CBD Oil for Dogs
You may have heard of CBD oil. It is natures little gift - an all natural substance with many benefits from pain management to anxiety relief. Not only that but side effects are few. You can buy CBD in dropper bottles, food, drinks and even in beauty products. But did you know that CBD oil can also be used for dogs.
What is CBD oil?
Cannabidiol (aka CBD) is from the cannabis plant. But don't worry, we aren't advocating getting you or your dog high. The psychoactive ingredient of cannabis (THC) has been removed or largely removed from CBD so you get only the health benefits. The CBD will then be suspended in a carrier oil like coconut oil, hence CBD oil.
Is CBD legal?
Yes, in fact you are probably already seeing it in numerous products. As long as the CBD contains a very low percentage of the psychoactive ingredient THC, it is legal. CBD with a higher percentage of THC may be used medically but is prescription only.
What are the benefits of CBD oil for dogs?
The benefits are similar to those of humans. Anecdotal evidence suggests it can help with pain and seizure control in dogs. Some reports have even discussed its benefits when it comes to certain skin conditions, if used topically.
Can CBD oil help my dog?
There are so many health products that some people swear by and others say don't work for them. Many factors can be at play so sometimes it is a case of try it and see.
If you are wondering about actual studies, as far as I know, none have been done on dogs so far. Success stories are anecdotal only. However, the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation is planning a study into the Efficacy of Cannabidiol (CBD) for the Treatment of Canine Epilepsy.
Is CBD safe for dogs?
Humans may experience minor side effects like diarrhea or tiredness if they are taking too much CBD or simply not tolerating it well. Dogs would be very similar so it is best to start with a very low dose and increase from there if necessary.
Look out for signs in your dog such as panting, tiredness, a runny bottom, licking or over drinking, dry mouth, loss of balance, vomiting, or any change in behaviour other than the positive change you were after.
Remember, it is important to start with a tiny amount (a drop or two) and go from there. At the moment there is no official CBD dosage information for dogs but we will discuss that later.
CBD can also interact with medications, so check with your vet first if your dog is taking anything else.
Does my dog need a special type of CBD?
Take care when buying CBD products for dogs or humans. Many contain substances other than just CBD so you need to know exactly what you are giving your dog. Generally it is safer to buy a product made especially for dogs but in the case of CBD there are no regulated pet products as yet, so do your research and don't worry if the one you choose is technically for humans, with some exceptions that we will discuss.
Buy organic if you can so it doesn't contain added nasties like pesticides etc.. and buy a brand that comes with a clear analysis of the ingredients and the amount of CBD and THC in their particular product. Don't go cheap on these. For a purer product of high quality, you will pay a higher price. If it is cheap and looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Also take care where the product was made. Different countries may have different rules about the substances allowed into their CBD products. Research a reputable brand that is transparent about what it contains. Whether you are purchasing for you or your pet, the manufacturer should be able to provide a Certificate of Analysis showing the exact analysis of the contents, the percentage of CBD and THC plus any contaminants.
It is more important to know exactly what you are buying with CBD products, rather than worrying about whether it is made especially for dogs... at this time anyway. And for dogs, definitely go for a zero THC product. Don't forget that the UK human CBD is allowed to contain a small amount of THC, which you definitely don't want to give to your dog. Cannabis has a toxicity rating for dogs, cats and horses.
If you were purchasing for yourself it would be a human food-grade products so make sure it is the same for your dog's CBD oil.
With no current regulation, you need to do your research.
How long does it take to work?
It takes about 30 minutes for ingested CBD to get into the system but don't expect immediate results for every condition. For a dog with fireworks fear you should know in 30 minutes if it helped them or not. But for something like pain management, give it a good 1-2 week trial, assuming no adverse reactions.
Dosage of CBD for dogs
As mentioned, CBD products are not yet regulated for dogs so there is no dosage information. Do we have anything to go by? Yes, but use this as a very rough guide only. A 2018 study of dogs with osteoarthritis administered 2mg of CBD oil per kg of dog weight. That seems a lot so I will say again - start very low.
By the way, they reported decreased pain in the dogs who were treated CBD rather than the placebo. You can find the study here Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs.
It is best to buy CBD oil rather than purchasing it in treats or food. That way you can be in charge of the dosage, drop by drop. As mentioned, start low (very low, like 1-2 drops) and observe. Each dog will respond differently and your dog can't tell you how they are feeling so keep a proper eye on your dog. If you decide to give another drop to increase the dose, wait at least 6 hours. A dose lasts anywhere from 6-12 hours.
How do I give CBD oil to my dog?
You will only be giving your dog a drop or so, which can easily be added to their food, popped into a treat or dropped directly into their mouth. If their tongue or food contaminates the dropper, wash thoroughly so the product in the bottle is not contaminated next time you use it.
Can I buy hemp oil instead?
This is an easy one. You can but it is not the same thing and won't give your dog any benefits other than maybe the oil it is suspended in. So don't be fooled. Check that the product you are buying is CBD not hemp. They are from different parts of the plant and are not the same.
A quick online search just proved my point rather well. A product on page 1 of the search results was for CBD Oil for Dogs with "Hemp Oil" written in small letters underneath. It also contains some THC, which we consider a no-no for animals. So shop wisely.
Can my vet tell me more?
You can ask but the chances are they won't. Why? At the time of writing, CBD products are unregulated and there are none that have been officially authorised in the UK for use with animals. There is no harm in asking though, just don't be surprised or put off if they don't discuss it at length. At the very least you could get advice on medication interactions, if your dog is taking other meds.
Which is the best CBD oil for dogs?
I am going to leave that one for you to research. This article has given you a lot of things to check for. If you research by reading online "best CBD oil" blogs, just be careful. Check if the writer of the article gains from a sale and therefore has an ulterior motive for their "recommendation". A number of online news sites also have these kinds of "best of" lists for CBD which you might think are unbiased but don't forget, papers sell advertising space. That's all I am saying.
You've done all your research, purchased the best of the bunch and now you need to keep it at its best. Store at room temperature in a dark cupboard or similar to slow degradation of the oil and active ingredients.
Regarding shelf life, they all vary depending on how they were made, so read the product label. Rancid oil won't do much harm other than smell, taste and look funky, but if the CBD itself has expired and lost its potency then your dog won't get the benefits.
Over to you
And that my friends is everything. Hopefully that has helped. If you have any comments or have tried CBD on your dog, do comment below.