You are likely aware that CBD can have profound medical effects on us, but did you know that CBD can be beneficial for dogs as well? That’s right, our pets can also benefit from CBD for many different ailments. Many pet parents are beginning to consider this option, because they can help their pet without many of the harmful side effects associated with the pharmaceuticals. But before you go crazy giving your dog CBD or cannabis products from your favorite dispensary, let’s take a deep dive on what every pet parent needs to know about CBD for dogs.
The Endocannabinoid System: People vs Dogs
If you are unfamiliar with the endocannabinoid system, or ECS, it is a network of receptors throughout your body. The ECS plays a vital role in regulating important bodily processes, such as pain, appetite, mood, and memory. Often times when one is suffering in one of these areas, it is because they lack sufficient endocannabinoids, and their ECS is out of sync. In this case, it might make sense to supplement your body with cannabinoids from the cannabis plant (phytocannabinoids). This is how cannabis came to be known as medicine.
Studies have shown that dogs also have an endocannabinoid system, and they too are capable of benefiting from cannabis! However, it is important to note that our systems are very different. For example, dogs contain a larger number of CB-1 and CB-2 receptors in their brain stem and cerebellum, increasing their sensitivity to certain cannabinoids. These sections of the brain are responsible for coordination, heart rate, and respiratory rate. Overactivation of these CB-1 receptors could lead to a cannabis “overdose”.
Is CBD oil for pets different than CBD oil for humans?
Because of the differences between our respective endocannabinoid systems, you should not give your dog cannabis formulated for people. Dogs are far more sensitive to cannabinoids, and their endocannabinoid systems work differently than ours. While research on this subject is still being done, it is clear that your dog should only be given CBD products specially formulated for pet receptors. This decreases the chance of any side effects, and ensures the greatest opportunity for healing.
Veterinarians and CBD for dogs
You are likely wondering how your veterinarian factors into finding quality CBD for your dog. In the past, your vet was restricted from discussing CBD or cannabis with pet owners, as the drug is federally illegal. This put many veterinarians in a tough position, because regardless of if they thought CBD could help a dog, their hands were tied. Engaging in discussions with clients put them at risk of losing their license.
California allows veterinarians to discuss CBD
Thankfully, tides are changing. As of January 2019 veterinarians now have legal protection when discussing cannabis or CBD with pet owners.
While vets are still unable to prescribe CBD to your pet, they can discuss it with you as a possible treatment option, and help you understand proper dosing and titration. This is a trend in the right direction, and hopefully more states start to follow suit.
What can CBD do for dogs?
CBD is regarded as the most beneficial cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, for its wide range of healing capabilities. More studies regarding CBD for dogs needs to be done, however, CBD has the potential to help your dog with:
- Anxiety and depression
- Behavioral problems
- Digestive issues
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and GI issues
- Epilepsy and seizures
Risks of CBD for dogs
While there are limited cases of cannabis overdose in dogs, they can occur easily with improper storage or dosing. This will depend on the CBD product you are using, but here are some of the side effects of CBD for dogs:
- Dry mouth
- Dizziness or disorientation
- Elevated heart rate
These side effects will be far more prominent if you are using a full spectrum cannabis oil for your dog, as this will contain trace amounts of THC to create the entourage effect. If you are using hemp CBD oil for your dog, you will likely not see any side effects (however the healing will likely be less profound).
How to give your dog CBD
There are a few ways to give your dog CBD, including chewable treats, which are similar to human edibles, or CBD oils. While chewable CBD dog treats are easy to use and seem appealing, CBD oil for dogs is likely a better option.
CBD Dog Treats
CBD dog treats are a great option if your dog is difficult to administer medicine to, for obvious reasons. These are simply CBD infused treats, but there is some concern over their efficacy.
CBD oil for dogs
CBD oils, or tinctures, are the best way to administer CBD to your dog. While they may be more difficult, they are far more effective. They also make dosing more accurate, and titration easier, as you can control each and every drop. CBD oils come in a number of different ratios, each working best for certain ailments.
Titrating CBD for your dog
It is important to practice titration when dosing CBD for your dog. Titration is the act of working to achieve the desired result with the minimal amount of input. In this case, you want to titrate your dog’s dose so they can benefit from the CBD, with as little given as possible. When using a full spectrum cannabis oil, this mitigates the chance of an unpleasant overdose. Start on the lower end of your recommended dose, and work your way up accordingly.
What is the best CBD for dogs?
While you have probably come across plenty of ads for CBD oil online, you should avoid purchasing any of these over the internet. Any CBD sold on the web is likely unregulated, and will just be hemp based CBD oil.
Visiting a licensed dispensary to find CBD for your dog is a better option, because you can rest assured it has been lab tested. You will also be able to find CBD oils sourced from full spectrum marijuana. With these, your dog can benefit from the entourage effect because the oil will consist of not just CBD, but other cannabinoids and terpenes. Before you decide on a CBD oil, consult your veterinarian to help you find the right ratio of CBD/THC for your dog. They can also help you come up with a plan for dosing.
Final thoughts on CBD for dogs
If you are wondering if CBD may be able to help your dog with pain, you should research their specific ailment further. This way, you can find more concrete studies, determine which ratio is best, and come up with a dosing plan. Remember that you should still consult your veterinarian before giving your dog anything, as they know your pet’s health best.
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