By now, you’ve most likely heard about the wonders of CBD, or cannabidiol, the cannabinoid known to pack a powerful punch of health benefits for humans, minus the psychoactive effects that its main counterpart, THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, has. There have been more and more studies conducted focusing on how CBD can benefit humans, especially now that 2018 Farm Bill was passed, making hemp and products derived from it fully legal in the U.S. It is currently being used for a wide array of treatment and healing purposes by patients with everything from chronic headaches and anxiety to neuropathic illnesses, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, cancer, and plenty of other ailments in between.
The growth in this vertical is skyrocketing, with new businesses popping up seemingly every day, with a market value projected to reach $2.1 billion market value by 2020. Hemp based CBD is being infused into any and every kind of product imaginable, from CBD gummies to CBD coffee, beer, ointments, salves and now, even pet products. However, it seems the CBD pet products that are quickly emerging have materialized before the general public has even had time to become informed. This has left many a pet owner wondering: is CBD good for dogs?
Dogs are also mammals, like us, which means there are actually a lot of things we have in common with them. For example, they too have an endocannabinoid system of their own – so do all other mammals. This allows for the chemical compounds present in hemp to interact with them – an interaction that results in the regulation of the body’s mood, sleep, memory and appetite. It also regulates the body’s form of defense that manifests through inflammation – a culprit of many disorders and conditions. Having an endocannabinoid system is what allows humans and their mammalian pets to benefit from CBD. Dogs, like other pets, are subject to some of the same ailments, diseases and conditions that humans are. That means they can be treated in a similar way. Here are some of the conditions that dog owners have been using CBD to treat in their pets:
There are many health issues that result in making your pet lose their appetite. While it’s a result of the ailment, it often exacerbates it as well, lowering their defenses even more due to lack of vitamins and minerals. CBD has been known to stimulate appetite and curb nausea in humans; a separate study involving animals observed an increase in appetite and the mitigation of vomiting and nausea in the animals who took dosages of CBD.
Abnormal electrical impulses in the brain can cause disturbances in the physical movement or behavior of a dog. This is sometimes manifested as a seizure. If a dog experiences this often, they are often diagnosed as having epilepsy. CBD has been used to treat epilepsy in humans and because of its observed effect, it has also become introduced to dogs who suffer from the same condition. While medical research on the subject of CBD for dogs with epilepsy is still nascent, pet owners have already beat researchers to the punch, using it in their treatment plans for their dogs as alternatives to other, more conventional medicines that often have harmful side effects. Because of pet owners’ own observations on it’s effects, there has been mounting pressure on vets and legislation as well as companies to introduce CBD as a mainstream option for epilepsy treatment in dogs. In one specific survey of dog owners, 95% of respondents endorsed the use of CBD for dogs as a form of treatment for seizures. It is important to consult with the vet before introducing this into the regimen, but since CBD has shown to be effective in practice, it is a highly viable option to consider.
It might not be obvious, especially to those who don’t own pets, but animals can also suffer from anxiety, particularly pets. Dogs have exhibited signs of noise phobia, stress and separation anxiety. The same way CBD has a way of reducing stress and anxiety in humans is how pet owners have observed their pets benefiting. One specific account by a pet owner pointed to CBD use as a way her dog, once slightly aggressive and on edge, became more friendly and less aggressive, allowing her to stop caging her dog when visitors came. Another symptom of anxiety and stress is excessive barking, a major problem dog owners have to deal with on a day to day basis. The regulation of stress and anxiety in dogs can also result in a reduction in unwanted and unnecessary barking.
Both dogs and cats, as well as other mammals, are just as susceptible to cancer as humans are. Numerous studies, including one involving rats, have observed CBD’s effect on cancer cells. It blocks cancer cells’ ability to reproduce and assists the immune system in seeking out and destroying the harmful cells.
Many of the other benefits of CBD for dogs coincide with the benefits humans get. CBD is also used to treat pain, treat inflammatory bowel disease, helps fight chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases, protects the nervous system and supports the cardiovascular system. Some of the ways to add it to your dog’s intake regimen is through capsules, tinctures, oils, or treats.
It is important to keep in mind that extensive studies involving pets and CBD are limited; there is still much to do and CBD is, on a mass level, not being officially prescribed by veterinarians because of the lack of research and proof to back the claims.
The amount of CBD oil for a proper dosage is also undetermined; there is no official or standard recommended amount. What pet owners seem to agree on is the practice of starting off with the smallest possible amount and working your way up gradually. It is best to start small and allow your pet’s body to adjust to its intake for at least 2-3 weeks. If, after observing your pet’s symptoms and behaviors, you see there is no change, you can add to the dosage amount and see how that works.
Lastly, knowing the source of your CBD is paramount. Choosing to order from a transparent company that allows its customers to know where the CBD is being sourced from is best. Also, companies that display their certifications and a comprehensive measure of their product quality standards can help you, as a pet owner, control what is being given to your pet, ensuring the safety and health of your pet.
The bottom line is that the same way CBD can be beneficial for humans is, for the most part, the same way pets can benefit. It is important to consult with your veterinarian and pay close attention to your pet’s reactions to the new addition. But overall, the mounting evidence points to pets seeing improvements in their qualities of life and their health thanks to CBD.