It seems like it's everywhere: CBD — or cannabidiol — has become all the rage, seeping its way into nearly every market for both humans and pets alike. There are CBD-infused lattes, candles, dog treats, lip balm, topical skin and coat cream — the list goes on. With so much hype, it can be hard to figure out if CBD is right for your dog and, if so, which CBD products out there are the best option for your pup. Read on to learn more about what benefits CBD can provide your dog, and what key things you should consider when deciding what CBD pet product to purchase.
CBD is a non-psychoactive component of cannabis that has become increasingly popular for everyday use in both humans and pups. CBD users tout both its medical and therapeuticapplications, helping to reduce everything from pain, seizures, muscle disorders, and skin problems to anxiety. Because of CBD's until-recently illicit status, there's very little definitive research on the subject, but early scientific studies seem to bolster many of the CBD users' claims.
Perhaps CBD’s most well-researched benefit to dogs is a Cornell University study that shows that CBD is effective in relieving pain associated with osteoarthritis. If you have an older pup, giving them CBD may be an effective way to help with their aches and pains. Another, smaller study, also suggests that CBD may be helpful for dogs who experience seizures, though more research is needed.
Anecdotally, CBD in pets (and humans) has also been claimed to help with anxiety and other forms of chronic pain. If your pup suffers from any of these ailments, it might be worth looking into CBD more, including asking your veterinarian about it as a potential treatment (it’s important to note, however, that some states currently prevent vets from professionally recommending CBD for their patients).
If you’ve decided CBD is a good option for your dog, the next step is to figure out what CBD products to use. CBD pet products most often come in the form of edible treats, an oil-based capsule, a cream, or as an oil that you can give to your pet via a dropper. It can be difficult to determine what’s the best kind for your dog. “If you are interested in getting CBD products for your pet to help with a medical condition such as arthritis, it is imperative that you get a hemp-derived product and not a marijuana-derived product,” says Dr. Deirdre Frey, founder of Vet At Your Door, a house call veterinary practice in Maine. “Hemp-derived products are meant to have a THC content lower than 0.03%. Also, it’s important to ask for a Certificate of Analysis (COA) from the company of the CBD product you are considering. If they don’t provide one, don’t give your pet that product.”
A good COA will tell you the product’s ingredients, its THC percentage (this should be as low as possible, since THC, found in marijuana, is what causes people to get “high”), a terpene and flavonoid analysis (which tells you the efficacy levels of the product), a pesticide and fungal analysis, and other testing to make sure there aren’t any bacteria or pathogens that could harm your pup.
In the current CBD market, quality costs more, so be prepared to pay a bit more for the safest and most effective products. “From an economic perspective, you also want to figure out the dose for your dog and see how many doses you will get from that product,” explains Dr. Frey. “Be sure it works with your budget. Know that a CBD product which has a good Certificate of Analysis, good potency, and does excellent testing, is pricey. For a 75lb dog, we are talking about $75-$100 per month for a quality product.”
In terms of dosing levels, it’s extremely important to follow the recommended dose amounts (CBD oil products also have guidelines on how much to give your pup based on their weight), and then monitor your dog closely to see how they react. If your dog has any negative effects, like vomiting, drooling, or panting heavily, you should immediately make an appointment to see your vet, as this could be a sign of an overdose or a toxic product. If you use a high-quality product, however, the chances of your pet having an adverse reaction are lower.
It’s also important to keep in mind that it may take a week or more to see any benefits from CBD treatment for osteoarthritis. But even though CBD may take time money, it can definitely be worth it; for older pups with arthritic limbs, it can be the difference between night and day.