CBD for dogs. Harmful, helpful or plain awful?
This pharmacokinetic and clinical study suggests that 2 mg/kg of CBD twice daily can help increase comfort and activity in dogs with osteoarthritis.source: NCBI
CBD for dogs. Does it work?
On another post about Cannabinoid Receptors, we discussed how these little antennas pick up signals from cannabinoids like CBD, CBN, and CBG and transmit them to the nerves. Those receptors are not exclusive to the human body. Most animals have them, including dogs. So for starters, if cannabinoids affect the human body and mind, the same applies to dogs. Now before we jump into conclusions, if we wanted to rephrase that last sentence and be more clear about it we should probably say:
- Receptors found in dogs’ cells pick up signals from cannabinoids, much like human receptors do. How they react to these signals is a completely different issue.
If in doubt, do more research
Well, not you. We are talking about scientific research which will shed more light on the topic of CBD for dogs. Preliminary studies are positive on the effects of CBD on your canine friend.
A 2019 study on dogs with idiopathic epilepsy concluded that
- Although a significant reduction in seizure frequency was achieved for dogs in the CBD group, the proportion of responders was similar between groups (CBD and placebo)
Another study from 2018 on dogs with osteoarthritis suggested that
- This pharmacokinetic and clinical study suggests that 2 mg/kg of CBD twice daily can help increase comfort and activity in dogs with OA.
while at the same time
- No side effects were reported by owners, however, serum chemistry showed an increase in alkaline phosphatase during CBD treatment.
The usual “more research is needed in order to be definitive about it” is still valid. Cannabinoids and their use in medical conditions as an alternative to prescription and OTC drugs have attracted so much publicity lately. Hopefully, this publicity will lead to more funds distributed to independent labs that test products and their effects. The take-home key point here is “independent”. Researches that are funded by manufacturing companies, in absence of other means of funding, should be considered with a grain of salt. Not all research is performed equally. We do not imply that results are always biased. We just offer some food for thought.
How can CBD for dogs help your little friend?
CBD consumption in humans is believed and proven, to some extent, that it aids towards:
- Chronic pain
- Pain related to diseases and inflammations such as arthritis
- Post-surgery pain
- and more
In this context, we can assume that the same may apply to your fury friend. There is anecdotal evidence about dogs with arthritis, anxiety, and phobias that achieved a higher quality of life with the consumption of CBD. This does not mean that you should get overexcited about the next dog with arthritis that conquered Mount Everest. It all depends on each individual dog’s reaction to the substance, as well as dosage and of course, the product itself. Not all products are created equally.
What are the negative effects and signs I should be looking for if I decide to try CBD for dogs?
Typical side effects from the consumption of CBD products from humans are:
- dry mouth
- loss of control
- changes in appetite (could be positive changes though)
The same side-effects should be anticipated if you administer CBD to your dog, so you must be alert. If you notice an increase in water consumption, it might be a sign of dry mouth. If it is becoming lethargic and its movement is erratic you should consult your vet. Keep in mind though that it might be illegal for your vet to talk about CBD for your dog. You should, however, be perfectly honest and list all products you are administering to your dog, regardless of their legal or illegal status. Watching for the signs is crucial for your dog’s well-being because let’s be honest, dogs don’t talk like humans do. And always use common sense. For example, if you administer CBD to your dog who suffers from loss of appetite, it is normal to anticipate an increase in water consumption. This is natural. Better safe than sorry though, keep an eye on any changes in behavior and act accordingly.
How should you administer CBD?
CBD for dogs comes in many forms.
- Oil tinctures
- Topicals such as creams and gels
The former two are oral means of consumption while the latter is applied to the skin. Excluding allergic reactions, topicals are safer to use because they bypass the liver and do not enter the bloodstream. However, their main area of effect is well, topical. At some point, you might need to try products that are administered orally. Our play-it-safe take on this which should not be considered as a recommendation? Start with CBD oil tinctures. This way you have better control over the amount of CBD your dog consumes at any given time. Start slow and up the dosage while inside the manufacturer’s recommended amounts.
To wrap things up:
- dogs have the same cannabinoid receptors as humans
- they may or may not exhibit the same reactions to CBD, both positive and negative
- research is still scarce but promising
- anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD does help in some cases
- it is better to start slowly with a CBD oil tincture and observe for a couple of days
- if you choose the treatibles route, always keep them out of your dog’s reach as you would with a child
- love your dog
- repeat the last step