CBD Supplement: Does Your Dog Really Need It?

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CBD supplements and products are rapidly growing in popularity. 

While you might love using CBD oil for joint pain or anxiety relief, if you’re a dog parent, you might be wondering if it could be a good supplement option for the four-legged member of your family. 

In this article, we’re sharing everything you need to know about CBD and dogs, specifically if it’s the right choice for your furry friend. 

What Is CBD?

The cannabis plant has two main active components–cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

The THC substance causes the high associated with marijuana use. On the other hand, CBD doesn’t cause a high and is the most studied component of the cannabis plant due to its broad range of potential health benefits.

Restrictions for buying CBD products can vary from one state to another. However, most people in the US can easily purchase these items online or in specialty CBD stores. 

Broad-Spectrum Vs. Full-Spectrum

When looking at CBD products, you’ll often come across the terms ‘full spectrum’ and ‘broad-spectrum.’ These following terms provide insight into the CBD formulation. 

Broad-Spectrum

Broad-spectrum products may refer to a product with CBD extract and all other compounds from the hemp plant, except THC. 

Full-Spectrum

A full-spectrum CBD for pets contains all compounds naturally found in the original cannabis plant, including CBD and THC, flavonoids, and terpenes. That said, even if it contains THC, most products should contain less than 0.3% THC.

The product is believed to have amplified health benefits by including all these compounds due to a phenomenon called the entourage effect. This means that all active compounds work together to amplify and enhance each other. 

When doing further research, you may also come across the term ‘CBD isolate.’ The purest form of CBD is an isolate. This means that all other compounds of the cannabis plant, except for CBD, are removed. 

Is CBD For Dogs Safe To Use?

While there’s an FDA-approved medication containing CBD for humans, no products are approved for animal use. This means the current products on the market may not have been tested for effectiveness or safety before being sold. 

There’s limited research in terms of CBD use for dogs and other pets. The few recent studies returned positive and promising results, but it’s not yet a definitive answer. In general, today’s recommendations on CBD for dogs are taken from small studies or based on a vet’s professional experiences. 

That said, as the use and interest in CBD continue to grow, it’s highly likely that the number and size of research will go up as well, providing pet parents and vets with more guidance on how to best use these supplements. 

3 Potential Dog Health Problems That CBD Can Help Manage

The small amount of research done on CBD for dogs and other animals has shown benefits in managing a range of conditions. Some dog health problems that CBD can manage may include:

1. Pain And Inflammation

Once absorbed in the body, CBD plays a significant role in reducing inflammation and relieving pain. 

A 2018 study assessed the inflammatory properties and pain-relieving properties of CBD in dogs suffering from osteoarthritis. In the study, dogs were given doses of either two or eight milligrams per kilogram of their body weight.

The result shows that 80% of the dogs showed improvement in their mobility and pain when measured pain assessment tests like the Hudson activity scale and the canine brief pain inventory (canine BPI). 

2. Seizures

CBD has been shown to help in managing epilepsy in dogs. 

In 2019, a small study confirmed that epileptic dogs given CBD in combination with regular seizure medications helped reduce the frequency of seizures compared to those that received only seizure medication and a placebo. 

That said, similar numbers of dogs in both the placebo and CBD groups responded to treatment and had reduced seizure activity. The authors, therefore, conclude that further testing is required to provide a definite answer. 

Experts still don’t fully understand how CBD manages seizures. Still, they have a theory that it helps lower the number of electrolytes and prevents the nerves in the brain from firing excessively to control seizures. 

Fun Fact

The FDA-approved medication containing CBD that we mentioned before is called Epidiolex. This medication is used for managing severe seizure conditions caused by two rare diseases– Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. 

3. Anxiety

Like humans, some pets may also experience anxiety resulting in troublesome behaviors such as urinating when excited or nervous or crying in their crate. CBD is believed to provide feelings of calm and ease nervousness in dogs by activating some areas of the brain and helping produce serotonin, also known as the ‘happy hormone.’

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, CBD is said to help reduce stress in animals. The study subjects show lower behavioral and psychological signs of anxiety. That said, more research is required to prove its effectiveness.

Possible Side Effects of CBD For Dogs

Although there’s no research-backed data on the potential side effects of CBD use for dogs, we can look at how CBD affects humans. These may include:

  • Drowsiness 

The calming effect of CBD can cause slight drowsiness, particularly when used in higher doses. 

  • Lower Blood Pressure 

High dose of CBD can cause a temporary drop in blood pressure which causes light-headedness. 

  • Dry Mouth 

Study revealed that CBD could reduce saliva production. For dogs, this could result in increased thirst. 

Take Away

With CBD on the rise, manufacturers are now also catering to dogs and other pets. Emerging research looks promising and may help with several pet health conditions. Even though more study is necessary to confirm its benefits, numerous pet parents have already tried it with their pets and achieved great results. 

If you’re thinking of using CBD supplements for your pup, you may consult with a veterinarian who is knowledgeable and experienced with CBD first. This way, you can come up with a safe plan for treating or helping your pet with CBD.

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Having retired after teaching Field Biology for many years, I have a wide range of topics to write on. My interests are photographing animals and plants, vacationing with my family, enjoying my grandchildren, dancing, hiking, canoeing and kayaking, gardening, winter activities, leading nature walks, writing notes on nature, and home improvements (we are renovating our retirement home). With all that I am doing now, you may wonder how I ever found the time to work - of course, most of the other things were put on hold all those years.

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