One of the fastest growing health trends for pets is CBD oil, a non-psychoactive natural supplement that is safe for dogs. You may be wondering, is this new trend just hype or is there real research to back up the fervor?
It’s a great question, and kudos to you for doing your research!
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a compound that is refined from cannabis. Although it is sometimes made from medical strains of marijuana, it is more often made from a strain of cannabis known as hemp. Hemp, by law, has less than .3% of THC, the chemical that creates the “high” associated with marijuana.
In case you were wondering, CBD oil developed for pets won’t get your dog high. And, unlike marijuana which has potentially toxic levels of THC, CBD products made for pets do not pose any safety hazard for your dog. In fact, CBD may even have a safer toxicity profile than other drugs commonly prescribed to our pets.
The list of the potential health benefits of cannabidiol is long (and growing). However, let’s take a look at three of the most well-researched benefits that just might make you decide that CBD is worth discussing with your vet:
1.Pain and Inflammation
The benefits of CBD oil for both pain and inflammation have been well documented by scientific research. There is also evidence to suggest that the use of cannabidiol may enhance the pain-relieving effect of other pain medications, such as opioids.
This is great news for our pets who are recovering from surgeries, injuries or strained muscles. Even reducing the amount of other pharmaceutical pain medications can help to avoid serious complications such as liver or kidney damage from those drugs.
Cannabidiol may be particularly useful as part of a pain management strategy for our senior canine companions suffering from Osteoarthritis. In fact, there is research which suggests that because of its strong anti-inflammatory properties, early use of CBD oil may even have a preventative effect on the joint degeneration associated with OA while also providing pain relief.
Watching our pets suffer from chronic pain is heartbreaking. Often owners face a tough decision since the most popular classes of drugs to treat pet pain include NSAIDs and opioids, both of which have potentially life-threatening side effects, particularly when used long term.
CBD oil is definitely worth considering as part of a veterinarian approved pain control regimen for your dog’s pain.
2. Anxiety and Phobias
It is thought that CBD works with the endocannabinoid system, found in both humans and dogs, to help regulate anxiety in two key ways.
First, CBD has a direct impact by signaling the 5‐HT1A receptor, found throughout the nervous system. This receptor is thought to help regulate anxiety and other mood states. Oral dosing using an eyedropper directly into your dog’s mouth may result in a visibly calmer dog in as little as 15 minutes.
A second way that CBD oil can help with anxiety is less direct, but perhaps most important to the dog owner trying to help their dog cope with a phobia. CBD seems to help with what is known by scientists as “memory consolidation.” To put it more simply, CBD seems to ease the memory of trauma which is particularly important when trying to help dogs (and people!) resolve their learned phobias.
If your dog has a fear of thunderstorms, riding in the car, or being left alone, then you understand the frustration of seeing her struggle to feel safe. Symptoms can range from mild to quite dramatic reactions in more severe cases.
Some phobias are created by a traumatic event. For instance, if your canine was in a car accident, getting her on board for a road trip can be a miserable experience for the rest of her life. Not only is it a major hassle to get her to the vet for necessary checkups, but it can also decrease her quality of life by taking all the fun out of an otherwise delightful trip to the nearby dog park.
In other cases, the cause is less understood. Regardless, CBD may be part of a solution to help your pet be calmer and more relaxed.
CBD oil can be used to help your pooch overcome fears and phobias by helping her unlearn the trauma she associates with the stimuli. In addition, by helping your dog to stay calm, CBD oil may be particularly effective when used in combination with a solid (professionally guided) desensitization training program.
3. Dry and Itchy Skin
Although not as well studied in canine populations, cannabidiol is showing great promise as a potential therapy for serious skin conditions including Atopic Dermatitis, Allergic Contact Dermatitis, Eczema, and Psoriasis. Unfortunately, many of the standard treatment options for these conditions can have significant unwanted side effects, in some cases, compromising your dog’s entire immune system.
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) turns out to play a major role in the regulation of critical skin functions. Think of the ECS as important to keep your dog’s skin in a healthy balance. In addition, the ECS is also tied to the immune system and skin problems in canines can be the result of one of several immune dysfunctions.
CBD oil for dogs may help your dog with dry and itchy skin without the side effects of prescription medications. It is effective both when used orally and topically. A holistic veterinarian is a great resource to help you find the underlying cause and best treatment options if your dog is experiencing persistent problems with dry and itchy skin.
Finding the Right CBD Oil for Your Dog
Always check with your vet before adding CBD oil to your pet’s diet. Although considered safe, CBD can interact with other drugs. In addition, making sure that your canine companion is checked for other underlying conditions is important since early detection and proper treatment are critical for many disorders.
Once you have decided to give CBD oil a try, be sure to find a quality CBD manufacturer. This largely unregulated food supplement is in high demand right now, meaning conditions are ripe for scams and low-quality products to hit the market.
Look for products made with organic hemp since unhealthy pesticide and herbicide residue can become concentrated during the refinement process. In addition, go with a company that offers up to date batch lab testing – a strong indicator of a quality product for your pet.
Finally, avoid giving your dog CBD oil that has been manufactured for human consumption. Sometimes these products are flavored with compounds or essential oils and sugars that are not good for your pooch.
If your pet is suffering from pain, anxiety, or skin conditions, CBD oil might be what your dog needs for natural relief. We hope this article has given you the information you need to make an informed decision about what is best for your pet.