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Is CBD Oil Safe for Dogs? Walking Through the Evidence

In response to all the talk about the benefits of CBD, you might be wondering, 'Is CBD oil safe for dogs?'.

If you're on the fence about giving your dog CBD oil or CBD-infused products, you are not alone. Although CBD has been around for thousands of years, the popularity around it is relatively recent. There is a lot of conflicting information on the internet and we want to help you understand what CBD is and if it's actually safe for your pup.

What is CBD?

CBD (short for cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid (molecule) found in the cannabis sativa plant,(1) also known as the hemp plant.

Humans, dogs and all mammals have a system of receptors and hormones called the endocannabinoid system that regulates sleep, pain, inflammation, mood and appetite. When ingested, CBD molecules can fit into the receptors throughout the body of dogs and help bring them back to a state of homeostasis (equilibrium). Sleep can be improved, inflammation and pain can be decreased, and mood can be boosted.

Is CBD Oil Safe for Dogs?

Humans can derive medicinal benefits from THC (the sister molecule to CBD that can get people 'high'), but this compound is toxic to dogs, mainly when consumed in large quantities. CBD, on the other hand, is perfectly safe for dogs.

Like humans, dogs also have endocannabinoid systems, and they can experience many of the same benefits as humans when they consume CBD. 

Dogs can derive more significant benefits from CBD even when they consume it in smaller amounts (compared to the amounts humans typically consume). That is because dogs have more cannabinoid receptors (1)  than humans.

Benefits of CBD for Dogs

There are lots of reasons to consider giving your dog CBD oil or CBD oil infused treats. Some specific benefits of CBD for dogs include:

Reduces Anxiety


If your dog experiences separation anxiety or stress over loud noises, CBD can help them calm down and feel more at ease. Try giving it to them 30 minutes before a big event (like the Fourth of July or New Year's Eve) or before you leave them for a few hours to help them relax. 

Reduces Seizures


In dogs that have epilepsy or other seizure disorders, CBD has been found to help reduce the number of seizures (2) they have. In some cases, it can even eliminate them altogether. 

CBD is a much safer treatment than other anti-seizure drugs, which can be hard on a dog's liver and cause a dramatic change in their personalities. 

Reduces Pain


CBD is a powerful anti-inflammatory (3). It can target the CB2 receptors which are  responsible for much of immune system responses. CBD reduces the inflammatory response, thus reducing pain in dogs.

As a result, it can help relieve pain related to arthritis, strained muscles or injuries. Dogs that initially have a hard time playing or going for walks because of their pain, can see a huge improvement after taking CBD oil.

Fewer Digestive Issues


If your dog experiences a lot of digestive issues (diarrhea, constipation, vomiting or nausea), CBD can help.

That has to do, in part, with its anti-inflammatory properties. CBD also has antibiotic properties that can help rid the gut of bad bacteria that might be causing negative symptoms.

Increased Appetite


CBD can improve your dog's appetite and encourage them to eat the food they need to stay healthy and maintain their strength.

That has to do with its anti-nausea properties. Getting your dog's nausea under control will help them feel more inclined to eat regularly.

Cancer Benefits

Many pet owners have had great success reducing and sometimes completely eliminating their dog's tumors. Research on the effects of CBD on mice, dogs and people with cancer and tumors is limited, but some studies state CBD can help slow the growth or at least reduce the side effects of cancer.

The nausea reducing properties as well as CBD's ability to reduce inflammation may be huge reasons's why someone would give CBD to a dog struggling with cancer.  

Improved Cardiovascular Health


Finally, CBD can also improve cardiovascular health. It appears to help reduce the damage caused by damaged blood vessels and irregular heart rates (5).

It can also protect blood cells from future damage and reduce inflammation in the arteries so that blood can flow more easily.



How to Choose the Right CBD Oil for Your Dog

There are lots of reasons to consider giving your dog CBD oil. However, it's essential you buy a high-quality CBD oil to ensure your pup is getting the full benefits of CBD. 

Unfortunately, with all the news surrounding CBD for pets, new companies are popping up daily - many without the health of pets as a priority. Low quality, cheap and sometimes synthetic forms of CBD oils now fill the internet. Since the market is largely unregulated at this time, there is no penalty to these companies.

Instead, it's up to you as a pet owner to do your research and sift through all the different products to find the ones that are best and safest for your dog to consume.

The following guidelines can be beneficial if you're feeling overwhelmed by all the different CBD products on the market:

1) Look for a Full-Spectrum Product


Full-spectrum products contain CBD extract and extracts from other parts of the cannabis plant (stems, leaves, and stalks). These compounds provide what's known as the 'entourage effect.' The entourage effect describes the effect when CBD works more effectively when combined with the other compounds and cannabinoids found in the hemp plant (6).

Study after study has shown that full spectrum hemp oil is more beneficial than CBD isolate (just CBD extract). Plus since it's made from the entire hemp plant, it's more natural as well. 

2) Look for All- Natural Ingredients


Finally, check the label and take note of the other ingredients included in the products. As with any other type of dog food or treat, the ingredients list should be short.

The ingredients should also all be recognizable and easy-to-pronounce. Avoid buying products that contain questionable additives or fillers: gluten, soy, and artificial flavors. 

You also want to avoid any preservatives (7)- especially manmade ones like butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene(BHT), tert-butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ), propyl gallate, and ethoxyquin. 

If you wouldn't want it in your food, you don't want it in your pet's food.

3) Consider the Dosage


CBD oils come in several different strengths. Most dogs do well with a CBD oil that contains between 100 and 300 milligrams of CBD, some respond really well to CBD and can do with only a little to see the full benefits.

Dogs and cats actually have much more cannabinoid receptors than humans (8), so they only need a few milligrams to see benefits from CBD. As a starting dose the industry standard is 1mg per 10 pounds to start. Then after a week at that serving size, you can work your way up. It's always safer to start low and slowly increase than it is the other way around. 


The Verdict:

So 'Is CBD oil safe for dogs?'. Yes. CBD is one of the most natural and safe ways to increase the health of your dog.

Once you can find a high quality CBD oil from a brand that you trust, it is worth trying for your pet. Use it regularly, and your dog will be feeling happier and healthier in no time!