CBD oil for Dogs Benefits and Side Effects What You Need to Know (Early access for our Patreon community)

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Raising Your Pets Naturally

CBD Oil for Dogs Pros and Cons

CBD Oil Pros and Cons for Dogs
Learn more about CBD for dogs!

The question I’m asked often is, “Is Dexter on CBD oil for his Chiari malformation?” The answer is yes. But I didn’t just jump on the CBD bandwagon; it was recommended by his holistic veterinarian, and we had a long discussion about the pros and cons of CBD oil for Dexter. Once I decided to include CBD oil into Dexter’s care, his veterinarian also gave me a dosage. And, over the years, that dosage has changed, per his vet, due to his Chiari and age. This is once again why I always recommend pet parents to speak with their dog’s veterinarian prior to adding CBD oil or any other herbals and supplements. It’s important that they are going through all that is given: food, supplements, and medication. To ensure they all play well together. So, let’s jump into the pros and cons of CBD oil for dogs, so you can have a conversation with your dog’s vet should you think it might be a good option.

CBD Oil for Dogs with Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia

Let’s start out by talking about our goal for using CBD oil with Dexter and his Chiari malformation. First, CBD oil can reduce pain, which would be a big relief for Dexter if his Chiari is causing any discomfort. Additionally, CBD ’oil’s anti-inflammatory properties might help with the swelling that often comes with Chiari. Chiari can affect neurological functions, and CBD oil interacts with the endocannabinoid system, which helps regulate some of these neurological processes.

CBS oil brands for dogs
Dexter uses the human form.

What is CBD Oil?

It’s not uncommon for there to be a little confusion around what CBD oil actually is. And I’m not going to lie, I had to do my own research to learn the ins and outs. I’m hoping this straightforward blog post on CBD oil for dogs is helpful.

CBD, or cannabidiol, comes from the hemp plant, a variety of the Cannabis sativa species. This plant is a relative of the marijuana plant. But here’s the key difference: CBD oil won’t get your dog high. That’s because hemp plants contain very low levels of THC, less than 0.3 percent. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the compound in marijuana responsible for the feeling of being stoned. So, the CBD oil you’re considering for your dog should come from hemp, a variety with minimal THC, to ensure it’s safe.

CBD oil for chiari malformation
CBD oil for Chiari malformation.

Benefits of CBD Oil for Dogs

Various studies indicate that CBD oil can assist with a number of issues. It can alleviate anxiety, by helping dogs feel calmer during stressful events like thunderstorms or fireworks. Additionally, it can relieve pain, particularly in older dogs with arthritis or other joint problems. Some people say it helps with appetite and digestion, too.

Choosing the Right CBD Oil for Your Dog

Because CBD oil is so “hot” a ton of brands are out there. And honestly, the more I dug around, the more get the “no” answer from me. So, it’s important to choose wisely. Here are a few things to consider.

  • Talk to Your Vet First: This is super important, especially if your dog has any health problems or takes medication.
  • Look for Reputable Brands: Choose a brand with a good reputation that uses organic hemp and provides a Certificate of Analysis (COA) from a third-party lab. Look for their hemp farm on the company website or a hemp growing license on the company website.
  • Full Spectrum Might Be Better: Full spectrum CBD oil contains all the natural compounds found in the hemp plant, including a tiny amount of THC (less than 0.3 percent) and other cannabinoids like CBG and CBN. These additional compounds are thought to work together with CBD to create a stronger overall effect, known as the “entourage effect.”
  • Start Low and Slow: When introducing CBD oil to your dog, begin with a tiny dose and monitor your dog for any side effects like dry mouth, drowsiness, or diarrhea. You can gradually increase the dose if needed. Your dog’s vet will help guide you.
  • Not a Magic Cure: As I always say, natural remedies are in addition to whatever else you are doing. If your dog has thunder phobia and you add CBD oil, it’s unlikely to fix the behavioral problem. You will need to continue with your desensitization and training program in addition to natural calming aids.
Choosing a CBD oil for your dog
How to choose a CBD brand for your dog.

How CBD Oil is Extracted

So, how exactly do they get the CBD oil from the hemp plant? There are a few different methods. Here are the two most common ones.

  • CO2 Extraction: High-pressure carbon dioxide is used to draw out the CBD from the plant. This is a popular method because it’s clean and efficient.
  • Solvent Extraction: This method uses a liquid solvent, like organic sugarcane ethanol, to dissolve the CBD. Then, the solvent is evaporated, leaving behind the CBD oil. It’s important to choose a reputable brand that uses safe, food-grade solvents.

Keep in mind, this is just a basic overview. The ideal extraction method varies based on several factors, but the main point is that trustworthy brands use safe and effective techniques to produce high-quality CBD oil for your dog.

CBD oil for dogs.
No coconut oil!

Why is Third-Party Testing Important?

The CBD market is booming, but with that come unethical CBD manufacturers and brands. This is why third-party testing is so important. You want to be sure you’re getting what you pay for and what the marketing claims state are actually true. Third-party testing is when an independent lab not affiliated with the CBD company analyzes the oil to verify its contents. First, they should check the CBD level to make sure it matches what’s advertised on the label. Second, they should screen for contaminants like pesticides or heavy metals. And when I say “should,” it’s because I’ve run across a lot of brands that do third party testing but only on one thing. I want to know all the details. You will likely need to request the COA from the brand, as most do not post the results on their websites.  This will also give you the opportunity to chat with the brand and ask any questions.

CBD oil third party tested
COAs are important!

They check for things like:

  • CBD Potency: This tells you exactly how much CBD is in each drop of the oil. A Certificate of Analysis (COA) from a third-party lab will show this amount. If the label says 750 mg, is there really 750 mg in the bottle? That’s what the COA will show. Because then I want to take how many mg are in the bottle and figure out how many mg are in a drop, to ensure Dexter receives the proper dosage per his vet. I also choose a higher mg per bottle, so I don’t have to give so many drops. This helps ensure Dexter isn’t getting a ton of the carrier oil in order to get his proper dose of CBD.
  • Full Spectrum vs. Isolate vs. Broad Spectrum: There are three main types of CBD oil: full spectrum, isolate, and broad spectrum. Full spectrum contains all the natural compounds found in hemp, including CBD, other cannabinoids like CBG and CBN, and terpenes (aromatic compounds), and a very small amount of THC. These extra components might combine to create a stronger effect. Isolate, on the other hand, is just CBD. No THC, other cannabinoids, or terpenes are included. Broad spectrum contains CBD and other helpful hemp compounds, but with the THC removed. The best way to know what type of CBD oil you’re getting is to check that COA.
  • THC Levels Matter: Full-spectrum CBD oil should contain a trace amount of THC, less than 0.3 percent, according to federal regulations. The COA should reflect this level.
  • Red Flags to Watch Out For: If a brand makes claims about something, and their COA shows otherwise, or they won’t provide a COA, I would personally run.
  • Purity: The COA should also show the absence of harmful contaminants like pesticides, herbicides, and heavy metals. It’s important to read the ingredient panel to ensure what’s inside the CBD bottle is safe for your dog. Because dog CBD tends to have a flavor, I usually end up with a human bottle for Dexter. No reason to add extra flavoring. This is why it’s extra important to read the ingredient label, to ensure it’s safe for Dexter.

Is CBD Oil Safe for Dogs?

Studies suggest that CBD oil can influence how your dog’s body processes medications. This is because CBD interacts with certain specific liver enzymes. While it sounds complicated, the bottom line is simple. Always talk to your dog’s vet before giving your dog CBD oil, especially if they’re already on medication. Weigh the pros, cons, and risk factors for your particular dog. This ensures both the CBD oil and any meds work as they should.

While CBD oil made for dogs is generally safe, it’s crucial to keep your dog away from some human cannabis products, especially edibles. These treats could have ingredients that are harmful to dogs, and the level of THC can vary greatly.

The Bottom Line

CBD oil for dogs is a growing market, and new research is developing in the field. But, as with anything, it’s important to ensure it’s a good fit for the dog at your feet.

CBS oil brands for dogs
Dexter uses the human form.


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CBD oil for Dogs Benefits and Side Effects What You Need to Know (Early access for our Patreon community)