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WeedmapsNews Science & medicine

Are CBD treats good for your dog?

April 26, 2019   3:57 pm PDT | Updated 3 months ago

We've heard about how humans are using cannabidiol (CBD) for therapeutic purposes, but what can this non-intoxicating cannabinoid offer to man's best friend?

Dogs — just like humans, cats, horses, and all other mammals — have an endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is  a system of receptors and endocannabinoids that help to maintain the health of an animal. Studies show that when cannabis molecules interact with the receptors in the ECS, cannabinoids such as CBD can provide therapeutic effects for a variety of ailments.

“CBD has all of the same medical benefits in animals as it does in people. It's an anti-inflammatory, it can be helpful for pain, it has some anti-cancer properties, it can be helpful from an anxiety perspective, it can have anti-seizure properties,” said Gary Richter, veterinarian, author, and owner of Holistic Veterinary Care in Oakland, California. “All of those same things that a person might use CBD for, it can also potentially be used similarly for animals.” 

Are CBD treats good for dogs?

There are a number of purported benefits to giving CBD to dogs, and some pet owners swear by the remedial qualities of this non-intoxicating cannabinoid. One study, published in the Journal Pet Behaviour Science in April 2019, found that CBD oil reduced the frequency of seizures for some canines suffering from epilepsy.

Due to the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD, it has also shown promise as a treatment for older dogs with arthritis and chronic pain. Because dogs have an ECS that functions similarly to other mammals, including humans, the anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, and other beneficial properties of CBD provide the same potential therapeutic benefits to canines as it does to humans.

What are the best CBD dog treats?

If you're considering administering CBD to your dog, you may prefer to make your own treats in order to better control the amount of CBD oil administered to your pet. We also recommend  knowing the source of the CBD oil being infused into your dog treats. This is something that homemade treats from a reputable, pet-friendly brand would allow

You should not, under any circumstances, give your dog CBD products that contain over 0.3% THC, which is the legal limit that industrial hemp is permitted to have in theUS. Avoid administering any kind of CBD that is made for human use, especially if it's derived from cannabis instead of hemp to avoid the risk of your dog getting stoned sick. 

To be extra cautious, find a CBD oil producer that provides a testing analysis, preferably through a third party if possible. This way, pet owners can be certain that their CBD oil doesn't contain potentially intoxicating levels of THC or other ingredients that could be harmful for dogs to consume. For those who prefer to give their dogs CBD treats without making a mess in the kitchen, purchasing pre-made CBD treats for dogs is another option.

“The CBD market being what it is these days, it can be very difficult for the consumer to be sure that what they're buying is actually what it says on the label,” Richter said. “There are a lot of products out there that are not necessarily exactly what they're labeled to be. It's important the people are buying from reputable companies, that people are checking certificate of analysis, and so on.”

“When giving your animal a cannabis product, it is important to ensure that the product has been specifically formulated for pets. The ratio of CBD to THC is an important factor, as well as the total number of milligrams per dose,” said Kate Scott, registered veterinary technician and chief operating officer of VETCBD, a pet-friendly CBD oil producer.  

How long does it take CBD treats to kick in for dogs?

There's no denying that dog treats will make any eager pooch wag its tail with excitement, but is this edible format the most effective method for treating dogs with CBD? But while dog treats may be the most happiness-inducing way to give a dog CBD, Richter believes that the best thing to do is directly administer CBD oil into your dog's mouth. 

CBD treats for dogsGina Coleman/Weedmaps
Edible treats are also available, but humans should check to make sure the treats don't contain THC and the companies run their products through lab testing.

“I think it's worth saying that CBD administered as an oil that's given directly orally is probably better absorbed than it is when it's eaten and has to be absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract,” he said. 

Nonetheless, hemp-derived, pet-friendly CBD oil presents pet owners with an opportunity to bring joy and comfort to their dog's lives. Dosing and time of onset for CBD in pets is similar to humans. Usually, you can expect CBD treats to kick in in about 30 - 45 minutes depending on the size of your dog, while orally administered oil starts a little sooner at 15 - 25. 

Any pet owner who is considering CBD oil for their pup should consult with a veterinarian. While most veterinarians in the United States are not allowed to recommend or sell CBD to clients, they are technically allowed to discuss it. 

“My primary recommendation for people would be to talk to your veterinarian,” Richter said. “As of January 1st of [2019], veterinarians are allowed to “discuss” the use of cannabis with their client. For example, if someone came into see me and wanted to talk about CBD for their pet, I'm legally allowed to discuss it. That would be my best recommendation.”

Featured image by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps