CBD oil sold in the EU is safe to administer to your dog. Here’s everything you need to know before you begin.
CBD has multiple benefits for those that use it and that’s not restricted to humans only. Dogs have an Endocannabinoid System just the same as their owners do. Their little furry bodies use it to control things like the nervous and immune systems, maintain healthy sleep patterns, and it even governs their appetite.
This article will discuss everything you need to know about administering CBD oil to your dog. Let’s begin with the basics and go from there.
Understanding CBD for Dogs
To understand why this supplement is a healthy idea for your pet, we must first understand CBD oil itself. CBD oil is a compound removed from the cannabis plant that is safe for doggy use. If you have heard rumours that cannabis contains compounds that are toxic for dogs, you’d be right. That compound is THC and it is toxic to animals in large doses. CBD oils contain all the goodness of cannabis nutrients without the toxic THC. The EU restricts the sale of CBD oil so that it must contain 0.2% or less. Ireland’s laws are the same and we’ve written a blog here.
Can you give CBD to Dogs?
CBD oil for dogs works similarly to how it works in the human body. It is safe to give to your dog. It helps the digestive system, boosts immune responses, and keeps your pup healthier. Let’s discuss the endocannabinoid system that moves CBD around your dog’s body to put your mind at ease.
Understanding the Endocannabinoid System
Cannabis has been in use as a medicinal flowering herb since ancient times. Up until the last generation or so, however, science had yet to explain why. Back in 1964, scientists discovered the two main compounds of cannabis: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). It wasn’t until 1988 that scientists found the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) in humans[i].
Scientists soon realised that the endocannabinoid system featured receiving points and transmission points all over the body and inside the brain. The system would embrace cannabinoids, produce enzymes in response, and transmit them to where your body needs them.
In recent years, scientists discovered this same system inside the body and brains of dogs. The theory to explain this is that dogs and early humans would have incorporated either cannabis or hemp into their diets. The body evolved to process this. Your ECS stimulates metabolic growth, clear skin, calms anxiety, helps with immunity and even smooths the digestive tract.
How do you Give CBD Oil to a Dog?
Before you give any supplement to your dog, you should consult a vet. CBD oil won’t hurt your pet but speaking to your vet ensures no contraindications with other medicines. Before you start treatment, you should research the best oil for your dog. We’ll discuss that in more depth in a moment, first, let’s examine the types of products on the market.
As a rule, we administer CBD or hemp oil orally as drops added to your dog’s food. They come in capsule form, too. Look for the following qualities:
- Dog-friendly – not all CBD oil products are dog friendly. Check before you buy
- Buy quality – a quality product will last longer and be more effective
- Lab-tested – this is important. Look for certification of lab testing
- Information Available – the lab results should be right there on request
- Natural and organic is always best
Lastly, an MCT coconut oil will improve the metabolic rate your pet processes CBD at. Again, consult your vet before use. Coconut oils can be fattening. We can topically apply CBD oil in creams and balms.
Are there Adverse Side Effects of Giving CBD Oil to My Dog?
Although the Irish government have yet to issue clear risk assessments of giving CBD oil to your dog, the American Kennel Club have some excellent advice on the matter. The AKC’s chief vet Jerry Klein says the side effects of giving CBD to your dog may include a dry mouth, lower blood pressure, and drowsiness. Dr Klein recommends starting with a small dose and gradually increasing over weeks to ensure safe levels.
What About Health Risks of CBD for Dogs?
As yet, there are no conclusive studies one way or the other. We do know that the dog’s ECS system activates in response to CBD. Enzymes transmit all over the body to regulate similar bodily functions as CBD oil in humans would.
As with all supplements, provide plenty of clean, fresh water for your dog to drink. Start with a small dose and increase over time. If your dog shows any adverse reactions, ceases use immediately and consult your vet. If you have concerns about CBD, you should similarly seek out a vet.
Hemp, Cannabis, CBD, and THC
When you have consulted your vet and you are both happy to begin, you need to research potential dog friendly CBD or hemp oils. Hemp oil is similar to CBD but it comes from the hemp plant. The hemp plant is in the same family as the cannabis plant, but farmers grow it for long stalks and high levels of CBD, instead of cannabis, which growers favour for big flowers. Humans have used hemp for centuries, often to make rope and fabrics.
On the other hand, we can take CBD from the cannabis plant. This is an acceptable way of harvesting the compound. When we harvest it, growers ensure we separate the CBD from the THC in the cannabis plant. THC is the compound found in cannabis that makes you feel ‘high.’ Hemp naturally has very low levels of THC, which makes it ideal for CBD oil production. Hemp crops grown in the EU have tight limitations on THC content. If a crop exceeds these levels, officials destroy it.
This makes cannabis plants best for producing broad spectrum CBD oils, which still contain limited amounts of other compounds. It means that the hemp plant is better at producing low THC CBD oils, or CBD only oils. Which do you want for your dog? Since we know that too much THC is bad for the dog, we want a low THC, or full CBD oil. Hemp oil is also appropriate since your dog will get the same benefits from it. Make sure you look for dog-friendly labelling to be doubly certain.
Tips on Choosing the Right Dog Friendly Hemp Oil
Even though hemp and CBD oil products may be suitable for humans, which doesn’t mean it’s OK to use on your dog. Here are a few pro tips about selecting a suitable CBD or hemp based oil for your dog. Remember, we want the dog to be healthy and happy, without exposing them to any potentially toxic compounds.
Tip 1: Opt for Full/Broad Spectrum CBD or Hemp Oil
CBD oils on the full or broad spectrum contain many other nutrients from the cannabis or hemp plant. The EU limit these oils to that 0.3% THC content we mentioned earlier, but there are other key nutrients in the plants that benefit our dogs. For example, full spectrum hemp and CBD oils contain Cannabigerol (CBG) and Cannabichromene (CBC), two further compounds found in Cannabis.
Researchers believe that Cannabigerol could help the body fight cancer cells, produce antibacterial compounds, and can fight eye diseases like glaucoma. Although we need more human trials, we shouldn’t dismiss the correlation between better health and CBG. This compound is the main ingredient in the acidic molecule CBGA, which all Cannabis compounds derive from. We commonly find it in young cannabis plants, where it helps them grow.
Cannabichromene is a similar chemical which needs research. Scientists believe it is this chemical which helps treat depression.
As well as these tow compounds, the full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD/hemp oil you choose for your dog contains the terpenes that give CBD and cannabis its smell. Terpenes are responsible for the taste and scent of cannabis, but each has a specific job – and there are hundreds of them. It is the combination of terpenes plus the other cannabis compounds which make broad spectrum oils work better for dogs.
Keep in mind that these terpenes might not show up on a lab analysis of CBD oil like those we discussed earlier. However, they will still be inside the oil, working their magic to improve health. Whether or not you can see them on the lab report depends on the extraction method. Solvent extracted CBD oil will show the terpenes in the lab documents, while Co2 extracted won’t.
Tip 2: Avoid Solvents
There are two ways to get the CBD oil out of the cannabis or hemp plant. The first uses Co2 to put the cannabis under huge amounts of pressure. This crushes the plant until it weeps oil. Co2 extraction works more efficiently and gives better quality of oils.
The second way to extract oil from hemp and cannabis plants is through the use of solvents like propane or butane gas. As you can imagine, this leaves residual product on your oil, which might hurt your dog. Avoid solvent extraction for yourself, too, if you can help it.
Tip 3: Get the Lab Report
Any CBD or Hemp oil seller worth their salt has the lab report containing the exact chemical analysis of their oils to hand for clients who request it. If the seller can’t provide you with one? Forget it and buy elsewhere. We happen to know of a safe, dog-friendly CBD oil seller right here in Ireland.
Where to Buy CBD Oil for My Dog?
If you live in Ireland and you want to give CBD oil for your dog a try, you can find our broad spectrum oil right here at Unwind CBD. Not only do we provide high quality CBD oils you can use on your pet, you can also find all our lab reports right there on the page.