CBD, also known as Cannabidiol, is one of more than one hundred cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. When you isolate each of these compounds, you can extract the health benefits associated with them, thereby getting all the goodness out of the cannabis genus of plant.
There are two main cannabis compounds that we deal with and you will have heard of. One is known as CBD, the other is known as THC. The THC stands for Tetrahydrocannabinol and has psychoactive effects. This compound is often cited as the reason that cannabis smokers get ‘high’. When you isolate the CBD, you get none of this effect but still manage to retain the goodness of the plant.
When it comes to giving CBD to your dog, we have long since accepted that it is a health boosting serum, we all can use… but how does it affect our pets? We went through the science behind CBD’s effect on your wee dog’s tummy, to prove to you that it is OK to give your dog cannabidiol, too!
Let’s start with the science… what is cannabidiol, anyway?
Cannabidiol, what is it and how it’s related to hemp?
Some people think that Hemp oil and cannabidiol are the same thing, but this isn’t true. Although both hemp and CBD come from the same species of plant, there are some key differences between the two. The main one being that Hemp oil is taken exclusively from hemp plants. Added to this, it is an oil that includes all of the compounds found in the hemp plant.
On the other hand, cannabidiol is an isolated component found in the cannabis species of plant. It is in hemp, cannabis, marijuana – any type of plant you can think of that falls into the cannabis genus. You can buy CBD as an isolate, where the compound is the only thing in the oil. You can also buy it as a full spectrum oil, which contains a few other compounds found in cannabis. Each of these will skip the THC. In Ireland, CBD needs to have less than 0.2% THC in order for it to pass through medical standards and be legal.
As a further added difference, CBD is made from the leaves, stalks, and buds (flowers) of the cannabis plant. Hemp oil is always taken from the seeds. You may have noticed in the past that there is hemp seed in bird feed, this is the same seed that would be used to create hemp oil. Hemp oil has a number of health benefits on its own – but it isn’t cannabidiol.
CBD and Dogs – What does the Science Say?
While we humans are marvelling at the shine to our skin, increase in balance to our diet, and insomnia-solving properties of cannabidiol, not quite as many of us have considered giving it to our dogs. We wanted to research the topic further, in order to give you an honest opinion.
Although we don’t have as many studies as we do into cannabidiol for human use, we have it on good authority that vets are occasionally recommending cannabidiol for your dog – particularly as a joint limbering treatment for older dogs at risk of arthritis. The premise being that it works for arthritis in humans, so why wouldn’t it work for dogs? One of the best things about CBD is that your system will wash away any extra that it doesn’t use. We can assume, therefore, that it does the same in dogs.
The truth is that most sites tell you more studies need to be done to prove that cannabidiol is good for your pet dog. We won’t. We have the studies in front of us and we haven’t come across a negative one yet. There is a specific study released in September of 2020 that details how CBD treats helped reduce the occurrence of noise-induced fear in canines. Another details the safety of escalating CBD doses in dogs. Yet a third finds it safe to use 1:20 THC to CBD dose for the health of your pet, again, these are all form September 2020.
Some of the studies even contain cats!
We know for certain that human studies into CBD show a myriad of health benefits. Cannabinoids reduce pain and swelling, improve acne and skin appearance, reduces insomnia, and helps with pain management. If it does all of this for us, the question isn’t whether or not it is safe for our pets, but rather “What’s a safe dosage of cannabidiol for a dog?”
How Much Cannabidiol Should I Give my Dog?
This is where evidence gets a little thinner on the ground. That being said, new research is emerging all the time about how much cannabidiol you should give your dog. We recommend you slide the dosage up in scale as you would in a human subject. Your dog is a lot smaller than you are, so start with one or two drops in their food and increase it incrementally. If you start to notice an upset stomach, you may have gone too far.
As a general rule, two drops of 10% either isolated cannabidiol or full spectrum cannabidiol, should be enough. As to whether or not it is safe, the fact that manufacturers have started to create cannabidiol infused dog treats should speak volumes.
Are there Side Effects of giving my Dog Cannabidiol?
Just like with humans, dogs can experience some side effects of cannabidiol, too. Most of these are good but a few are not preferable. Some of the worst of these can be bypassed by lowering the dose of cannabidiol that you give your pet.
Some of the side effects of giving your dog cannabidiol are as follows:
- Sleepiness… if you have given your dog cannabidiol, it may appear as if they are sleepier or calmer than normal. This is a desirable effect for those with hyper pups.
- A small lowering of blood pressure is common with cannabidiol in both humans and dogs.
- Cannabis can give anyone a dry mouth – but especially our four-legged friends. You may see your dog drinking more after its dose.
- Diarrhoea can be a side effect but usually means the dose is too high. Try lowering it and starting again.
Now that we have established why you should give cannabidiol to your pooch, let’s go over some pointers to picking up a high quality cannabidiol, over one that might not make any difference at all.
How to Choose a cannabidiol for your Pet?
When choosing a cannabidiol to give to your dog, it is important to remember that this is a largely unregulated area of modern medicine. While we can’t tell you exactly what the dose should be for each size of dog, we can tell you how to make sure you are choosing a high quality cannabidiol.
When searching for the right CBD product for your dog, consider the following:
- Examine the THC content – if it has any greater than a 0.2% THC rating then it is not fit to be given to your dog – and it might well be illegal, here Ireland.
- Who tested it? If your potential CBD hasn’t been independently verified, how do you know it will do what it says it will?
- Think about the extraction process… while cold pressed might be the most conducive to ample nutrients, it also has the highest likelihood of contaminants. CO2 extraction is also accepted to be one of the best methods. You can have hot pressed oils too, but we suggest you avoid those altogether. when you start to heat CBD it takes away some of the nutritional value.
- Was your cannabidiol organically grown? Only the best quality CBD products are organic. CBD taken from Hemp plants is particularly good for the environment, since hemp is a carbon negative crop (i.e. it takes more carbon out of the air than it produces to farm it).
As you can see, getting your hands on some potent cannabidiol for your dog is harder than it seems! However, with so many benefits, why wouldn’t you give your dog this supplement?
The 10 Best Reasons your Dog Needs Cannabidiol
With all of this in mind, let’s review some of our favourite reasons to give your dog cannabidiol.
1 – It can reduce Fear
As we noticed earlier when we looked at scientific studies, scientists are already recommending we give our dogs CBD when they are suffering from periods of prolonged anxiety. Does your dog get upset on fireworks night? Try cannabidiol to calm them down.
2 – CBD Improves Appetites
If your dog has had surgery or some other incident that has put it off its food, then cannabidiol might help. You can simply place a few drops under the dog’s tongue if you cannot get it to take some in its food. This is incredibly beneficial for recovery from injury.
3 – It Improves Pain
Similarly to how it reacts in the human body, CBD will also help dogs to manage a long term pain condition. If your pup suffers from a condition that gives ongoing aches and pains, cannabidiol is worth a shot (and costs much less than the medication a vet will give you – although it is not a real substitute).
4 – It reduces inflammations
Just as it can help a sprain or muscle injury in humans, so, too, can cannabidiol help a pup. Dogs get muscle injuries too, often worse than ours since they have no option but to be on their feet all day. If your dog starts limping or even if it suffers from repeated strain, you can get it a little relief using cannabidiol.
5 – It’s a seizure suppressant
Again, this one has its basis in human studies. Medical marijuana has proven effective in moderating seizures in children. To the point that it has been used in epilepsy medications to help minimize seizures and even stop them mid-action. When given regularly, cannabidiol can act as a seizure suppressant for dogs, too.
6 – It’s good for their mental health
CBD has worked wonders on stress and anxiety in human trials. IT has even shown to have a positive effect on depression. This is down to the neuroprotective qualities found in this miraculous oil and will go a long way to helping your dog stay happy. It can be boring to be a dog, and stressful when they don’t know what’s going on or why you are leaving. Soothe them with CBD. At the very least they will get a wonderful sleep.
7 – As an arthritis treatment
We mentioned above that doggie arthritis can be eased somewhat with the addition of CBD to the diet. This oil loosens up the joints, providing the pooch with some lubricant as it ages. It can also be massaged into the skin if you don’t want to dose your dog. This massaging action will doubly help the muscles, but the choice is yours.
8 – As a skin clarifier
There are some dogs out there who are not blessed with good skin. If you have a hairless breed, then it is of particular importance that you moisturise your dog often… we wish we were kidding, but we’re not.
To give your dog the healthiest skin, combat dermatitis, and prevent allergic reactions to things like tall grass, try rubbing some cannabidiol in there.
9 – As a training aid
A hyper dog is hard to train, so it stands to reason that the calming benefits of cannabidiol dosage for your dog should bring them back down again. This means they can pay more attention and will therefore be easier to train.
10 – As an aid for Diabetes
If your dog is in the risk category for diabetes, cannabidiol contains the nutrients needed to steer them off the path of danger and get them back to good health.
Overall Verdict on Cannabidiol for Dogs
Overall, we believe that giving cannabidiol to your dog isn’t just good for it, it’s brilliant. Make sure you lower the dose if they get an upset stomach and otherwise go with your gut. Dogs are meant for a lot of the same thing’s humans are… and when there are so many benefits, any good pet owner would never say no.