It’s no secret, Canadians love their pets and spoil them like one of their own. Accordingly, the spending in the industry is huge, and manufacturers of pet products are cashing in. Statistics Canada indicates that Canadians spent a total of 4.1 billion dollars on pets in 2015. That’s a lot of money.
Since we dote over our furry friends as much as we do family, we always want the best for them, and seek out the least invasive ways of making their lives better. Enter cannabidiol, better known as CBD.
CBD has been gaining popularity as an alternative – and effective – treatment for a wide range of disorders in humans. It is touted as being a relatively benign and natural choice of medicine as compared to traditional pharmacology. If CBD is all that it’s said to be for humans, is it possible that it might be as effective for dogs? Believe it or not, the answer is yes.
What is CBD?
CBD is a cannabinoid, and one of the many constituent chemical compounds found in marijuana. Studies suggest that CBD is at least as medically effective as THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), with one major plus. CBD isn’t psychoactive. This quality is what makes CBD so attractive for medical use, since its benefits can be realized without getting the patient “high.” To many, it’s seen as a harmless alternative for relief from a number of ailments, from chronic pain to anxiety.
CBD has been used to treat a wide range of conditions in dogs, from anxiety to inflammatory bowel disease. Although studies specifically on CBD use in canines are limited, they do exist. And many of the studies that have suggested CBD benefits for humans have actually been conducted on animals. As such, the science is indicating that many of the benefits humans experience using CBD are also found in canines.
Human sufferers of a variety of forms of epilepsy, for example, have a reduction in the frequency of seizures with CBD treatment. A similar study on canines has preliminary results that have shown an 89% reduction in seizures for dogs as well.
Another study on pain management in dogs has also shown promising results for canines that suffer from osteoarthritis. The study saw “a significant decrease in pain and increase in activity,” with no side effects reported. That’s good news for older dogs who might not be able to tolerate the traditional treatment with NSAID medications.
More research into CBD usage is still needed to fully understand the treatments. But there are a number of best practices to consider.
- Administration: The delivery method of CBD has a lot to do with how well and how quickly it’s absorbed into the body. For dogs, tinctures and oils are best because the dosage can be closely monitored and controlled. They can also be given straight into the mouth for quickest absorption, or mixed in with food if your dog is a fussy eater.
- Quality: Only purchase products for which lab analyses are available, and avoid any additives. THC can actually be harmful to dogs, so make sure your purchase has little to no THC included.
- Dosages: Just as in humans, start with a low dose and be patient. Depending on what condition is being treated, results can take a couple of weeks to be seen. The dose can also vary depending on what is being treated. The study on pain management, for example, used 2mg/kg, twice a day. Most reputable manufacturers will provide guidelines on how to help your pooch.