Arthritis can be painful and even debilitating, significantly impairing a dog’s quality of life. While anti-inflammatory medications like steroids or NSAIDs may help, they can carry undesirable side effects. That’s why many pet parents and veterinarians are turning to CBD instead.
What is CBD?
CBD (cannabidiol) is a compound derived from the hemp plant, or cannabis Sativa. It’s one of more than 80 cannabinoids found in cannabis, along with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Each cannabinoid has distinct properties and behaves differently in the body. But all interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Most animals, aside from protozoa and some insects, have an ECS. This vast biological network consists of receptors, neurotransmitters, and proteins and helps regulate and maintain various bodily functions and processes. CBD and other cannabinoids mimic endocannabinoids – chemicals made in the body – and interact with the ECS, helping it work more effectively.
Unlike THC, CBD does not produce a “high” feeling. Some CBD products made for humans contain trace amounts of THC, but it is not enough to produce this effect. Products made for pets don’t have any THC.
How to Use CBD for Dogs With Arthritis
Research on CBD’s effect on dogs is sparse, but several studies have shown CBD is effective in treating canine osteoarthritis. Researchers at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, for example, gave dogs with arthritis 4.4 mg of CBD per pound of body weight twice daily for a month. They found it significantly reduced pain and improved quality of life.
The AKC suggests giving about 0.1 to 0.2mg per kilogram of the dog’s weight twice daily by mouth, increasing the dose gradually if needed. CBD is biphasic, meaning it can be ineffective in too-low or too-high doses. Talk to your veterinarian before trying CBD or changing your pet’s dosage.
The AKC also recommends choosing products with the National Animal Supplement Counsel (NASC) Seal of Quality Assurance and a third-party certificate of analysis indicating the potency, ingredients, and potential presence of substances like heavy metals or pesticides. Importantly, products made for human consumption are not safe for pets. Many edible CBD gummies and candies, in particular, contain xylitol, which is toxic to dogs.
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