The AKC’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Jerry Klein, explains what CBD oil is, what it does for dogs, and its safety concerns and potential side effects.
If you and your veterinarian decide that you should try CBD as a treatment for your dog, there are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing CBD oil. Not all oils are the same; you’ll want high-quality CBD oil to have a better chance of it working.
What Is CBD Oil?
Currently, there has been no formal study 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.
The AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF) is sponsoring a study through the Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to evaluate the use of CBD in treatment-resistant epileptic dogs. The CHF hopes that this will be the first study to gain scientific data on the use of CBD in dogs with this condition.
While there’s no scientific data on the side effects of CBD usage for dogs, there are potential side effects based on how CBD affects humans. To minimize any potential side effects, make sure you are following the proper dosage.
The only negative effect noticed was an increase in alkaline phosphatase (ALP) during the treatment with CBD. Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is a liver enzyme, whose elevated levels indicate that something is irritating the liver cell membrane. Elevated levels of this enzyme are common in dogs — veterinarians only get concerned when the levels are too high. Extreme levels of ALP indicate that something is irritating or damaging the dog’s liver.
Medium/Large Dogs (30-60 lbs)
Notes & Dosage Instructions
Does CBD Really Work for Animals?
Another study published in 2019, found that CBD helps dogs with epileptic seizures. In the study, one group of dogs was given CBD in addition to seizure medication, and the other group was given a placebo together with seizure medication.
If you’d like to know more about how to correctly dose CBD oil for cats, dogs, and horses, check out our in-depth guide CBD for Pets.
When giving your pet CBD oil intended for humans, it’s important to remember that our furry friends are smaller and more sensitive to CBD. So, the dose should be much lower. A rule of thumb when giving CBD oil for human consumption is to go low and slowly increase the dose.
Here are the three main types of CBD oil for human consumption you will encounter:
ALP is alkaline phosphatase, which is a protein found in all body tissues.
Jeremy Feldman, co-founder of Pet-Ness, which sells hemp-derived CBD oil and chews for pets, said CBD oil can be given to pets by mouth, with food or treats, or even in water.
Despite hemp’s legalization, CBD oil is currently in a state of regulatory flux in the U.S. With this lack of current regulation of CBD oil, there’s a need for consumers to educate themselves about CBD oil products and manufacturers they are considering. In fact, certain studies show that many of the products on the market are falsely labeled. In one November 2017 study, researchers tested 84 CBD products from 31 companies and found that only 30.95% were accurately labeled with the correct amount of CBD.
Is CBD oil safe for dogs?
Stephanie McGrath, a veterinary neurologist at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, worked on the study.
Of course, considering the vast number of CBD oil products currently on the market – partially because of the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp production in the United States – an important aspect of giving CBD oil to your dog is finding a quality product. CBD oil can be derived from either hemp or marijuana, both of which are cannabis plants. Since marijuana is still illegal on a federal level, consumers are likely seeing many hemp-derived CBD oil products on the market. Marijuana-based CBD oil is legal in states that have legalized it for recreational or medical marijuana use.
“Although I have had people accidentally use 10 times the recommended dose with no side effects,” Morgan said, “the side effects would be more magnified in very small dogs, especially if using a very concentrated oil.”
But that hasn’t stopped pet owners from reaching for the CBD oil when their dog suffers from health issues like chronic pain from arthritis or anxiety from holiday fireworks. Additionally, due to CBD’s purported calming effects, some have also attempted to use CBD oil for hyperactive dogs, hoping to keep them relaxed in stressful situations.