Growing in popularity over the last several years is the use of CBD oil in animals to treat various health issues. I know what you’re thinking and, no, giving it to your pet won’t make them start listening to Pink Floyd and get the munchies!
CBD, or cannabidiol, is an element found in hemp or cannabis, but is missing THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which provides the hallucinogenic properties in marijuana. The cannabinoids interact with receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems which helps keep the body in homeostasis, or a steady state.
If you are considering CBD treatment for your animal, I hope this article serves as an educational backdrop to assist with your decision…
I began researching the unconventional treatment to help my Wheaten Terrier, Sweet Pea, lower her anxiety during thunderstorms. She is extremely sensitive and can hear the thunder rolling in from miles away. Instantly, she begins to pant heavily, salivate, and shake. It would bring me to tears to see her in such a condition and I felt helpless that I could do nothing to ease her nerves and fear.
For help, we turned to our town Veterinarian, Dr. David Rosenberg of Pawcatuck Veterinary Clinic, to discuss various treatments options:
- Thunder jackets
- Anti-anxiety medication
- CBD oil
Initially, we decided to go the “thunder jacket” route as I am very conservative when it comes to giving our dogs medication. The jacket provides gentle pressure around the torso which mimics a hug. They are thought to reduce anxiety and calm animals however, for Sweet Pea, it did not work. I even googled “dog anti-anxiety” music to play in conjunction with the jacket. Her shaking and drooling did not subside.
Next, we discussed giving Sweet Pea an anti-anxiety medication but, after learning about the possible side effects, we quickly ruled out this option. While some experts believe these medications are effective and safe when used correctly, others believe the meds only mask the outward symptoms of anxiety but do nothing to ease the internal fear. So your pup can be terrified but show no external signs.
Enter CBD oil…
CBD oil is an all-natural treatment and, when used in its pure state, seems to be very safe and well tolerated. As Dr. Rosenberg shared with us:
“Hemp-derived CBD oil must contain less than 0.3% THC. This definitely means that CBD oil derived from the Marijuana plant should never be used in pets.”
The oil can be administered directly into your dog’s mouth at mealtime, mixed with food, or be given as a treat or chew. Since Sweet Pea is very picky when it comes to treats, we give her the oil. There are many different companies who produce the oil so conducting your own research is critical in finding the highest quality product. Dr. Rosenberg gave us the following guidance:
“Hemp-derived CBD oil can be obtained from many different venues. However this does not mean that all products are equal. Reputable hemp-derived CBD oil producers will use a State Sanctioned Laboratory to analyze their product and should provide this information on their website or supply it in written form if requested. Several hemp-derived CBD oil manufacturers have made their products available in treat and liquid form for pets.”
The dosage of CBD can vary significantly depending on the condition you are trying to treat and your dog’s weight. Lower doses are typically used for anxiety while higher doses are used for more serious illnesses like cancer and neurological disorders. How much your dog weighs plays a major role in the amount of CBD you should administer. It is best to discuss with your vet to determine the optimal dose for therapeutic effect. Dr. Rosenberg says:
“Please be advised there is no written information on how much any pet should be given and these companies are just guesstimating. Due to the fact that there is very little research done on the response of pets to CBD oil, it is difficult to actually know what the correct dosage is for any given pet.”
Dr. Rosenberg, who has been in practice for 35 years, believes:
“At this time, hemp-derived CBD oil has been used in pets to treat epilepsy, separation anxiety, osteoarthritis, and irritable bowel syndrome. From my own observations, hemp-derived CBD oil has been very helpful in controlling refractory epilepsy reducing the need for standard epilepsy drugs.
Hopefully, in the future, more investigation into the role of hemp-derived CBD oil helping our furry friends live a long, disease and pain free life will occur.”
Looking for a pup to add to your family? Consider the top breeds for people with allergies. Also, check out the American Kennel Club website to search for your favorite breed and learn more about health and training!