Cannabidiol or CBD is often associated with cannabis, also known as marijuana. Medicinal CBD oil, however, is derived from hemp and does not deliver the “high” one gets from marijuana. As a holistic approach to health, the benefits of CBD oil for dogs have been supported by a growing body of scientific and anecdotal evidence. Here’s everything you need to know about CBD oil - what it is and how to use it for Fido’s overall wellness and as treatment for ailments.
Table of Contents
1 - What is CBD oil?
2 - How does CBD oil work?
3 - What are the health benefits of CBD oil in dogs?
4 - How to use CBD oil in dogs
5 - What are the possible side effects and risks of using CBD oil in dogs?
6 - Choosing the right CBD oil for your dog
7 - CBD Oil for Dogs - Final Thoughts
What is CBD oil?
Cannabidiol is the second active ingredient present in cannabis or marijuana, but it’s not the ingredient that is responsible for the plant’s psychoactive effects. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the active ingredient in cannabis that delivers the hallucinogenic effects on the central nervous system. CBD is also present in medicinal cannabis, but those who use cannabis are after its THC content, not CBD.
The best source of cannabidiol oil is hemp - a cousin to the marijuana plant. The hemp plant contains high amounts of cannabidiol and only less than 0.3% of THC, which is not enough to deliver any psychoactive effects. CBD derived from hemp has the same health benefits as THC, but without the high, so it’s relatively safe to give to your furry body as a treatment for certain ailments and for his overall wellness.
How does CBD oil work?
Just like their human companions, dogs naturally synthesize endocannabinoids, which are chemical compounds that are very similar to cannabidiol.
Endocannabinoids are one of three components of the body’s (humans and animals alike) endocannabinoid system (ECS); the other two are endocannabinoid receptors and enzymes. The ECS regulates a wide variety of body functions and processes, including appetite, memory, metabolism, mood, sleep, pain, stress, immune function, and reproductive function.
The ECS works as a signaling system: the endocannabinoids bind with the receptors to signal the ECS to perform a function, such as to trigger hunger, promote relaxation, induce sleep, or relieve pain. The enzymes break down the endocannabinoids after they have completed their function.
Cannabidiol acts on the ECS by preventing the enzymes from breaking down endocannabinoids so that their effect lasts longer.
What are the health benefits of CBD oil in dogs?
Cbd oil for dogs has many legitimate health benefits, particularly as an alternative treatment for certain ailments. A number of scientific studies and plenty of anecdotal evidence have revealed that CBD oil can help with various conditions, such as:
- Poor appetite
- Anxiety caused by stressful events such as fireworks, thunderstorms, car rides, or trips to the vet.
- Excessive barking
- Aggression and other mood disorders
- Inflammation from sprains and strains, arthritis, hip and elbow dysplasia, or torn ligaments.
- Muscle spasms
- Neuropathic pain, such as pain caused by disease or injury to the nerves, spine, or brain.
- Seizures, particularly when the dog has epilepsy and does not respond to epileptic drugs.
- Cancer symptoms
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Post-surgical pain/trauma
How to use CBD oil in dogs
CBD oil is marketed as a supplement and is, therefore, not regulated by the FDA. While there have been scientific studies that have looked into the potential of CBD oil as an alternative medicine for dogs and other animals, strict dosage guidelines have yet to be established.
There are a variety of factors that will determine the correct dosage for your dog:
- The concentration of CBD in the supplement.
- The condition or symptom you want to treat.
- Your dog’s health and underlying issues, if there are any.
- Your dog’s weight.
- Your dog’s activity level.
You should always consult your vet regarding any new treatments you want to give Fido, even if it’s a natural product and especially if your furry pal has other health problems. Calculating the appropriate dosage for Fido is not as straightforward as just basing it on the CBD oil manufacturer’s dosing suggestion based on your dog’s weight.
Fido’s activity level and whether or not he has other underlying issues will determine how his liver will metabolize the cannabidiol, and if and how his other medications would react to it. Different ailments will also require different dosages; if you will only be giving your best bud CBD oil for general wellness, he will only usually need the minimum dose. How fast the CBD oil will take effect will also depend on these aforementioned factors - but it is generally between 20 and 40 minutes.
If you haven’t looked online for CBD oil products yet, you’ll soon realize that CBD oil is available in different potencies, or the percentage of CBD present. Of course, you have to make sure that you choose a reputable manufacturer that produces high-quality CBD oil - this means that the oil is free of impurities and toxins.
When it’s Fido’s first time to receive CBD oil, whether for his general wellness or for an ailment, you should start with the minimum dose recommended, or even less, and assess how your dog reacts to it. If there are no adverse reactions, you can follow the manufacturer’s dosing guidelines. If you consulted your vet, his recommendations trump the manufacturer’s, of course.
When calculating the dose to treat a medical condition/symptom, the general recommendation is 0.2 mg of CBD per pound of weight; you will also still need to calculate how much oil you should administer based on the CBD content of the oil, which is measured in mg of CBD per ml of oil. For example, a 75 mg formula typically contains 2.5 mg of CBD per ml of oil, and a 300 mg formula has 10 mg of CBD per ml of oil. This information should be printed on the product label.
If you’ll be using CBD oil for your dog’s general wellness, the minimum dosage recommendation is usually enough. If you’ll be giving your furry pal CBD dog treats, make sure to choose a reputable brand and follow the serving suggestions provided by the company.
Fido will most likely not like the taste, smell, and/or texture of CBD oil. What you can do is mix the oil into Fido’s meal or favorite treat, or place a few drops of the oil directly into his mouth using a syringe.
What are the possible side effects and risks of using CBD oil in dogs?
The possible side effects of CBD oil use in dogs are mostly based on what have been observed in humans. You can minimize the possibility of your dog developing any of the following side effects by giving him the appropriate dosage as recommended by your vet or the manufacturer.
- Increased thirst due to mouth dryness and decreased saliva production.
- A drop in blood pressure which may result in light-headedness.
- Mild drowsiness or even sedation, especially when CBD oil is given in high doses.
Recent studies have found that CBD is relatively safe to use for animals whether as treatment or for general wellness; it is non-toxic and non-fatal. There is only a minimal risk of overdose because CBD is quickly metabolized after ingestion. The side effects, if there are any, are usually minor.
Just the same, closely monitor your dog for any possible adverse reactions, especially when it’s his first time receiving this alternative medicine. Always err on the side of caution and start with the smallest dose possible while you evaluate how your dog responds to the cannabidiol. As much as possible, seek your vet’s advice first.
Choosing the right CBD oil for your dog
You may become overwhelmed by the number of CBD oil supplements available online. Particularly because a lot is still not known and understood about CBD as an alternative treatment option for dogs, you should only purchase a high-quality CBD oil supplement from a reputable manufacturer. Here are some tips when buying CBD oil.
- Ideally, you should get your vet’s go-ahead to use CBD oil to treat Fido’s condition or for his general well-being.
- Buy a CBD oil product that is specifically formulated for dogs.
- Buy organic CBD oil, if possible. If you’ll be opting for a non-organic CBD supplement, make sure it does not contain herbicides, fungicides, pesticides, heavy metals, and other toxic ingredients.
- Make sure the CBD oil product has been lab tested and that the manufacturer can provide a Certificate of Analysis, which tests the product’s chemical makeup.
- Get CBD oil or tincture; the liquid formulation will make it easier for you to accurately measure the appropriate dosage.
- Buy high-quality and high-purity CBD oil; it will cost more but this will guarantee Fido’s health’s safety.
- Always check the product label for the amount of cannabidiol present and to make sure that there is no more than 0.3% THC.
- Take the time to shop around and do proper research before deciding on a brand. Read customer feedback.
The quality of the CBD oil product is also determined by how the oil is extracted:
- Solvent extraction involves the use of natural solvents, such as ethanol or olive oil, or chemical solvents, such as butane, petroleum, or propane. If a chemical solvent is used, there is a high chance that some residue will be mixed in with the CBD oil, which can be toxic to dogs. But regardless of what solvent is used, CBD oil derived by solvent extraction contains low concentrations of CBD.
- CO2 extraction involves the separation of the CBD oil from the hemp plant by exposing the plant to CO2 in a high-pressure chamber. The extracted oil contains high concentrations of CBD. Products that employ CO2 extraction are more expensive, however, because this method also costs more; but you can be guaranteed of a high-quality product with no toxic impurities.
Lastly, do not confuse hemp oil with CBD oil. While both oils are derived from the hemp plant, they come from different parts of the plant and, therefore, contain different components and offer differ benefits. Hemp oil comes from the seeds; CBD oil comes from the stalks and leaves. Hemp oil contains minimal to zero CBD and is mostly a nutritional supplement. So make sure that the product you are buying is pure or high-potency CBD oil.
CBD Oil for Dogs - Final Thoughts
Recent studies have provided scientific evidence of the health benefits of CBD oil for dogs and other animals. CBD oil can help improve your furry pal’s overall wellness, as well as help treat anxiety, aggression, mood disorders, inflammation, pain, seizures, cardiovascular diseases, and even cancer.
CBD oil is generally safe and effective for dogs. Because hemp-derived CBD contains less than 0.3% THC and is non-psychoactive, it is no longer classified as a controlled substance and can be purchased legally. Just make sure that you buy a high-quality CBD oil product that is specifically formulated for dogs/animals.
Your best bud deserves nothing but the best, even with alternative therapies. Deciding to try CBD oil to help treat Fido’s ailment or to support his general well-being may be a step in the right direction and exactly what he needs. In addition to learning as much as you can about using CBD oil for dog health from online resources, you should also talk to your vet or a holistic vet so you can be given more specific guidance and so you can get the appropriate answers to your questions.