It’s hard to browse social media or lifestyle websites these days without reading at least one post about the use of CBD oil. Given how much Cannabinoids are being used in mainstream therapies these days, this isn’t surprising.
But if you’re not familiar with the use of CBD oil already, it can seem confusing. Especially if someone has recommended that you use it for your dog. Or even if you’ve read about it online, and want to use it to help your dog. Recent statistics show that the market for CBD pet products has quadrupled in the last year alone. But there is still a lot of misinformation out there.
Is it like catnip? Does your dog get stoned? Where do you get CBD oil for dogs, how do you use it? All these questions – and all these answers! Here’s what you need to know about giving your dog CBD oil.
1. What is CBD oil for dogs, exactly?
Hemp, and not marijuana, is the main source of commercial cannabinoid. So although cannabis gets users stoned, it’s the effects of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that cause the psychoactive effect, not Cannabidoil. This lack of psychoactive effects is responsible for the explosive growth in the use of Cannabidoil for therapeutic purposes.
CBD oil for dogs is therefore not something that is going to get your dog drugged or stoned. It contains the extracted active compound, aka the Cannabidoil, mixed into a carrier oil, usually something like coconut or olive oil. This makes its use and distribution easier.
CBD oil for dogs is similar to CBD oil for humans in many ways. However, there is often a difference in additives and preservatives, as well as in dosage strengths. This is why it is better to get a pet-aimed CBD product, than simply try using your own bottle for your pooch.
2. How Does CBD Oil Work?
CBD oil for dogs has the same mechanism of action as in humans. Certain receptors in the body, called Endocannabinoid receptors, can be targeted by taking Cannabinoid. These receptors are present in both the central and peripheral nervous system.
Although there is not a lot of research on the exact working of CBD oil in dogs, the basic mechanism is known. CBD oil gets quickly absorbed into the dog’s body and is first circulated through the digestive system. A large amount of CBD is actually eliminated here, because of something called the First Pass Effect.
After this, what remains reaches the appropriate receptors and activates them. Once activated, the effect persists for up to nine hours, depending on the size of the dog. During and after this active phase, the CBD is slowly eliminated from the dog’s body.
3. What Does CBD Oil Do To Dogs?
Activity of the endocannabinoid receptors mentioned earlier, is the cause of CBD oil ́s effectivity. The Endocannabinoid receptors are part of the EHC system in the body and have been shown to have increased activity in people and dogs suffering from inflammatory diseases, especially in those involving the nervous system.
When CBD oil is used, it works against these upregulated receptors, and therefore against the disease process. Most of the beneficial effects of CBD oil in dogs are a result of this disease suppression. In diseases like Epilepsy or chronic pain syndromes after trauma or degeneration, the receptors are highly active. This is where CBD oil steps in.
In studies conducted on groups where dogs received CBD oil vs. those who didn’t, a direct correlation was found between better disease control and CBD oil in dogs who were given CBD oil.
Similar studies on dogs with severe osteoarthritis also showed increased activity of the same receptors that CBD oil targets.
4. How safe is CBD oil for dogs?
Although a matter of some debate, there is no tangible evidence showing that CBD oil has any adverse effects for dogs.
As mentioned before, CBD oil contains little to no THCs in it, depending on the brand and the kind of oil you buy. This means that your dog will not end up getting ‘high’.
There are no reported negative consequences of CBD oil use for dogs till now. Studies are admittedly sparse, but most of them focus on the potency of action of Cannabidoil on Endocannabinoid receptors in dogs, which has been proven without doubt already.
Bear in mind though, that CBD oil has still not been approved by the US Food and Drug Safety Association for use in dogs. There are no officially endorsed producers or dosage charts officially available.
However, most CBD oil preparations are available freely online and over the counter in most stores. They are not controlled products, and hence distributed openly in stores in most cities. Which is good, because it gives you more options to choose from. But first:
5. What Does Your Vet Say?
No matter how often you’ve used CBD oil for yourself, it’s in your dog’s best interests that you discuss it with his vet before giving him CBD oil.
In this context, it has more to do with establishing your dog’s suitability for CBD oil, than the other way round. CBD oil is safe to use, but if your dog has a condition that precludes him, you should know about it.
This is why it is advised that you always ask your vet before starting your dog on a CBD oil regimen.
6. What Kinds of CBD Oil Are There?
CBD oil is divided into three broad categories.
CBD Isolate is the purest form, which has been isolated and extracted completely. It contains no THC at all, and is odourless and flavourless. This makes it ideal for choosy dogs, as well as promises to give your dog a high-free experience.
Broad spectrum CBD oil is the next category, with some amount of terpenes and THCs retained in it. This means that it has a slight grassy flavour, and your dog will be able to tell that it’s there. Also, there will be mild cannabis-like effects from its use.
Full Spectrum CBD oil is the least processed variant, and contains the highest proportion of plant based residue, THC, and persisting terpenes in the mix. It is also less potent than the other two categories, and therefore also cheaper.
7. How Much CBD oil Can I Give My Dog?
Based on your dog’s breed, and the content of the CBD oil, the calculations can be a little variable. But the general permissible and recommended range for dogs is 1-5 mg CBD per 10 lb/5 kg body weight.
Dosage also depends on what kind of regimen your dog needs. Low doses mean that your dog gets about 1-2 mg for every 10 b or 5 kg body weight. High dose regimens means that he receives up to 5 mg per 10 lb or 5 kg body weight.
Naturally, this means that small dogs require less CBD oil than larger dogs. Also, you need to be cautious of the formulation that you are using. The mg/mL composition of the oil that you are using, changes the dose.
Dogs can be dosed every 8 hours for optimum results and effect maintenance.
8. How Do I Know Which One To Buy?
The best thing to do is buy a vet recommended CBD oil for dogs. However, if you still end up having to choose yourself, keep an eye on these factors:
- Is it certified?
CBD oil containers will very often bear some official recognition of their manufacturing process and standards. This is important information to have in hand before use.
- No THC, no thank you.
Make sure that the CBD oil you are buying contains no THC in the formulation. THC is responsible for psychoactive effects, so even if it is present as a contaminant or trace compound, your dog will have side effects.
- Organic is the best!
Ensure that the CBD oil you are buying has been grown organically. This helps you make certain that it contains no pesticides or chemical preservatives, that could have harmful side effects.
- Start small and work up.
The ideal thing to do is to buy low dosage CBD oil and use it in increasing doses, till you find the ideal strength for your dog.
If you buy high dose CBD oils, the chances of mistakenly administering higher doses are, well, higher. With low dose oils, you have better control and you can’t go wrong.
- No bargaining here.
Buying CBD oil is not the place where you should cut back on your budget. By all means, don’t break the bank for a ‘branded’ variant, but at the same time, if you have an option that promises to deliver the same effects at a fraction of the price, read the labels very closely.
Cheaper CBD oils contain a lot of chemical additives and preservatives. Additionally, they simply aren’t as potent. So you’ll end up using more to give your dog the same effect, which is money lost, in the long run.
Do your research and choose a brand that makes sense for its price.
- Buy the oil directly.
The easiest way to have control over how much Cannabidiol your dog receives, is to use liquid oil. There are plenty of treats and gummy chew-type CBD oil products for dogs, but when you use oil, you can use the dropper to regulate how much your dog ingests far more precisely.
9. What Are The Benefits Of CBD Oil For Dogs?
CBD oil has already been put to use in dogs with visible and recorded benefits. While more and more studies are announced every day, CBD oil is already showing its efficacy in the management of the following conditions.
Seizure disorders like Epilepsy:
Seizures are a result of misfiring of the neurons in the brain. Neurons, or brain cells, normally communicate through electric signals. When these cells misfire or have uncontrolled electrical activity, seizures occur. Your dog can have twitching, loss of consciousness, full body spasms, choking, loss of bladder and bowel control, and extreme weakness.
Sometimes, these are isolated incidents. But in some dogs, these are a result of epilepsy and need to be medically controlled. Here is where CBD oil steps in.
As mentioned before, CBD oil acts on Endocannabinoid receptors present on the organs and in the nervous system. Its activity on the nerve receptors ‘calms’ down the overactive and agitated receptors and helps restore normal activity.
Studies are present which explicitly and unambiguously prove the action of CBD oil on the CBD1 and 2 receptors in dogs. Up to 89% of dogs who received CBD oil, had better seizure management, as compared to those who did not.
This is doubly supported by overwhelming anecdotal evidence about the same. Even more encouraging are the cases where dogs with drug resistant epilepsy have shown improvement with CBD oil. More studies are planned and underway. It’s not unreasonable to expect CBD oil in the management of seizure disorders as mainstream therapy.
Anxiety and Panic Disorders in Dogs:
While dog psychology is a woefully understudied area, some disorders are unequivocally clear-cut, like Anxiety disorder. Every dog owner who knows how to read their dog’s moods can identify when they’re unusually worked up or anxious for any reason.
Whether it’s depression or separation anxiety, or something reactive, for e.g. during fireworks or parties, or any sudden experience, dogs react to all these negative stimuli. And, what’s very promising, is that they respond very encouragingly to the use CBD oil in the management of anxiety disorders.
The action of CBD oil on the Endocannabinoid receptors has been found to counter anxiousness in dogs by influencing blood flow to the brain and to these receptors. So whether it’s reactive anxiety or generalised social anxiety disorder, your canine companion does not need to suffer anymore.
Older dogs and dogs who are recovering from surgery or trauma, often have to be put on painkillers to help them maintain even a modicum of pain-free independent movement.
With CBD oil, this effect is much easier to achieve. Traditional painkillers include drugs like Opioid analgesics and NSAIDs. As in humans, these drugs come with a host of side effects. The damage caused to your dog’s digestive tract and kidneys is often far greater than whatever benefits the pain relief temporarily provides.
CBD oil has a twofold action in dogs suffering from chronic pain. For one, it has an additive effect on the action of painkillers, which means that not only are their effects longer drawn out, but also that their dosages can be tapered. In fact, in many cases, NSAIDs can be removed from the regimen completely. This is a huge win because NSAIDs cause a lot of damage to dogs’ renal systems.
The second major benefit is that CBD oil has strong anti-inflammatory action in dogs with inflammatory diseases like Osteoarthritis. It naturally doesn’t miraculously restore bone strength, but it reduces the inflammation caused by nerve damage over cartilage. This helps pain management and healing immensely. For a dog crippled in his daily activities by chronic pain, this can mean the chance to walk and play again.
Additionally, CBD oil has been shown to be beneficial in managing muscle spasms, pacing, restlessness, nausea, loss of appetite, motion sickness, excessive barking, unusual aggressiveness, as well as in handling scared dogs at the vet or while travelling.
10. Are there any downsides to using CBD oil for dogs?
As with all medical products, it’s advised that your vet sign off on CBD oil use for your dogs. In the rare event that your dog has side effects from CBD oil use, both you and your vet will be better equipped to deal with them.
The possible adverse effects of CBD oil are mild, such as dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, diarrhea, itching, and vomiting. These can be prevented by starting your dog off on the lowest possible dose, and after a week of regular dosing, increasing the dose very slowly, in case your dog needs more.
Also, you must ensure that your dog is not receiving THC compounds in any form. Marijuana is toxic for dogs and THC containing treats or edibles will make your dog sick.
11. How much CBD oil can my dog be given?
In addition to the recommended dosage of 1-5 mg per 5 kg body weight (10lb), you should also factor in the route of administration.
CBD oil in oil form can be given directly with a dropper. Dropping it into their mouths directly is the recommended mode of administration. But some dogs do not take to this despite training. Here, alternatives like capsules can be used.
CBD oil is also available as tinctures that you can massage into your dog’s ears, for quick absorption. Also, special chews, chew toys, and treats with CBD oil make administration easier in very finicky dogs. If nothing else works, you can add it to some food that they cannot resist. In these cases, however, dosage is trickier to regulate.
12. What else should I know?
Research supporting CBD oil use for dogs grows stronger every day. Multiple studies are underway that promote its use for dogs and cats, for a vast range of ailments.
It’s an all-natural and holistic resource for our dogs, one that they should not be denied, if they stand to gain from it. After all, our best friends deserve nothing but the best.