If you’ve paid any attention to health news in the last few years, you’ve probably at least heard mentions of all of the potential benefits of CBD oil. It’s been recommended by its adherents for everything from cancer recovery to anti-inflammatory effects and alleviating depression, with many individuals using CBD oil as something of a cure-all for everyday maladies alongside more serious issues.
Now that CBD oil is legal across the country, it’s easy to see why the substance would start to make its way into new markets. Given that CBD oil is so popular among humans, it’s not surprising that many dog owners would look into purchasing CBD oil for their pets. Indeed, this substance has become incredibly popular for treating a whole panoply of canine complaints, with many pet owners using it in everything from behavior modification to pain management.
What do we know about CBD?
The tough thing about recommending cannabidiol (CBD) oil for dogs, though, is that so very little is known about how it actually works. We know that CBD is one of the active compounds in cannabis and we know that it, unlike THC, doesn’t have the psychoactive effects that lead to a marijuana high. What we’re not sure about, though, is exactly how effective CBD really might be or how well CBD oil can help dogs. In fact, there just aren’t enough studies about the effects of CBD on dogs to make any statements about its efficacy that won’t come with a whole host of caveats.
At the moment, we’re left with an awful lot of anecdotal evidence. CBD oil certainly seems to have an impact on pain management for dogs, for example, but we can’t tell if it actually lessens pain or if it just helps dogs to generally feel good. We know that it can help some dogs with arthritis, on the other hand, but we can’t exactly be sure why it works so well for some dogs but not for others. We’re not even fully sure why it’s so good for managing issues like anxiety, especially when differing doses for different dogs seem to have a very wide range of impacts.
Simply put, we’re still in a place where we are trying to suss out not only the impacts that this substance has on our dogs but also the reasons why it may or may not be effective for our pets.
So, what do we know about the impact of CBD oil on dogs?
We can start with the proven statement that we don’t have to worry about CBD oil getting our dogs high. CBD for dogs might have many of the same basic medicinal benefits that one would get from THC, but it doesn’t have any of the psychoactive effects that come from that compound. We know, then, that we don’t have to worry about our dogs suffering through any kind of high that they won’t understand.
While this might not seem like a big deal to every dog owner, it’s actually one that could have a huge impact on how many dog parents see the substance. While you might give your dog medication to deal with things like pain and anxiety, you probably wouldn’t give him or her a treat that would also impact the dog’s overall personality. It’s also good to know that the psychoactive effects aren’t there because it means that the overall process is one that’s probably actually making a change to how your dog reacts to certain stimuli rather than one that’s simply overwhelming his or her ability to deal with his or her personality.
We can also easily see that CBD oil has a big impact on the way that dogs interact with their environments. Commonly used for conditions like extreme anxiety, it’s very easy to see that dogs seem somewhat less anxious when they get CBD oil regularly. What’s hard for us to understand, though, is exactly why we see those kinds of effects. Are we actually seeing something that might work like anxiety medication in humans, which largely works through the process of altering brain chemistry? If not, are we seeing something that’s simply making the dog a little less energetic and thus less likely to react to stimuli that would make him or her nervous? While the end result is the same, many dog owners would like to have a better idea of what’s going on with their pets before giving them any kind of medication.
Is CBD oil safe for dogs?
Given that we know relatively little about how CBD oil actually works with pets, it’s worth asking whether or not it’s safe to give this substance to dogs. Luckily, there is at least some research on the topic thus far, as well as a wealth of anecdotal evidence on which pet owners can rely. Though it’s very hard to jump into a topic that’s as complex as how a particular compound interacts with the health of a pet, it’s never a bad idea to contemplate at least some of the basics involved in the process.
It’s important, to begin with, the admission that we really don’t know too much about how much risk is involved with taking CBD at all. This isn’t just something we have to admit on a pet level, either – the FDA still hasn’t approved CBD as a treatment for any kind of condition and there are no hard and fast dosage guidelines yet for CBD, so it’s impossible to say exactly what we should expect in terms of risk. In fact, anyone who is totally honest about CBD oil is going to have to start from a place where they admit that a great deal of trial and error is involved with any kind of dosing.
We also have to admit that there’s not an awful lot of regulation in the CBD arena. Though there are absolutely a number of really solid, really trustworthy CBD manufacturers that have the best interests of both dogs and people in mind, it’s also important to remember that there are also probably plenty of businesses who have just gotten into the CBD space and who might take shortcuts that can have an adverse impact on your dog. As such, it’s always important to make sure that you work with a company that you can trust if you are going to use CBD oil.
We do know that there are a number of potential issues with CBD oil and dogs, especially when it comes to side effects. We know, for example, that CBD oil can lead to issues like dry mouths, sick stomachs, and even vomiting. It’s not too unusual to see a dog become lethargic after taking CBD and it’s certainly not unusual to see the dog reject taking the oil outright if he or she isn’t sure about the product. At the end of the day, all we really know is that some dogs have bad reactions and that some dogs simply don’t want anything to do with CBD oil at all.
We also know that there are some potential risks when it comes to medicine interactions. This isn’t to say that CBD definitively interacts with any medication in a negative way, but rather that there’s just not enough data out there to let us know whether or not dog medication and CBD can work together or if we’re going to have to be very careful about what we give our dogs when they are being medicated. In fact, there’s a very good reason why so many CBD products recommend that you speak to your vet before you decide to give your dog CBD at all and absolutely reiterate that recommendation if your dog is already being treated for any kind of health issue that involves medication.
The somewhat better news is that there are no definitive links between CBD oil and death in dogs. While there are almost certainly dogs who have died after taking CBD products, the truth is that there is really nothing out there that can link those deaths with taking CBD. Do we know definitively that it is absolutely safe to give your dog CBD and that the impact of doing so can’t be catastrophic? No, but at this point, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that giving your dog CBD products of any kind will put your pet in danger.
How can you responsibly give your dog CBD products?
The best way to start is by making sure that you give your pet CBD products that are actually designed with dogs in mind. This helps to ensure that you’re going to give your dogs an amount of CBD that is actually appropriate for them and that you’re avoiding any kind of other ingredients that might cause your pet problems. Remember, giving your dog any kind of food that has extra ingredients that are not dog friendly can likewise lead to health problems, so making sure that you pick something that is relatively sure to only contain dog-friendly ingredients is a must.
Giving your dog human-centric CBD treats is almost always a bad idea. While products on the market meant for humans are almost certainly going to use the same basic ingredients as those meant for dogs, the dosages and extra ingredients are more likely to cause your dog an upset stomach than those that he or she would get from a pet-centered company. Taking the time to find something that’s meant for dogs and that comes from a company that you can trust is one of the best ways to ensure that you’re getting the kind of product that is going to end up making your dog feel better and that will be less likely to have any kind of catastrophic side effects.
So, is CBD oil safe for dogs? Probably. There’s enough evidence out there right now to show that it really does help some dogs and that there are probably not side effects that can lead to death. It’s still important to make sure that you talk to your vet before giving your dog any kind of CBD product and that you spend some time monitoring your dog after you give him or her a CBD oil treat. Doing so will ensure that you can catch any negative reactions and that you’ll be able to formulate a treatment plan that keeps your dog safe.