CBD oil continues to gain popularity in a variety of uses for both humans and animals. It’s even become an ingredient in some dog treats. But, scientific studies on its effects are still in short supply, which means more research needs to be done to determine safety, efficacy, benefits, dosage, etc. Here’s what to know so far about CBD dog treats:
What are CBD Dog Treats?
CBD dog treats contain cannabidiol, abbreviated as CBD. This is a chemical compound called a cannabinoid that can be derived from the cannabis plant or the hemp plant. These treats do not contain THC, which is the psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana and can be derived from the cannabis plant.
Unlike THC, CBD is not a psychoactive compound. Although it’s not definitive yet because there are so few studies on it, CBD has been associated with alleviating and managing pain, lack of appetite, anxiety, etc. It’s also been associated with alleviating symptoms of the nervous system and inflammatory disorders, like seizures caused by epilepsy or pain caused by arthritis.
Are CBD Dog Treats Safe for Dogs?
CBD is Considered Relatively Safe, But There Are No FDA-Approved CBD Products for Animals
Because CBD is non-toxic and is not psychoactive, it is considered relatively safe. It does not have a strong effect on the cannabinoid receptors in the brain and is not known to affect perception. As such, no one will get high from using it.
However, there are currently no CBD products approved by the FDA for use in animals. CBD for dogs is currently part of the supplement market, which is not standardized or well-regulated. So, you need to pay attention to ingredients and the reputation of the company making the products.
Although CBD is non-toxic and is not psychoactive, you still need to be careful of the other ingredients and the dosage in a product. Because the supplement industry is not standardized or well-regulated, ingredients that can be potentially harmful to your dog or dosages that aren’t right for your dog could be included in products on the shelves.
Your Vet May Not be Able to Talk to You About it
At the same time, there have not been a lot of studies on the effects of CBD. The general consensus is that it is not harmful. Although there is some evidence that it works, especially for improving arthritis symptoms in dogs, there have not been enough studies done yet for this to be a medical claim.
Because of this, if you ask your vet about it, they may not be able to say anything about it or make any recommendations. Depending on the restrictions in your state, they could be risking their license for even talking about it. So, make sure you keep that in mind when you bring it up and try not to be frustrated if your vet can’t talk about it.
Do Your Research on the Product and the Company
If you’re adamant about still trying CBD dog treats, make sure you do your research on the product and the company. This is important for any supplement and is especially true for CBD dog treats.
You need to look into things and only purchase CBD dog treats from reputable sources. The company making these treats should be ensuring the safety of their products, transparent about how it was made, and offer proper dosing of their products.
Also, make sure you check the ingredients list. You should see some standard dog treat ingredients and cannabidiol (CBD). If you see any other cannabinoids listed, make sure they are also non-toxic and non-psychoactive.
As with anything you are planning to give your dog, you do want to run things by your vet first. Generally, CBD dog treats are something to consider when other avenues have been exhausted because they aren’t as widely tested or regulated as existing treatments. Just don’t be too surprised if your vet doesn’t want to discuss it with you or if they don’t recommend it.
How Much CBD is Safe to Give to Dogs?
Keep in mind, this question is still being answered. More studies are needed on CBD oil for dogs to be able to determine things like established benefits, associated risks, and proper dosage. That being said, there are a lot of factors that can affect the correct CBD dosage for your dog. Your dog’s size has an effect as well as any health issues or conditions they may have.
Another consideration is the concentration of CBD in the oil or treats that you are using. Dosage may also be affected by how you’re using it and what you’re trying to use it for. Each company should have its own recommended dosage or guidelines for their product. However, the right dosage for your dog might be different than what is recommended on the package. So, it’s important to check with your vet first. Hopefully, you’re in an area where your vet is allowed to talk about CBD oil for dogs.
It’s also important to go over the product you want to give your dog with your vet before you let your dog have any of it. If they’re able to talk to you about it, provided the label is correct. and assuming the product is reputable, they’ll be able to go over the ingredient list with you and make sure there is nothing potentially harmful to your dog in it.
If you’re adamant about trying it, it’s best to start off small and work your way up unless directed otherwise by your vet. A rule of thumb that is considered relatively safe for dosage based on the weight of the dog is 0.2mg of CBD per pound. Once you know that, then you have to figure out how many milligrams (mg) of CBD are in each milliliter (ml) of the oil you’re using.
You may not need to figure this out if the dog treat packaging lists CBD content in milligrams. If you’re using an oil, you’ll likely need to do some conversions based on the formula strength you’re using, which will vary by manufacturer and product. The manufacturer may also have a dosage chart already converted for your use.
When Would it Not be a Good Idea to Give Your Dog CBD?
In General, It’s a Good Idea to Avoid it
In general, it’s probably better to avoid giving your dog CBD oil or CBD dog treats until more studies have been done. Because there are currently no FDA-approved CBD products for dogs, it’s better to stay away from it, especially if you live in an area where your vet cannot talk to you about it or give you recommendations or advice. If your dog is experiencing pain from arthritis or is dealing with anxiety or other issues that you think CDB dog treats would help, go over other options with your vet first.
You Haven’t Tried to Talk to Your Vet About it Yet
If you haven’t spoken with your vet about giving your dog CBD treats or using a CBD oil, it’s not a good idea to give it to them. Although CBD is considered a non-toxic, non-psychoactive compound, it’s still recommended to speak to your vet about it first.
Again, they may not be able to talk to you about it or give you specific recommendations. But, they may be able to provide other solutions so you don’t feel the need to try an unregulated product.
You Haven’t Looked Into the Company Providing it
If you’re set on trying CBD dog treats, make sure you look into the company. If you haven’t researched the company extensively, it’s not a good idea to give your dog CBD products from them.
There are a lot of CBD products for dogs out there and a lot of companies making them. Not all of those companies will be reputable and you don’t want to risk your dog’s health and well-being because you went with the first option you found or went with a cheap product you didn’t look into first.
You Didn’t Dig Into the Ingredient List
Again, the FDA has not approved any CBD products for animal use. So, there is not as much regulation or standardization for any of these products on the market. In addition to a deep dive into the reputation of the company producing the product, you also need to spend some time digging into the ingredient list. You need to make sure that every ingredient listed will be safe for your dog to have. If there is anything questionable listed, do not give it to your dog.
What are the Potential Benefits of CBD Dog Treats?
It is important to note that any benefits listed here are alleged benefits that are coming from a small sample of studies as well as anecdotal evidence. Although these studies are showing some benefits and positive results, there have not been enough yet to make established claims. Based on these studies and anecdotes, here are some potential benefits of CBD dog treats:
Ease Joint Pain or Stiffness
One of the alleged benefits of CBD for dogs is for pain management, especially in the case of arthritis. Stories from owners and some studies have purported that CBD can help ease joint pain and improve mobility in dogs with arthritis.
A recent study out of the Baylor College of Medicine showed some promising results for alleviating joint pain and stiffness in dogs with arthritis. Although this study was small, it does show some positive results that will, hopefully, lead the way to more research on this as a potential treatment for both canines and humans alike.
Another one of the alleged benefits of CBD for dogs is alleviating anxiety. Whether dealing with stress from fireworks, storm anxiety, or separation anxiety, some owners have said that CBD helps their dogs relax in situations where they would otherwise be overly-anxious. Many more studies are needed to be able to verify this link.
Because CBD oil has shown some promising results in reducing and managing seizures in humans, it is an alleged and potential benefit of CBD for dogs. Epilepsy does occur in dogs and they do experience seizures. More research is needed to establish this benefit for both humans and dogs.
Offer an Alternative for Dogs with Sensitivities to Certain Medications
Some dog breeds are allergic or have sensitivities to certain medications. Some of them are also sensitive to certain antibiotics and certain anesthesia. An alleged benefit of CBD for dogs is that it could provide a safe alternative to dogs that cannot have other medications for some reason. As with the other potential benefits, more research is needed to verify and establish this claim.
How Can CBD Dog Treats be Used?
Reputable CBD dog treats are not a cure for a particular ailment, but studies are starting to link CBD oil to being able to help manage and alleviate symptoms. Being able to administer a small amount in a treat could be a convenient and stress-free way to potentially help your dog when other avenues have been exhausted.
For dogs with more severe cases of canine epilepsy, CBD may be able to help calm and stabilize them during or after a seizure. For dogs suffering from arthritis or other chronic pain issues, CBD dog treats may be a safer way to alleviate their pain.
They may also be useful in alleviating stress or anxiety associated with separation anxiety, storm anxiety, and more. If your dog tends to get anxious and nauseated during travel, CBD treats could help them relax and settle their stomach.
Some dogs are prone to having bad reactions to prescription medications. For these dogs, CBD treats may be a better alternative. They may also be used to help stimulate appetite in dogs that are experiencing extended loss of appetite or are refusing to eat.
What Alternatives Are There to CBD Dog Treats?
Because research on CBD in dogs is so sparse and because it’s not yet approved by the FDA, it’s usually viewed as a last resort when other alternatives have been exhausted. In this case, the alternatives and the first methods to try should be those recommended by your vet.
Depending on what’s going on with your dog, this could involve specialized training, physical therapy, canine hydrotherapy, specialized diets, supplements, medications, surgery, etc. It all depends on what’s going on with your dog and how severe it is. Your vet will be able to let you know what treatment and management options are available for your dog.
Preliminary Research is Promising, But More Studies Are Needed
These are just some things to know about CBD dog treats. It’s important to remember that research on them is sparse. There simply has not been enough research done yet to determine the definitive safety or efficacy of CBD for dogs.
Preliminary studies and anecdotes do suggest that CBD could be useful in treating certain conditions or managing certain symptoms in dogs. However, more research is needed to verify these claims.
If you do decide to try CBD dog treats or other CBD products for your dog, be aware that you are taking a risk. Make sure you talk to your vet first. Then, start with a very low dosage or amount, monitor how your dog responds, and go from there.