Cannabidiol (CBD) is the next breakthrough in veterinary medicine. I promise: it’s not just a hoax. You may know about how it’s helped humans with a number of issues from sleep to chronic pain. While the evidence of its benefits in dogs borders a fine line of anecdotal versus scientific, it’s already making progress in the quality of life for dogs and pet owners. So if you’re the proud owner of a dog that’s been suffering, CBD may just be the thing that gets your pooch back to their normal, happy state.
Does CBD really work?
Scientific evidence has yet to pinpoint clearcut benefits and limits of CBD’s effects on dogs, but we already know a lot based on some studies and observations from vets and owners. CBD from hemp helps dogs in a similar way to humans, through the endocannabinoid system. This is the system of our bodies that regulates sleep, appetite, immunity, pain and mood. CBD is different from hemp oil, however, and unlike it’s THC relative, CBD is non-psychoactive, so it doesn’t produce any high nor is it toxic.
What we do know so far is that CBD oil is reported to alleviate symptoms or pain associated with four specific health diagnoses: seizures, anxiety, arthritis and cancer.
Benefits of CBD oil for dogs
CBD oil can assist with a multitude of issues, but it’s important to remember that it isn’t a full-out cure. Think of it more like a pool floatie, you’re still in the water but it’s helping to keep you afloat. That’s exactly what CBD oil is: a supportive device. Here are the four central ailments that CBD oil has been shown effective at helping to treat.
Canine epilepsy is common. If your dog inhibits seizures, you can feel rather helpless. It’s emotionally jarring to witness your dog experience the sudden onset of a seizure; seeing your precious pup foaming at the mouth and stiffening up is painful for you as it is for them.
CBD as an alternative treatment has already proven initial results to help combat or reduce seizure progression. Not all epilepsy treatments have worked for all dogs, and research has linked CBD oil treatment & seizure frequency reduction. Essentially, the endocannabinoid system is partly responsible for regulating brain and seizure activities, in addition to sharing metabolic pathways with other anti-inflammatory drugs. Then it’s no surprise that anecdotally and scientifically, CBD has displayed positive results for dogs that live with seizures.
Does your pup rush to a closed space when there is a thunderstorm? Or pace and bark as you’re leaving? These are some of the common symptoms of anxiety; your dog is mimicking fear behaviours such as hiding, shaking or pacing. It’s not fun to see your dog in this fearful state.
There’s not yet much published scientific reports on how CBD makes this better in dogs, but it’s reduced anxiety levels in 80% of human participants in this 2019 study. Otherwise, there’s been positive results from pet owners claiming that it has calmed their dog down.
There’s nothing worse than watching your dog panting excessively, limping around or struggling to go up and downstairs. These are clear signs that your canine friend is hurting because unfortunately, it’s not like they can tell us this.
Due to CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties, it’s extremely useful at reducing joint, mobility or arthritis pain in your dog. One study has demonstrated improved mobility in dogs with Osteoarthritis after they had taken 2mg of CBD twice daily. That’s incredible! CBD is a great option to soothe the accompanying pain and anxiety your dog may be experiencing due to arthritis.
Ahhh. The evil, ugly C word. Nobody likes to hear it, nobody wants to deal with it. But it’s an unfortunate reality and devastating diagnosis for a pet owner to hear. Luckily, CBD can really help those grey skies turn to blue. Notably, it’s not a miracle cure, so it shouldn’t outright replace conventional treatments. But it will be a pain-free pathway of healing.
CBD oil may help reduce tumour growth in dogs and minimize the harmful side effects of other cancer treatments – ultimately improving their quality of life overall. There have been positive results from studies that have looked at CBD’s impact in killing pancreatic and lung cells in mice. Not to mention, CBD has overall shown to reduce inflammation, nausea and anxiety – all common negative side effects of the disease and cancer therapies.
Is CBD oil harmful?
Currently, CBD oil has not shown remotely any life-threatening side effects for dogs. Of course, more long-term studies need to be conducted to ascertain this properly. Certainly, every substance may affect every dog differently. But if it has under 0.3% of THC and it’s not taken excessively – meaning your dog doesn’t sneak into the cupboard to drink the whole bottle at once – then you’re pretty much good as gold for right now.
However, there are some mild side effects to be cognisant of and tell your vet immediately if you notice any:
- Dry mouth
Should I give my dog CBD?
If your dog is suffering from any of the above health issues, and other medications seem to not be working, then CBD has probably already crossed your mind.
Whether you decide to offer CBD is your call. If you go slow, administer CBD in small doses and remain patient – it has the potential to be a truly transformative health aid for your pup. At the end of the day, dogs are family and if you’d do anything to see your family be healthy and happy. Visit cbdoilfordogs.com for more information and answers to your questions.
Elena Deeley did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.