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Are CBD Products Safe for My Dog?

Friday, March 1st

Are CBD Products Safe for My Dog?

CBD has become increasingly popular as a means to promote health and wellness in recent years. While most of the discussion has centered on humans, talks of CBD use in dogs has grown as well.

CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in marijuana, elicits a calming and peaceful feeling without the "high." People consume CBD in different ways - it comes in oils, edibles, and lotions.

If you are wondering if your pet can receive the same benefits, the answer is yes! CBD for dogs is a relatively new phenomenon, but that doesn't mean there aren't guidelines for best practices. This article covers the basics of what CBD is, its benefits dogs, and, most importantly, how to safely use it.

What Exactly is CBD?

CBD is a naturally occurring chemical compound within the cannabis plant. Since the 3rd century, cannabis has been used to treat a variety of illnesses and ailments like gout, malaria, and cognition troubles. Today, scientists have studied the two most popular compounds of cannabis - CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

Despite being chemically similar, THC is what creates the "high" that many associate with marijuana. CBD, though has several medical benefits - and does not produce a high effect. The legalization of marijuana in certain states has ramped up the production of CBD and subsequently made it a multi-billion dollar business.

Why Give Your Dog CBD?

Many dog owners swear by CBD as it provides significant relief to certain dogs. Over the years, dogs age and can develop aches, anxiety, and other conditions just like humans do. Medications often lose their effectiveness over time, but many find CBD useful in alleviating these issues.

CBD oil can help reduce anxiety in a fearful dog - especially separation anxiety or fear of loud noises (think thunderstorms or fireworks). It also helps to reduce pain and inflammation - giving an arthritic dog a better quality of life. If you choose to give your dog CBD in an oil edible form, the effects will begin to work as quickly as 5-20 minutes after administration. For anxious dogs, research has suggested that its efficacy improves if given over a period of time rather than all at once.

Benefits of CBD

Like us, our pets have an endocannabinoid system that allows CBD to work its magic on them. This means the compound of the cannabis plant has a similar effect on both humans and animals alike.

Because dogs possess a similar endocannabinoid system to humans, many researchers believe that CBD can provide them the same benefits as it does for a human.

CBD is said to have numerous benefits for dogs, including:

  • It has been reported that CBD oil can reduce the stress associated with social/separation anxiety in pets.
  • CBD can help improve puppy appetite by signaling their brain to get excited about food. CBD receptors relax the central nervous system, which may decrease symptoms of nausea and make eating easier on your young pup's digestive tract if they're feeling unwell.
  • CBD may help with auto-immune diseases like arthritis and help decrease pain, specifically inflammation.
  • CBD oil has been shown to prevent epileptic seizures in 89% of dogs studied.
  • CBD can help repair a dog's skin barrier, reducing the impact of allergens and bacteria on their skin.
  • CBD products can be helpful in making your dog calm during thunderstorms or loud sounds such as fireworks.

So, Are CBD Products Safe for Dogs?

CBD is unlikely to produce any dependence or abuse in pets, according to research from the World Health Organization. In fact, CBD may be a useful treatment for a number of medical conditions even including anxiety and nausea.

Although there have been recent studies supporting the health benefits of CBD for your pets, it is not yet clear how beneficial the drug actually is. Additionally, veterinarians are split in their recommendations when it comes to CBD use. The main reason for this is that there has not been enough research done on the potential benefits of giving these supplements to dogs.

According to Colorado State University's College of Veterinary Medicine it's best to use cautiously until more hard data is available for guidance.

One major cause for concern is the liver because of how CBD-derived products are broken down in the body. Some vets caution against giving CBD to dogs with known liver issues because it is metabolized in the liver similarly to humans.

Dosing Concerns

If you decide to give your dog CBD, it's important to know how much you should give. After consulting a veterinarian, introduce the supplement slowly because starting too high can make the animal sick.

Below is a breakdown of very basic dosing rules and doesn't apply to every product currently manufactured. Be sure to check the specific brand you choose and discuss with your veterinarian to ensure best practices.

  • Five Pounds = 0.25 mg
  • Ten Pounds = 0.5 mg
  • Twenty Pounds = 1 mg
  • Forty Pounds = 2 mg
  • Sixty Pounds = 3 mg
  • Eighty Pounds = 4 mg
  • One-Hundred Pounds = 5 mg
  • One-Hundred and Twenty Pounds = 6 mg

The recommended dosage of CBD for an adult dog depends on your pup's symptoms and the severity of their ailment. Some suggest once per day, while others recommend every 8 hours, but it's largely dependent on individual needs.

A good starting point is gradually giving your dog a smaller dose. As needed, work up to giving them a larger dosage of medication.

Liver Concerns

A previous study performed by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences claimed that CBD raised liver enzymes. The study found that mice who received the equivalent CBD dosage for humans exhibited signs of liver damage within 24 hours, with 75 percent on the brink of death in a matter of days. There is one problem with this study: it was conducted using Epidiolex, an FDA-approved CBD isolate, and the dosage was astronomically high. Epidiolex is NOT a full spectrum hemp extract; therefore, the entourage effect is not in place, and the amounts given were purposefully misleading.

So, take the results with a grain of salt. Dr. Gary Richter, a holistic veterinarian, says, "Life-threatening risks for dogs from medical cannabis are exceedingly rare. Toxicity more often occurs when a pet has eaten a product that contains chocolate, coffee, or raisins. Even if the THC toxicity is not excessive, they can sometimes have problems due to these other ingredients."

Interactions with Other Drugs

The main effect of CBD is inhibition of cytochrome P450, which has the potential to affect the metabolism and clearance of other drugs. This can be especially important when cats are treated with CBD for seizures control. The doses of anticonvulsants may need to be altered once CBD is introduced, and owners who feel that their pet's seizures are controlled by CBD should have this discussion with a veterinarian.

Which are the Safest Options for My Dog?

To find the best CBD supplier, check for these four things.

  • Testing. Look for products that have been independently tested by a third party instead of taking packaging claims at face value. For example, you might see a seal from the U.S. Hemp Authority on the company's website to show that its products meet strict standards and have passed an audit by a third party.
  • Ingredients. To learn about the ingredients in a CBD product, review the label on its packaging, or look at the website. Consider everything listed as an ingredient. Also, before giving your dog a CBD product, check with your vet.
  • Origin. Look for products to ensure they're made from domestically-grown hemp, as it is subject to industrial hemp regulations.

How to Safely Administer CBD to Your Dogs

Now that you know how to choose a supplier, you can decide if you want to give your dog CBD in food, oil, or treats.

CBD can come in many forms for pets, such as oils that can be ingested orally or applied topically. It also comes in the form of edible treats and filled capsules, topical creams, and capsules.

It's a good idea to speak with your vet or trusted pet-care provider and see if they have recommendations for products that may work for your pup.

The Takeaway

CBD products are generally considered safe for use in dogs. They can lead to many benefits and pose little risk if any, to most animals. One of the most important components in ensuring the safety of animals when consuming CBD, regardless of form, is dosing. It is always best to administer less than necessary to mitigate the chance of adverse effects by giving too much to your furry friend.

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CBD for Dogs FAQ

While it's probably best known for soothing anxiety and phobias, CBD for dogs is also used for pain relief, joints and mobility, epilepsy, seizures, and all of the conditions associated with aging. It's hard to come up with a circumstance where CBD for dogs hasn't been used to help animal companions to feel their best!
While that's funny to imagine, the answer is no. CBD doesn't have psychoaffective effects like THC, and it won't leave you with a dog that's "high" . But, your furry friend may have more energy and feel better, so don't be surprised if they act more "high on life" than usual!
Yes. CBD oil naturally occurs in cannabis and hemp plants, which have been cultivated for millenia. There are hundreds of brands that use CBD oil with dogs of all varieties and sizes.
No. You can buy CBD directly from a retailer with no prescription needed. However, you can always check in with your vet before starting any CBD products if you have any specific questions.
Yes! CBD is legal on a federal level. Regulations vary by state, and yours may require that CBD products have THC of 0.3% or less - but most retailers of these CBD oils, supplements and food/treats come in under that threshold anyway.
Most CBD for dogs come in several formats: capsules (that you can feed or open and sprinkle over food), liquid (that you administer into their mouth or their food), treats, and even sprays. It may take some trial and error to determine which type is best accepted by your dog: some are hesitant if they see their food is even a little bit different from the norm, while others will eagerly engulf a tasty treat. It's smart to choose a CBD for dog product with a money-back guarantee, just in case you want to try a different format.
Yes and no. You could easily spend $100/month or more for a full daily CBD regimen, or just $15 for a bag of CBD dog biscuits to use as needed. Some stores have package deals that can save you money, and others give you discounts on autoship (monthly) orders. You may also find promotions like free shipping or a discount if you sign up for an email newsletter. If your dog has been suffering and a CBD product helps him or her feel better, it's well worth the investment.
That depends on the policies of the store where you purchased your dog's CBD product. Many of the top retailers in our review make it risk-free for you to give them a try by offering a 100% satisfaction guarantee, usually within 30 days of purchase. Others have much stricter return policies, or none at all.

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