Dogs are very much like us – they come in all shapes and sizes. On one end of the dog breed spectrum are large dogs – Great Danes, Bullmastiffs, English Mastiffs, and Kangal Shepherd dogs.
On the other end are small dogs – the Malteses, Cairn Terriers, Havaneses, and Pomeranians, etc. Their differing sizes probably dictate the type of relationship we have with them.
No surprise the popularity of small dogs has increased significantly among US households. And it’s easy to see why – small dogs are easier to manage. Their petit-ness means they need smaller living spaces, and are generally lower maintenance than their larger counterparts.
However, both big and small dogs develop health issues that may require medical or extra care at some point.
If you haven’t heard about CBD for pets, here’s your chance to explore about this cannabis compound, which has numerous wellness effects, and how it can help alleviate some symptomatic conditions in small dogs.
But first, let’s loop you in on what CBD is and its range of physiological activities in the body.
- CBD has many beneficial properties, making it a potential treatment option for pet owners.
- These health-benefiting properties are effected via the endocannabinoid system, specifically the CB receptors.
- There’s minimal research on the effects of CBD on dogs, so our assumptions mostly rely on studies conducted on humans and non-canine test subjects.
- A good rule for CBD dosing for dogs is 0.2 mg per pound of weight.
How does CBD help dogs?
The premise for using CBD on dogs is the presence of an endocannabinoid system. The argument is that CBD affects this system the same way regardless of the host organism.
CBD is short for cannabidiol – a cannabinoid compound derived from hemp. It’s one of over 100 cannabinoids that exist naturally in the cannabis plant. As a major phytocannabinoid, CBD accounts for roughly 40% of the plant’s extract.
CBD can interact with various cannabinoid and non-cannabinoid receptor targets within the endocannabinoid system. However, the exact medical implications are currently under investigation, but existing research findings support its ability as an anticonvulsant, analgesic, anxiolytic, muscle relaxant, and antipsychotic.
It has also demonstrated antioxidant and neuroprotective properties, among others which are still under investigation. CBD’s status in medical practice is a hotly contested debate that divides the medical community right down the middle.
But as empirical evidence regarding its potential wellnes effects grows and regulatory frameworks reflect its widespread public and medical use, opinions are changing. Subsequently, the number of people using CBD to manage pain and stress among other issues has risen in recent years.
From a pharmacological point of view, CBD’s diverse receptor profile underpins its potential therapeutic effect on various medical conditions. Like the body’s endogenous cannabinoids, CBD can act on cannabinoid receptors involved in many physiological processes.
By modulating the release of neurotransmitters, the endocannabinoid system can regulate pain perception, sleep, memory, cognition, appetite, mood, and immunity, among other bodily functions. These effects are mostly effected via two primary G-coupled protein receptors called cannabinoid receptors type I and 2, i.e., CB1 and CB2.
CB1 receptors are predominant in the peripheral and central nervous systems; most are localized in the amygdala and hippocampus in the brain. These two brain organs regulate emotions, fear, and memory. In retrospect, we can see why ∆-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has such effects as short-term memory loss and anxiety.
On the other hand, CB2 receptors are found mainly in the peripheral immune cells, nerve terminals, and lymphoid tissue.
Unlike THC, which exerts its effects via partial agonist activity at CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBD acts as a negative allosteric modulator at CB1 receptors. In other words, it regulates receptor activity at functionally distinct sites, thereby limiting the psychomimetic effects of agonist cannabinoids like THC.
Besides its well-studied activity on CB receptors, there is evidence that CBD may interact with non-cannabinoid receptors like 5-HT1A, TRPV vanilloid, µ-opioid, and alpha-1-adrenergic receptors. Through these, it can upregulate or downregulate the levels of vital hormones like dopamine, serotonin, noradrenaline, anandamide, and gamma-aminobutyric acid.
Despite these research findings, there isn’t much research available regarding CBD use in pets. So, we cannot conclusively say that CBD will help your dog. However, an increasing number of pet owners use CBD to manage wide-ranging pet health conditions, usually on the recommendations of veterinarians.
So far, many pet owners are happy with the results they see.
It’s believed that CBD may be even more effective for dogs because they have more endocannabinoid receptors in their brains. This makes them more receptive to the effects CBD has to offer. So there is little doubt CBD has lots of potential uses for dogs.
Is CBD safe for dogs?
Pure CBD appears to be safe for dogs. At least, that’s according to a 2017 WHO report that highlighted CBD’s excellent safety profile and tolerability.
However, at the moment, no prescription or over-the-counter CBD product has FDA approval to be used in animals. This indicates that CBD products might not have undergone the necessary safety or efficacy tests before entering the market.
Additionally, some CBD companies may make unsubstantiated medical claims about their products.
Also, there are concerns regarding the purity of CBD products as well. For instance, there are reports of CBD products with less CBD than indicated on the label. They may also contain impurities like pesticide residue, microbial contaminants, or high THC content.
Therefore, if you choose to give your pet CBD, you might need to do a little more research to learn how the product was made.
What’s the best CBD product for dogs?
There are lots of CBD pet products on the market right now. So, choosing the right CBD for your pet may be a challenge, especially if you’re new to it.
The main point to remember is that while CBD is generally safe for animals, THC is not. So, when buying CBD for a pet, opt for broad spectrum or CBD isolates. Ideally, these are THC-free and bear no potential harm to your dog or cat.
We recommend broad spectrum CBD pet products since they contain other beneficial cannabis compounds like flavonoids, terpenes, essential oils, and vitamins besides CBD.
Moreover, your dog will likely benefit from the “entourage effect” that broad spectrum CBD is often associated with. Briefly, the “entourage effect” purports that when combined, cannabis compounds synergize to enhance the desirable effects.
CBD isolates are also good for pets, but they contain only CBD. So, there are a whole lot of other benefits your dog will miss out on.
Benefits of full spectrum CBD for dogs
It’s still not clear the range of health benefits CBD can offer pets. So, as research continues, there’s hope that this information will become more apparent.
At the moment, CBD has demonstrated strong therapeutic potential to manage pain.
Dogs are commonly affected by pain due to injury or a health condition. When it is chronic, pain can really affect your dog’s quality of life.
Fortunately, CBD has analgesic properties and may help relieve pain and suffering. A 2006 study showed that cannabinoids like CBD and THC might help alleviate pain.
Due to such findings, researchers are increasingly proposing using CBD as an alternative anti-pain treatment.
How do I give CBD oil to my dog?
CBD comes in different forms – oils, tinctures, edibles (dog treats), lotions, and creams. Each of these forms has its ideal method of application.
For instance, oils and tinctures are best given orally or sublingually. However, they can also be mixed in dog food or treats.
Topical CBD is intended for topical applications, i.e., applied on the skin.
Oral CBD administration appears ideal for dogs because it ensures all the CBD enters their stomach. Here, it undergoes first-pass metabolism, and some of it is processed into waste. This reduces its bioavailability.
In fact, a study indicated that oral CBD in dogs has very low bioavailability. So, the sublingual method seems more plausible if you can manage to squeeze some drops under its tongue. In humans, the sublingual method has one of the fastest absorption rates.
However, giving a dog CBD with a fatty meal may increase its bioavailability because CBD molecules are readily absorbed by fat.
How much CBD should I give my dog?
Dosing is a prominent CBD grey area. Every CBD manufacturer has their own way of calculating the required doses, and often they aren’t uniform.
Perhaps this is because not all CBD is the same. High-potency CBD is dosed in smaller quantities than low-potency CBD. Further, less serious health complications like insomnia and low-grade anxiety typically require less CBD than severe health issues.
Generally, CBD dosing in pets is worked according to their weight. So, the rule of thumb is 0.2 milligrams per pound of weight. For example, a 20-pound dog will require roughly 5 mg of CBD.
Many other things also come into play when determining the correct CBD dosage for a small dog. Activity level, metabolism, and absorption are some of these.
For example, a dog with a higher metabolic rate absorbs CBD faster, so it doesn’t stay in its system for long. This may affect the therapeutic impact of the cannabinoid.
It is always a good idea to consult a vet when administering any sort of medication to your dog, especially when it comes to determinaning the right dose.
Best CBD oil for small dogs
As we mentioned earlier, broad spectrum CBD may be ideal for your dog. It doesn’t contain THC, so there are minimal risks of intoxication.At FOCL, we go to great lengths to ensure our CBD products for pets are THC-free and human-grade. Our Premium CBD Pet Drops are made with organic ingredients and premium hemp CBD to support calm and relief for our furry companions. Moreover, it comes in three delicious flavors.