To many people, their little furry ones are more than pets; they’re family members. Naturally, we only want the best for our family and a large part of that is maintaining their health and happiness. Veterinary medicine has never been so advanced, our pets are living longer, yet cancer diagnoses in dogs in the US and many other countries have never been so high and with advanced age comes chronic illnesses. It’s no surprise then, that concerned pet owners are researching into and using alternative foods, activities and medicines. CBD oil is new in the world of veterinary care but already it’s having a big impact.
CBD or ‘cannabidiol’ is a naturally occurring chemical found in abundance in the stems and leaves of the cannabis Sativa plant. It won’t get you high, but it does have intense anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, and other medicinal properties. CBD (and cannabis in all its forms) have been used for centuries, but because of the negativity surrounding cannabis there have been relatively few studies into its treatment for human conditions, and for pets, that number is even smaller. Of the few studies done on CBD virtually all of them have been on dogs, so our knowledge of its effects on cats even more limited. But from what we do know, the results have been extremely promising.
Last year, the FDA classified a CBD solution as a viable treatment for two rare seizure disorders in children, and since dogs have an endocannabinoid system just like humans, it’s no wonder some owners report CBD helping with similar conditions in their dogs. We don’t know if they work in exactly the same way, but many parents of dog-babies that suffer from seizures report that giving CBD orally has helped decrease or eliminate them entirely. A lot of seizure medications come with nasty side-effects that include weight gain and lethargy.
Likewise with disorders such as anxiety. Many humans use CBD to treat anxiety or a range of similar conditions like OCD and PTSD. Dogs also suffer from various forms of anxiety and CBD has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety in dogs. Humans use CBD for chronic pain, which is an issue for dogs of certain breeds once they reach their middle years. CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects can work wonders on dogs that suffer from chronic orthopedic pain.
CBD oil has been observed to be extremely well tolerated by animals, especially when applied orally as an oil, rather than a cream or other means, but as mentioned above, it’s early days so always talk to your vet before you try CBD, especially if your dog has a history of liver problems. To be safe, make sure the CBD is from a reputable source and that it has been extracted using CO2 rather than solvents, as they can leave a residue that your pet then consumes. CBD products should have less than 0.3% THC, but to be really on the safe side, choose ‘broad-spectrum’ products that contain no THC at all.