CBD for Dogs: Your Guide To A Healthy Pup

CBD, one of the biggest pet wellness trends of late, is becoming increasingly popular in pet products. But while CBD pet products can now be easily found with a simple click of the mouse, reliable information can be more difficult to locate. We’ve compiled answers to some of the most common questions surrounding pet CBD products along with useful information about administering CBD to your furry friend. Have a question? We are available to chat! (Click the little chat box in the bottom left hand corner of your screen.) 

* Always consult with your veterinarian before the use of CBD. While they may not be able to promote or suggest certain brands or even to take CBD at all, they can inform you about potential drug interactions and provide guidance in regards to dosage and side effects.

What is CBD? 

What is the difference between CBD and THC? Are they cannabis and marijuana?

Cannabidiol (CBD) has recently become a common alternative to more traditional remedies for ailments that range from skin issues to stress to chronic pain. CBD is a naturally occurring chemical compound that can be found in the cannabis plant. Cannabis is the umbrella termfor marijuana and hemp.

THC and CBD occur naturally in both marijuana and hemp plants, but there is much more THC in marijuana while CBD is more prominent in hemp. You’ve probably noticed that many pet CBD manufacturers use hemp and CBD interchangeably, and this is because hemp is the plant used for CBD.  

THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, is the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. CBD, on the other hand, is not psychoactive though it provides relief for many nerve-related issues. In other words, CBD will not get your dog high if there is no THC present.  

Is there a difference between CBD intended for pet use and human use? 

Both hemp and marijuana are plants in the cannabis family, but hemp is used exclusively for CBD in pet products because it lacks the psycho-active ingredient, THC. You can think of CBD as THC’s non-psycho-active cousin. There are small but important differences to take note of in case you’re wondering if you can give your dog CBD intended for human useThough CBD products for humans may include THC (the psychoactive ingredient), CBD products for pets generally do not contain any. In addition, CBD products for humans use solvents for extraction and products for pets use Co2 extraction. Some solvents may be safe for you but not for your dog, so keep that in mind while looking at labels.

The quality of pet and human CBD should not vary hugely, and is available in a variety of forms for both humans and animals. The most common form of CBD is oil, but for pets it is also frequently found in treats, supplements, and grooming products such as shampoos and balms.

What is CBG? 

You might have also heard about cannabigerolic acid, or CBG. Like THC and CBD, CBG is a compound that can be derived from the cannabis plant. CBG is like CBD in that it also lacks psychoactive properties. CBGA can be characterized as the parent compound of THC, CBD, and CBG. CBG is also not very abundant, with only trace amounts found in the plant (roughly about 1%). Here’s how it all breaks down:

So why use CBG if it’s similar to CBD and harder to attain? Just like how CBD and THC are alike but have different effects, some believe CBG might provide additional healing properties not available with CBD or THC.

Legal and Safe CBD 

Is CBD legal? How safe is CBD for dogs? 

CBD is very safe if obtained from licensed manufacturers. Pet owners should look for COAs (certificate of analysis) prior to purchasing pet CBD products. These certificates can be found on manufacturers' sites and will show testing results, including levels of THC (should be 0%), CBD (should be no more than 0.03%), as well as other useful information. You can conveniently access COAs for all Greenwell Pet products here.  

Most states have legalized hemp and CBD due to the 2018 Farm Bill, which allows the USDA to approve state proposed hemp production. It’s not legal in all states quite yet, as states continue to develop their individual plans and laws. It is likely that in the near future all states will legalize the production and consumption of hemp and CBD.  

It’s advisable to buy CBD from a trusted merchant within the US to assure that your CBD product has gone through independent testing and does not contain THC, which has more stringent regulations. Check your state’s laws before purchasing and consuming cannabis products because hemp and marijuana laws vary state to state. Greenwell Pet ships to the contiguous US and has acquired COAs for all products shipped to ensure the safety of your pets.    

While CBD itself is considered a safe product with minimal to no side effects, they can potentially interact with other drugs so be sure to inform and ask your vet if your dog is taking other medications.

Can you use dog CBD for humans? 

Humans can use pet CBD oils but it is not recommended that animals be given CBD intended for human consumption because of the difference in strength. Humans can take up to 10x more than animals, so it’s wise to use CBD oil intended specifically for pets. But conversely, because pet CBD oils are generally lower in CBD than human products, pet CBD oils are completely safe for human consumption.

CBD Uses for Dogs

CBD has a wide range of applications and comes in many different forms. Typically, the ailment will dictate the form of CBD your dog will need. For example, treats or oils are probably your best bet for internal illnesses or behavioral problems like aggression. Other issues such as hot spots and eczema will require topical creams or balms. Below are some of the most common uses of CBD for dogs.

CBD possess anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-itch qualities that can be beneficial for a variety of skin problems. In humans, it has been most extensively studied for use with eczema. In dogs, CBD may help with anything from seasonal dry skin to hot spots to more chronic issues like eczema. Many balms contain other ingredients such as coconut oil, which are pet-safe and can further soothe your itchy dog! Read more about how CBD can help with your dog's itchy skin here.

Dogs experience stress just like we do. And just like with humans, CBD can be useful for managing stressful situations for dogs as well. We all know how scary fireworks can sound to a dog or how nerve-wracking new pets and people can be.

CBD can be immensely helpful in reducing nervousness and is one of its most popular uses. But keep in mind that even though CBD may help symptoms and that it is still important to help your dog work through the root cause of their stress. Some causes are very specific and temporary (e.g. fireworks) and others are more long-lasting or potentially permanent (e.g. introducing a new pet into the home). CBD can be a great tool for managing stress and nervousness, but the latter scenarios especially will require your intervention for things that CBD cannot provide--a sense of safety, praise and reassurance, love, and a healthy dose of cuddles!

Joint health is one of the most common reasons for vet visits, with certain breeds at an increased risk for joint or cartilage disorders. Some breeds known to be predisposed to such disorders include: 

• German Shepherd 

• Golden Retriever 

• Labrador Retriever 

• Dachshund 

• Newfoundland 

• Bernard 

• Rottweiler 

• Great Dane 

• Mastiff 

• Old English Sheepdog 

• Bulldogs 

• Basset Hounds 

Studies have shown that CBD has been hugely effective for pain management related to joint pain. A recent Cornell study found that pet owners have turned to CBD because it can address multiple issues in addition to pain. Traditional drugs like NSAIDs or supplements that include glucosamine are still useful, but CBD can provide can help with other symptoms that may come with chronic pain such as depression and anorexia. Read more about how CBD can help with your dog's hip and joint pain here. 

CBD oil affects the endocannabinoid system, which is a lot like “a bridge between the body and mind” (Cannanine). Because CBD activates this system, it can be productive for simultaneously addressing both pain and aggression if you find that your dog is being aggressive in response to pain.   

As an outward expression of stress, aggression can be a natural canine response to threats to their basic survival instincts and needs. Whether they're being territorial due to a new environment, are feeling protective of their family, or are responding negatively to pain, CBD can help ease your dog’s aggression. 

It’s important to determine what the cause of your dog’s aggression is and if it’s physical or behavioral. CBD can help in both regards, but your pup will need you to make sure you are also tending to the larger issue at hand.

If you live with a dog, chances are you’re familiar with the shuffle of paws as your dog gets up to follow you whenever you move. For some dogs, this kind of restlessness can be pervasive enough to prevent them from getting good sleep. Other times, pain from an injury or an illness can keep them awake throughout the night.

The benefits of using CBD for sleep are twofold. It both induces sleepiness while addressing underlying issues that may be contributing to your pup’s poor sleep such as stress and pain. It can also be helpful for short-term restlessness--if your dog is feeling nervous after a night of fireworks, CBD could be the perfect remedy for putting your dog at ease.

Don’t see something listed? Chat with a representative to get more info.  

CBD Side Effects in Dogs

CBD is safe for human and animal consumption and only minor side effects have been reported. But as with everything else, everyone reacts differently. Case in point: Most people can be around animals without any problem. But some have allergies and others may have allergies to one kind of animal but not another. Simply put, you can never know how your dog might react even if it is a safe product. As is true with any new food or medication, start at a low dose, increase gradually, and monitor your dog for any side effects:

• Excessive lethargy or drowsiness

• Dry mouth 

• Low blood pressure

• Loose stool or diarrhea

There is no toxic dose of CBD, but if you are concerned, contact your vet or animal poison control immediately.

Dosage and Release Time  

Dosage is determined by weight and is roughly 1 mg/kg/day. However, because all dogs are different and individual response will vary, introduce CBD slowly as you would with anything new. Start with a lower dose such as 0.05 mg/kg/day and gradually increase the dosage while monitoring your dog for any negative side effects.

It is advisable that you check with your vet before using CBD products, especially if your dog is taking other medications to avoid any complications that might result from drug interactions.  

Will one form work slower or faster than others?  

The release time for CBD can vary widely even for the same dog and/or product, but generally takes effect within 30-60 minutes. Onset depends on a variety of factors such as tolerance, weight, dosage, and whether or not your dog has just eaten.

Edibles like treats or supplements will take longer than say, oil that is administered directly into your dog’s mouth. While all forms are safe, oils allow you to monitor how much you are administering more closely and accurately.  

We know the choices you have for CBD pet products in today’s market can be overwhelming! If you’re not sure where to start, here are some tips:

CBD Products for Dogs

Look for a COA

Manufacturers generally have certificates of analysis (COA) on their sites (like we do!). If not, they should be able to provide one at your request. Don’t be afraid to ask--all reputable manufacturers should be able to send you a COA if they don’t already have it on their page! COAs can provide a lot of valuable information such as what is in the product and in what quantities. CBD pet products should ideally include 0.03% CBD and minimal to no THC. Some will provide further details such as what other ingredients were used and what additional nutrients the product contains.

Buy organic

Be thorough about checking ingredients. If the product is not organic, look at the COA to make sure there are zero pesticides. Some other things to keep an eye out for are herbicides, fungicides, and additives.  

Pay attention to details

Some brands carry CBD products for both humans and animals, so be careful when purchasing to make sure that you are getting the correct one. Human CBD should not be given to pets for reasons listed in previous sections. To ensure success, also consider the instructions for how the oil, treat, or supplement is administered. You may realize that your dog is not partial to having a dropper in her mouth or her food but will happily scarf down treats!

Some popular and trusted brands include:  

 Honest Paws 

• Pet Releaf

• Petabis

• Holistic Hound

Greenwell Pet Box is a convenient way to get safe CBD products for your dog delivered to your doorstep! Greenwell Pet Box provides exciting pet wellness items that have been bundled so that we can offer you the best prices possible. All items in each box are from manufacturers that have had their products tested by independent labs. 

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