Studies have shown that CBD can have many different effects on dogs, like potentially acting as an anti-inflammatory, lowering seizure rates and reducing anxiety. But is CBD safe for dogs? What kinds of risks are there in giving your pet CBD?
In this article, we’ll go over just how safe giving your dog CBD is, the benefits and side effects of CBD for animals, and other important information to consider before handing a CBD dog treat to your pup.
What is CBD?
CBD (cannabidiol) is derived from a class of compounds known as cannabinoids. There are currently over 100 different cannabinoids that have been identified in cannabis, but CBD seems to be one with far-reaching medical properties.
CBD produces no psychoactive effects, which means your pet will not experience any “high” from consuming CBD products.
You’ll commonly find CBD products sold through many retailers here in Canada, and can include CBD oils, gummies, topical products, and capsules. There are even other cannabinoids for sale now as well, like CBG, CBN, and CBC; CBD still remains the powerhouse cannabinoid however.
Through extensive research, we’ve learned that CBD has the potential to be used for many different health concerns; these include inflammation, pain, epilepsy, anxiety, even acne.
The reason it seems to work for all of these (and more) is how it interacts with the Endocannabinoid System.
Do dogs have an Endocannabinoid System?
In humans, the Endocannabinoid System is one of the body’s systems responsible for regulating sleep, appetite, moods, and many other functions. It runs throughout the body and brain, in your immune and digestive system and other organs.
Cannabinoids are a group of chemical compounds that grow naturally in cannabis, with research suggesting they have many different medical applications.
There are two main types of cannabinoid receptors in the ECS, CB1 and CB2. Different cannabinoids have different effects on your endocannabinoid system, depending on the receptor it binds to.
Dogs and other animals do have an Endocannabinoid System. In fact, studies have shown that the number of CB1 receptors found in a dog’s brain is far greater than those found in humans.
There is also some evidence to support the idea that CBD is a potentially safe alternative for treating some health problems in dogs.
How is CBD different from THC?
CBD is very different from THC. THC is the chemical compound that is responsible for giving marijuana its psychoactive effect.
CBD is not psychoactive, which is one of the reasons it is so popular to use – it can potentially calm and relax a pet without making them “high.”
So even if your pet did get ahold of some CBD oil or gummies, they would not become stoned or high off of it like they would if they accidentally ate your “special” brownies.
Is CBD safe for dogs?
CBD is a safe, non-addictive chemical compound; it has been studied extensively for its effects on humans and is now being researched for how it can be used to help animals.
Recent studies have shown that CBD may be an effective anti-inflammatory treatment and is safe for dogs to take. However, some precautions and information are necessary before deciding to give your pet CBD.
CBD is also being studied for dogs for its effects on seizures, anxiety, pain, even arthritis. However, we need more research in this area to fully understand all that CBD can do for our furry friends.
CBD dosage for dogs
As is the case with humans, there is no currently approved set dosage for CBD for dogs. The dosage depends on the product you use, your dog’s weight and health concerns, and how they respond to CBD.
When it comes to giving your dog CBD oil or CBD dog treats, you should follow the low and slow approach.
This means starting with a low dose of CBD and closely monitoring your pup for any changes in behaviour, movement, etc.
You can gradually increase your dog’s CBD dose over time as necessary.
Here are some CBD dosage guidelines to follow; the general rule of thumb is 1 -2 mg of CBD per 10 lbs. of body weight, given twice daily. Keep in mind that these are guidelines only; your dog may need more or less than this.
It is important to note that CBD is not a cure-all, and may not be an appropriate treatment for all conditions and all dogs.
What type of CBD is best for dogs?
Full Spectrum is one of the many different types of hemp-derived CBD products that are available. It is a combination of cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids found in hemp plants.
Broad Spectrum CBD has the THC removed to non-detectable levels but still retains the majority of the benefits of Full Spectrum.
CBD Isolate is just CBD and nothing more.
We recommend choosing either a Full Spectrum or Broad Spectrum CBD product to maximize the potential benefits of CBD. Scientists call this the Entourage Effect.
The Entourage Effect is a term used to describe the synergistic relationship between CBD, other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. Basically, all of these compounds work better in the presence of each other than if they were to be used individually.
If your dog has a serious health concern, is older, or is on medication, you may want to consult a vet before giving them CBD.
CBD has some side effects that may be serious and includes some medication interactions, which we will go over a little further down.
Benefits of CBD for animals
Dogs have been found to benefit from CBD use in a variety of different ways. One is that it is able to act as an anti-inflammatory and is therefore potentially useful in treating conditions related to pain, like arthritis.
CBD may also be helpful for dogs with seizures, which is difficult to control with existing treatments.
Currently, CBD is being studied for its effects on anxiety, which is another condition that is hard for dogs to cope with. Separation anxiety can cause a lot of stress on animals left at home and lead to behavioural issues that can be difficult to overcome. CBD may be able to help with this.
There is even some evidence to suggest that CBD may help fight certain types of canine cancer, but more research is needed in these areas.
Side effects of CBD for dogs
CBD is considered generally safe but may not be appropriate for all dogs, especially those on prescription medications.
Some of the side effects of CBD use include digestive issues, lethargy, hyperactivity and increased anxiety.
In humans, dry mouth is listed as one of the potential side effects of CBD, so it stands to reason that your dog may experience this as well. Make sure to have lots of water available for them to drink.
The best way to minimize these side effects is to start with a low dose and work your way up to a higher dose if necessary.
What to know before giving your dog CBD
While the potential benefits may have you wanting to go out and give your pup some CBD right away, there are a few things to keep in mind before you do.
Do your research
Only buy from reputable companies that lab test all of their products. You can find the COA (certificate of analysis) report on the company’s website; this will detail all of the information about the product.
This includes the cannabinoid content, terpenes, toxins, pesticides, or otherwise harmful chemicals that may come up in screening.
This is the only way to know what is in your CBD products and should be the first thing you are looking for.
Only use CBD products that are safe for pets
It may seem like you can use human CBD oil for your dog, but it may not always be safe. Some human-grade CBD oil may contain ingredients that can be dangerous, even lethal (xylitol, for example) to your pet.
Only buy CBD oil that has been tested and is safe for your dog to consume.
Don’t give your dog THC
Sure, you may enjoy the effects of THC, but it is almost a guarantee that your pet will not.
THC consumption in animals can be terrifying for them; avoid giving your pet any products with THC amounts over 0.3% (which is the acceptable standard amount of THC in Full Spectrum – this will not cause any psychoactive effects.)
If you are unsure, go with a Broad Spectrum or CBD Isolate product.
What to watch for after you’ve given your dog CBD
After you’ve done your research and started giving your dog CBD, keep these important tips in mind:
Document or keep a CBD journal for your dog
Starting a journal before you start giving your dog CBD and maintaining it afterwards will allow you to track your pup’s progress with CBD.
Log any events that occur, changes in movement and behaviour, etc.
Monitor them for any changes
Keep a close eye on your dog, especially when just starting to give them CBD. Do they seem alright? Are they eating and drinking ok?
If you notice anything negative out of the ordinary, it may be best to stop the CBD and consult a vet.
Know when something isn’t right
Just like with any medications or supplements you may give your dog, there are some risks.
If your dog seems unusually lethargic, has tremors, low blood pressure, or seems dizzy and disorientated, stop using CBD immediately and contact a veterinarian.
Different ways you can use CBD as a pet owner
While the ideal way to give your dog CBD would be to administer it sublingually, under the tongue, this isn’t going to be a valid option for many.
If your dog doesn’t cooperate with this method, you can give them their CBD oil by adding it to their food. Use a dropper and fill it with the appropriate dosage of CBD oil. Then, put it in their dish or mix directly into their food.
You can use pet safe CBD topicals for dry snouts or on paws, and CBD dog treats can also be given.
Final thoughts on the safety of CBD for dogs
As a pet owner, is CBD safe for your dog? The research seems to say so. But there are some things to keep in mind before you start giving CBD to your pup.
When buying any type of CBD products, make sure they have lab testing and COA reports that detail their ingredients and cannabinoids (the main active ingredient). If you plan on using CBD topicals or treats, buy ones made specifically with pets in mind.
Remember also to never give THC to animals- while it may not seem like a big deal, dogs do not react well to THC exposure at all.