Hemp Oil for Dogs – Is It Safe?
One of the several beneficial chemicals found in Cannabis sativa is called cannabidiol, or CBD for short. CBD is similar to the other more popular chemical in cannabis, THC – without the psychoactive or intoxicating effects. In fact, hemp oil has reportedly contained as much as 0.4% of THC, and some don’t contain any THC at all. Comparatively, medical marijuana in the US contains THC levels of up to 15%.
Hemp oil (also known as CBD oil) is obtained from the cannabis plant using its leaves, stems, and flowers. It has been popularly known to alleviate several symptoms and ailments in both humans and dogs.
Benefits of Hemp Oil for Dogs
Research for hemp oil is currently ongoing with promising outcomes. We know that humans and dogs have an endocannabinoid system that affects many functioning parts of our bodies. The endocannabinoid system controls and regulates sleep, pain tolerance, inflammatory and immune responses, memory retention, eating, and emotional processing.
Cannabidiol is a cannabinoid, which explains the correlation between its use and its benefits on our bodies. While hemp has just begun to gain popularity, its medicinal aid has been used as a natural remedy to many common aches and conditions since 2737 BC.
The complete health potential of CBD is yet to be thoroughly discovered, but thus far, research has advocated for the treatment of epilepsy. The Epilepsy Foundation is a strong supporter of the research and use of hemp oil for the treatment of epilepsy.
Epilepsy can be a diagnosis for any dog, but there are some breeds with a genetic inclination. It can manifest itself as a loss of bladder and bowel control, violent shaking, uncontrollable chewing, stiffening of the legs, and stumbling. Seizures can last seconds or minutes and the dog is entirely unaware of what is happening.
Anti-seizure medication is typically the chosen treatment for epileptic dogs, but some still may require additional medical adjustments to avoid breakthrough seizures. After nine dogs were treated with cannabidiol and seven dogs were treated with a placebo, CBD clinical trials revealed that 89% of the cannabidiol-treated dogs had a reduction in seizure frequency. It can be interpreted that dogs who are treated with hemp oil can show a promising reduction in their seizure activity.
Hemp may be helpful in transiently aiding with the pain and inflammation caused by arthritis. This area requires a bit more research for human validity, but evidence strongly suggests cannabidiol reduces pain and inflammation in animals.
Osteoarthritis, or Degenerative Joint Disease, is a chronic inflammation of the joints due to cartilage deterioration in dogs. Cartilage is the cushion between joints that allows movement to be smooth and painless.
Without it, the full range of motion diminishes, and pain increases in these areas. Osteoarthritis can be problematic for all types of breeds, though some dogs are more susceptible to joint pains, especially those who are obese, large, elderly, injured, or malnourished.
Arthritis is a chronic disease and cannot be cured. The treatment for degenerative joints is simply supported and managed to keep the dog’s quality of life intact. Since a part of the endocannabinoid system controls pain and pain tolerance, it can be suggested that hemp alleviates the pain associated with arthritis and other chronic illnesses. Furthermore, a Cornell study found that dogs who took hemp oil showed to be “efficacious for pain in dogs with osteoarthritis, chronic joint pain, and geriatric pain and soreness; with dramatic beneficial effects in our more geriatric patients.”. This is due to the evidence that over 80% of their dog test subjects displayed compelling improvement.
Dogs experience anxiety just as humans do. All breeds can be affected, and each individual dog handles their anxiety differently and at different severities. Anxiety can be caused by fear of loud noises like thunder, and new stimuli from people, animals, items, and environments.
Some dogs experience separation anxiety when they are left alone or separated from their loved ones for any amount of time. Another type of anxiety comes with age as their cognitive functions begin to decline. This is similar to Alzheimer’s in humans, as they tend to become confused and overly anxious at stimuli they would otherwise be familiar with.
Anxiety-stricken dogs will be aggressive, depressed, and restless, and begin barking or growling excessively, panting, trembling, drooling, destroying their surroundings, or urinating in places they shouldn’t be. These can be isolated events, or they can become a regular reaction when their stressors manifest.
After a veterinary intervention, underlying conditions will be ruled out and a treatment plan can begin. This usually comes as training sessions to condition the dog to change its response to the triggering stimuli. Another plan of treatment is to desensitize them
to their trigger by introducing it to them at lower strengths to teach them to manage their anxiety. Scientific reports from the University of Western Australia noted that cannabinoids may be helpful in the reduction of aggressive behavior due to anxiety in shelter dogs. 24 dogs underwent testing, where 12 dogs were assigned to the “treatment” group, and 12 dogs were assigned to the control group. The treatment group was given olive oil fused with CBD and the control group was just provided with olive oil. Over 45 days, the treatment group showed diminished aggressive behavior toward humans.
How Hemp Oil is Used for Dogs
The industry of hemp oil has come up with various interesting ways to take CBD. One of the most versatile ways of exposure is from hemp oil. Oil is usually a carrier oil, like coconut, that is infused with cannabidiol in various strengths. It is safe for pets to use and is the most practical of all pet CBD products.
Directly By Mouth
CBD oil for dogs comes in different strengths that correspond best with the size of the dog and their underlying condition. Hemp oil comes in a bottle with a dropper, so the proper dosage can be measured and given to your dog properly. Taking hemp oil this way is faster acting as it directly enters the mouth and bloodstream. There are even different flavors of hemp oil that will give your dog more incentive to take it directly by mouth.
In Their Food
More stubborn dogs may prefer to have their hemp oil mixed in with their food or treats. You can drop the hemp oil on a hard treat and let it soak in before giving it to your dog, or you can put a drop into their water bowl. You can get as creative as you need to be to coincide with your dog’s needs and preferences.
In Their Shampoos
As a topical treatment, hemp oil can still support pain relief. Dogs can have hemp oil as it is dropped into their shampoos or conditioners to provoke a healthier coat, skin, and paws.
Always consult your veterinarian to see if hemp oil is right for your dog and follow the dosing requirements. Hemp oil is safe to use, federally legal, and consistently clinically tested in various forms. As a treatment and supplement, dogs can have an extra boost of comfort with their daily stressors and maladies with a daily dosage of hemp oil.
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