Furry friends are members of the family too, and we want the best for them. With CBD exploding in popularity, there are many CBD products available on the market from oils and pills, to treats and chews. Many pet parents are wondering: Is CBD safe for their canine companion?
CBD, which is short for cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis or hemp. Unlike THC, CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, which means it won't get your dog "high". However, there's still a lot we don't know about CBD and how it affects dogs.
IS CBD SAFE FOR DOGS?
Yes, generally speaking, CBD is safe for dogs—but like any other supplement, it depends. For example, the safety and effectiveness of CBD depends on the dog's age, weight, size, and overall health.
BENEFITS OF CBD FOR DOGS
While there is no hard evidence on using CBD to treat dogs, scientists do know that cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid receptors located in the central and peripheral nervous systems. These receptors help maintain balance within the body and keep it in a normal, healthy state, according to the American Kennel Club.
CBD is purported to offer many health benefits to dogs and has the potential treat various canine health conditions. All the reasons people are using CBD are the same reasons you may try them for you dog. While we are not able to claim specific illness can be treated with CBD, feel free to give it a try and see if it helps your dog. We always recommend you consult with your veterinarian and especially if your dog is on other medications.
LACK OF LIFE-THREATENING SIDE EFFECTS
It is very rare for a dog to have life-threatening side effects from taking CBD. According to petMD, toxicity more often occurs when a dog has consumed a product that contains chocolate, coffee, or raisins.
How much CBD do I give my DOG?
If you do decide to give your dog CBD, it's important to find the right dosage for your dog. Finding the right dosage is not an exact science since there have not been extensive studies on the matter. Due to the newness of CBD and the lack of studies, there is not an approved or suggested dosage chart.
In fact, this is also the case for humans as CBD is a natural remedy that has not been extensively studied. While an exact dosage cannot be recommended, most people find that starting out with a lower dose and increasing it each day is a good way to approach ambiguity around dosing. Most people that we have talked to are using 15-25mg one to two times a day and find this sufficient for their personal use.
Since dogs weigh much less than a human, most people try 1-4mg of CBD per 10 pounds of body weight. Typically one to two times a day is sufficient, but some people find every 8 hours works best for their dog.
What type of CBD Should I Buy for My Dog?
Consider a full spectrum CBD pet product when making the choice for your dog (and yourself). Full spectrum CBD products are preferred by many due to the inclusion of additional cannabinoids and are thought to be more effective per mg.
While full spectrum CBD products may have a minimal amount of THC (less than 0.3%), the effect of all the cannabioids working together is commonly referred to as the entourage effect. This means you may be able to get more effectiveness out of the product.
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS OF CBD IN DOGS
As with anything you give your dog, it's important to watch out for unusual behavior and symptoms. While there is no hard scientific data on CBD side effects in dogs, here are some potential side effects based on human experiences with CBD:
- Dry mouth: CBD can decrease the production of saliva. Although your dog won't be able to tell you if he has dry mouth, you may be able to recognize the signs such as increased thirst and increased water intake.
- Lowered blood pressure: High doses of CBD can cause a temporary drop in blood pressure. This could create a brief feeling of lightheadedness. Your dog may seem disoriented or dizzy.
- Drowsiness: As CBD is used as a treatment for anxiety, it can produce a calming effect, which may cause slight drowsiness. This is especially common when using higher doses.
CURRENT RESEARCH BEING CONDUCTED
Dr. Joe Wakshlag of Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine conducted a study to see if CBD oil could help dogs who experience pain from osteoarthritis. In a double-blind placebo trial - in which the veterinarian/owner does not know which patient is receiving the placebo and which is receiving the actual drug - sixteen dogs received CBD oil or placebo oil. Pain levels were assessed by veterinarians and owner questionnaires before treatment. Then pain assessments were performed at two weeks and four weeks after treatment. They measured the dogs' mobility and activity as indicators of pain level. They also performed blood tests at each visit. The researchers found that over 80 percent of dogs that took CBD oil showed "significant improvement in pain levels and quality of life" without discernible side-effects.
Other studies have been conducted to test the efficacy of CBD oil in treating epilepsy in dogs. Dr. Stephanie McGrath, a neurologist at Colorado State University's James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, found that 89 percent of dogs who received CBD in a clinical trial had a reduction in the frequency of seizures. Similarly, a study by Colorado State University in Fort Collins found that nearly 90 percent of epileptic dogs had fewer seizures when taking CBD oil, as compared to about 20 percent on placebo.
Recent studies on the safety and effectiveness of CBD in dogs are showing lots of promise. But you should do your own research, whether you want to use CBD to treat your dog's health problems or use it to promote their overall health. Before you decide to give CBD to your beloved pet, you should talk to your vet first to help you make the right choice and determine the proper dosage for your four-legged friend.
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