The use of CBD for pet ailments instead of pharmaceuticals is rapidly increasing.
“Why would anyone, human or pet, want unnecessary chemicals in their bodies when there is an herbal solution that is far better without the side effects,” says Christy Marsing, who sells CBD products online throughHempworx.
Marsing started working in the hemp industry in 2001 while working for a hemp-based hair care product company.
“Since then, I have exponentially expanded my knowledge and history of this amazing plant and how it can help all mammals,” says Marsing, who joined the company a year ago when her corgi was suffering from Canine Cognitive Dysfunction. “Since then my business has grown and I am passionate about educating the public.”
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis and hemp. In most cases, CBD does not contain delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound that gives marijuana its psychoactive properties, according to Dr. Jerry Klein, chief veterinary officer with the American Kennel Club.
“In fact, most CBD products are derived from hemp and not from marijuana,” Klein says.
According to the AKC, no formal study is currently available on how CBD affects dogs. What scientists do know is that “cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid receptors located in the central and peripheral nervous systems, which help maintain balance in the body and keep it in a normal healthy state,” AKC reports.
“CBD or hemp products for pets are extremely helpful,” says Terri Ellen, a pet nutritionist and owner of Bed and Biscuit in Salem. “Dog treats or CBD oil in coconut oil work wonders for the anxious dog or cat. It helps with inflammation and pain and can offer some help with seizures and cancer.
“It’s best to purchase CBD products made specifically for pets at your smaller local pet supply store,” she adds. “They are much more apt to have researched the brands and are knowledgeable enough about them to answer your questions.”
CBD is quite safe for dogs as long as it’s administered correctly, says Cyndi Michael with HempStars, a small family-owned business in Keizer.
“There are many ‘fake’ products out there,” she says. “They use the term ‘hemp extract oil’ which can be used for many different things and doesn’t necessarily mean that the product contains CBD. Hemp extract can be from hemp seeds, which has no CBD in it, although it is great for skin and hair.”
Hemp extract can also come from leaves and stems which contain very little CBD, she says.
“We make all of our own products from concentrated CBD oil purchased from licensed hemp processors,” she says. “It’s all lab tested to ensure quality and accurate dosing.”
Before choosing a product, Michael advises to check the milligrams of CBD in the product.
“HempStars Pet Oil is made with only two ingredients, MCT oil and CBD oil,” she says. “The size of your pet and the ailment you are treating will help determine the dosing. We have a recommended dosing chart right on the packaging.”
Marsing also advises reading product labels.
“Make sure it says CBD,” says Marsing, whose products are THC free and use American grown seed. “Make sure it’s organic. Make sure it’s non-GMO.
Also, make sure it is unflavored or a flavor that is suitable for pets.”
Marsing also says to be consistent in servings – every day or twice a day.
“This supports the endocannabinoid receptors in your pet and allows their cells to heal from the inside out,” she says. “It’s not an ‘aspirin’ solution. You may increase the serving slightly for situations of added anxiety, but using it consistently will give the best results.”
Tralain Benner of Mama T’s Pet Products says CBD has shown to be very effective in treating many doggy ailments: seizures, arthritis, pain and inflammation, anxiety, allergies, focus for training, helping with grooming, and more.
“CBD oil, or tincture, is the most effective method for pets,” says Benner, who concentrates sales online. “Second is treats. Topicals can be used on their skin, but it is the least effective method of administration.”
According to Dr. Klein, CBD is also used because of its anti-inflammatory properties, cardiac benefits, anti-nausea effects, appetite stimulation, anti-anxiety impact, and for possible anti-cancer benefits, although there’s no conclusive data on this use. Always check with your veterinarian first before using a CBD product, the AKC advises.
“The side effects are similar to the side effects in people,” Michael says. “Dry mouth, tremors, low blood pressure, lightheadedness, and drowsiness.”
If any of these are noticed, Michael advises cutting back on the product dosage.
“If you give too much, especially in a toy breed, they may vomit,” Marsing says. “In that case, give it a day or two. Back way off of the serving size and try again.”
Ellen adds that most pets, if given too much, will just take a nap for a while, “which could be a good thing.”