There is a growing demand by pet owners for cannabis-related products and an increasing number of products becoming available but, how do you know what is best for your pet?
Our own dogs are on CBD products and doing well with them.
One dog has had two major knee surgeries while the other has a stiff hip, the beginning of osteoarthritis.
In this post, I will explore what I’ve learned about hemp and CBD and what I wished I’d known earlier.
I’ll also look at how CBD may help your pet, and what you should consider when making your product choices based on my experiences.
All opinions and thoughts shared are my own.
This post is not intended to diagnose or treat a pet for any medical conditions or behaviours. If you are concerned about your pet, please consult with your vet for professional advice.
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What is cannabis?
Cannabis is a plant which has three varieties, Cannabis sativa, also known as hemp, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis.
All three strains carry over 120 cannabinoids and two of the most researched are cannabidiol or CBD, and tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
Researchers have discovered CBD is the component that helps people and pets with nausea, anxiety, stress, pain, and inflammation.
THC is the component associated with what most people know as the ‘high’ and is extremely dangerous to pets.
This post refers only to the plant Cannabis sativa because it is grown and used for hemp and has 99.97% CBD and less than 0.3% of THC.
What is hemp?
Hemp is the byproduct of the plant, Cannabis which has been grown and used as cloth for more than 10,000 years.
Hemp fibres are tough and durable, making them excellent for ropes, clothing, and paper, plus another 50,000 uses!
To be classified as hemp, the cannabis plant must have less than 0.3% of THC and is harvested for very different reasons primarily; industry, food, and medical.
To be classified as hemp, the variety of cannabis plant must have less than 0.3% of THC and is harvested for very different reasons primarily; industry, food, and medical.
In fact, you may have seen hemp hearts on your grocery store shelves in the health section because they are keto, paleo, and vegan!
What is CBD?
The other byproduct from the cannabis plant is CBD which is also known as cannabidiol.
It too has less than 0.3% THC so is used for medical reasons, such as treating anxiety, epilepsy, pain relief, and cancer symptoms and treatment side effects.
It hasn’t been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for any medical uses and can have side effects.
What is interesting however is, studies also show CBD is effective for dogs with similar ailments.
The American Kennel Club, AKC Canine Health Foundation is studying dogs with drug-resistant epilepsy using CBD.
However, it is always best to first ask your veterinarian and seek information from the veterinary association.
What are some of the adverse side effects?
Some pets, just like people, may have a reaction and if you are putting your pet on CBD you should:
- know the strength of the CBD you are using.
- begin with the smallest dosage suggested.
If you don’t have any guidelines, this one may help as the amount is measured according to the weight of your pet.
- watch your pet carefully for any side effects.
- increase the dosage only if needed, and a little at a time.
Signs your pet is not doing well on CBD include:
- increased thirst
- temporary lower blood pressure
How I transitioned one of our dogs on to CBD for pain management
- I knew how far she would walk and then always ask to turn back. Now I had a standard to measure.
- I started her on 120mg potency and measured out 0.5mg per kg of body weight daily on to her food. After 2-3 days she walked a little further.
- I then increased her dose to 1.0 mg per kg and she was running and jumping again.
- After a heavy day of swimming and running, I increase the dose to 1.5mg per kg of body weight. She sleeps better and is not stiff the following day.
Studies show the most effective is 2.0 mg per kg of weight but our pooch so much better between 1.0mg and 1.5mg per kg, we’re leaving her between those doses and the decision is based on her activity for that day.
4 things you should know before buying CBD
Because CBD is a fairly new area in the medical industry, it takes some digging around to find those four nuggets of information I wish I’d known earlier.
What I found is backed up research.
I’m showcasing the company Veritas Farms on this post.
Based in Colorado, Veritas Farms I appreciate how this company is sustainable and has full transparency while educating people on what the hemp industry is all about.
If you pop over, you’ll learn so much about growing hemp.
1. You can't try 'cheap and cheerful'
But you also don’t want to be paying exorbitant prices either!
Unfortunately, you will need to spend some time doing research.
Look for company brands that are transparent and willing to share their process and effectiveness. If you’re going to make all this effort, it may as well be effective for your pooch too without costing you the farm.
2. Go organic
Certified organic is always best as you’re not ingesting pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, heavy metals, or solvents.
You also want a product that is pure and without fillers.
3. Find an analysis certificate
This is not mandatory, but companies who care about their product every step of the way will also have quality control systems in place.
You can see total transparency when analysis reports are posted for viewing.
You’ll see the batch number, production date, and the name of the lab and/or processing facility.
I encourage you to see just how transparent this process is.
4. Decide how your pet will take CBD
Now you know what CBD is and why it’s important to do some research, all that’s left is how to get your furry friend to eat CBD.
We’re lucky, our dogs like the flavour, but there are three methods to consider.
- The first is liquid. As you saw in my own experience, this is a good way to accurately know just how much you’ve given, and see how the amount is working (or not).
With liquid CBD, you can easily cut back or add more depending on the day, the amount of activity, or even how your dog is doing.
- Next are chews.
Using a treat is always a great way to get any medication gobbled up.
Depending on your dog’s personality, this may or may not work.
Our other dog is too fussy – for three days he’ll love just one particular dog treat but then he’s over it for the next 2-3 months, so I just know chews won’t work for him.
Chews would also be the perfect vacation method once I knew the dosage.
- And then there is cream.
I’ve tried this instead of liquid and it works just as well.
I applied a pea-sized dot of cream to her paws and massaged it in.
Interested in trying CBD for your pet?
No company ships internationally because of the laws, so you will need to buy CBD for your pet within your own country.
For U.S. customers, Veritas Farms ships around the country.
Looking for a quick, easy, healthy recipe for homemade dog treats?
And for everyone around the world, here is a recipe to make healthy, homemade treats for your dogs.
They are high in fibre, crunchy and make perfect snacks for your dog’s friends.
You can even make them as birthday gifts!
The recipe is seriously quick and easy to make using ingredients you may already have in the pantry and it has some kid-friendly steps!