Dogs Naturally: Cannabis For Your Dog, How It Can Help
Dog owners are using it to help their pets with a wide range of ailments – from anxiety to arthritis to cancer.
Are dogs going to pot?
Not exactly. The cannabis dogs are taking is hemp, not marijuana.
For a long time, hemp was illegal in the US and other countries because it got lumped in with other forms of cannabis. Today, you can buy hempseed products in your local grocery store – not just soaps and lotions, but hempseed protein powders and drinks like hempseed milk.
But the hemp that has therapeutic benefits for your dog isn’t the kind lining the supermarket shelves.
We’re talking about whole herb cannabis.
So what’s the difference between hemp and marijuana?
Marijuana Vs Hemp
Marijuana and hemp both come from the plant Cannabis sativa (though marijuana also comes from another member of the Cannabis family, Cannabis indica).
The cannabis plant has over 60 chemicals called cannabinoids. The two main types of cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBDs are therapeutic cannabinoids, while THC is the cannabinoid that makes you high.
Marijuana’s THC content is usually between 10 and 15 percent; but hemp must have a THC content of 0.3 percent or less. At this level, cannabis has no intoxicating effect, for people or dogs.
Hemp is higher in CBD, the substance that provides the therapeutic effects.
How CBD Works
The cannabis plant contains a number of different chemicals, including CBD, phytocannabinoids, terpenoids and flavonoids. Humans and other mammals have specific cannabinoid receptor sites. These sites are primarily in the brain and central nervous system, and in peripheral organs, especially immune cells. They make up what’s called the endocannabinoid system.
Studies show that many cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory effects, and can help with pain, tumors, seizures, muscle spasms, skin conditions, appetite stimulation, aggression, anxiety and neurological disorders.
How CBD Hemp Can Help Your Dog
CBD hemp can help with both chronic and acute disease.
Among chronic conditions, it can help with arthritis, compromised immune systems, stress responses, aggression and digestive issues. There are also studies under way into CBD’s effects on Type 1 diabetes, organ diseases and cancer.
Veterinarians are also finding CBD hemp can be useful in treating acute ailments like sprains and strains, torn ligaments, bone breaks and even during post-operative care to reduce swelling, pain and stiffness.
If your dog’s taking conventional drugs for any of these conditions, CBD hemp may make it possible to use lower doses of the drugs to achieve therapeutic effects. Since conventional medicines do have side effects, this is a useful benefit of CBD.
Does It Work Fast?
As with any herbal medicine, for most ailments you may not see an immediate effect. You’ll need to be patient.
Your dog may feel some pain relief in a few hours but other symptoms like inflammation may take a few days to show improvement.
First of all, because of the low THC, CBD hemp won’t make your dog high.
The most common side effect of CBD is that your dog may get a little drowsy – about the same as if you gave him a Benadryl.
On rare occasions, side effects have included excessive itchiness or mild vomiting, but these sensitivities are few and far between. If your dog reacts with these symptoms, you should stop giving him cannabis.
If Your Dog Gets Into Marijuana
This article’s not about marijuana, but this is important information. With the legalization of marijuana in many places, poison control centers are hearing more and more about pets getting into their owners’ marijuana stash.
It may be hard to tell if your dog has the munchies (isn’t it a permanent condition in dogs?), but other side effects from marijuana can be quite severe, including lethargy, dilated pupils, drooling, being off balance, muscle twitching, vomiting, involuntary urination and even unconsciousness.
If this happens to your dog, take him to the vet immediately. He’ll need palliative support until the effects wear off.
Australian holistic veterinarian Dr Edward Bassingthwaighte says he’s been amazed at the success he’s had treating some dogs with cannabis. Here are a couple of cases he told us about.
- One is a senior Staffy who had a fast-growing tumor about 6 cm in diameter in her mammary gland. Chest x-rays showed there might be mestatasis. Dr Bassingthwaighte treated her with CBD oil and some other herbal medicines. The tumor shrank away to nothing over three months and she’s still going strong six months later, with no recurrence. She’d had multiple tumors surgically removed over the years, but it was the CBD oil that really helped her.
- The other case is a little old Jack Russell with a severe heart murmur and painful arthritis. He received a whole plant extract containing CBD and in this case also some THC, diluted in 10 ml of cold pressed hemp seed oil. After a month of this medicine he was much happier and more active, wanting to go for long walks, and his heart murmur was much less severe. Dr Bassingthwaighte says “I simply can’t explain the improved heart murmur. They normally don’t get better.”
Dr Bassingthwaighte suggests working with your holistic vet if you think cannabis would help your dog – it’s powerful medicine so at least let your vet know what you’re doing.
Where To Buy CBD Hemp For Your Dog
The safest way to use CBD for your dog is to use a product that’s formulated for pets. There are several companies producing CBD hemp for dogs. Some of these are in oil or tincture form, while others actually make treats with CBD.
Here are some reputable suppliers of CBD products for dogs.
We asked herbalist Rita Hogan for her advice on dosing CBD oils.
Every dog is different. Rita recommends starting with a low dose and working up to the recommended level so that your dog gets the right dose for his individual needs.
Caution: The dosing advice below is for commercially produced CBD oil for dogs, not for homemade tinctures.
Rita recommends starting with 1 drop of CBD oil per 10 lbs of your dog’s body weight per day. Give this dose for about a week, then move up to 1 drop per 10 lbs of body weight twice per day.
Some companies sell their CBD in capsules. In this case, start with a quarter of the recommended dose and increase gradually until you see the benefits (again, without side effects).
As long as there are no side effects, you can increase the dose every 4 to 5 days until you see the therapeutic benefits. Side effects may include disorientation, hyperactivity, vomiting or excessive sedation. If you note any of these effects, stop treatment and wait for them to go away, then restart at a lower dose.
Be sure to observe your dog’s response. The key is to find a dose where you don’t see side effects but you do see results. With continued use, you may need to increase the dose a little over time to achieve the therapeutic results.
If you prefer to buy the CBD treats offered by some companies, start with a quarter cookie and work up gradually from there. Don’t exceed the manufacturer’s maximum recommended dose for your dog’s size
Caution: make sure you store the treats where your pets can’t get into them, and make sure others don’t hand them out as they would regular treats!
You can use CBD hemp safely and effectively (as well as legally) to treat many canine health issues. And it won’t get your dog high!
Cbd oil tinctures for mammary gland tumor in dogs
Like humans, our canine companions are susceptible to cancer, with 1 in 3 dogs developing some form of cancer in their life. 1 in 4 dogs will develop neoplasia, the abnormal growth of cells or tissues within the body. The main cause of deathfor dogs over 2 years old is cancer, and half of the number of dogs over the age of 10 are likely to develop it. Clearly, cancer is common enough that dog owners should familiarize themselves with the main types of dog cancers and how they are treated.
Most Common Cancers in Dogs
The most common types of cancer in dogs include:
- Canine lymphoma: Lymphoma can affect the lymph nodes, as well as the spleen, gastrointestinal tract, and bone marrow.
- Melanoma: Melanoma is found on the skin, particularly within a dog’s mouth.
- Mammary cancer: Mammary cancer affects the mammary glands.
Other common forms of cancer in dogs are mast cell tumors , bone cancer , and Hemangiosarcoma (a kind of cancer found in the heart or spleen).
The good news is that over half of all canine cancers are treatable if caught early.
Signs Your Dog Might Have Cancer
There are various signs that your dog might have cancer, but you need to schedule an appointment with the veterinarian in order to get a diagnosis. Some of the signs and symptoms of dog cancer include:
- Difficulty eating
- Sudden changes in weight
Keep in mind that some of these symptoms are also common in dogs with anxiety problems , or simply characteristics of dogs who are getting older.
Warning Signs for Dogs With Cancer
Some warning signs of cancer in dogs are:
- Lumps or bumps underneath the skin
- New odors coming from their mouth or ears
- Discharge from their mouth, eyes, or ears
- Abdominal swelling
- Wounds or sores that won’t heal
- Sudden weight loss
- Dramatic changes in appetite
- Difficulty breathing or coughing
- Depression or lethargy
- Bathroom habit changes
- Evidence of pain
If your dog shows any of these cancer warning signs, contact your vet immediately.
Diagnosing and Treating Your Dog
After your dog visits with their general veterinarian and the vet suspects cancer, the veterinarian can refer you to a veterinary oncologist who specializes in cancer care for pets.
They will provide further details about three main areas:
- How advanced the cancer is
- What kind of cancer it is
- What other health factors will affect the cancer
Then, they will help you make a list of possible treatment options.
You will need to consider factors like:
- How treatment will affect quality of life (chemotherapy is often the most effective, but it can be painful)
- How long your dog has left to live
- And any other concerns
As you’ll see, CBD is a great auxiliary treatment for dogs undergoing painful treatment regiments, or a way to improve the quality of life for pets whose owners decide extensive and invasive treatment isn’t the right option for an aging dog.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD or Cannabidiol is one of the better-known cannabinoids or natural compounds that occur in the Cannabis Sativa plant. CBD oil typically comes from the hemp plant . Once harvested, the CBD is extracted and mixed with an oil to result in the consistency you see in products today.
CBD Oil Vs. Cannabis Oil
Unlike Tetrahydrocannabinol(THC), CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t result in thedistinctive ‘high’ that most people associate with marijuana. For thisreason, as well as its ability to provide natural relief from a wholehost of pain and anxiety disorders, CBD is growing in popularity aroundthe world.
Despite growing popularity, CBD still suffers fromsomething of an identity crisis, with some people still people failingto make the distinction between CBD and marijuana. While it’s true thatCBD and marijuana do come from the same plant, the chemical makeup ofthe Cannabis Sativa plant means that the plants harvested for CBD andmarijuana have different properties. To produce CBD oil, a higher CBD concentration of CBD and minimal levels of THC are required, leading producers to favor the hemp plant.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS CBD OIL FOR DOGS WITH CANCER?
Like for humans, CBD and hemp oils have long been used in traditional communities to treat pain in dogs resulting from a range of illnesses including cancer and muscular injuries.
By interacting with the dog’s endocannabinoid system, the CBD can help to effectively manage many different types of pain . For this reason, CBD is growing in popularity as a tool to improve the quality of life in dogs or as a dual treatment method with more traditional therapies.
Supports Anti-Tumor Medication
A study found that mice had a increased survival rate when taking CBD with anti-tumor medication. CBD oil is natural with few side effects that disrupt the anti-tumor treatment, making it a safe supplement for your dog.
Reduced Cell Proliferation
For dogs with cancer , some studies have suggested that CBD can even lead to a process called cancer apoptosis , which is essentially the death of the cancer cells. It’s worth noting that CBD as a complete treatment method for cancer has not been proven and the research is in its very early days.
Natural, Cost Effective Pain Relief
Regardless, more traditional cancer treatment methods for dogs can be prohibitively expensive , costing anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 and can involve many of the same negative side effects as in humans, such as vomiting, and loss of appetite.
While more research is needed in this area to fully explore the potential of CBD to cure disease, it remains highly regarded as a form of pain relief .
May Improve Sleep
A study found that CBD oil is actually a wake agent that will help your dog stay awake during the day, so that it gets more restful sleep at night. But CBD’s mechanism for sleep modulation is still unclear and needs more testing to validate.
May Help with Nausea and Appetite
Unfortunately for most dogs with cancer the treatment leaves them nauseated and lacking an appetite. Some studies are starting to show the potential CBD has for relieving nausea, which will increase your dog’s appetite.
ARE THERE ANY RISKS of CBD OIL FOR DOGS WITH CANCER?
CBD use for dogs , like humans, poses minimal risk. The biggest risks that do exist stem from:
Some studies have found that CBD can reduce saliva production for dogs, which makes them more thirsty. This is a mild side effect.
Lower Blood Pressure
For some dogs, CBD can decrease blood pressure and can cause light-headedness. Talk to your vet to know your dog’s susceptibility to low blood pressure.
Some dogs can experience drowsiness when give too high a dose of CBD. It’s important to start your dog on a low dose to determine how your dog will react.
Lack of Regulation Surrounding CBD Products
Due to the lack of regulation, there are some products on the market that have not undergone adequate testing and not only contain negligible quantities of CBD, also contain higher levels of THC than you may expect. Use of these products may lead to THC toxicity in your dog. Essentially, they may get “high”.
As vets legally cannot prescribe CBD as a treatment option for pain or illnesses in dogs, many owners are effectively going in blind when choosing to dose their animals.
The most important thing when looking for a CBD product for your pet is to do your research. Look thoroughly at reviews and begin by testing a small amount to make sure the product is what it claims to be.