While we don’t endorse using CBD with dogs, it’s an interesting subject matter that speaks volumes about potential application of the compound. However, the American Kennel Club does have a lot of positive material on the subject. We’ve decided to dive into the present research and discuss what this research means and how it applies to the future of CBD.
CBD seems to be well tolerated by most people. At very least, those who have reported positive effects also seem to be willing to see what the substance can do for their pets. Namely dogs.
Of course, any new users are also cautioned to take a small dose to start, and gradually build up over time.
Side Effects and Cautions
The side effects of CBD are far fewer and much milder than those attached to common prescription drugs that are used to manage anxiety and depression.
A 2016 study found that nearly 72% of subjects taking those drugs suffered problems, and 65% even gained abnormal weight. When they stopped using the drugs, more than 73% experienced withdrawal effects. It's obvious why many are turning to CBD, so when approaching the concept of treating dogs, we should understand that the application is one of pain relief and end of life care among other things.
As we were saying, the same chemical structure of cannabidiol that humans use though can be used to treat pets.
While these animal-focused benefits extend beyond just dogs, in this article we are going to focus on canines. All animals react to CBD differently, and though there is little to no formal study on how CBD affects dogs, scientists do know is that cannabinoids have an effect on dogs.
They way current medical professional view it is that CBD interacts 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.
A Natural Solution
CBD oil is the term used to describe the oil-based hemp extract that is used to create a wide range of products. This same term is also commonly used to describe CBD tinctures, one of the most common product types available.
Unlike marijuana, the hemp that these products are sourced from carries only trace amounts of the high-inducing cannabinoid THC. This means that CBD products are non-psychoactive and are thus freely sold across the USA and some parts of the world.
This basic overview will provide plenty of context to carry you through the rest of the article. That being said, if you'd like to dive deeper into the world of CBD, be sure to check out our beginner's guide.
CBD Oil & Dogs
As we mentioned in the introduction, dogs have an endocannabinoid system just like humans.
Some of the most notable use cases that pet owners look to CBD oil for include:
While it's not hard to find plenty of anecdotal evidence supporting the effectiveness pet-specific CBD use for the conditions above, dog-specific research is minimal and rarely peer-reviewed or clinical. As such, so is CBD and human research, if you consider the ratios.
These are areas that need expanded support in scientific circles.
Types of CBD Products for Dogs
While in theory dogs could consume many of the CBD products designed for humans, there are some risks going this route. Human products may contain ingredients that are unhealthy for animals, and the more potent concentrations make dosing tricky.
The market is already seeing the development of animal-designated products so keep on the lookout for those. The most common types of CBD pet products include:
In addition to the product type, its also to consider the cannabis content of your selected CBD product. Just as with human products, animal products come in full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate form.
The general idea is that a whole-plant approach to hemp extraction is ideal. In practice, this means that full spectrum products will offer the most potential benefits including additive and synergistic benefits of consuming the full range of cannabis components. On the other end of the spectrum, CBD isolates will only provide the specific benefits that cannabidiol offers.
As it does with humans, the conversation around spectrum hinges on THC consumption. Rather than the human concerns with drug testing, the concern with all animals and the consumption of THC is health and safety related.
Dive deeper into the topic of spectrums in our guide to hemp extracts.
Dogs Should Not Consume THC
It is commonly agreed by veterinarians that giving your dog an intoxicating dose of THC (the intoxicating chemical compound found in high-concentrations in marijuana) is not safe or recommended.
Just as with humans, there are well documented negative side effects that occur when high doses of THC are consumed by dogs. From mild sluggishness and excessive saliva production to low blood pressure, and slowed heart rate - the side effects vary by dosage.
What is rarely talked about are the potential benefits of canine THC consumption at non-intoxicating levels. The trace amounts found in a full-spectrum CBD product very well may offer unique benefits.
For those who don't wish to manage the risks, broad-spectrum products offer a THC-free option.
CBD Dosage Guidelines for Dogs
The bottom line is that a dog carries a higher number of cannabinoid receptors in their ECS, the dosages will be much lower than for humans. The following formulas will help you determine the correct dosage based on your dog's weight:
Low Dose: .025 mg per lb - .055 mg per kg
Medium Dose: .07 mg per lb - .15 mg per kg
High Dose: .15 mg per lb - .33 mg per kg
Most often these dosages are given twice per day, once in the morning and once at night.
Each condition is different, each dog is different, but the approach to finding the ideal dose remains be the same. Just as we recommend with humans, when finding an ideal dose of CBD oil, less is more.
When starting your dog on a CBD regimen, we recommend starting low and going slow.
Potential Side Effects & Interactions
Although CBD is generally safe for use in dogs, just as with any medication there are potential side effects. Again, these side effects can be compared with the effects observed in humans.
When it comes to CBD oil, the potential side effects vary depending on the spectrum. As we discussed above, consuming THC in a full spectrum product carries most of the potential side effects including dry mouth, lower blood pressure, and drowsiness.
Consuming a broad-spectrum or isolate-based product likely carries fewer potential side effects.
Using the appropriate dosages we've outlined above, common side effects should be minimal at most. Regardless, be sure to watch closely in the initial supplementation stages and adjust dosage as needed.
Again, we don't propose that you use CBD wit your dog, but this is the information at hand right now. We hope to stay current in this and all other facets of the CBD world.