Let’s face it, most people treat their pets like a member of the family and if they become sick with some condition or disease, it can be very distressing at the least. If they can afford it, people will spend whatever they have to ensure their pet gets to live the longest, healthiest life possible.
With so many people using CBD products to help with so many medical issues, it is only natural that people would wonder if these products could help their dogs with similar ailments like cancer, anxiety, pain, and seizures. Pet owners have begun to look into natural remedies for these conditions because they think it might be better for their dogs than some prescription medications. Even some veterinarians in states where it is allowed are researching the benefits CBD products can have for dogs.
Can Dogs Have Products With THC?
“No” is the short answer for now at least. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana. While people use products that do contain THC, it has been recommended that dogs not be given the ingredient. Cannabidiol (CBD) is another cannabinoid from cannabis, but it is not psychoactive.
You don’t want to make your dog high and that is what would happen if they are dosed with THC. THC could be toxic to dogs when overdosed and it could have long-term negative effects that could last for days. Being high or overdosed on THC could cause your dog to not be able to eat or even stand and it could cause respiratory issues as well. However, according to some doctors, there are no documented cases of a lethal dose of THC in dogs. There has not been adequate research conducted as of yet to justify administering THC to dogs.
How Could CBD Be Beneficial For Dogs?
CBD can be compared to some drugs called NSAIDs, which are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. CBD and NSAIDS share metabolic pathways that control various processes in the body like blood clotting and inflammatory responses. These similarities are why many think CBD can be helpful for dogs as well as people.
There has been some research and studies conducted using CBD to treat dogs that show promise. It is thought by many that the use of CBD in dogs can be helpful especially if used when combined with other therapies. Although more studies need to be done, below is a list of conditions CBD is thought to be helpful with dogs:
It is well known by people that use CBD to relieve pain that it also works best when combined with THC. There is no research as yet to determine if this cannabinoid combination is helpful to dogs because dogs are not given THC. CBD alone is thought to help relieve inflammatory conditions that cause pain like intervertebral disc disease.
It could be said that using CBD to control anxiety in dogs is a misconception. Since it is possible CBD helps with pain by reducing inflammation, it might be that a dog is less anxious because of this inflammation reduction.
It may be that since CBD is not psychoactive in any way that it is unlikely that CBD would reduce anxiety in dogs that are generally high strung and nervous. Further studies need to be conducted to determine if CBD has any real effect on reducing anxiety.
Since CBD does share metabolic pathways with drugs like NSAIDS, it could be assumed that it could be helpful when treating arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a very common condition in dogs, especially in older canines.
Statistics show that about 1 in every four dogs will have arthritis in their lifetime, much like humans do. Once again, given in appropriate doses, a dog can experience pain relief from this condition because of the reduction in inflammation associated with the condition.
Reduction in Seizures
Reducing seizures in canines is likely one of the most studied when it comes to the use of CBD for dogs, but the studies thus far are limited. Just like in humans, seizures can be caused by various underlying conditions.
In dogs that have epilepsy, CBD does seem to show some reduction in seizures, but only when it is combined with other anti-seizure medications at the same time. Once again, more studies need to be done before any definitive conclusions can be made.
Similar to seizures, cancer can be described under a wide umbrella of extremely diverse diseases. Each different cancer can have different treatments applied to help combat and defeat it. While limited research has been done to date about the effectiveness of CBD and cancer treatment in dogs, more studies have been conducted concerning its benefits in humans with various types of cancer.
It could be that because of the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD, it might help in the reduction of tumors, as well as provide relief of secondary cancer treatment symptoms like chemotherapy. Some studies have shown in people and in rats and ferrets, that CBD can reduce nausea that can be caused by cancer treatments, so it stands to reason that it could be helpful for dogs undergoing chemotherapy as well.
Is It Safe To Treat Dogs Using CBD?
As it stands right now, it would seem that it is relatively safe to treat dogs and cats using CBD if correct dosages are followed. However, some studies have shown that CBD in dogs given the recommended dosage that it can create an elevation in an important liver value on blood work referred to as alkaline phosphatase. Researchers are not yet certain whether or not this elevation has any medical benefit of any significance.
It is not yet known if CBD is causing irritation to the liver or if it could be an artificial finding of the drug interfering with how lab work measures the liver value. The results are unclear as of yet.
When dogs are being given the drug Rimadyl, CBD does not appear to cause any drug interactions. Some reports do seem to suggest that a dog can become sleepy or sedate when they have been given large doses of CBD, but they recover well. Even if there hs not yet been any solid evidence that CBD causes drug interaction, it is always advisable to consult with your veterinarian before administering CBD in any form to your dog.
CBD Dosage For Dogs
As with any medication or natural treatment, getting the dosage correct for each individual is imperative. While topical CBD products have their benefits and you can use them on your dog for localized treatment, CBD is usually given to dogs orally. Giving too little may be ineffective, but giving too much might have a negative effect.
If you choose to treat your dog with CBD for seizures or arthritis, the suggested dosage is between 2-8 mg/kg and most studies suggest the lower side if this estimate. This would be approximately 1-2 milligrams per pound of body-weight administered twice a day. This dosage per pound of weight has been shown safe and effective for the conditions mentioned above.
It is also important to keep in mind that many times a product touted as a CBD may actually contain very little f the substance. It is best to choose a CBD product for your dog that has been FDA approved because then you can be assured that the CBD content is correct.
Do Veterinarians Prescribe CBD for Dogs?
At this point in time, veterinarians in the US can not prescribe CBD products. And they are prohibited from instructing a client to use CBD products for their pets. Even though you may not expect your vet to prescribe or suggest CBD use for your pet, you should at least broach the subject with them before you place your pet on any CBD treatment. They will likely inform you of any adverse effects it could have.