The Truth About CBD for Dogs
Thinking about using CBD for your fur baby? Here’s all you need to know before administering CBD.
01/16/2023 | Sniff & Bark
Though controversial, cannabidiol or CBD is popular because of its many benefits to people. It’s been associated with relieving symptoms of depression and anxiety, treating epilepsy, minimizing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, managing pain, and more.
Because of this, other uses for it are being explored. This includes the alleviation of uncomfortable symptoms among dogs that are suffering from certain health conditions. For canines, it’s known to help them with nausea, pain, anxiety, inflammation, and seizures.
Pet CBD comes in various ready-to-consume forms. Compared to certain medications that must be given by veterinary professionals, it is more accessible, easier to administer, and relatively affordable.
But is CBD safe for dogs and should you give it to them? What are its uses? Are there any downsides that you should be aware of?
In this article, we’ll tell you all you need to know so you can make a safe and proper decision for your four-legged friend.
CBD Vs Marijuana
What is CBD? A big part of CBD’s controversy is the fact that it’s one of the chemicals found in marijuana, a plant that is often recreationally smoked for its psychoactive or mind-altering effects. Though it's derived from the same plant, CBD and marijuana are very different.
Their production methods, uses, and effects are unique from each other.
Parts of the Plant Used
In marijuana, the bud or flowers from the cannabis plant are harvested, dried, and then smoked during consumption. CBD, on the other hand, uses the plant’s flowers, stems, and leaves which are placed in a pressure-filled chamber full of carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide absorbs the oil and flavor from the plant, making it usable for various CBD-based products.
Dried cannabis contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the component that’s responsible for the euphoric high that its users experience. Unlike marijuana, CBD doesn’t produce a high since it interacts with different receptors in the brain. Since it contains little to no THC, it doesn’t have the same psychoactive effects even if it maintains similar medicinal properties.
CBD Uses in Dogs
Similar to humans, CBD works on the endocannabinoid system (ECS) of dogs. This is the system responsible for controlling the amount of pain they feel, their appetites as well as their immune and inflammatory responses.
Let’s take a look at some of the conditions that CBD is believed to help treat in dogs:
- Moderate to severe pain
- Stress and anxiety
- Inflammation due to conditions like osteoarthritis
- Digestive issues
- Social withdrawal
- Neurological disorders
- Faster wound healing
- Improved appetite
In addition, CBD is sometimes used to manage and mitigate the secondary symptoms of cancer. If a dog has a serious or terminal illness, or is nearing the end of its life, CBD can be used to make it feel calm and lessen its discomfort.
Can CBD Calm My Dog?
One of the most popular uses of CBD is to address hyperactivity and reduce anxiety. You’ll thus find several calming chews for dogs, calming treats for dogs, CBD oil for dog anxiety, and the like. While there are many people who’ve tried CBD on their dogs and experienced some success with it, the use of CBD for calming pets has yet to be approved (more on this in the next section).
Is CBD Safe for Dogs?
Is it good to give CBD oil to dogs? There have been a few studies that explored its various uses.
- Research conducted in 2018 established that CBD for dogs’ arthritis is safe and effective.
- Another study showed that when administered with anti-seizure medications, CBD can reduce the frequency of seizures among canines.
- A more recent study from the Cambridge University Press demonstrated that CBD shows promise in reducing seizures in dogs with epilepsy, minimizing pain among those with arthritis, and decreasing aggressive behavior.
However, it’s not all positive. A 2020 study discovered that CBD in combination with trazodone (an antidepressant) did not significantly ease the anxiety experienced by dogs due to loud noises like fireworks.
Whether it’s CBD for aggressive dogs, CBD for anxious dogs, or calming CBD treats for dogs, research is limited. Most evidence is anecdotal like this Reddit user who claims that it has helped their dogs’ knee dysplasia and arthritis:
…the dramatic change it has made to our ACD’s [Australian Cattle Dog] knee dysplasia and our chihuahua's back/arthritis is AMAZING! It took a week or two but the ACD no longer limps and the chihuahua went from having trouble going up the stairs to taking them on at full speed.
Overall, the risks and safety of CBD use for dogs have yet to be established. It has not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and there are thus no recommended doses.
Is CBD for Dogs Legal?
CBD is sold in various forms, including pet chews, treats, and drops. If you Google CBD treats for dogs, CBD drops for dogs, where to buy CBD for dogs, or similar variations, you’ll find countless results.
This may lead you to believe that CBD for dogs is permissible but the long and short of it is that CBD for pets has yet to be legalized. Though the 2018 Farm Bill removed CBD from its list of federally controlled substances, the issue remains divisive and veterinarians are not allowed to prescribe it.
If you are considering giving CBD to your pet, you should still discuss it with your vet, especially if your dog is taking other medications. However, note that the government only allows vets from Michigan, California, and Nevada to discuss CBD as a treatment option.
What Type of CBD Is Best for Dogs?
When choosing where to buy CBD oil for dogs, make sure that the product is derived from hemp. Hemp for dogs is considered safe while the THC derived from plants that are used to make marijuana is highly toxic to them.
Another aspect to consider is whether you need a full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD. Most recommend full-spectrum since it has more beneficial cannabinoids like terpenes and cannabigerol. However, it’s best to do more in-depth research and consult a vet if you can.
What Are the Pros and Cons of CBD for Dogs?
The novelty and controversy surrounding CBD for dogs make the decision of whether or not to give it to your dog trickier. As fur parents, we only want to give our pets the very best. To help you decide, here’s a rundown of its pros and cons:
Pros of Giving Your Dog CBD1There are many encouraging testimonials from pet owners.
- It’s easy to find out where to buy CBD for dogs. There’s a wide selection of CBD products online such as CBD treats for dogs, CBD drops for dogs, CBD calming dog treats, and more. There are even guides on how to choose the best CBD for dogs, product reviews, and tools like the CBD oil for dogs dose calculator.
- If it works, it can give your dog much-needed relief from symptoms where there are no clear-cut treatments.
Cons of Giving Your Dog CBD
- There are only a few empirical studies that explore the use of CBD on animals.
- You may receive little veterinary support on the administration of CBD for your pet. A study revealed that only 45% of veterinarians feel comfortable talking about CBD with their clients.
- CBD pet products are unregulated.
CBD and Its Gray Areas
The trouble with CBD for dogs is it’s a controversial treatment option that has been traditionally associated with the recreational drug marijuana. Since it’s relatively new as a therapeutic option, sufficient scientific studies have yet to be conducted so that it be considered a safe and viable treatment for animals.
When it comes to helping animals manage pain and avoid unnecessary distress, experimental treatments such as these begin to seem more enticing. As fur parents, it’s difficult to see our dogs endure pain and discomfort, especially if it’s daily and continuous. In some cases, CBD for dogs may seem like a risk worth taking.
Though it’s always best to consult a veterinary expert, not all states allow clients to discuss CBD as a treatment option. Owners looking for relief for their pets thus struggle with finding legitimate information on the topic as well as safe and effective CBD products.