If Killer from Half Baked is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of dogs and pot, we totally forgive you. Not only is the adorable little rottweiler pup one of the best parts of the film, he’s also probably a better and more memorable actor than both Jim Breuer and Harland Williams combined.
As it turns out though, it’s unfortunately not a great idea to get your pup high. While detailed scientific research on the matter is understandably lacking, a recent 5-year study out of Colorado showed an overall increase in ‘canine toxicosis’ due to THC ingestion. In other words, unlike in humans, THC can be potentially toxic – even fatal – to our furry little sidekicks. So better to just keep it out of their reach altogether.
But that’s THC — what about CBD?
While cannabis in any form is not an FDA-approved drug for animals, there are plenty of veterinarians out there who don’t hesitate to recommend CBD treats for dogs that suffer from a range of various diseases and chronic ailments.
But be careful — more than a handful of ‘reputable’ companies have recently been busted by the FDA for bogus claims of having CBD in their products, when in fact they’ve tested for virtually none.
How Does CBD for Dogs?
For the uninitiated, CBD (cannabidiol) is the non-psychoactive ingredient in cannabis – unlike THC, it doesn’t produce the “euphoric or intoxicating” effects consistent with stereotypical marijuana use.
Nevertheless, it still plays an incredibly active role in the body, as it influences a huge array of physiological and neurological processes by binding to endogenous cannabinoid receptors in the mammalian central nervous system. (Yes, dogs are mammals too).
Numerous studies have shown that by manipulating receptors in the CNS, cannabidiol can play a key role in reducing inflammation, alleviating chronic pain, reducing the viability of tumor cells, minimizing symptoms of anxiety/depression, and reducing the severity of seizures, among other things.
What Medical Conditions CBD for Dogs Help With
While its most common use is treating pain associated with arthritis, cancer, and other chronic ailments, CBD oil for dogs can be used for a host of other conditions as well, though it must be said that a large portion of the veterinary community remains skeptical over its effectiveness, due unfortunately to a lack in published research studies.
In a statement to Buzzfeed News, Darlene Arden, a certified animal behavior consultant and proponent for medicinal marijuana use in pets, says that the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) will not approve the use of cannabis in pets until an acceptable amount of research and data is put forth on the subject. And while she understands the need for medication and drug functioning to be quantitatively backed up by science, she also bemoans the fact that animals are suffering unnecessarily through pain, nausea, stress, and anxiety when there is such a viable treatment method available.
Fortunately, there is a large component of veterinarians and researchers out there who won’t hesitate to recommend CBD’s far-reaching therapeutic qualities.
Dr. Tim Shu, founder and CEO of VETCBD, says that the interaction of cannabidiol with the endocannabinoid system in dogs can provide relief from a wide variety of physiological and neurological conditions, by ‘modulating the chemical components’ responsible for nausea, stress, anxiety, pain, and even gastrointestinal conditions brought on by infection.\
Additionally, he goes on to say that unlike other traditional prescription medications that veterinary clinics might suggest, CBD has no significant or life-threatening side effects if administered in the proper dose.
It also, he claims, does not do any damage to internal organs, nor does it get the dog high — unlike sedative medications which alleviate symptoms by simply ‘masking’ the underlying condition, cannabidiol is a physiological component that actively works to reverse “non-normal” functioning.
In addition to alleviating pain and nausea, CBD oil for dogs is also increasingly being used to mollify overly-aggressive dogs, or easily frightened/skittish dogs that are sent into panic mode by things like loud noises, mailmen, or their owner’s roommates.
And lastly, another hugely popular product that’s popping up more and more in both pot and pet shops alike is CBD oil for dog seizures. There’s absolutely nothing more heartbreaking than having to watch your beloved canine suffer through a seizure, but products like Plus CBD+ Oil seem to be able to provide virtually immediate relief.
Ways to Give your Dog CBD
Alas, understanding the benefits and health advantages of CBD oil for dogs is one thing, but getting them to actually take it or ingest it can be another thing altogether.
If you’ve ever tried to give your pup their heartworm or tick/flea medication without administering some kind of sly meat-related trickery, you know exactly what we’re talking about.
And needless to say, CBD oil in its natural state won’t exactly get your canine slobbering at the mouth like a platter of bacon or a slab of the cooked chicken breast will.
Fortunately, there are some simple enough methods and techniques you can use to get your old hound to down his medication like the good boy that he is.
Tinctures that come in a dropper bottle allow for virtually immediate relief from symptoms (check out this adorable little guy whose seizure went away about 30 seconds after his owner gave him two drops), and are great for measuring out exact doses. When placed under the tongue, they’re absorbed directly into the bloodstream, allowing them to work quicker than topicals or edibles.
For dogs suffering from rashes, skin allergies, arthritis, or other general forms of muscle aches/joint pains (due to old age or otherwise), CBD topicals (salves and creams) are a popular and convenient way to go — they’re reliable, convenient, efficient for acute pain, and for the most part, are super easy to administer.
Of course, though, nothing is likely easier or more convenient than good old-fashioned doggy biscuits, which are currently available from several different companies in a wide arrangement of sizes, flavors, and CBD dosages.
Benefits of CBD Dog Treats
Obviously, the #1 benefit of CBD treats for dogs is that your dog will love them – products like RxCBD’s Chicken-Flavored Treats or Austin and Kat Hemp-Infused CBD Biscuits for Dogs are every bit as slobber-inducing as a normal doggy bone.
Another good thing about CBD biscuits for dogs is that they come in a huge range of sizes and doses — most will be labeled directly on the package what weight/size dog they’re appropriate for, which is great for eliminating the uncertainty that often comes along with trying to determine a proper tincture dose.
The only thing you might hear some people say is that they’re a little wary of how effective some of the treats and doggy edibles really are — like we mentioned earlier there’s been more than a few cases of the FDA busting companies with bogus products, so it’s important to choose wisely when selecting the right option for your pup.
Key Things to Watch Out for When Purchasing CBD for your Pet
- Of course, the #1 thing you’ll want to look out for when selecting CBD products for your pets is that the product actually contains CBD. It’s easy enough to label something as “hemp-infused” or “hemp-based”, but it’s another thing altogether to actually have the appropriate levels of cannabidiol present in order to initiate any sort of chemical/physiological change. Short of going into a whole thing about which brands and products are ‘legit’ and which are not, take a quick look at this list of FDA warning letters, which exposes a handful of companies for advertising their products as “CBD-containing”, when in fact they are not.
- Another super key thing that you need to consider is dose. While CBD is less dangerous to dogs than THC is, improper dosing will commonly result in lethargy/drowsiness, and in more severe cases, intense nausea and/or vomiting can ensue. The general rule of thumb when using tincture is to start out with one drop per 10 lbs of your dog’s weight (i.e. 4 drops of oil if your dog weighs 40 lbs), and administer the oil directly under the tongue once a day. Monitor the dog’s health and behavior closely for about a week or so, and if there isn’t any clear improvement in condition, try upping the dosage to twice per day. The goal is to start low and work your way up until you reach a point when you notice an obvious improvement.
- And of course, if you have the means to work with a veterinarian – particularly one who has experience in CBD products for pets – by all means make sure to do so.