CBD for Dogs

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CBD for Dogs - Everything You Need to Know

The pet world is abuzz with the incredible benefits of CBD for dogs; but there’s also a lot of confusion among pet owners. To help you better understand the benefits of CBD and if you should let your dog give it a go, here are all the important facts that you should know about CBD for dogs.

CBD cannot be discussed without mentioning THC, as these two are the most active compounds in the cannabis plant. Both CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) belong to a group of beneficial chemical compounds found in plants, known as phytocannabinoids/cannabinoids. 

In Cannabis sativa, more specifically in marijuana, THC is the primary compound as it is present in much higher levels than CBD. The cannabis plant actually contains many other cannabinoids, but THC and CBD are known to offer the most benefits, perhaps partly owing to the higher quantities of both compounds present in the plant. 

There are a few interesting things to know about these two cannabinoids:

  • THC and CBD have exactly the same molecular structure; therefore, they deliver similar health benefits. 
  • The arrangement of their atoms, however, is different. 
  • This main difference is the reason why THC causes euphoria/intoxication, whereas CBD is non-psychoactive and causes relaxation and sedation, instead. 
  • THC is toxic to pets; CBD is not. 
  • CBD is present in higher amounts in the hemp plant, which has less than 0.3% THC. This amount does not cause euphoric effects and, more importantly, is not toxic to pets. 

Hemp and marijuana are both classified as Cannabis sativa species, but they are of different varieties. Their primary difference is their THC content. With much higher levels of CBD, hemp-derived CBD is the ideal option for dog owners who want their canine pals to experience the benefits of CBD.

All animals, including humans, have an endocannabinoid system. In vertebrates, the ECS is found throughout the central and peripheral nervous system, and is mostly responsible for regulating a wide array of functions, such as immune response, intracellular communication, memory, metabolism, appetite, and more. 

The ECS is composed of two major components: endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors — these are like two different tools that cannot work without the other, like a screw and screwdriver. The ECS is typically kicked into gear when it receives a signal, activating endocannabinoids which, in turn, bind with cannabinoid receptors. 

CBD has a chemical structure similar to that of endocannabinoids. When CBD is introduced into the body, it directly interacts with cannabinoid receptors and triggers the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. 

THC also interacts directly with the ECS by binding with the receptors, thereby preventing endocannabinoids from doing so. This is the basic mechanism by which THC produces its effects in the body. CBD, on the other hand, has a low affinity for cannabinoid receptors. Instead of binding with the receptors, CBD prolongs the effects of endocannabinoids by preventing them from breaking down — which normally occurs after they bind with receptors. 

Scientific data that verify the benefits of CBD for dogs are still lacking, but countless, verifiable anecdotes from dog owners reveal that dogs can experience positive health effects when given CBD. 

With very little to zero THC (depending on the product and manufacturer), CBD is relatively safe for most dogs when given in the right dosage. It’s actually difficult to overdose on CBD, but as with any supplement or medication, some dogs may experience some side effects when taking this alternative remedy. The most common side effect of ingesting too much CBD is sedation or drowsiness; dry mouth and lowered blood pressure may also occur. 

As the manufacture and sale of CBD is not yet regulated, safety also depends on the quality of the product. Poor quality CBD from an unreliable manufacturer may contain heavy metals, which could cause serious health issues in dogs. If the amount of CBD present in the product is not correctly measured and indicated on the label, there may be a greater risk of giving your dog the incorrect dose. 

Another safety concern dog owners should keep in mind is the possible interaction of CBD with other medications or supplements a dog is also taking. It’s important that you consult your vet before giving your pet CBD if he’s already receiving medical treatment or taking other herbal supplements. 

It’s always best to seek your vet’s advice if you’re thinking of giving your best bud CBD. Your veterinarian would be the most qualified to determine the appropriate CBD dosage for your dog’s weight, age, and condition, so you can ensure that he’ll get the maximum benefits from his treatment and experience minimal to zero side effects.    

Full-spectrum CBD oil is the least processed form of CBD oil and, therefore, the most natural. The oil still contains all the other cannabinoids present in cannabis — which number over a hundred. This means that the oil contains low levels of THC. 

The benefit of using full-spectrum CBD oil is in it’s “entourage effect.” This effect refers to all the compounds working together, as they have evolved to do, to deliver the full benefits of the cannabis plant. Full-spectrum CBD oil is the highest quality and most potent oil and as close to pure as one can get. 

While it contains THC, as long as the oil is derived from good quality hemp, the CBD oil should still be safe for dogs. Always check the product’s label, for added measure, and verify that it contains less than 0.3% THC. 

In comparison, broad-spectrum CBD oil contains other beneficial cannabinoids except for THC. so this is the next best choice for dogs. A product that contains only CBD and no other cannabinoids is called a CBD isolate. 

CBD oil is one of the best natural remedies you can use for your dog’s overall wellness, as well as for the treatment of certain ailments. 

The benefits of CBD oil for dogs include:

  • Promoting relaxation and providing relief from anxiety and stress; the calming effect can also help reduce aggression. 
  • Providing relief from mild pains and chronic pain, especially pain associated with joint disease and cancer symptoms. 
  • Reducing or preventing seizures associated with epilepsy, especially in dogs that do not respond to anti-seizure medications. 
  • Anti-inflammatory properties which can help manage symptoms of allergies and which also support immune function. 
  • Providing essential fatty acids to support cardiovascular, digestive, neurological, and skin health.  
  • Antioxidant properties which help fight free radicals and promote cellular health. 

If your dog experiences any of the following, giving him CBD oil can do wonders for his health and quality of life. 

  • Anxiety or stress from loud noises, such as thunderstorms and fireworks; strangers or other animals; a change in his environment; car rides; or being separated from his human companion. 
  • Pain from arthritis, cancer, an injury, or another condition. 
  • Epileptic seizures
  • Seasonal allergies 
  • Stomach upset
  • Poor appetite
  • Nausea 

Giving your dog the correct dosage and using good quality CBD oil derived from hemp and formulated for pets will ensure that your dog will get the maximum benefits of CBD and zero or only minimal and relatively harmless side effects. 

Every dog reacts differently to CBD, however; and your pal may experience side effects because he was not given the correct dose or the CBD interacted with another supplement or medication. Keep an eye out for the following symptoms. 

  • Sedation. Drowsiness and mild lethargy are a normal reaction, as CBD contains calmative properties. If you give Fido too much CBD, however, he may actually become heavily sedated. There is no possibility of a dangerous CBD overdose, but you should still reduce your dog’s dosage. 
  • Dry mouth from decreased saliva production. You will notice your dog being more thirsty than normal. You may have to adjust his dosage and make sure that he is well hydrated. Dehydration is not a serious risk, but if adjusting the dosage diminishes the desired effect of CBD, consult your vet about your options.  
  • Lowered blood pressure may also occur, although the drop is usually small and temporary. This often happens when a dog is given a higher dose than what is recommended for his weight; he may experience some lightheadedness as a result. Slower heartbeats, wobbliness, and mild confusion are common signs that your pal’s blood pressure may have slightly dropped. Always follow the recommended dosage for your dog’s weight.   

If Fido has another medical condition and especially if he’s taking other medications or you’re giving him other supplements, talk to your vet before adding CBD to his healthcare regimen. If your best bud is taking a hypertension drug, for example, your vet may not recommend also giving him CBD. 

The length of time it takes for CBD oil to take effect depends on how your dog takes the CBD oil, the type of CBD product, and the amount of CBD he is given. 

As full-spectrum CBD oil is the most potent form, it will also work the fastest especially when given sublingually, i.e., placed under the tongue where the drops can more easily enter the bloodstream. As long as you give your dog the recommended dosage for his weight, you can expect the CBD oil to take effect in less than 30 minutes. 

If you’re giving him a CBD treat, the effect could take between 30 and 45 minutes. Keep in mind that most CBD treats have low concentrations of CBD. Another option you can take is to simply add full-spectrum CBD oil to your dog’s meal, or the recommended number of drops directly on his favorite chew.

When you’re only beginning Fido’s CBD wellness routine, you may not see the desired results for the first few days or weeks. This is especially the case when you’re still trying to find the right dosage (within the recommended range for his weight) for his condition. Remember that more serious conditions, such chronic pain, would require a stronger dose and your dog’s body may need time to adjust to the new treatment regimen. 

Every dog also metabolizes CBD differently, which will also determine how much CBD he needs to get the desired result.  

Again, your veterinarian is the most qualified to determine the correct dosage for your dog’s weight and condition. But you can also find dosage recommendations on the CBD product label. 

Whenever you’re introducing a new supplement to your pet, always begin with the lowest recommended dosage and gradually increase the dose every few days. Closely monitor how he responds to the dose, and keep making adjustments until you see the desired results. It’s important to be consistent with the dosage before increasing or decreasing it to give your dog’s body time to also adjust. 

The general dosage recommendation is 1-5 mg of CBD per 10 lbs of body weight. 

While CBD oil for your pet should be derived from hemp, do not confuse hemp oil with CBD oil. 

CBD oil is extracted from the hemp plant’s flowers, leaves, and stalks. Hemp oil is extracted from the seeds, and is also sometimes referred to as hemp seed or cannabis sativa oil. Hemp seed oil contains only trace amounts of CBD and is primarily produced for use in cooking and as an ingredient in beauty products and paint products. 

Watch out for products that mix the terms “CBD oil” and “hemp seed oil.” Both come from the hemp plant, but CBD oil is expensive and some manufacturers may misrepresent their more affordable hemp seed oil by claiming that it offers the benefits of CBD oil.

One of the most sure-fire ways to verify the quality of a CBD product is to look for its Certificate of Analysis from third-party laboratories. The COA will show the results of 3rd party lab testing — which analyses the chemical makeup of the product —  and should include the exact amount of CBD in the product; if THC is present and how much; if there are other cannabinoids present and how much; if there are heavy metals, chemicals, and other contaminants from pesticides, fungicides, or fertilizers. 

The COA will also indicate if the CBD product is non-GMO, dairy-free, gluten-free, corn-free, and soy-free.

A reputable manufacturer should be able to provide its customers with the COA. 

The hemp plant source will also determine the quality of the CBD oil. It’s important to find out where the hemp plants are farmed and if they are grown in sustainable farms and by organic means. 

Organic hemp farms do not use chemicals, and this can be easily verified by checking the product’s COA. Check the product label and make sure that the oil was derived from hemp plants sourced within the US or Europe. 

Remember that the presence of contaminants not only diminishes the quality and effects of CBD oil, it also poses serious health risks for your dog. 

The amount of THC present in the oil will verify if the CBD was extracted from the hemp plant, and not marijuana. Full-spectrum CBD oil will contain trace amounts of THC, but make sure that the product contains less than 0.3% THC. Broad-spectrum CBD oil and CBD isolate should not contain THC. 

In addition to 3rd party lab testing for quality and safety, the product should also be certified by the National Animal Supplement Council. The NASC performs stringent testing of animal supplements to make sure they meet the animal health product industry’s established standards for quality, safety, and ethical practices. 

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