains the ingredients listed on the label.
They also make the process as eco-friendly and human-rights-friendly as possible by educating growers on sustainable and respectful farming methods, with new ideas being researched every day.
Hemp grown in other parts of the world may not be as regulated as USA-grown hemp. Generally speaking, fewer restrictions and controls means a substandard final product. The oil you give your dog, if grown elsewhere, may contain high levels of dangerous contaminants.
Where Can I Find High-Quality CBD Dog Products?
The easiest way to find your dog CBD oil is online. There are thousands of shops that specialize in cannabinoid products for pets. Following the above guidelines should help narrow down the choices and ensure you select the best product.
To find more information and an online store, a few simple search tips can help:
- Use Google.com. This is the most thorough, most sophisticated search engine available.
- Set up a narrow search using keywords. Searching “animal CBD oil” will bring up more results than “healthy CBD oil treats for large breed dogs”, but that leaves you filtering through the results yourself. Be more specific and you will get the answers you want faster.
- If you would like a local source of information or CBD oil, add your location to the search bar. Again, be specific, especially if you live in a large city.
- Check with several different websites before choosing where to buy. You may find vastly different product selections, ingredient standards, and prices from one shop to the next.
- Ensure the business you choose is reputable and legitimate. You can check with the Better Business Bureau. Make sure the website has a real address and phone number listed.
- Browse around the website searching for glaring signs of unprofessionalism. Consider how the company accepts payments.
When in doubt, recommendations from your social circle, your favorite online pet care blogs, or your vet's office, trainer, and groomer are a good place to begin your search.
You could also try asking at local pet supply stores in your area. They may even have a display of CBD products set up right there ready for purchase! If they do not carry CBD products they may know of a reputable store nearby that does.
When used properly and regularly, CBD oil could have the ability to radically transform your dog's health for the better!
Sources:Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System
Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders
Use of Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Epilepsy
Regulation of nausea and vomiting by cannabinoids
Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs
The Endocannabinoid System and Plant-Derived Cannabinoids in Diabetes and Diabetic Complications
Effect of sublingual application of cannabinoids on intraocular pressure