Some people talk about CBD for dogs like it's a cure-all, but what conditions can it really help improve?
You’ve probably heard pet parents gushing over CBD for dogs like it’s a cure-all natural remedy. So now you’re curious. We’re here to talk about what it is exactly, what’s true and what’s hearsay, and how you can find the best CBD for dogs.
What’s CBD for Dogs?
CBD stands for cannabidiol, one of 100 compounds found in the cannabis plant. This is not to be confused with THC, a different compound that has psychoactive properties that give you the feeling of being high. So CBD is not going to get your dog high.
To make CBD oil, only the CBD is taken from the cannabis plant. It’s then mixed with a carrier oil that is usually coconut oil or hemp seed oil to create a liquid. CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that maintains health and regulates sleep, mood, appetite, memory, and fertility.
CBD for Humans vs. CBD for Dogs
The CBD that’s marketed for humans is a bit different from CBD labeled for pet use. For one thing, the pet version is less potent, since a dog’s ECS is more sensitive than ours. Dogs have more CBD receptors in more parts of their body than us.
CBD products for dogs are made to be less potent, and they come in the form of oils, tasty chews, topical creams, and capsules.
How CBD Works for Dogs
When a dog takes CBD, it activates their body’s CBD receptors. This encourages the body to release natural endocannabinoids and keeps them from breaking down so fast.
This, combined with the fact that dogs have more receptors than us, makes CBD a pretty efficient supplement.
What Can CBD for Dogs Help With?
People have been using CBD supplements to help with all sorts of things, from pain and migraines to seizures and anxiety. And of course, we want to share this natural remedy with our pets, too. There are CBD formulations made just for dogs that have the potential to help with the same sorts of health issues.
- Inflammation: A 2021 study demonstrated for the first time the anti-inflammatory and immuno-modulating properties of CBD directly in dogs’ immune cells.
- Osteoarthritis: In a 2020 study, cannabanidiol improved the mobility of large dogs that have osteoarthritis.
- Seizures: Dogs that were given CBD had fewer seizure episodes in a promising 2019 study.
- Stress: More studies need to be done, but a recent survey of pet parents showed that their dogs had less anxiety, destructive behavior, fear at the veterinarian office or groomers, hyperactivity, fear of meeting other dogs, fear of loud noises, and restlessness.
Does CBD Have Side Effects for Dogs?
So, it seems like CBD can help dogs in all sorts of ways, but what are the downsides? Will your dog have side effects from CBD supplements? Just like a lot of OTC or prescription treatments, it’s possible.
While there haven’t been many reports of side effects from CBD in dogs, you may see lethargy or sleepiness, upset stomach, or depression.
Is CBD for Dogs Legal?
This is a tricky question, and the answer keeps evolving. Basically, your vet might not bring up CBD, but if you ask them about it, they may be allowed to discuss it with you and whether it might be the right option for your dog. They are not allowed to prescribe or sell CBD products in their clinic.
The problem is that each state’s laws are different, and veterinarians are licensed by the medical board in a certain state. It depends on what the veterinary board of the state has said about how much they can discuss with you. Just keep in mind that there may be severe penalties for a vet discussing CBD with a pet parent, including losing their license.
Some vets are also waiting for more research to be done so they can stand behind it and be able to recommend CBD for dogs.
Should I Try CBD for My Dog?
This is also a tough question to answer. CBD can be a good option if you’ve tried other supplements and/or traditional medications and they haven’t worked for your dog. Or maybe you prefer to use natural products for your pup whenever you have the choice.
Ask your vet before you decide, so you can get their insight. They know your dog’s health issues and history, so they can give you the best answer here.
What’s the Best CBD for Dogs?
Not all CBD products for dogs are created equal. Because there’s no regulation, you never know if that bottle of CBD oil you got at the farmer’s market actually has any CBD in it, or whether it has some ingredient that’s harmful for pets.
You also don’t want to use a CBD product that was made for humans, because they are more potent and will have much stronger effects on your dog. But we do have a couple suggestions for safe CBD options for your pup.
Pet Releaf: This company has gone so far as to hire a geneticist/botanist to develop their own strain of hemp specifically for pets. Their hemp oil is also USDA Certified Organic. Both their hemp oils and chews are formulated by veterinarians.
ElleVet: All of their products are backed by tons of research and clinical trials, plus long-term safety studies. In fact, it’s been proven to work in a clinical trial. Their products are also organic.