Is CBD Good For Dogs?

Anecdotally, CBD is found to be helpful in treating dog conditions like osteoarthritis, anxiety, pain, epilepsy, and cancer. Some studies have shown its efficacy for treating such conditions. Pet owners are using CBD-infused products as an alternative and natural way to treat their dogs’ condition.

Is CBD Good For Dogs?

What Is CBD?

CBD is short for cannabidiol. An essential chemical compound derived from the hemp plant. Even though it is a compound found in marijuana, it does not contain any of the psychoactive side effects. In fact, it is often used for its health benefits.

Presently, no state allows licensed veterinarians to prescribe CBD for animals. But some pet owners use CBD to treat their pets. Some shops are now offering products that contain CBD for pets because it is known to treat dog pain, arthritis, epilepsy, and cancer.

What Does CBD Do In Dogs?

Currently, there is no formal study that explains what CBD does to a dog’s system. We know that CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which helps maintain balance in the body, keeping it healthy.

In a 2016 article (by Dr. Carlton Gyles), dogs are reported to have a higher number of endocannabinoid receptors in the brain compared to humans. It was suggested that dogs might be more susceptible to the toxic effects of cannabis than humans.

2016 study (by L.R. Kogan, et al.) conducted a survey asking pet owners the reason why they use CBD for their dogs. The majority of the responses were to help treat an illness or condition diagnosed by a veterinarian.

The most common reason for the use of CBD was for pain relief, followed by aid in sleep and relief from anxiety.

CBD-infused pet products are often crafted as snacks, treats, or oils. The reason for this might be because a 2018 study (published in Ingenta) states that oral CBD-infused oils have the most favorable time of absorption, distribution, and excretion in the body.

Is CBD Safe For Dogs?

Photo by Alex Navarro

There have been only a few formal research regarding the safety of CBD in dogs. Its dose and toxicity level for dogs still require more studies. CBD products are not approved by the FDA for use in animals, either as drugs or as food.

But if you want to use CBD for your dog to gain its benefits, some suggest that you start with a low dose and gradually increase it while monitoring your dogs’ reactions until you get the desired effect. One way to avoid harmful side effects is to only use products with a certificate of analysis and lab reports.

I recommend a quality CBD product for your pets like HempLand USA’s Pet Friendly CBD Oil

2020 study (published in fronteirsin.org) where they used 20 healthy beagles, suggested that a CBD-predominant oil formulation was safer than oil formulations containing higher concentrations of THC. The safe range was 18.3–640.5 mg CBD per dose, showing only minimal side effects. However, liver enzymes increased during the study, which warrants further research on the safety of CBD for dogs.

Benefits Of CBD For Dogs

Anecdotal reports of using CBD for their dogs, like reviews found in Embrace Pet Insurance and Washingtonian, are getting the attention of dog owners who have pets who are anxious or have similar conditions. Of course, these claims need to be confirmed by clinical studies before being concluded as a medical treatment for dogs. 

CBD As Treatment For Pain and Osteoarthritis In Dogs

As your dog becomes older, their joint cartilage also begins to deteriorate, making it harder for them to walk. Dog owners popularly use CBD to manage their pet’s osteoarthritis and alleviate pain.

2018 study (published by NCBI) states that using CBD oil showed a remarkable decrease in pain and an increase in the dog’s activity. A veterinarian has also assessed this during the study.

They also suggested that a dose of 2mg/kg twice daily can increase comfort in dogs with osteoarthritis. There was also no side effects reported with a CBD dose of 2mg/kg to 8mg/kg. However, liver enzyme levels seem to rise when dogs are treated with CBD.

In a 2019 study (published in PubMed), a 90-day pilot clinical trial was conducted. They concluded that adding CBD oil can affect dogs with pain by alleviating it, and can contribute to improving their mobility.

CBD As A Treatment For Epileptic Seizures In Dogs

For dogs having seizures, taking them to a vet and getting a prescription is the first solution for most dog owners. While some prefer plant-based medications like CBD oil, which is typically used in treating dogs with epilepsy and other neurological conditions.

A recent study (published in PubMed) observed a notable reduction in the frequency of seizures of the test group taking CBD-infused oil. The results were conflicting because of the slight difference in the proportion of the CBD-treated and placebo groups.

In a 2019 article (by Science Daily), Dr. McGrath, a neurologist, describes this study as ‘promising and exciting.’ They stated that higher levels of CBD lead to higher seizure reduction. Although, further studies are suggested to determine if a higher dose would be effective in treating epilepsy in dogs.

CBD As A Treatment For Anxiety In Dogs

CBD is famous for relieving anxiety in humans. Dogs who have anxiety can be troublesome. It can cause them to be clingy or noisy, or at worst, they can be dangerous because of their instinct to bite due to fear.

Some dog owners use CBD when prescribed medicine doesn’t seem to work for their dog’s anxiety. Like Dara Katz’s (from Purewow.com) story, for example, after administering CBD to her pup, it helped her relax during their next flight.

An article from barkpost.com also shares the experiences of dog owners where CBD has helped ease the anxiety of their dogs.

study (published in Science Direct) concluded that CBD helped reduce anxiety-like behavior in both test groups of mice.

CBD As A Treatment For Cancer In Dogs

Dogs can also develop tumors and cancers at some point. Cancer in dogs is treated similarly in humans. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are the current solutions available in treating cancer.

CBD does not totally eliminate cancer cells but is a great supplement to help dogs diagnosed with cancer.

It is also a great addition to cancer treatments. A 2020 survey (published in Wiley Online Library) indicated that dog owners are giving CBD to their dogs combined with a healthy diet and natural supplements to help treat cancer.

2018 study (published in NCBI) showed that CBD acts synergistically with radiotherapy, resulting in a greater killing activity to tumor cells in mice.

This research is backed up by a 2020 study where the results showed a remarkable reduction in the multiplication of cancer cells with concentrations ranging from 2.5 to 10 micrograms per mL of CBD.

Both studies suggest that CBD is effective in improving cancer therapy when used in combination with other treatments. They also indicate that CBD is helpful in the induction of the body’s response in removing cancer cells. But of course, further studies are still needed to fully understand its efficacy.

What Are The Side Effects Of CBD In Dogs?

Just like in taking any drugs and supplements, side effects are inevitable. Dogs experience them too, and CBD can cause specific side effects upon taking them orally.

Diarrhea

2018 study (by Stephanie McGrath, et al.) focused on the side effects of CBD oil in dogs. They administered CBD in the form of capsules and oils. All dogs who took CBD orally, using oils and capsules, have experienced mild diarrhea.

Inflammation

In the same study, the researchers also tested CBD-infused creams, which were applied on the dogs’ ears. The test groups that used creams had a more noticeable inflammation on their ears. It was noted as the second most common side effect after 2-4 weeks of the study.

Increased ALP Levels

ALP stands for Alkaline Phosphatase, an enzyme found in the liver. Its levels are tested and used as an indicator. High levels of this enzyme would mean an issue related to the liver and bones.

In most studies, this is the most common and notable side effect found in dogs after taking CBD orally, which warrants further research to test its safety.

Dry Mouth

If a dog’s saliva production is decreased, it will affect their oral health. They might experience pain in swallowing and cause increased thirst as they try to compensate for the lack of fluids in their mouth.

Low Blood Pressure

Since CBD can cause decreased levels of anxiety, it can cause mild sedation, which can lead to lowered blood pressure. This drop of blood pressure is usually temporary and can cause a feeling of light-headedness.

A lot of dog owners are now opting to use CBD for their canine friends. Though its health benefits are proven anecdotally and are highly remarkable, more research is required to prove its safety for dogs. Always consult your veterinarian for concerns and recommendations.