Seems as though more dog owners are turning to holistic methods for managing their canines’ health. Dogs of all ages and breeds can end up with common issues like anxiety, hyperactivity, inflammation, pain, skin irritation, etc., and today’s pet wellness market offers a wide array of solutions that can give their bodies the support they need.
Perhaps the most popular option of all right now is cannabidiol (CBD). CBD, for those who aren’t aware, is a derivative of the hemp plant, and thus, belongs to a category of distinctively valuable compounds known as cannabinoids. And, as it turns out, we are seeing a surprising amount of research has continuously going into exploring the potential benefits that CBD can offer to dogs, specifically, and at the same time, the hemp market has greatly expanded to offer products made exclusively for canines.
The question, of course, is whether or not cannabidiol can actually work at addressing your dog’s unique needs. It’s a good question, indeed. So, let’s take a look at what the research says then, and even talk about how to properly get your dog started with CBD, as how effective this remarkable cannabinoid is largely depends on how your dog is actually taking it.
What Exactly is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is the most abundantly available compound in the hemp plant’s flowering buds. It’s one of over 100 cannabinoids that naturally exist in the plant’s chemical composition, and it’s nonintoxicating, unlike another, more notorious cannabinoid THC. CBD also happens to be nontoxic, not just to humans, but to all mammals.
Discovered and isolated back in the 1960s, there has been decades worth of research showing us what the cannabinoid is capable of, and how it interacts with the systems of mammals. What this means is that while CBD may seem like something of a new, trendy product, the reality is that this is a well-studied compound, and we actually know a great deal about it.
Is it Safe to Give CBD to Dogs?
You might be surprised by just how many dogs have been taking cannabidiol daily for years. CBD dog products have been on the market long enough now that there are plenty of happy pet owners out there who are more than happy to share their experiences with incorporating cannabidiol into their dogs’ routines. Essentially, we know that cannabidiol is nontoxic to mammals, like we had pointed out earlier. Also, there has yet to be any reported cases of dogs having any serious reactions to the hemp derivative.
On the flip side of that point, however, there is one exception, which’s if you’re giving your dog an unsafe CBD product – as in, a product that contains harmful ingredients, or a fake product that shouldn’t be on the market at all. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid administering your dog anything but safe, effective, and authentic CBD, as this is something for which we will be diving into a bit later on here.
CBD and a Dog’s Endocannabinoid System: What’s the Correlation?
So, why is it that cannabidiol seems to be able to address so many common issues that affect canines (and humans, for that matter)? In the 1990s, a group of researchers uncovered the answer, which is the endocannabinoid system (ECS) – a system of the body that all mammals share in common.
- The endocannabinoid system consists of a network of cannabinoid receptors, representing all systems of the body – the nervous system, the immune system, the digestive system, etc.
- Then, there are endocannabinoids, which are cannabinoids produced within the body, which interact with these receptors.
Cannabinoid receptors, as the name implies, have the job of receiving cannabinoids – more specifically, cannabinoids attach themselves to these receptors as an ongoing process of regulating processes performed by these bodily systems with which cannabinoid receptors are correlated. For example, cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system use cannabinoids to regulate processes like mood, sleep, and pain tolerance, while cannabinoid receptors in the immune system regulate processes like inflammation.
This complex process serves the ultimate purpose of bringing mammals into homeostasis, by constantly regulating all processes involved in our functionality. We said earlier that the body makes cannabinoids, but researchers believe that many mammals are deficient in them, which is why consuming plant cannabinoids like CBD may be so beneficial.
At the same time, it’s been suggested by numerous cannabis researchers that the body produces less cannabinoids as we age. Hence, why CBD seems to be so particularly useful to seniors – including, in this case, senior dogs.
Essentially, this means that by giving dogs CBD daily, you’re promoting homeostasis within their systems, to correct imbalances and offer what their endocannabinoid systems need in order to function as well as possible.
What Kinds of Effects Does CBD Offer to Dogs?
Like we mention, an array of valid studies have been published over the years demonstrating just how effective cannabidiol can be at addressing a host of common issues. A number of these studies have tested CBD specifically on dogs, while even more findings display how CBD can offer potential benefits to humans.
Currently, researchers are confident that CBD offers the same overall benefits to all mammals, as the endocannabinoid system of a canine ultimately performs the same tasks as that found in a human. That being said, let’s look at some of the most exciting properties that are found within cannabidiol, that might be incredibly helpful to your furry friend.
One of the most well-researched properties of CBD is its anti-inflammatory effects, which seem to come from the cannabinoid’s attachment to CB2 receptors, which are cannabinoid receptors that pertain to the immune system. Many, many studies have shown how effective CBD is as an anti-inflammatory, but one study in particular gave dog owners a reason to run out and purchase cannabidiol for their dogs.
In a fairly recent study, dogs with osteoarthritis were administered cannabidiol daily, to find out whether or not it could actually improve their symptoms. What the study found was that CBD helped them with their comfort levels as well as their mobility, proving that the cannabinoid was able to effectively reduce inflammation in their joints.
The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD certainly have the potential to ease discomfort caused by inflammation. But at the same time, CBD has been shown to have analgesic effects, meaning that it can regulate pain tolerance, pain intensity, and pain response through mechanisms within the nervous system. This means that administering CBD to dogs could potentially ease pain by lowering the sensitivity of pain receptors.
Dogs can express anxiety in a number of ways – through aggression, through avoidance, through a disinterest in play, or through physical anxiety symptoms like shaking, panting, pacing, and gnawing at their fur/skin. Basically, no pet owner wants to see their furry friend in emotional distress, even though anxiety is a very common condition in canines.
One of the most common applications of CBD for dogs is addressing anxiety and stress behaviors, as well as aggression, which is almost always just a manifestation of anxiety. In fact, a study showed that dogs who were administered CBD were less reactive to loud noises – a common trigger in dogs, which any dog owner who has experienced a thunderstorm or fireworks will tell you. This offers real, clear evidence that cannabidiol may be a useful tool in helping your dog ease their nerves.
Help with Hyperactivity
The same properties that can regulate a dog’s stress response and potentially ease anxiety can help a dog who is hyperactive. CBD offers a balancing effect on neurotransmitters which affect our mood, energy levels, cognitive functions, and more.
Potential Anti-Seizure Effects
One of the most exciting areas of cannabis research is the link between CBD and epilepsy. Also, one of the most well-researched areas, this unique property of the cannabinoid seems to come from its neuroprotective properties, which balance neurological function and aid in the protection of neural health and activity in the brain. CBD’s potential as an anti-seizure agent is so strong that it’s the only FDA-backed application to date.
That being said, many dog owners use CBD as a way to manage their dogs’ seizures. Studies consistently show that CBD seems to reduce the frequency and intensity of seizures in all mammals.
CBD’s regulatory effects on neurotransmitters don’t just effect our mood, but other functions of the body as well – including appetite. CBD seems to have a balancing effect on appetite, and more specifically, many dog owners have reported that giving cannabidiol to their dogs before feeding time helped them eat more of their food. This can be extremely useful to any dog owner whose canine does not consume the ideal amount of food each day.
The anti-nausea effects of cannabidiol are also well-known, and even seem to come from the CBD’s ability to regulate serotonin levels in mammals. Of course, as is the case with all of the properties above, if your dog is struggling with frequent bouts of nausea and/or vomiting, they should see a vet to determine whether or not the symptoms are caused by serious health issues.
Help with Skin Issues
Dogs, like humans, can develop skin issues like skin inflammation and irritation, caused by either an external issue (abrasion, dry weather, etc.), or something going on inside of their body that’s disrupting their skin health. Either way, CBD can offer topical benefits when applied to the affected area, and thus, has been shown in many data findings to help with common skin conditions including those of an inflammatory nature, like eczema.
How Much CBD Should You Give a Dog?
Now, we’ve established that CBD can indeed work when it comes to helping your dog with the support that their body needs. We have tons of studies to draw upon when figuring out whether or not cannabidiol is truly effective. But, a big part of whether or not CBD will work for your dog, in particular, relies on how much you’re giving them. Okay, that might seem a bit confusing, so let’s elaborate.
Naturally, giving your dog too low of a dose of CBD is going to barely make a dent in terms of efficacy. But, at the same time, there’s no need to give them more than their body requires, and even giving them too high of a dose can potentially make them drowsy. So, what is the right amount of CBD to give to your dog?
At the end of the day, best thing you can do is refer to the label of your product. This will give you dosing directions that you can use as a guide. Every dog is unique, and so is the amount of CBD that they should be administered. Their size plays a big role in what the appropriate number of milligrams will be for them, and another important thing to consider is how severe their particular symptoms are. If you’re looking for more advice, we recommend discussing this with your vet or pet nutritionist.
Are There Any Side Effects?
We established that cannabidiol is nontoxic to mammals – in fact, the entire hemp plant is nontoxic. But, does that mean that there aren’t any potential side effects to look out for?
The good news is that CBD has been studied quite a bit for its potential for side effects, and while CBD, like just about anything, can produce some side effects, in this case they’re known to be very mild and short-lived. The side effects that your dog may experience from CBD are more likely to occur if your dog is just starting to take the cannabinoid for the first time, or if they are taking an extremely large dose.
- Grogginess/Drowsiness: This is a common side effect associated with CBD for all mammals across the board. Taking high doses of CBD may cause the subject to feel groggy or drowsy.
- Dry Mouth: Dry mouth is another common side effect of CBD, which is the result of the cannabinoid’s effects on serotonin, which influences our saliva production.
- Lowered Blood Pressure: CBD can temporarily lower blood pressure, and this side effect has never been reported to be serious.
Choosing the Right CBD Product for Your Dog, and Giving It to Them Correctly
Another thing that plays a huge role in whether or not CBD works for dogs is the product you decide to buy, and how you administer it. CBD clearly has the potential to offer lots of welcome properties into your dog’s system, but a low-quality formula, or a product that’s not administered in the right way, won’t benefit them at all.
So, here are some key things below to consider.
Tip #1: Make Sure It’s a Dog-Friendly Product
First off, you should always look for a CBD product made for pets, or canines specifically. There are a couple of reasons why. One is that CBD products made for dogs will come with dosing directions that apply to dogs, as opposed to humans, and come in milligram strengths and serving sizes that are canine-appropriate.
Secondly, CBD products made for dogs are going to contain only ingredients that are safe for their bodies. You might be surprised by how many ingredients, including natural ones, that are found in human CBD products are toxic to dogs, like certain essential oils, flavoring agents, etc. A good company that makes CBD products for dogs knows which ingredients to avoid altogether.
Lastly, a lot of CBD products made for dogs are formulated to appeal to canines, specifically, mainly with flavors and, in some cases, textures that excite their senses.
Tip #2: Look at Lab Reports and Read Reviews
Never buy a CBD product without first looking at the third-party lab reports that come with it. These lab reports show that the product was thoroughly tested by a state-licensed laboratory, to verify the product’s purity, potency, safety, legal compliance, and breakdown of hemp compounds found within the formula. Any company that does not include lab reports on their website should be strictly avoided.
Not only that, but we urge you to read a product’s reviews before purchasing it, to be sure that customers are satisfied with the product and have witnessed the results they were hoping for.
Tip #3: Read the Ingredients
We talked about how CBD products made for dogs are supposed to be free of ingredients that are unsafe to canines. Still, before you purchase a CBD product for your canine, please read through the list of ingredients carefully. There are still going to be companies out there that sneak fillers and cheap additives into their formulas, and besides that, your dog may have a sensitivity to a certain ingredient that is in a particular product, which would mean that you would need to avoid administering that product to your dog.
Tip #4: Make Sure to Talk to Your Veterinarian
We always recommend, as we cannot stress this enough, talking to your veterinarian prior to making any change to your dog’s routine, including introducing CBD into their regimen. Your veterinarian knows your dog’s needs best, and so can make helpful suggestions. Besides that, a vet needs to know if you’re administering your pup CBD while they’re on any medications. Why? Because some medications may fail to metabolize properly if CBD is in their system, which can, in certain cases, be harmful to their health.
Tip #5: Consider the Delivery Method
There are a few different kinds of CBD products out there, and ways to administer them to your canine.
- Edibles: CBD dog treats for example, allow your dog to ingest cannabidiol, which will give them the longest-lasting effects. This may also be the easiest way to give your dog CBD, as many CBD dog treats are extremely appealing to their senses. Besides dog treats, you can purchase CBD oils that allow you to add the desired number of drops to their food.
- Sublingual Products: CBD oil can also be administered to them sublingually, which allows for faster absorption into their system, but shorter-lasting effects.
- Topical Products: Topical products like CBD balms and salves are for addressing localized issues, like skin irritation or localized joint discomfort.
Tip #6: Give Them CBD Daily
It’s always ideal to give your dog CBD each day as opposed to sporadically. Daily consumption of cannabidiol allows the cannabinoid to accumulate in their system and better serve the endocannabinoid system.
Tip #7: Follow the Directions
Ultimately, you should always follow the directions on the label of your product, including the dosing directions according to your dog’s size/body weight.
Tip #8: Adjust as Needed
If, after two weeks, you’re not getting the results you were hoping for, it may be time to consider adjusting their dosage by a small increment. While a dog’s size has a lot to do with how much cannabidiol they should take daily, some dogs respond better to higher doses due to their unique endocannabinoid system’s needs.
Tip #9: Time Their Doses
If you’re giving your dog CBD to address a particular issue, like low appetite around feeding time, or anxiety when you go to work, then make sure to give them their dosage shortly before the time of day when you want the cannabinoid to peak in their system.
Chill Paws CBD Formulas are Crafted with Your Dog’s Needs in Mind
Chill Paws’ life’s mission is to supply your dog with the absolute best CBD possible. Our products all contain dog-friendly, natural, and safe ingredients, many of which are flavored to appeal to your furry friend and make each serving an enjoyable experience. Our CBD dog treats, oils, and other products are fully lab-tested, and our reviews show just how effective they are at addressing a variety of canine-related needs.
If you want to get your dog started on a CBD regimen, we encourage you to consider our CBD products, as they contain fresh, pure, and bioavailable hemp oils that are naturally high in cannabidiol. Just one serving a day can provide valuable changes when it comes to how your dog feels and behaves every day. Plus, we offer a generous variety of formulas, knowing that every dog has their own preferences and daily needs.