Vets Are Now Promoting CBD Oil for Dogs…Is it Time to Ditch the Drugs?
It’s not surprising then that CBD oil made its way into supplements for dogs after it burst onto the scene several years ago. It is widely believed that CBD can relieve pain and reduce inflammation in humans, and many people have extended its use to their dogs for the same conditions.
But is it safe, what are the benefits or is it just hype? Since CBD has been promoted all over the internet as the next miracle drug, we thought to do some research into how vets feel about using it on animals. This article presents our findings.
How CBD Oil Works In Humans AND Dogs
CBD works with the endocannabinoid system. Every mammal, including dogs, has this system in their body.
As a part of the nervous system, the endocannabinoid system acts as a network that sends messages from the brain to the rest of the body using cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids are the special neurotransmitters that send or “transmit” the messages from neurons to their specific receptors located throughout the body.
For the purpose of this article, we will talk about two types of cannabinoids: endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids.
Endocannabinoids are the body’s own naturally occurring neurotransmitters and phytocannabinoids come from plants. Phyto is the Greek word for “plant”, or cannabis in this case.
How CBD Oil Relieves Pain in Dogs
Suppose your dog has a disease that causes pain. A theory for what is occurring is that the neurons at the site of the pain are registering the problem and sending a pain signal to the animal’s brain that something is wrong.
It is believed that administering CBD drops to the dog can help relieve the pain by sending neurotransmitters to their specific receptors. After receiving the transmission, the body works to start bringing pain relief.
In a recent article, Mark Verdino, a medical doctor and chief of veterinary staff at North Shore Animal League America, made some interesting statements regarding the use of CBD on pets. When using it on his own senior dog, he claims it helps the animal relax.
“At night time when the lights are dimmed down (and) it’s dark out, he gets a little spooked,” Dr. Verdino said. “When I give him the CBD, he seems to just go to sleep.”
Verdino is among many veterinarians exploring the use of CBD in pets that also include Stephen Cital, co-founder of the Veterinary Cannabis Academy. Dr. Cital promotes the use of CBD in dogs, citing therapeutic dosages between 0.1 to 2 mg/kg twice daily, and even up to 5 mg/kg twice daily in some cases.
Dog Diseases Treated With CBD Oil
The following diseases experienced by both humans and dogs have been reported to have been improved following the use of CBD oil:
CBD is believed to have strong anti-inflammatory effects. Since many diseases result in painful inflammation, the use of CBD has been found to reduce that inflammation and decrease pain and dysfunction.
Many animals experience symptoms of anxiety resulting from fear, stimuli and instability in the environment. Human studies on CBD have shown reduced feelings of anxiety and panic through its work on the GABA receptors, which promote relaxation and reduced muscle tension.
Many people take CBD as a pain-reliever for conditions associated with arthritis, muscle strains and other issues causing pain. Studies documenting the positive effects of CBD have demonstrated its effectiveness, with recommendations for further research. As a result of these findings, some pet owners have administered CBD oil to their dogs with reported positive results.
Choosing the Best CBD Oil for Your Dog
When it comes to picking the best CBD product for their dog, some people choose to administer the oil or put it in a dog treat. Since CBD is found in so many food products designed for humans, some others may be tempted to share them with their pets, however this is not a good idea according to Dr. Verdino.
“There’s really nothing to prevent a CBD company from making it flavored with an artificial sweetener like Xylitol, which is toxic for animals. So I would definitely choose a veterinary-specific product, and I would choose one that seems to be from a more reputable manufacturer.”
What Science Says About Giving Dogs CBD Oil
A clinical study conducted in July 2018 examined the effects of cannabidiol on dogs with arthritis. The results, published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science, showed extremely encouraging results demonstrating that more than 80% of the dogs in the study had significantly improved mobility and a substantial decrease in pain.
While the results in the study seem promising, few similar studies have been conducted. In many places, veterinarians are not allowed to prescribe or recommend cannabis and are subject to federal laws prohibiting its use.
A Final Word: Is CBD Oil Ok for Dogs?
Since dogs have an endocannabinoid system like humans do, they may also benefit from the pain-relieving effects of CBD oil.
Used by humans to relieve pain and inflammation, CBD oil might also benefit your pet when administered responsibly. As with many things, it’s best to talk with your vet about the specific needs of your dog before proceeding with any treatment.