What Is CBD And Does It Work For Dogs? | DogLife360
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What Is CBD And Does It Work For Dogs?

Cannabis has taken on an aura of respectability over the past few years, and the use of CBD oil for a range of medicinal purposes is really quite fashionable.  The positive therapeutic use (by humans) of CBD oil in certain contexts does seem to be well established, but is it safe for our dogs?  Let’s take a look. 

What is CBD?

Cannabis, found in both the marijuana and hemp plants, produces about 500 compounds but the two that create all the fuss are CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).  CBD aids pain prevention and is an anti-inflammatory  whereas THC is the compound that makes us high. 

cannabis plant

Is CBD safe for dogs? 

The fact is it’s still early days for this very promising substance. No CBD products have yet been given the official green light by either the Veterinary Medicines Directorate or the Food Standards Agency; so it follows that great caution is necessary. If you have been pondering the use of it for your beloved pet’s illnesses or ailments, chat to your vet, many are beginning to get on board with the idea too.

Cannabis research for dogs is still in its infancy but there is a wealth of anecdotal evidence that suggests that cannabis (CBD in particular) is safe for them if used appropriately.  

Does cannabis have side effects for dogs?

Studies claim that canine cannabis will produce the same side effects that we adults experience from euphoria to dry mouth, so yes your dog can get high.  Which is why a CBD hemp oil that contains no THC is safest and legal for dogs, with THC out the picture the only side effect is drowsiness. 

a dog looking very drowsy

Can I give my dog cannabis products? 

There are plenty of doggy CBD products on the market from essential oils to doggie treats, but the most popular product is the CBD oil, it is considered most effective when taken orally.  In the oil the active ingredient is blended with a carrier oil such as olive oil. Droplets make administering it to dogs easy, ensuring that tiny amounts can be given at a time.

Is it legal to give CBD to my dog? 

Cannabis oil which contains high levels of THC is illegal in the UK.  By law, only a veterinarian can prescribe CBD (cannabidiol) to any animal, and it is not legal for you to buy or use human-grade CBD oil without a vet’s supervision.  This means it is a criminal offence to use CBD (with THC) products on pets without a valid prescription from a vet.  But, if the levels of THC are below 0.3% it is legal.  

Hemp plants produce less than 0.3% THC and are legal (hemp and marijuana plants have different THC levels).  Make sure the products you purchase from your health store are hemp based.

CBD oil NO THC

Can CBD heal my dog? 

Yes, there does seem to be a real light at the end of the tunnel for a number of dogs who suffer from such things as loss of appetite, osteoarthritis, separation anxiety and various kinds of pain. 

According to an article in Observer.com in January this year, 

"The use of CBD has risen to popularity in the UK because of the fact that it may help relieve symptoms caused by inflammation, heart conditions, and cancer.  CBD can also be used to help with anxiety and stress while also helping stimulate appetite and preventing nausea..."

doggie eating grass

Although there’s no conclusive data on whether CBD does heal cancer, recent research in the USA has shown that CBD oil has helped reduce epileptic seizures in dogs by 33%.  So, if your animal is plagued by fits and seizures, it does seem that there is hope on the horizon. 

We all want our animals to live their best lives, it does seem that CBD oil is looking like it could be more than a fashionable craze.

How do I keep my dog safe using CBD oil? 

Dogs are vulnerable because they are reported to have a higher number of cannabinoid receptors in the brain compared to us humans and it has been suggested that they may be more susceptible to the toxic effects than humans.  Some dogs have died when exposed to high THC levels. 

man and dog loving embrace

6 tips to keep you out of trouble and your dog safe.

1. Chat to your vet. If your animal has any underlying health concerns get them on board before you proceed.

2. Know the quantities. The manufacturer should provide a certificate that certifies the amount of CBD that is in the product. Some products contain only small amounts of CBD, but it’s the THC levels that need to be tiny (preferably absent). Make sure THC levels are less than 0.3% THC (0.2% in Europe).

3. Look for organic. If the CBD oil is not organic it may contain pesticides, fungicides, or solvents which are toxic to dogs.  

4. Buy CBD as an oil. You can buy dog treats containing CBD, but the best form to administer is an oil or tincture. It is more effective and you can adjust your dog’s dose drop by drop.

5. Don’t be cheap. Top quality and organic are usually associated with a higher cost. A cheaper option might not be organic and could contain toxic substances like pesticides, herbicides, or heavy metals. Use a CBD oil that is free of additives.

6. Start small.  Administer portions less than what is suggested on the label.

There are so many positive reviews from people claiming how CBD has helped their ailing dog that we predict further research will be conducted as this trend no doubt will continue to gain momentum.

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