CBD For Dogs by Vitality

CBD for dogs, according to numbers released by the Canadian Animal Health Institute and collected by Kynetec, there were approximately 8.2 million dogs in Canada, living as household pets in 2018. That number is up from statistics released in 2016 and, as it increases, the need for veterinary services increases as well.

As seen in the above chart, Canadians seem more concerned with their family pets’ well-being than they do about veterinary costs; however, there is an increasing demand for affordable and safe holistic remedies as well. CBD oil for dogs is one of those alternative remedies and it is proving to be a very effective and inexpensive (when compared to vet bills) solution for a dog’s overall wellness.

CBD has a great many benefits for humans, ranging from cancer fighting properties, relief from chemotherapy side effects, chronic pain relief, seizure control, cognitive function enhancement, as well as mood, anxiety and depression moderation. CBD has also been used as an effective treatment for epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Huntington disease, Parkinson’s and a growing list of other serious illnesses. This is due to CBD’s interaction with the endocannabinoid system, which is a complex system of nerve receptors located in the brain, organs and central nervous system. Dogs, in fact all vertebrates, have the same endocannabinoid system as humans. As such, the varied benefits of CBD found to emerge in humans, can also be expected in dogs. Benefits of CBD for dogs include, but are not limited to:

Treatment of seizures and epilepsy

Chronic pain and arthritis relief

Reduction of stress and separation anxiety

Boosting of appetite 

Inflammatory disease control

Cancer fighting and prevention

Neurodegenerative disease support

Cardiovascular disease support

Autoimmune disease support

CBD oil is a phytocannabinoid, meaning it is a cannabinoid that is produced by plants but there are other cannabinoids that are produced naturally by the endocannabinoid system inside our body. It is important to understand that endocannabinoids are created inside of dogs, cats, horses and humans, because it helps explain how cannabidiol (CBD) works to treat symptoms. 

The endocannabinoid system is the largest network of nerve receptors in the central nervous system in all vertebrates and produces the two known cannabinoids present in our body, anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol, or 2-AG. Endocannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 are located in several different areas of the body, with CB1 receptors being concentrated mainly in the brain but also in the liver lungs, and, kidneys while CB2 receptors are located in the stomach, liver, kidneys, bones, blood vessels, lymph cells, endocrine glands and reproductive organs. 

Anandamide and 2-AG, the body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids, are very important, as they are neurotransmitters. Among its most important functions, the ECS is responsible for physiological processes like mood, pain perception, appetite, emotion, and memory but that just scratches the surface. Cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids, including THC, interact with our endocannabinoid system and help to modulate nerve receptors in an effort to restore homeostasis or balance in our nervous system. CBD also disrupts the life cycle of anandamide and 2-AG by slowing their uptake into the system, creating overproduction of cannabinoids and increasing their effects. 

Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC also interacts with the endocannabinoid system but it does so in a different way than other cannabinoids. THC, which is also the psychoactive component of marijuana, is able to attach to nerve receptors directly, unlike CBD which has to use anandamide and 2-AG as a vehicle to enter the ECS. THC attaches to the receptor and is able to affect how it sends signals to the brain, in effect, turning off the receptor. This is one of the reasons that THC fights pain as well as it does because it essentially masks the pain at the site, rather than intercepting or altering signals.

CBD oil for dogs acts exactly as it does in the human body, supplying naturally produced cannabinoids that travel throughout the ECS. This helps explain the recent growth of the CBD oil market for dogs and other pets in recent years. When owners are faced with serious ailments such as cancer, neurodegenerative disease, autoimmune disease and chronic pain that accompanies arthritis in the hip joints of many large breed dogs, they generally have nowhere to turn but veterinary care. Long term treatment of these ailments can often be extremely expensive and on-going, so it is important for owners to have access to relatively inexpensive, yet highly effective treatment solutions. If CBD oil and other natural, holistic remedies for dogs are not sourced, owners are often forced to deal with the alternative to costly treatment, which is to have the dog euthanized. As most owners consider their dogs and cats to be members of their family unit, this option is usually a last resort and can be very traumatic for all involved.

CBD oil for dogs gives new hope to owners around the globe. CBD oil has many health benefits for dogs and while it may only be in an owner’s long term treatment plan for one ailment, it usually works to combat other troublesome symptoms that may not have been originally considered, like separation anxiety, lack of appetite and inflammation causing localized pain in dogs. The residual health benefits of CBD oil for dogs along with that lack of  side effects it produces, makes it the perfect alternative to pharmaceutical medications and vet visits.

Sourcing CBD oil for dogs has become much easier for owners with the recent growth of the CBD oil industry for human use. CBD oil products can be found online and in local dispensaries but not all CBD oils for dogs are manufactured with the same scientific ingredients and processes. CBD oil is becoming very popular and with that comes supply and demand issues. The largest CBD oil producers can extract and package thousands of units a week but smaller fringe companies can’t. In fact, some smaller companies don’t even have an extraction facility at all and simply purchase full spectrum CBD oil or CBD isolate from one of the major extractors, blend their own products and label them as their own. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as quality CBD oil products and carrier oils are used in the blending process. As demand goes up, so does the need to get products in the hands of consumers. This often steers smaller companies towards less expensive and lower quality products, which in turn deteriorates their products quality and potency. 

When looking for top quality CBD oil for dogs, consumers should look for key attributes. Purchasing from a company that controls the entire “seed to table” process, meaning they use biomass produced from non-GMO, industrial hemp plants, grown 100% organically on farms that they own themselves or ones contracted to grow their specific, quality controlled strains, is recommended. It is best to source CBD oil from companies that use ISO7 laboratories, using scientifically controlled, supercritical CO2 extraction methods. They should have their products tested by a certified third party laboratory to ensure content and potency levels. Companies who have gone to this expense, should also be proud enough of their products to package them in a standardized manner, with ingredients, potency and volume all stated clearly and concisely.

Although there are other CBD oil products for dogs, pet owners should always look for products that contain full spectrum CBD oil. Full spectrum CBD oil is the most complete CBD product you can buy. It contains the 90+ cannabinoids and all the terpenes found in the industrial hemp plant. As the 0.03% level of THC contained in full spectrum CBD oil is not a concern for dogs, owners are able to reap the benefits of the entourage effect that comes from the interaction between cannabinoids and terpenes inside the body. Certain terpenes are responsible for helping CBD and other cannabinoids be taken up into the ECS, while others have medicinal properties of their own, adding to the overall effectiveness of the CBD oil.

Keep in mind that a veterinarian should always be consulted before starting any long term treatment plan. All medicinal products, whether it be CBD oil or a pharmaceutical, have side effects and interactions that should be known and understood at the outset.

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