For devoted dog owners, there are few things more important than the health and happiness of their four-legged friend. With more and more people using CBD as part of their own health and wellbeing regimes, it follows that they would question whether CBD can help their dogs too. From CBD dog treats, to meat-flavoured CBD dog chews and much more besides, people have been looking to CBD for dogs to see if it can enhance holistic wellness and improve their beloved pooches’ overall quality of life.
Is it Legal to Give Dogs CBD Oil?
The reality is though that currently in the UK, it is illegal to use human-grade CBD products on dogs. The Veterinary Medicine Directorate (VMD) states that “veterinary products containing Cannabidiol (CBD) are veterinary medicines and should be regulated as such”. This means that under UK law, only a qualified veterinarian can prescribe CBD for use in any animal, and it is not legal to purchase and/or administer any human-grade CBD product without a vet’s guidance.
There are lots of products available labelled ‘hemp for dogs’. Hemp has strong therapeutic and dietary qualities, but sometimes we see products labelled as “hemp” which appear to be designed to mislead the consumer by the inference that they contain CBD. Until recently this was also a common practice for charlatan companies trying to hoodwink the human consumer. Unfortunately, CBD cannot be marketed/sold as a product for animals due to restrictions by regulators in the UK (it’s fine in many other countries) so you are unlikely to find it in stores or online and you should really consult your vet if you are interested in the benefits that CBD may offer your pet. It’s important to note that some animals are very sensitive to cannabinoids and this is one of the reasons that veterinary consultation is important.
So, What is CBD?
CBD is a botanical extract derived from the leaves and flowers of the hemp plant. CBD is just one of the many compounds (called cannabinoids) found in the hemp plant, and one which interacts with the human body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). Whilst the exact impact is still difficult to measure and studies are being undertaken all the time, endocannabinoids have been shown to interact with receptors in the body, improving the efficiency of the ECS as a whole. Users of CBD state that when used alongside a health and wellness routine, CBD can help to reset body and mind.
Why Would People Consider Using CBD on Dogs?
A very good question. CBD is an increasingly popular plant-based food supplement in the wellness space and, due to the way CBD interacts in humans, some people wonder about using CBD on their dogs. There is an abundance of anecdotal evidence coming from dog owners that CBD can help stimulate the appetite receptors in dogs who won’t eat, that CBD oil can help to calm rescue dogs who may be displaying signs of anxiety, that topical CBD creams and rubs can help dogs who have arthritis, and that CBD can be a good natural choice of remedy for dogs who have chronic pain conditions. However all of this is purely anecdotal and there is no evidence to prove these claims.
As previously stated, it is not advisable to use CBD on your dog without a prescription from a fully-trained vet. Some vets might suggest using a medicinal dose of CBD for your dog’s ailments, but this should only be administered under their strict advice and is not something you should try to do yourself.
Is CBD Safe for Dogs?
Here at EthicaCBD, our CBD products are completely natural, safe, quadruple-tested and legal in the UK. However, they are designed solely for human consumption and may therefore differ from those prescribed by a vet – for this reason we certainly wouldn’t advocate giving our CBD oil products to dogs (or any other animals!). Clinical trials for the effect of CBD on humans are still being undertaken, and when it comes to trials on CBD and dogs, information is scarce and we’re even further behind in animal trials than we are in those for humans.
Large amounts of THC can be dangerous to a dog’s health. Animal pharmaceutical companies who create approved CBD canine medicine are meticulous in their extraction processes to remove all traces of THC.
CBD is considered low risk for humans (there has been no CBD-related deaths recorded anywhere in the world), and so it follows that pet owners consider CBD for dogs to be low risk too. However, CBD for dogs is yet to be approved by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (the organisation to protect animal health, public health and the environment) and so its safety and efficacy is currently uncertain. One thing that we do know is that dogs appear to have more ECS receptors in their brain and nervous system than humans. There could be implications for this, and so we need more research to gain a greater understanding of what this might mean for our beloved hounds.
What Dose of CBD Should I Give My Dog?
Dogs have numerous cannabinoid receptors in their bodies which means that doses as low as 1-2mg of CBD oil can have a big effect on your dog. You should only give CBD to your dog under strict guidance from a trained veterinarian who will be able to judge the breed, weight and size of your dog and advise on CBD dosage for your dog accordingly. The other thing to be aware of is that when dogs take CBD, it can potentially interfere with the effectiveness of other medications they might be taking. As with anything, it’s always wise to avoid starting low and building up, but we strongly advise that you only give your dog CBD oil if under prescription from your vet.
Possible Side Effects of Using CBD on Dogs
The right dosage for you isn’t necessarily going to be the right dose for your dog. If you give an incorrect dose of CBD, then possible side effects can occur. These include drowsiness, increased sensitivity of the senses, vomiting and nausea. It’s important to realise that if you work with your vet before using CBD then you can be sure of the correct dosage and guidance for the specific breed and size of your dog, making it less likely for side effects to occur. If your dog experiences any side effects from using CBD then you should take him/her to see your vet right away so that they can act in the best way for your pet.
Is There Any Evidence That CBD Can Help Dogs?
The Baylor College of Medicine undertook a 4 week study on 20 large dogs who had been diagnosed with arthritis. The randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind study showed that the group of dogs who took higher doses of CBD saw significant improvement in their mobility and quality of life than those who took smaller doses and the placebos. Matthew Halpert PhD, from the Department of Pathology and Immunology at Baylor College of Medicine saw that even two weeks after the dogs stopped taking the CBD they were still showing improvements and explains, “This would tell us that the CBD was in fact addressing the underlying inflammatory issues and it wasn’t just masking the pain” However there is much more research to be done before we can ascertain that CBD has a positive effect on dogs and that it is safe for them to take.
Numerous dog owners say that CBD has helped their dogs with symptoms of arthritis, provided pain relief and helped their pooches to remain calm in stressful situations. However, because of the lack of clinical evidence we cannot state this as true and current UK law states that CBD for dogs can only be legally used when under strict guidance from a vet. There is much to be learned about CBD for dogs and we look forward to seeing more evidence come to light as research continues…