CBD Oil for Dogs: Benefits, Safety & How to Get Started
People across the globe are enjoying the wide-ranging benefits of CBD oil. Many don't realize is that the same therapeutic benefits that humans enjoy can also be enjoyed by our furry four-legged friends.
Supplementing with CBD helps keep a dog's body and mind in balance and helps to address some common behavioral issues. In this article, we take a complete look at how CBD benefits dogs and how to safely introduce it into their regular routine.
What is Hemp-Derived CBD Oil?
CBD oil is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid-rich oil created by extracting these compounds from hemp. Unlike marijuana, the hemp-derived CBD products carry only trace amounts of the high-inducing cannabinoid THC. Additionally, some products also undergo additional processing to remove the THC completely.
Hemp sourced oils contain a wide range of cannabis compounds that are being actively studied. These compounds are received by a network of receptors found throughout the body's major systems called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The great news about the ECS is that it's a system that is found in both humans and animals! By supplementing this system with the naturally occurring compounds in CBD oil, we can help support our bodies to maintain physical and mental balance.
CBD Oil & It's Potential for Dogs
Just like for humans, CBD has become commonplace across the pet industry. Though dog-specific studies are limited, anecdotal evidence is abundant. Pet owners frequently seek out hemp products for their animals to help with things like reducing soreness, improving sleep, and it's calming effects.
Because dogs generally live consistent, structured lives and the placebo effect is not in play for them, it's easy to observe their behavior when introducing new supplements. Many owners are delighted to find that CBD helps to restore vitality and playfulness in older dogs while helping to calm and put younger dogs at ease.
While this real-world evidence is strong, studies are lagging, yet research is starting to catch up. A 2019 study concluded that "hemp-based CBD appears to be relatively safe in healthy populations of dogs and cats, and dogs appear to absorb CBD better than cats."
Frontiers in Veterinary Science, a leading animal-focused journal, published the first study it's kind in July 2018. The trial, entitled Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs, provided some remarkable results: more than 80% of the dogs in the study enjoyed significant decreases in soreness and improved mobility.
Additionally, studies on the potential for CBD to help dogs with seizures, as it has been studied to do in humans, are underway. The initial results of all these studies are promising and hopefully, continued research helps to confirm specific, safe uses for CBD.
Can Dogs Safely Consume THC?
It is commonly agreed by veterinarians that giving your dog an intoxicating dose of THC (the intoxicating chemical compound found in high concentrations in marijuana) is not recommended.
Just as with humans, there are well documented negative side effects that occur when high doses of THC are consumed by dogs. The effects vary by dosage and can range from minor to significant.
What is rarely talked about are the potential benefits of canine THC consumption at non-intoxicating levels. The trace amounts found in a full-spectrum CBD product very well may offer unique benefits.
The endocannabinoid system in a dog shares many similarities to the system in humans. With the well-studied therapeutic benefits of THC consumption in humans, it is unlikely that then somehow the same compound is toxic to dogs at appropriate dosages.
With the lack of available research and potentially stigmatized view of THC and animals, ultimately the decision comes to the pet owner. Those who choose to supplement their pet with a full spectrum product containing trace amounts of THC should do so cautiously with special attention paid to accurate dosing.
For those who don't wish to manage the risks, broad-spectrum products like the ones we sell here at Big Sky Botanicals, offer full-spectrum products that have been stripped of only the THC. This preserves the entourage-enabled benefits of whole-plant CBD products, providing a superior alternative to an isolate-based product.
CBD Dosage Guidelines for Dogs
While in theory dogs could consume many of the CBD products designed for humans, there are some risks going this route. Human products may contain ingredients that are unhealthy for animals, and the potent concentrations that make measuring out the relatively small doses tricky.
Luckily as a dog owner, there is a wide range of animal-specific formulations that are designed to be easy to dose and safe to consume for dogs. These usually come in the form of tinctures or treats which make dosing convenient and easy.
With an understanding of the types of dog-specific CBD products available and what is in those products, the last piece of the puzzle is determining an appropriate, safe dosage for your pet.
When starting your dog on a CBD regimen, we recommend starting low and going slow. Follow the instructions in the product you'll be using and be conservative.
An important reminder: as with any new supplement for your pet, be sure to consult with your veterinarian before beginning the new routine.
Potential Side Effects & Interactions
Although CBD is generally safe for use in dogs, just as with any medication there are potential side effects. Again, these side effects can be compared with the effects observed in humans.
When it comes to CBD oil, the potential side effects vary depending on the spectrum. As we discussed above, consuming THC in a full spectrum product carries most of the potential issues. Consuming a broad-spectrum or isolate-based product likely carries fewer potential downsides.
By utilizing conservative dosages these effects can be mitigated. Be sure to watch closely in the initial supplementation stages and adjust the dosage as needed.
Perhaps the most serious consideration should be to consider interactions with other medicines your pet may be on. CBD has well-documented interactions with a wide range of pharmaceuticals in humans. If your pet is currently taking other medications, talk to your vet about drug interactions before you start using CBD for your pet.
How to Safely Begin a CBD Oil Regimen for Your Dog
Armed with all the information above, you're ready to begin a supplementation program for your pup.
The following guidelines will help you start a supplementation program should you choose to do so. Again, please be sure to check with your vet first before beginning any new supplement for your animal"
- Do Your Research: While we think this article is a great guide that covers everything you need to know, be sure to do whatever research you need in order to feel comfortable.
- Choose a Reputable Supplier: Choosing a great brand for your pet is done using the same processes as choosing a human supplement. We produce an all-in-one CBD dog supplement or you may follow our guide to choosing a great CBD company. We always suggest looking for a pet-specific formulation to give to your dog.
- Measure Your Dosage: Before beginning a supplementation, set your dog up for success. Choose a conservative dosage, start low, and stick to the plan.
- Document Your Dog's Progress: Record your progress by documenting dosage and reaction as you go. Be on the lookout for any irregularities. Generally, CBD can be calming, but you don't want to take the dose so high that your pup becomes lethargic.
- Adjust as Needed: As time goes on, use your documentation to adjust dosage levels, number of doses per day, and the schedule. The goal is to find just the right fit for your pooch.
Try Our Complete CBD Supplement Solution
Here at Big Sky Botanicals, we've created a CBD solution for your dog that provides an effective CBD solution and then takes things a step further. Enter our Complete CBD Dog Supplement.
This product provides the benefits of the same broad-spectrum THC-free hemp extract found in our human products plus it provides an all-in-one supplementation solution for your dog. The CBD helps restore vitality and playfulness for older dogs while helping calm down rambunctious pups while the supporting ingredients aide digestion, skin, coat, and joint health.
We're confident your dog will love these beef liver-flavored treats and we stand behind the human-quality ingredients list which is free of fillers like plant cellulose (AKA woodchips), corn, wheat, or any artificial ingredients/preservatives. Head over to the product page for more information!