Giving love to our furry friends takes many forms. We walk them, we feed them, we pet them. We also buy them chew toys, we play fetch with them. And increasingly, we’re finding new medications and treatments to help them feel better.
Some medications are easy to give our dog. We automatically administer everything from flea prescriptions to antibiotics without a thought. But more novel medications are a tougher question. We looked into several things that CBD may or may not do for dogs, how much to give your dog, and what side effects to watch out for.
What CBD Can Do?
Most CBD works by interacting with a network of receptors in the body called the endocannabinoid system, made up of endocannabinoid receptors, or ECRs. And it turns out that our four-legged friends have ECRs, as well. Many of the benefits that humans see from CBD use can be seen in dogs, as well.
Below is a list of all the possible benefits of CBD for dogs.
Arthritis — it shouldn’t be a surprise that this tops the list of CBD uses in canines. Pain management with CBD has been one of the most studied uses of the compound. For chronic pain, CBD has the benefit of being non-narcotic and non-habit forming. If you decided to try and manage your dog’s arthritis with CBD you won’t have to worry about any of the side-effects common to opioids or other prescription painkillers. According to the American Kennel Club, there are at least two studies supporting CBD use for dogs with joint pain and limited mobility.
Anxiety—we found a detailed article written by a veterinarian discussing CBD for anxiety in dogs. By now we’ve all heard from someone we know, or read somewhere on the internet, that CBD is great for anxiety. But we can’t exactly ask our dog if they’re feeling more or less anxious. So if you’re looking to give your dog CBD for anxiety, make sure you’re watching their behavior. Pay close attention over the course of several weeks. You don’t want to give your dog a medication they don’t need. But you may start to notice easier sleeping, less scratching or chewing on furniture, and less frequent barking or accidents in the house.
Seizures — for this we recommend consulting your vet. Because there are existing medications to assist seizures, and because there are a number of causes for canine seizures, you should consult a doctor who has a history with your pet to discuss changing or augmenting your dog’s existing seizure treatment. Some anecdotal evidence does support that CBD can be quite helpful for seizures in dogs as well as in humans.
Itchiness — the same American Kennel Club article also listed several studies that indicate that CBD in dogs can significantly reduce the amount of itchiness a dog has. Whether you have a short hair that’s constantly shedding, or a long hair that hates the heat, CBD can really improve your dog’s comfort when it comes to being itchy.
Nausea — there have been reports that CBD can help dogs with their nausea. However, this can be even more difficult than anxiety to monitor in dogs. If you do notice that your dog gets upset on car rides or has a reaction to certain circumstances, you can try a low-dose CBD regimen, as long as you are monitoring for any actual results.
Cancer — this has been one of the most intriguing uses of CBD, across the board. At least in canines, there is strong indication that CBD use along with chemotherapy can reduce cancer more than chemo, alone. We want to emphasize, though, that CBD use is not a replacement for chemotherapy. It would be nice to spare our pets the discomfort and pain of chemo, but CBD cannot take over for it. But it can help.
How Much CBD Oil Should I Give My Dog?
The American Kennel Club has a lot of information about giving your dog CBD, from how much to how often. Their advice is about 0.1 or 0.2 mg per kilogram of your dog’s weight. They also recommend giving the oil orally.
If you don’t feel like doing any that much math, Honest Paws has an easier guide. They recommend 5 mg per 25. So if your pooch is under 25 lbs., use 5 mg per day. Up to 50 lbs. use 10 mg, and over 50 lbs. use 15 mg.
Honest Paws also says that if you’re not seeing the effect you want, you can try upping the dose slowly over time. The AKC, however, says that giving your dog too much can blunt the effects, as well. Taking the two together, we recommend starting a bit lower than the Honest Paws threshold and gauging effect. Then you can slowly work your way through the range, making sure you never offered too much, but that you ended up giving just enough.
The only side effects we came across are diarrhea and interactions with other drugs. Because CBD and its compounds are fat soluble, as are many drugs, it could interfere with your dog's ability to absorb their prescribed medications. Always check with your veterinarian to determine if this is a concern with any medications your dog is on.
We found great evidence for CBD use in dogs, for everything from cancer to itchiness, from joint pain to behavior due to anxiety or nausea. And we didn’t find any extreme side effects to look for. Our last word of advice is to make sure you find certified CBD oil, not hemp oil, and that you avoid any products with THC. Hemp oil without certified levels of CBD offer no known medical benefits, and THC’s effect on canines is psychoactive.