These compounds are believed to possess wide-ranging health benefits. As a result, there has been an uptick in demand for cannabis-based health supplements.
In particular, CBD has emerged as a fan favorite because it is not psychoactive. So you get to enjoy its health benefits without the 'high' feeling associated with THC.
In recent times, CBD use has extended to animals. In any case, CBD studies have mostly been conducted on animals and few humans.
The findings have been promising – CBD may help with several health conditions in both animals and humans. One of those is joint pain.
Why do dogs get arthritis?
Dogs, like humans, have cartilage. This flexible but strong fibrous tissue lines the end of bones where joints are formed. Cartilage prevents bone ends from rubbing against each other during movement.
As dogs age, this connective tissue erodes and weakens, leading to arthritis.
Apart from aging, other well-known causes of arthritis in dogs include:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Repeated joint traumas
- Diseases such as diabetes
Arthritis is commonly associated with older dogs but can develop in early life due to joint and bone development problems. Depending on the cause, arthritis can affect single or multiple joints.
How to tell if your dog has joint pain
Here are the signs to watch out for if you suspect your dog is developing arthritis.
Difficulty jumping on things
Some movements exert more pressure on the joints than others, and jumping is one of them. So if you notice your dog dislikes jumping, it may be developing arthritis.
When the bone ends rub against each other, it causes excruciating pain and discomfort. So the dog's logical response is to avoid movement that worsens its condition.
Difficulty using stairs
Any normal dog will go through stairs in a flash. So if you notice a sudden reluctance to go up or down the stairs, arthritis may be the culprit. This is because once enjoyable activities like running up the stairs have become painful experiences that the dog dislikes.
Lameness in limbs
Depending on the affected joint or joints, your pet might start limping or tending to use certain legs more than others.
Further, if the spine is affected, the dog might experience lameness in its hind legs. This may be accompanied by stiffness and pain when getting up or down that usually resolves after some movement.
Reluctance to engage in activities and play
Dogs are generally playful creatures. It's their way of building social cohesion, sharpening their motor skills, and preparing for the unexpected. It also helps them expend energy.
So if your furry friend suddenly becomes indifferent to playing and other activities, its joints may be too painful. You may want to visit a veterinary to establish if it's developing arthritis.
Irritability and aggression
If your once cheerful pup has transformed into a grumpy old man, there is a problem. Observe if it snaps or tries to bite you when you touch it, especially in ways that exacerbate the pain.
This also goes for people; you're likely to have a shorter fuse if you're in constant pain.
Check if the joints are painful by touching them gently. If the dog pulls away or yelps, it could be that you touched an inflamed joint. Inflamed joints are normally sensitive to touch, so your dog will reject your affectionate rubs even though it used to cherish them.
As the cartilage wears off, the body tries to self-heal by growing new bones around the joints. This makes it harder to move hence the stiffness. The medical term for this is degenerative joint disease.
The pain and inflammation generally make it harder for dogs to move around. Since movement worsens the pain, your dog will avoid moving around as much as possible.
Does CBD help dogs with joint pain?
Although research on CBD benefits for animals is still developing, a growing body of research findings suggests that CBD products could help dogs with joint pain.
For instance, a 2018 study by Cornell University showed that CBD improved comfort levels and mobility in dogs with osteoarthritis.
Another similar study in 2020 found that CBD reduced joint pain in dogs and contributed to better life quality.
CBD's pain and inflammation-relieving benefits come down to how it interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is found in all animals, including dogs.
Research shows that CBD interacts with the CB receptors and influences pain and inflammatory responses. The net effect is a reduction in pain and swelling.
Benefits of CBD for dogs
The immediate health benefits of CBD for dogs with arthritic pain are:
Many studies have proved CBD's anti-inflammatory properties. Most of these studies show that CBD may effectively promote reduced inflammation hence its growing popularity as a novel natural anti-inflammatory supplement.
Multiple animal studies have shown CBD's potential to promote pain relief. This owes to its interaction with the vanilloid TRPV1 receptors in the brain. The TPRV1 receptors are vital pain signal pathways. The net effect of this interaction is a significant reduction in acute, chronic, and neuropathic pain.
Reduced need for pain medication
An arthritis diagnosis is often followed by a prescription of anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to manage the condition. While quite effective in managing inflammation, these medications may have adverse side effects, especially when used for a long time.
For example, NSAIDs may cause renal damage. CBD has virtually no serious side effects and can also be used singularly.
One thing arthritis does to animals and humans alike is hinder free movement. Painful and inflamed joints don't go together with increased mobility. The pain can be unbearable.
But with CBD, many dog lovers attest that their canines immediately found relief from the pain. This allowed them to get back to doing what dogs love doing best – playing around!
Best CBD for dog's joint pain
There is an influx of CBD products claiming to treat all kinds of health conditions. So it may be a bit overwhelming to get the correct CBD product to help manage your dog's arthritis.
That said, here are some guiding principles to take you through the process of getting the best CBD.
The first thing to check is the hemp source. High-quality CBD is made from organic hemp, preferably grown in the United States. This ensures that the entire farm-to-product chain is overseen by the company.
This is particularly important because CBD is unregulated. So, quality and safety checks remain in the purview of the manufacturing company.
A key determinant of CBD's effectiveness is its content in the product. Unfortunately, here is one area where many consumer reports suggest that CBD companies fail. These failures range from incorrect labeling where the CBD content does not match what's stated on the label.
A lab test report showed that only 42% of CBD brands test their products for potency.
From these, the potency of 80% of the tested CBD products was outside the accepted limits of variance. Further:
- 23% of the CBD products delivered less than 80% of the CBD advertised.
- 15% of the tested products 120% more CBD than advertised
- 11% of the products did not have any CBD at all.
Best industry practices recommend that the concentration of CBD indicated on the product label fall within a 10% variance. This means the potency of high-quality CBD products should fall within 90-110% of what is indicated on the label.
CBD products often get contaminated during extraction. So it's important to know the process. Carbon dioxide extraction is the best method because it yields pure CBD.
Solvent extraction methods are the most problematic because the CBD extract almost always ends up having solvent residues. So purity testing is quite important because that's how you determine the safety of the CBD product.
The most common impurities in CBD products are:
- Solvent residues
- Heavy metals, e.g., arsenic and lead
- Microbial contaminants, e.g., fungus and bacteria
It's particularly concerning that a 2019 report found that up to 70% of CBD products were "highly contaminated." The contaminants were mostly heavy metals, pesticides, and herbicides.
Given these findings, you can see why it's important to ascertain that the CBD product has been tested thoroughly. The main tests are:
- Potency testing
- Terpene level testing
- Solvent contamination testing
- Heavy metal and pesticide testing
If you want a premium product that ticks all the boxes above, try our new Premium CBD Pet Drops. These human-grade drops are the best way to treat your furry friend to the multiple benefits that CBD has to offer.
CBD oil for dogs arthritis
CBD for dogs is available in different forms. Tinctures and oils like our Premium CBD Pet Drops are the most common and can be administered directly into the mouth, rubbed on bare skin, added to food, or even dropped on the animal's toy bone to be licked.
A growing body of studies indicates that CBD oil can help with arthritis by reducing inflammation. Let's sample a few research findings.
A 2017 study found that CBD was a potential remedy for osteoarthritis pain in mice. The researchers further suggested that supplementing conventional arthritis medications with CBD may delay or stop joint pain and nerve damage altogether.
An earlier study conducted in 2011 and published in Neuroscience Letters established that CBD effectively lessened joint inflammation by altering how they responded to pain stimuli.
A key concern for most dog owners using CBD has been the safety of full spectrum CBD. Many pet owners, however, point out that full spectrum CBD is more effective than other forms of CBD.
This could be due to the entourage effect. This is when the compounds work together to enhance each other's properties.
Moreover, full spectrum CBD often contains minimal THC content (less than 0.3%). This is not enough to make your dog' high.' Nonetheless, it's critically important to get CBD oil specifically designed for dogs. CBD for humans can have high THC content making it toxic for animals.
Dogs are particularly sensitive to THC, so ensure you use CBD oil formulated for pets.
How much CBD for dogs with arthritis
In 2018, researchers at Cornell University conducted an experiment that dog lovers would find relevant. They treated dogs with osteoarthritis with CBD doses of 2 and 8mg per pound of weight twice daily.
After four weeks of treatment, the 2 mg-per-pound dose was more effective in reducing visible pain symptoms. Activity and mobility were also significantly improved.
Can CBD make dogs high?
CBD is generally not psychoactive. However, dogs are particularly sensitive to THC; even small amounts can be fatally toxic. This is because dogs recycle cannabinoids.
Essentially, THC-loaded bile gets into their small intestines every time they feed.
Is CBD legal for dogs?
Yes. In jurisdictions where medical marijuana is legal, all CBD products should not exceed the 0.3% cap in terms of THC content. So as long as your product's THC content does not exceed this mark, it's perfectly legal.
Other methods to help dog's arthritis
Not all dogs respond to CBD. So you may want to explore other options to help your dog. Here are alternative options you could consider:
Comfrey – this natural supplement possesses anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. The recommended dosage for pets with pain is 0.5 to 1 teaspoon.
Turmeric – widely used as a spice, turmeric is a rich source of antioxidants that help lessen inflammation and further joint damage. The recommended dosage is 0.5 to 1 teaspoon daily. Alternatively, 15 to 20 mg of turmeric powder is recommended depending on the dog's body weight.
Yucca – this natural supplement is rich in compounds that can help inflamed joints. It's also a rich source of vitamins A, B, and C and vital minerals like phosphorus, calcium, and potassium, which are required to bone health. Start with lower doses before moving to concentrated doses of ¼ teaspoon.
Keeping your pet active helps by strengthening its muscles and enhancing circulation to the joints.
However, this is a balancing act because too much pain will hurt the dog, whereas too little exercise only worsens the condition. Swimming and walking are some of the best exercises for dogs with arthritis.
Physiotherapy involves many modalities and techniques, from therapeutic exercises to LASER. The main goals of physiotherapy are:
- To reduce joint pain
- Relieve muscle tension
- Maintain the range of joint movement
- Weight loss
- Muscle strengthening.
Weight control is particularly critical because the heavier the dog, the more pressure it exerts on its joints.
Acupuncture is a good complement to anti-inflammatory medications. It is helpful for dogs with hip dysplasia or degenerative joint disease. It's been noted to alleviate pain and improve the range of motion of the joints.
Dogs with serious spinal cord problems and chronic back pain are also great candidates for this method.