As CBD has exploded in popularity for human use, many pet owners have started exploring its potential health benefits for dogs. But is CBD safe and effective for man’s best friend? What should you know before trying CBD with your dog? This beginner’s guide covers the key considerations around using CBD for dogs.
Is CBD Safe for Dogs?
CBD or cannabidiol is a compound derived from cannabis or hemp plants. Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive and does not cause a marijuana high. When properly sourced and administered, CBD is generally considered low-risk for dogs. But some precautions are still advised:
- Source: Hemp-derived CBD contains 0.3% THC or less and is safest. Ensure any product is 3rd party tested for purity and potency.
- Dosage: Follow dosage guidelines from your vet or product packaging based on your dog’s weight. Start low and monitor effects.
- Delivery method: CBD pet oils, treats, capsules, and topicals designed for dog use tend to be safest. Avoid human CBD products.
- Health status: As with any supplement, consult your vet first if your dog has underlying conditions or is on other medications.
Adhering to proper dosing and sourcing CBD from a reputable company minimizes any serious risks for otherwise healthy dogs. Monitor your dog after starting CBD to confirm they tolerate it well.
Potential Benefits of CBD for Dogs
Research on CBD for dogs is limited but initial studies and anecdotal evidence suggest a few potential benefits:
- Pain relief: CBD activates endocannabinoid receptors involved in pain modulation. Early research shows promise for CBD helping arthritic pain in dogs.
- Anxiety reduction: By impacting serotonin and GABA receptors in the brain, CBD may help anxious dogs stay calm during fireworks, car rides, separation, and other stress triggers.
- Anti-nausea: CBD’s anti-nausea effects could ease upset stomachs, motion sickness, or lack of appetite during chemotherapy and other treatments.
- Anti-inflammatory: CBD may reduce inflammatory responses in the body, helping dogs with chronic inflammation, bowel diseases, and autoimmune conditions.
- Anti-seizure: In conjunction with traditional medication, CBD has shown potential to reduce seizure frequency and intensity in dogs.
- Cancer benefits: Limited evidence suggests CBD may slow cancer growth and tumor spreading while also mitigating pain and nausea in canine cancer patients.
While more research is still needed, CBD’s safety profile and anecdotal benefits make it worth consideration for enhancing dog health and improving quality of life. But always consult your vet first.
How to Give CBD to Dogs
If cleared by your veterinarian, there are a few options for administering CBD to dogs:
- CBD oils and tinctures: Mix into food or administer drops directly into the dog’s mouth. Monitor serving sizes carefully.
- CBD pet treats: Tend to be the easiest method but make dosage regulation more difficult. Best for maintenance dosing.
- CBD capsules: Can mix capsule powder contents into food. Allows exact dosing but some dogs dislike the taste.
- CBD topicals: Apply balms, lotions, or creams directly to your dog’s skin but avoid letting them ingest topicals. Good for localized relief.
- Other edibles: Some specialty pet shops offer CBD-infused dog snacks, peanut butter, and broths—but dosage regulation can be challenging.
Start with small amounts of CBD and gradually increase while monitoring effects on your dog’s health, behavior, and comfort. Combining CBD with dog-appealing flavors like peanut butter can help mask the taste. Work closely with your vet to find the optimal CBD regimen for your canine companion.
While CBD shows promise in enhancing canine health, exercise caution by thoroughly researching products, consulting your vet on proper usage, and closely supervising your dog after introducing a CBD supplement. Responsible CBD administration allows dog owners to explore its benefits while prioritizing their pet’s safety and wellbeing.