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CBD Oil for Dogs: Benefits and Risk Pet Owners Need to Know

CBD Oil for Dogs: Benefits and Risk Pet Owners Need to Know
dog's face
Marliese Streefland / Unsplash

CBD and hemp seem to be permanent fixtures in the news cycle of the past year, with new brands popping up frequently and scores of people touting their health benefits. Maybe you've tried hemp products yourself or you heard another pet owner talking about it, and you're curious if it can offer the same kinds of benefits to your furry friend. In fact, hemp pet treats can help dogs and other animals to manage symptoms associated with various conditions and environmental factors.

If your dog gets anxious during a car ride, or is experiencing chronic pain, hemp dog treats may be able to help. Pet owners have found organic hemp products to be easy to administer and quick to provide relief to their dogs. To understand a little more about hemp dog treats and their benefits, read on.

How CBD May Help Your Dog

You might see both CBD dog treats and hemp dog treats being sold online. You'll want to make sure whatever hemp extract you buy contains CBD, which is the key ingredient and the principal source of relief. Benefits of CBD include its ability to relieve pain, inflammation, separation anxiety, and reduce aggressive tendencies in some dogs.

It's important to buy CBD products that are specifically aimed at dogs. If you get your hands on the right product, feeding your dog a CBD treat could result in it becoming happier, healthier, and easier to take care of.

Many owners find success using CBD oil for dogs. Oil products can be mixed in with your dog's food and come in bacon flavor and other tastes your dog might like. CBD can also improve your dog's coat and skin health. CBD topicals can be rubbed onto itchy or irritated skin. Hemp dog treats are perhaps the easiest to work into your dog care routine. But with so many options, it's hard to know which treat to choose.

Top CBD Oils for Dogs

Below is a list of CBD oil products for dogs. Each of these brands has exhibited a commitment to third-party lab testing and creates products we think you can trust.

Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

1. NuLeaf Naturals

NuLeaf Naturals makes dosing easier, as the oils all come in a consistent strength. NuLeaf Naturals offers a clean, natural way to try plant-based relief for your pet. All products are also certified as organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture—the only dog CBD products to bear that distinction.


2. Medterra

All Medterra products are THC free and come in a variety of flavors—including chicken and beef. Concentrations available are 150, 300, and 750 milligrams per 30 milliliter bottle. As with Medterra's human-focused products, these oils are made with Kentucky-grown hemp.


3. CBDistillery

CBDistillery CBD products are processed in cold-pressed hemp seed oil. This is meant to aid in the dog's digestion of the product. They have a 150-milligram tincture for small to medium sized dogs and the 600-milligram pet CBD oil is made for larger breeds—each is affordable when compared to other brands on the market.


​What is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol is found in the cannabis plant, which has become popular for its function as a wellness supplement with a range of health benefits. Most CBD products are derived from hemp rather than marijuana. Hemp typically has low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The marijuana plant, however, is high in THC, which creates its trademark psychoactive effect.

In humans and dogs, once CBD enters the body it interacts with something called the endocannabinoid system. This system regulates other systems in the body and helps to maintain proper functioning and general wellness.

The potential legalization of marijuana has been a divisive issue in the US for some time now. In December of last year, a small breakthrough came in the form of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized the production of industrial hemp. This opened the door for farmers and retailers to sell hemp products, spawning the CBD boom.

The FDA is still trying to learn more about CBD and its long term effects, and has yet to approve the compound for use in treating, curing, or preventing any condition or disease. The lack of FDA approval means there is a lack of oversight in the industry and little regulation of the companies competing in the space. Consumers should do their own research before taking CBD or giving it to their pets.

What the Experts Say About CBD and Dogs

The American Kennel Club says "while there's no definitive scientific data on using CBD to treat dogs, there's anecdotal evidence from dog owners suggesting it can treat pain, especially neuropathic pain, as well as helping to control seizures."

A study conducted by Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine showed that treatment with CBD oil resulted in decreased pain for dogs with osteoarthritis.

And in a survey collected by the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, data from over 600 pet owners found that CBD use in animals also seems to yield positive results.

Is CBD the Right Choice for Your Dog?

If you're unsure of how effective hemp dog treats will be in relieving your pet's symptoms, you may want to consult a vet. It's also important to talk to a medical professional about any existing medications your dog may be taking and how they'll interact with a hemp extract. Hemp extracts have minimal side effects, but it still helps to be cautious with dosage and the concentration of the product.

It's also a good idea to seek out reputable brands who care about their customers and put effort into taking the proper safety precautions. If you find a brand you trust, then you can feel assured that the contents and recommended dosage listed are correct.

CBD Oil for Separation Anxiety in Dogs

If your dog has mild separation anxiety, their veterinarian will likely suggest that you begin by trying to teach them new behaviors and a new emotional response to being alone. This is called conditioning and often includes creating a pleasant emotional response to separation by leaving a treat or toy for your pet.

Many pet owners have some success by beginning with leaving for a short period of time and slowly working their way up from there.

Just like humans, daily rigorous exercise is a great way to help lessen the symptoms of anxiety. More severe cases of separation anxiety may require your dog to see a specialist. In some cases, prescription medication is used to lessen the symptoms of their anxiety.

These medications may have side effects like drowsiness, dry mouth, increased appetite, and more.While there isn't formal research that has been conducted to evaluate the use of cannabidiol for treating separation anxiety in dogs, there are plenty of products marketed for just that. It is understandable if you feel hesitant about this alternative treatment or feel hesitant about unsupported claims.

So far, the research concerning the use of CBD oil for dogs has looked at its usefulness as an alternative treatment for osteoarthritis. For instance, a 2018 study published by Frontiers of Veterinary Science found CBD oil to provide a significant decrease in pain symptoms. What does that mean for dogs with anxiety? One worthwhile piece of evidence provided by this study is the fact that the use of cannabidiol oil did not result in negative side effects in the dog, making it a potentially safe alternative treatment for canines.

Outside of the safety of cannabidiol for dogs, we also know that it has been deemed an effective method for reducing anxiety in humans. In a 2015 literature review published in Neurotherapeutics, we see that cannabidiol has been known to reduce anxiety in a variety of anxiety disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and even symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

It is believed that it is a fair assumption that this also applies to dogs. This is because dogs have an endocannabinoid system, the system that responds to cannabidiol oil and ultimately influences the nervous system as explained by the American Animal Hospital Association in their publication Trends.

Risks to Consider

In order to produce maximum results, pay attention to the concentration of CBD in each package or treat in order to determine proper dosages. Dog treats and other hemp products for pets should be taken once or twice a day at a consistent time for effective relief.

CBD dog biscuits and chews come in many different flavors your dog may find appealing, making fitting them into your dog care routine simpler. The advantages of using CBD oil for dogs are that oil normally has a higher CBD concentration than CBD dog treats, and oil can also be easily mixed into your dog's food.

Although CBD shows potential in the world of veterinary medicine, many vets will be unsure of its long-term effects and if it's something they should recommend. But it can still be helpful to consult a professional who knows your pet's medical history. Talk to a vet about the potential side effects of CBD and how it could interact with any existing medication. If you're cautious and thorough in your search, it will pay off and your dog will be healthier and happier for it.

Some adverse side effects, such as an upset stomach or drowsiness, may occur in rare instances—but these can likely be avoided by supplying the proper dose.

    Melena Gurganus is passionate health and wellness and her writing aims to help others find products they can trust. Her work has been featured in publications such as Health, Shape, Huffington Post, Cannabis Business Times, and Bustle.

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