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CBD and Your Pets

As many pet owners can attest to, a pet is a member of your family.  You only want the safest and most effective treatment for your family. How do CBD and Pets get along?

Often times finding the best treatment options for your furry family members can be tough going and quite stressful.

If you’re a dog owner you probably already know that, in specific instances, your pooch can be given the same medications as their owner.  This is because the biological homology between humans and dogs is remarkably similar, up to 70% in fact.

For example, some over-the-counter medications such as Imodium, Benadryl, and Pepto-Bismol are deemed safe for cats and dogs. In some situations, veterinarians will even prescribe stronger controlled substances used by humans, such as Xanax, to help anxious dogs.

However, just as we as a society are becoming more conscious about big pharma and the chemicals we put into our bodies, we’re also becoming more aware of similar concerns regarding our pets.

Without a doubt, it can be crushing to watch your pet suffering. Add in concerns of scary side effects from medications and possible complications, and it’s a downright distressing situation.

Natural relief is where CBD really shines. Without introducing harmful chemical compounds or side-effect inducing medications, we can safely help our beloved pets live a healthier and happier life while treating their conditions naturally.

How does CBD work?

CBD (Cannabidiol) works by producing an advantageous effect on molecular pathways in the body’s endocannabinoid system.

In a nutshell, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is an ever-important biological system that helps regulate a variety of processes throughout the nervous system. The endocannabinoid system, also known as the ECS, is responsible for pain sensation, memory, mood, and even immune function, to name a few.

The links between the ECS and both cognitive and physiological function are apparent in both human and pets.

While the body creates endocannabinoids itself, research has shown that adding CBD into a daily regimen, actually influences the ECS to generate more cannabinoids, therefore running more efficiently. A high-functioning ECS can bring about relief from a multitude of ailments.

CBD is by no means a new form of treatment for a plethora of conditions, it has, however, recently gained popularity possibly due to the influx of marijuana legalization, whether medically or recreationally, in many states.

Before we dive in further, one thing to keep in mind is that CBD is vastly different from marijuana. The link is made from how CBD is made. CBD is an extract that can be derived from two sources; either from hemp or marijuana.

CBD is unique as it offers many benefits without any psychoactive effects as it lacks the active compound THC. Because CBD lacks the intoxicating and cognitive effects, it is ideal for those looking for relief with little to no side effects, especially when in the case of treating animals.

Just as CBD offers a multitude of benefits for humans, its’ advantages for pets is just as impressive.

Let’s jump into just some of the common conditions CBD can help treat in our furry loved ones.

Separation Anxiety

As many pet owners can attest to, separation anxiety can be extremely tough on both pet and owner alike. The stress it can put on an animal can be unhealthy, to say the least.

For the owner, the separation anxiety can be a source of both guilt and frustration. When pets have this sort of anxiety, they can act out around the house, often leading to an unsettling situation when owners return home.

If your pet exhibits anxiety or “bad behavior” while left home alone, CBD may be able to help! Introducing CBD into their daily routine may offer the calming effect they’ve been looking for.

CBD has been shown to stimulate serotonin production, a neurotransmitter that can aid in reducing anxiety. For maximum effect, combine CBD with behavioral modification techniques.

Situational Anxiety

It’s no secret that loud noises and new situations can cause animals (and humans) a lot of stress. From that stress can come high anxiety, troubling behaviors, and even more serious medical conditions.

Take a look at your pet on a holiday like the 4th of July. Do they tremble or hide in the corner? Even with distracting noises or clever jacket products, loud noises such as fireworks or even household vacuum cleaners can induce a panicked state in many animals, not just dogs.

If you’re a cat owner, you’ve also probably dealt with the experience of getting a terrified kitty to a vet or groomer appointment. Near impossible at times, right?

CBD is an excellent way to help soothe your pet’s anxiety and help them get through stressful situations. Rather than having to sedate your pet, CBD products can help reduce stress naturally.

It’s suggested to give your pet a CBD dose half an hour before the “triggering” event to ensure the ECS has time to process the dose and function at optimal levels.

Behavioral Issues

Training your animals can be an arduous and ongoing process. Some pets have innate instincts that can often manifest in challenging ways. Among the top behavior complaints of pet owners are aggression and excessive barking.

Daily CBD use, given in conjunction with behavioral training, can significantly reduce negative behaviors presented by your pet.

Especially when given as a “daily vitamin” of sorts, CBD can help your pet better “self-regulate” their emotions and anxiety. With daily treatments, you’ll find your pet to not only be calmer but also exhibit damaging behaviors less frequently.

Pain Management

One of CBDs’ most substantial claim-to-frame benefits is its ability to work on pain and inflammation. This is especially useful for pets, as options for pain management for our furry friends is often very limited.

Even with a very select few medications being cleared for pet use, they come with substantial side effects and complications, even with perfect dosing and application. Limited options and serious side effects are just a few of the reasons why CBD is an excellent option for pets.

Whether your beloved pet is suffering from a chronic condition or is recuperating from a veterinary procedure, CBD can help reduce pain levels in a safe and natural way.

CBD helps regulate the body’s’ homeostasis to a normal and healthy level, including decreasing pain levels. If pain levels and inflammation are brought down, it’s been shown that the body heals at a much faster rate.

Helps Aging Pets

Some of the most promising research done for CBD treatment for pets has been done on the subject of degenerative joint diseases such as osteoarthritis, conditions commonly found in older pets.

The research has shown that CBD is exceptionally useful in promoting mobility of aging pets.

As we’ve mentioned, CBD is particularly useful in combating inflammation, which is a common culprit behind ailments typically found in more senior pets.

“A new pharmacokinetic and clinical study recently completed at Cornell suggests that 2 mg/kg of cannabidiol (CBD) oil twice daily can help increase comfort and activity in dogs with osteoarthritis. The abstract was submitted to the 2017 American College of Veterinary Surgeons Summit in Indianapolis and is pending peer review.”- Source

According to Joe Wakshlag, Professor Section Chief of Nutrition at Cornell, the dogs that participated in their studies “showed a significant reduction in pain and an increase in activity with CBD treatment.”

Tames the Tummy

Traveling with your pet can, at times, be a complicated adventure, especially if your pet is prone to motion sickness. CBD can help with that as well.

Among the benefits cannabidiol offers is its anti-nausea properties.

Although dogs have very similar biology to that found in humans, it’s been shown that the CBD compound binds to receptors in dogs for a more extended period of time. This means that CBD lasts longer for canines, making it an excellent way to combat carsickness on longer road trips for your pooch.

Along with being useful in combating common travel concerns, CBD can also help with decreased appetites and even more chronic conditions such as IBD (Irritable Bowel Disease) in both cats and dogs.

A Few Considerations for CBD and Pets

According to Gary Richter, DVM, dogs, in particular, have more receptors in their endocannabinoid system, making them much more sensitive to THC. For this reason, it’s essential to choose a product that contains very little to no THC.

Although CBD as a treatment is just now gaining popularity, especially within the veterinary field, there’s still a long way to go regarding research. This can make finding tried-and-true dosing recommendations a bit tricky.  It’s always best practice to start with a very low dose and increase if necessary.

According to James Gaynor DVM, DACVA, DACVPM, it’s important to start at a low dose, .05mg for dogs and .025mg for cats, and monitor your pets’ reaction.

While considered to be safe for dogs, cats, horses, rabbits and other animals, CBD is not yet recommended for fish and reptiles.

Leila Mooney

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Leila Mooney

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