We love our pups and want the best quality of life for them, which is why there’s basically nothing we won’t do for them. The CBD market for doggies is exploding exponentially—more than 900 percent in 2019—and everybody’s asking about it, sharing anecdotal stories with veterinarians, and making online claims about its efficacy. CBD for dogs is blowing up.
The bewildering number of products out there is confusing for any of us just trying to treat our best friends, well, best. Don’t worry, you’re not alone in asking many common questions:
- Where do I even begin?
- Which products should I trust?
- Which may be harmful?
There’s nothing worse than giving our four-legged companions something we later find out isn’t what they needed or — even worse — contained something potentially harmful.
People want to help their pets,” Amanda Howell of ElleVet Sciences, which makes hemp-oil-based products for dogs, told The News Station. “They pick a product, and then they find there’s no value. They’re devastated.”
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the many chemicals created in the hemp plant — THC is another — and tests and studies (along with too many anecdotes to count) continue to show it can help treat symptoms of a variety of ailments, from calming anxiety and seizures to pain and joint relief.
We’re here to assist you in helping find what’s the best CBD for dogs, or any animal, but we don’t know your pup, so make sure to inquire with your vet, too.
THC and Dogs
Let’s get this out of the way first. We’re not talking about getting dogs stoned. No one is.
“People should not give THC to their animals,” Howell says. “People are fine with it, but you can’t apply the benefits of humans to dogs — they don’t tolerate it the same way. All of the cases we hear about dogs in emergency clinics come from THC.”
Acceptable pet products are 100 percent hemp, which by definition contains less than 0.3 percent THC, hardly enough to notice. By comparison, most recreational or medicinal cannabis starts around 15 percent THC and goes up from there.
“People, when they think about hemp, they think it’s not as good as marijuana,” Howell says. “Really, that’s not the case.”
You know dogs are better friends than many, but you may not know how alike we are, too. That’s why older pups, or senior doggies, might be the biggest beneficiaries of CBD.
“When it comes down to it, I always say our favorite customers are 13-15 year olds,” according to Howell.
Like humans, she says, pets develop joint stiffness and senior issues, like arthritis, as they age. In most, those two ailments can be alleviated by CBD’s natural anti-inflammatory properties. That’s why many older dogs are responding well to CBD.
“They need help and respond so well,” Howell says. “We have found that in terms of comfort, quality of life, and cognitive issues, it helps them tremendously.”
The Endocannabinoid System
Dogs, like humans, have endocannabinoid systems that help control and influence sleep, appetite, anxiety, addiction, and the cardiovascular and immune systems.
“CBD works with the endocannabinoid system, which all mammals have, and the role of the endocannabinoid system is to maintain homeostasis in the body,” Howell says. “This helps explain why CBD works for many different issues, as the endocannabinoid system is basically righting whatever is wrong in the body.”
Dosage is tricky because, like humans, every dog is different. The key is to know how the product is metabolized, or how long it takes to go through your body, according to Howell. Her company, ElleVet, conducted a metabolic and a pharmacokinetic study before creating its chews, gels, and oils.
“We determined that dogs need our product twice a day because its half life is relatively short. If you don’t, it’s like starting over,” Howell says.
Some animals might need more. So start low, and go slow. No matter which product you go with, and just because one doesn’t have the desired effect doesn’t mean all hope is lost. If your pup didn’t have a bad reaction, then just move down the CBD aisle and try a competitors’ product.
“Our studies are based on results from using our products. You can’t take our results and apply that to any other product,” Howell says. “They’re very specific.”
How do you know you’re getting what it says on the bottle? Great question.
“First, demand that the company provide a certificate of analysis that has been done by a third-party lab and is batch specific,” Howell says. “It should tell you how much CBD and CBDA (another cannabinoid) is in the product as well as terpene content and the milligrams per milliliter. Hemp seed oil doesn’t have any CBD, so you aren’t getting anything that will help your pet.”
Looks can be deceiving, and an expensive price tag doesn’t mean it’s the best; just as an inexpensive, or even poorly packaged product, doesn’t mean it’s the worst.
“Some products look cheap, but they don’t have much CBD or the dosing is so low that it won’t work, so it isn’t really a good deal,” Howell contends. More on Ellevet Sciences (which isn’t an advertiser with TNS) can be found here.
Get Your Vet Involved
Finally, as we mentioned above, Howell recommends getting your veterinarian involved when considering CBD for dogs. If your pooch is taking medications, like an anti-epilepsy drug, for instance, it’s good to check first.
“We always recommend people bring their vet into the conversation. Vets are becoming more educated and informed. They can advise on a product,” Howell says. “Talking to your vet is always a good idea.”
Make sure to talk to your pup, too!