CBD Oil for Dogs: 8 Key Things to Know
CBD oil is a fast-growing market and the compound is now being touted as a treatment for dogs too.
Indeed, the therapy is already big business, with a study by Grand View Research estimating the market size for CDB oil surpassed $37.4 million as of 2020.
However, the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Jerry Klein, cautions while CBD oil boasts potential benefits for dogs, owners should always consult their veterinarian before starting such medical treatments.
He told Newsweek: “Cannabinoids such as CBD appear to hold therapeutic promise in areas such as the treatment of epilepsy and the management of pain and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, neurogenic pain and possibly anxiety although much of the available scientific evidence pertaining to their use in animals is currently limited.
“While findings from a few well-controlled studies have been published, much of what we know is related to anecdotal or case reports.
“It is of utmost importance for people to know that CBD is not marijuana which is TOXIC to dogs and should never be given to dogs under any circumstances.
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“Additionally, it is always recommended consulting with your veterinarian before starting and medication or supplements as your veterinarian best knows your dog’s individual medical history and needs.”
Here are some of the most important facts you should know about CBD oil for dogs.
1. What Is CBD Oil?
While CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis and hemp, the oil it is derived from rarely contains delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound responsible for providing marijuana its psychoactive properties.
Note, hemp-derived CBD oil products (with less than 0.3 percent THC) are legal on the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws.
2. Does CBD Affect Dogs?
Currently, there has been no formal research conducted about how CBD oil affects dogs.
However, research has shown cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid receptors located in the central and peripheral nervous systems, which help maintain balance in the body and keep it in a normal healthy state.
3. What Dog Health Problems Might CBD Oil Treat?
Although definitive scientific data on using CBD to treat dogs is still lacking, the AKC states “anecdotal evidence from dog owners suggests it can treat pain, especially neuropathic pain, as well as helping to control seizures.”
CBD is also used by humans for its purported anti-inflammatory properties, cardiac benefits, anti-nausea effects, appetite stimulation, anti-anxiety impact, as well as potential anti-cancer benefits, although conclusive data on this use is also lacking.
4. Potential Side Effects of CBD Oil in Dogs
Due to the lack of scientific data on the side effects of CBD usage for dogs, experts can only speculate about the possible side effects based on how the compound can affect humans.
Research suggests CBD can decrease the production of saliva. The AKC said: “For dogs, this would manifest as an increased thirst.”
High doses of CBD have been known to cause a temporary drop in blood pressure, capable of triggering brief light-headedness.
Humans have used CBD on their pet dogs to treat anxiety, while CBD oil’s calming effect can also cause slight drowsiness.
The AKC cautions in a statement: “To minimize any potential side effects, make sure you are following the proper dosage.”
5. Potential Risks of Using CBD Oil With Dogs
The safety and risks of using CBD for dogs have not yet been researched and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has neither approved CBD nor issued a dosing chart.
As a result, it remains unclear what size dosage of CBD oil would be toxic for dogs.
The AKC warns any medication or supplement carries the risk of a reaction, writing on its site: “It is always advisable, when giving your dog something new, to start with small amounts and then closely monitor the effects. And always check with your veterinarian first.”
6. Can Dogs Taking Medications Use CBD Oil?
Owners of dogs taking any medications or supplements should always check with a vet.
CBD oil can change how the animals metabolize some drugs, in the same way that grapefruits can cause significant reactions in humans.
Owners will need to consult their vet about dose changes if a dog is taking any of the following medications: steroids, allergy medications, liver or kidney medications, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, heart medications and anxiety medications.
7. CBD Dosage for Dogs
Each bottle of CBD has a specific concentration expressed in milligrams. Some owners add CBD oil to their dog’s food.
Dr. Robert Silver from NurseYourPet suggests giving a dog 0.05 to 0.25 mg/pound of body weight, twice daily is a “safe place to start,” as well as suggesting beginning with lower doses and increasing these only gradually if the lower dose appears ineffective.
It is important to note, that is only from his anecdotal experience.
8. What Are the Best CBD Oil Products for Dogs
Should consultation with a vet result in a decision in trying CBD oil to treat your dog, there are some key things to consider when buying the compound.
The AKC states: “Not all oils are the same; you’ll want high-quality CBD oil to have a better chance of it working.”
If the CBD oil is not organic, it at least should not contain pesticides, fungicides, or solvents.
Higher quality and purity are usually associated with a higher cost, meaning cheaper options can potentially more likely contain toxic substances including pesticides, herbicides, or heavy metals.
The manufacturer should provide a certificate stating the quantity of CBD in the product, with some CBD products containing minimal amounts of CBD. People buying CBD oil for their pet dogs will also want to ensure there is little or no harmful THC in the product.
The AKC also advises people to purchase CBD as a liquid whenever possible, stating: “You can buy dog treats containing CBD, but the best form to administer is an oil or tincture. This way, you can adjust your dog’s dose drop by drop.”
FAQs about CBD Use in Pets
A: Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a cannabinoid produced by the plant Cannabis sativa, commonly known as marijuana. After many anecdotal reports of CBD’s potential health benefits, studies are now underway to look at the potential benefits of CBD for controlling pain from conditions such as osteoarthritis, calming anxious pets, and as a possible treatment for epilepsy in dogs. CBD is being used by many pet owners today, so it’s essential to know enough about it to discuss the potential risks of use.
Q: Is CBD psychoactive?
A: No; however, there are several possible reasons a dog who has ingested CBD may look high:
- The product that the pet ingested contains both THC and CBD. There are many products on the market, some even labeled for use in pets, that contain both CBD and THC at varying concentrations, so check the labels or look up the product online to see what’s in it.
- The pet ingested enough of a CBD product to cause THC toxicity. Hemp can legally contain up to 0.3% THC, so if a pet ingests a large amount of a hemp-based CBD product, mild THC toxicity can occur.
- The product has not undergone quality assurance testing and contains THC.
- The dog also found some marijuana or THC edibles. Ask about any other cannabis products in the home.
Q: What are the most common signs reported in pets after the ingestion of CBD products?
A: Vomiting, lethargy, inappetence, and diarrhea are the most common clinical signs reported. Ataxia can occasionally occur with large ingestions.
Q: How do I treat these cases?
A: Most cases need no treatment, aside from symptomatic care for gastrointestinal upset if it occurs. If it’s a large dose, where the THC content might be a factor, mild sedation, urinary incontinence, hyperesthesia, and ataxia could develop, and the pet should be confined to prevent injury from misadventure. If you see significant signs that look like THC toxicity, treat the pet in front of you and provide IV fluid support, anti-nausea medication, and good nursing care as needed.
Q: Is there anything special I need to know about pet hemp treat overdoses?
A: Products sold as “soft chews” can have an osmotic effect when large amounts of chews are ingested and pull fluid from the body into the gastrointestinal tract. In mild cases, this can lead to diarrhea and dehydration. In severe cases, hypernatremia, hyperglycemia, hyperkalemia, azotemia, and acidosis can occur. Aggressive fluid therapy, while monitoring hydration status and electrolytes in these pets, is critical.
Q: What about interactions with other medications? Any long-term effects to be concerned about?
A: CBD is an inhibitor of cytochrome P450 and has the potential to affect the metabolism of other drugs. While this appears to be of minimal clinical significance in most cases, this may be important when CBD is used in a pet for seizure control. Doses of other anticonvulsants may need to be adjusted. Remember that owners may discontinue anticonvulsants on their own if they feel that CBD is controlling their pet’s seizures, so this is an important discussion to have.
CBD has also been shown to cause dose-dependent elevations in liver enzymes in various safety studies. This has not been noted in acute overdose situations but could be a concern in pets taking CBD long-term. Monitoring liver enzymes and total bilirubin in these pets is recommended.