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Is CBD good for dogs?

Yes! If you didn’t know, CBD (or cannabidiol) is a compound found in cannabis that's becoming more and more popular for its medicinal benefits. It’s been used for years to treat pain, anxiety and other ailments in people but CBD is also making waves among dog owners as a way to help their pups with everything from anxiety and pain to cancer treatment.

With so much information about CBD available, how to choose the best-priced, most effective, and safest option for your dog can be confusing. So let’s talk about CBD for dogs!

  • What is CBD?

  • Is CBD safe for dogs?

  • How can CBD oil help my dog?

  • How do I find high-quality CBD oil for dogs?

  • Will CBD affect my dog’s medications?

  • How much CBD can I give my dog?

  • Where can I get CBD for my dog?

What is CBD? CBD, or cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring chemical compound extracted from hemp plants. Hemp plants are part of the cannabis family, but they vary in their levels of CBD: in general the more CBD, the more medicinal benefits you can expect from using it.

There are over 700 different compounds within the cannabis plant, and many of them can provide multimodal health benefits to our dogs. CBD oil can be extracted from high THC cannabis (aka marijuana) or low THC cannabis (aka hemp) and can contain many cannabinoids including THC (a psychoactive component that produces the “high” effect). Depending on what location you live in, you may have access to certain CBD products and not others so it is important to speak with a professional that is familiar with your local area, or your veterinarian to be able to explore what options are available to you. However, because CBD doesn't have any psychoactive effects on humans or animals alike—unlike THC—CBD oil is considered safe for use by humans as well as pets. When used responsibly and under the guidance of a professional, CBD has minimal to no adverse side effects!

Is CBD safe for dogs?

CBD is safe for most dogs, but caution should be taken when using cannabis or CBD products with animals that have underlying cardiac (heart) disease. Canine CBD products are formulated to be easy to administer and can come in many different forms (tinctures, chews, topicals, etc). The FDA has approved hemp-derived CBD as a safe and effective ingredient in pet food and treats, which is allowing a lot more options to come into the market for the treatment of dogs. It is important to verify that these products are free from harmful additives or contaminants so that we are able to keep our dogs safe while utilizing the health benefits of CBD products.

How can CBD oil help my dog?

CBD oil can help with a variety of ailments, including anxiety and stress. It can also help relieve pain and inflammation, and help manage digestive issues. CBD oil has been shown in multiple studies to help reduce the seizure frequency in epileptic dogs. There was a study done that asked pet parents what their motivation was for using CBD for their pets and 56% thought it was the best treatment for pain.CBD is a great tool for pain management but it has plenty of other benefits as well. CBD oil for dogs can be used for many purposes; It just depends on the symptoms your pet is experiencing:

  • Anxiety: CBD oil can help provide relief from conditions such as separation anxiety, thunderstorms, and other phobias.

  • Digestive Issues: If your dog has a sensitive stomach or inflammatory bowel disease, CBD oil can help decrease the inflammation present in the intestines that leads to complications from the disease process such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

  • Pain Relief: Cannabidiol by itself, or in combination with certain other pain medications can be the perfect solution for pets experiencing pain. Unlike opioids, it doesn't cause euphoria or constipation but still provides analgesic effects so that your pet feels less discomfort during the recovery time after a surgery or injury occurs. It can also be very helpful for the management of longer-term conditions that are painful like neurologic disease and arthritis.

  • Seizures: CBD has been FDA approved in the treatment of seizures for children, and CBD has been shown to improve seizure management in epileptic dogs by decreasing their total number of seizures!

  • Cancer: CBD has been shown in studies to help increase the death of cancer cells, and can provide a synergistic effect when used with standard chemotherapy products. This means that when combined, the drugs and CBD are able to kill more cancer cells than simply the combination of their individual effects.

  • Comfort-Focused Therapy: CBD can be a very important tool in palliative care. Palliative care is a medical approach where we focus on keeping dogs and cats comfortable if they are diagnosed with a disease that may not be curable, or in a situation where the family of the pet chooses to focus on managing symptoms rather than trying to cure the disease present.

How do I find high-quality CBD oil for dogs?

CBD for dogs is a booming industry, but it's important to find high-quality products. Here are some tips for making sure you get what you pay for and ensuring that is safe for your beloved furry family member:

  • Look at the certification! A COA (Certificate of Analysis) will tell you exactly how much CBD and other cannabinoids are in the oil. It also tells you if there are any contaminants that could be harmful to your dog. This should be available for any CBD product, and for each batch of product that is used to make products that are for sale. You can usually find this on the website for the product, and sometimes it will be easily accessible as a QR code on the packaging. If you are having trouble locating it, contact the company directly before purchasing. Things to look for in a COA - Cannabinoid analysis: This tells you what active ingredients are in the product - Pesticide analysis - Heavy metal analysis

  • Third party testing: this is when the samples are sent to a lab not associated with the company to maintain objectivity. They assess the safety and strength of the CBD and other compounds within the supplement. - In a randomized analysis of 55 of the most popular over-the-counter pet CBD products, only 44% contained the advertised amount of CBD. The 56% of products that were incorrect were off by anywhere from 10.2% to 98.5% of the label claim.

Will CBD affect my dog’s medications?

CBD acts on receptors in the brain and body but it also interacts with other drugs in a way that may change how they work. CBD can interact with other drugs that your dog is already taking, so it's important to consult with your vet if you're using CBD to treat a condition your dog already has. CBD is metabolized by the liver and can cause an increase in a particular enzyme produced by the liver in some dogs. We’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times “talk to your vet before using CBD” and especially if your dog has existing liver disease. They are there to help you make all of the best decisions for your pets' care and safety.

How much CBD can I give my dog?

CBD dosing for dogs can be complicated to administer at first because every dog is different. Whether your pet has a back injury, arthritis or just an occasional bout of anxiety, finding the right dosage can take some time. Since CBD is a natural supplement, it is best to take the time to find the right amount for your dog since they can all have different levels of need for supplementation. You should gradually increase the amount over time until you find just the right amount that works for your pet and their unique ailments. Again, this should be done under the guidance of a veterinarian or professional cannabis consultant. It’s always a good idea to check with a professional! Now that isn’t to scare you into thinking you might overdose your dog on CBD because if you follow the label instructions that’s unlikely to occur, especially when THC is absent. In fact, you may not even need as much CBD as you think.

There is a phenomenon called the "entourage effect" which means that the effects of the individual cannabinoids (like CBD) are increased when used in conjunction with other naturally occurring components found within the plant. This can lead to lower doses of CBD and other cannabinoids needing to be used to achieve the same or even better effect than if they were used alone. It’s like it has its own built-in rewards program!

Where can I get CBD for my dog?

You can find anything online these days but it’s always a good idea to shop smart.

  • Talk to your vet about CBD. It never hurts to begin a conversation and get more information.

  • Consult with your vet before giving any new product to your dog. While many vets currently don't know much about CBD and how it works for dogs, they can tell you if there are any potential risks that come along with using it. If your vet doesn't feel comfortable discussing CBD, then there are many great resources that as a pet parent you can explore to learn more.

  • There are services available that perform cannabis consultations for pet parents who cannot find a veterinary professional to help guide them in product choice and usage.

  • As CBD products are becoming more common, you can find them easily in certain local stores, farmer’s markets, or even buy them online. Just remember to check for the COA (Certificate of Analysis)!

In conclusion, dear reader…

Hopefully, you will see that CBD is a natural, safe and effective option for treating pain and anxiety in dogs. It can also help with other conditions like seizures, neurologic disease, skin allergies, cancer and more. If you’re looking for a way to improve your pet’s health without using prescription drugs or invasive procedures, then CBD is worth considering! Dr. Lindsey has undergone in-depth training and education in the use of cannabis medicine in dogs and cats. She sees botanicals as an essential component of taking care of pets in the best way possible! She continues to dedicate herself to expanding her knowledge base so that she can provide the most cutting-edge integrative medical care possible to her patients and to share with you, adored blog reader! Thanks for reading! Do you, your dog or your cat have a request for a future blog topic? Visit the Crystallotusvet instagram page and let us know what you want to read about next!

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