CBD for pets: how to use CBD for your furry friend

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If you’re a pet parent, chances are your dog or cat is not just a pet to you, they’re a part of your family. And when illness or disease strikes a family member, you’ll likely try anything to relieve their suffering. Whether it’s anxiety, joint pain, cancer, or even seizures many are turning to a more natural way to rid their pets of afflictions: CBD. 

You may have already heard of CBD (cannabidiol), the naturally forming compound found in cannabis flowers, making its rounds in the news for its medicinal and therapeutic benefits in humans. From treating non-treatable childhood epilepsy, improving sleep quality, reducing anxiety and depression, and relieving chronic pain, CBD oil is quickly solidifying itself as a staple for health and wellness—and these benefits translate to animals as well. 

CBD for pets

CBD FOR PETS

Before you get carried away imagining your dog puffing on a fat joint surrounded by a cloud of smoke, it’s important to understand that CBD does not get your pooch or kitty high in any way. In fact, CBD is unable to get anyone high, including humans, as long as it is hemp-extracted (as the majority of CBD products on the market are). This is because hemp-extracted CBD oil contains negligible levels of THC (<0.3%), which is not enough for impairment. 

HOW DOES CBD WORK?

In humans, CBD works by interacting with cannabinoid receptors found in the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) in our bodies. By stimulating certain cannabinoid receptors CBD helps promote homeostasis throughout the body, reducing pain, inflammation, and anxiety, among other positive effects. Because dogs and cats have similar cannabinoid receptors, CBD oil for pets can manage similar conditions in our furry friends. 

BENEFITS OF CBD OIL FOR PETS

CBD can offer a host of benefits for your pet, including treating seizures and epilepsy, helping manage bowel disease, protecting the nervous system, and promoting heart health. Below are three common uses for CBD for pets.

CBD for anxiety

If your dog suffers from separation anxiety or fear of loud noises, CBD oil could be just what he or she needs, as CBD binds to receptors that regulate stress to reduce fear and anxiety.

CBD for joint pain

Although we hate to bring it up, the average lifespan of a dog is around 11 years (smaller dogs may live up to 13 years while larger dogs can have a life expectancy as low as 6-8 years.) Just like humans, as your pup ages, certain ailments begin to take over like arthritis and joint pain. Because arthritis is caused by inflammation in joints, CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties can help treat and reduce pain, allowing your pupper to live out the rest of his days as comfortably as possible.  

CBD for dog cancer

According to a study conducted at the University of Georgia, cancer is the leading cause of death in senior dogs, determined by analyzing over 20 years of records from the North American Veterinary Medical Database. In fact, an estimated 1 in 3 dogs will develop cancer in its lifetime. What makes cancer so ugly is the fact that cancer cells do not die on their own like regular body cells, eventually metastasizing into tumours that inhibit the body’s regular functions. In 2009, Spanish researchers at the Complutense University published evidence showing THC could cause the death of cancer cells in mice, with similar effects created by other cannabinoids. This means, if your dog is diagnosed with cancer, giving it CBD could help stop cancer cells from metastasizing. 

Currently, small clinical trials have been done in the US to answer the basic questions of low best CBD can help dogs and cats. In Canada, there are no Health Canada-approved CBD products for pets, and larger studies are still ongoing. Having said this, there is enough anecdotal evidence out there that shows CBD for pets is certainly worth looking into—especially if your doggo doesn’t take well to traditional medication. 

CBD for pets

IS CBD FOR PETS LEGAL?

Because there are no Health Canada-approved CBD medications for pets, veterinarians cannot legally prescribe CBD oil to their furry patients, although they are cautiously optimistic about the positive effects of CBD oil for dogs and cats. According to CBC, Health Canada has approved 17 Experimental Studies Certificates for veterinary drugs containing cannabis, currently undergoing studies. 

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT CBD FOR PETS

If you are a pet owner looking to purchase CBD oil, the best way is to purchase the product through reputable online stores like resolveCBD. It is best to choose organic CBD, to be sure that no pesticides or chemicals have contaminated the cannabis plants. Also, ensure that the CBD oil is hemp-extracted, not marijuana-extracted, as the latter will contain high levels of THC that may impair or harm your pet. Finally, look for labelling that states the CBD oil is of the full-spectrum variety. This contains a medley of cannabinoids found in cannabis, which work together to increase the benefits of CBD. 

Choosing the right dosage

CBD for pets can come as edible pet-formulated treats or in tincture form like resolveCBD, which you can measure out and add to your pooch’s dinner. We prefer the latter, as this gives you complete control on dosage, down to the drop.

When it comes to dosing, things can get slightly complicated, as CBD is a biphasic compound. This means that its effects vary greatly from a low dosage to a high dosage. For example, at a low dose, CBD can increase mental alertness, however, too high a dose and it can have the opposite effect, leading to drowsiness. The good thing is that CBD is non-toxic, so even a bit of an overdose just means an extra nap for you during the day to reset, and the same goes for your pet.

If you do decide try CBD for your pet, be sure to follow these guidelines:

  1. Consult with your veterinarian first, to ensure that it will not affect any current health conditions or medications. 
  2. Start off with 1 mL of CBD oil per every 10 lb of your pet’s weight, once a day for a couple of weeks, staying with them for a few hours to monitor their behaviour. If they appear to be drowsier than usual or have a large appetite, the dose is likely too high. If they appear normal, that’s great!
  3. Increase the frequency of dosage to twice a day, again, staying with your pet to ensure there are no negative reactions from a second dose. 
  4. You can then increase each dose slightly, until you start to see positive effects. 

IS CBD SAFE FOR PETS?

Studies are still underway, and the safety and risks of CBD for animals has not fully been researched. As mentioned earlier, however, there is an overwhelming amount of anecdotal evidence that CBD for pets is indeed beneficial. In fact, many veterinarians use CBD for their own dogs, like Jeffrey Powers, D.V.M., who uses CBD oil to calm his anxiety-ridden St. Bernard. Stephanie McGrath, veterinarian and Assistant Professor of Neurology at Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical ­Sciences also says she feels comfortable that CBD is a safe product for pets. McGrath conducted two clinical trials in 2016 using CBD to help dogs with epilepsy and osteoarthritis—results are still to be published.

We hope we’ve inspired you to consider CBD oil as a treatment for your furry family member. If your dog or cat is suffering from illness, anxiety, or pain, CBD may be the answer you’ve been looking for, to help them live a longer, healthier, more comfortable life. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian before administering anything to your pet, however, to ensure that there are no negative side effects.

Disclaimer: resolveCBD products are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any ailment.  As individual needs vary, always check with a licensed professional regarding medical treatment.

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