Seeing your four-legged best friend in pain has to be one of the worst experiences you can imagine. As our pawed pals get older they can develop tumors or cancer at a rapid rate and their overall health and wellbeing can decline quickly.
A lot of times there is simply nothing we can do to help them other than making them as comfortable as possible. But what if we could do more? What if we can make them feel more at ease? Let them live the rest of their lives in relative comfort and relaxation.
CBD for dogs 101
CBD is the most important active ingredient in the hemp plant (and the cannabis plant, for that matter). Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a natural compound that interacts in numerous ways with your body’s endocannabinoid system. While vitamin D is good for your immune system and vitamin E is good for your skin, CBD is good for inner balance.
There are three major types of CBD: full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate. Although the differences are small and subtle, they can make a big difference. Full-spectrum CBD includes all parts of the plant, the user gets CBD, THC, and terpenes. A full-spectrum CBD product contains less than 0.3% of THC. Broad-spectrum CBD contains most of the plant including CBD and terpenes, but no THC. For the last type of CBD, the isolate contains only CBD with no other parts of the plant, making it the purest form of CBD available.
The hemp plant contains a full range of active ingredients, each in trace amounts but still working to boost the powers of CBD. Many argue that it is the most effective form of CBD oil due to the extra active ingredients. The great part about CBD is that the product is being extracted from hemp plants, not marijuana plants. Containing less than 0.3% THC, there is no research that shows the product affects your dog's brain or body in a negative way.
Unlike full-spectrum CBD, the broad spectrum product contains only very trace amounts of THC… essentially zero. With other minor cannabinoids and terpenes working as active ingredients to support the CBD, it still is believed to activate the “entourage effect.” It does go through a process however to eliminate the THC making it less untouched than the full-spectrum option.
The final product, CBD isolate, contains purely CBD, so it must be processed more extensively. The processing gets rid of all the other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavones. Premium CBD isolate will be at least 99.99% CBD by dry weight.
How Do CBD Oils Help Dogs With Cancer?
It’s not yet known exactly how CBD affects dogs with cancer. There have been a limited amount of clinical trials done because of the legality of the product in most countries. One study in Canada worked to show the connection between using CBD and chemotherapy together to help fight dog cancer, looking specifically into bladder cancer.
An interesting fact that came from that study was the effectiveness of CBD on cancer proliferation across cancer cells. Unlike normal cells, cancerous cells don’t die when they become non-useful for the body; they spread and infect other cells, a process called metastasis. The combination of CBD and chemo showed that the cancerous cells were stopped from spreading as quickly and the process of killing the cells was more rapid. The dog's cancer treatment plan typically involves radiation therapy which can have negative side effects.
Conventional cancer treatments involve invasive treatment plans and can lead to discomfort. Many dog owners can't stand to think about their dogs in pain. Some of the most common dog cancer types are mammary cancer, bone cancer, and bladder cancer. In the study cited above, CBD treatment used in tandem with chemotherapy reduced viability and induced cell death in canine urothelial carcinoma cells in vitro.
CBD oil isn’t a cure for canine cancer and research has not demonstrated its effectiveness as a tumor inhibitor. However, many pet owners like to use CBD as part of their pet's dietary routine. This can include CBD dog treats, CBD oil for dogs, and other CBD products. Every pet owner is different with their preferences, they will have their best CBD oils, know what the CBD dosage should be and what their favorite CBD brand is.
Do Veterinarians Recommend CBD For Cancer Treatment in Dogs?
While some vets recommend CBD for dogs with cancer, it’s important to check with your personal vet before making any hasty decisions. Every vet will have a different opinion depending on their personal experiences with the product. With more research being done on the topic there is hope that there will be more clear signs of effectiveness.
Like any profession, there will be people who believe the more holistic approach to the problem is the better one. If you have an integrative or a holistic vet near you they are more likely to be familiar with the benefits of CBD and knowledgeable about how to optimize the use of CBD.
What Does CBD Do For Dogs With Cancer?
Recent studies from 2018 to the present show there may be a correlation between the potential of CBD oil and different types of cancer. Reducing cancer pain, improving appetite, and even fighting off some tumors have been shown in these studies. Another big and exciting part about the potential for CBD oil is the ability to reduce arthritis.
Will CBD Help With My Dog’s Cancer Pain?
Pain management is crucial in treating cancer in dogs and improving your dog's quality of life. There is no conclusive research on whether CBD can solve dogs’ pain due to the legality of the research.
Supplementing with CBD increases cannabinoids in the body and restores balance to the ECS system. CBD oils may appear to ease pain, anxiety, inflammation, nausea, and even seizures, which can all be side effects of canine cancer and cancer treatments.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Often Do I Give My Dog CBD Oil?
Before jumping into the highest dosage you can give your dog, it’s a good idea to start on the lower end of the scale and ease them into it. To start, give your dog one dose of CBD a day or every other day if you’re unsure. Some will benefit from multiple doses a day. The benefits of CBD typically kick in around an hour or two after ingestion. The most important part is to monitor your dog's behavior and reaction to the CBD. Journaling your dog’s response to each does is a good way to track dose-effectiveness if CBD oil.
Can Too Much CBD Hurt My Dog?
Medically speaking, you can give your dog too much CBD which would result in unwanted side effects without added benefit. Moreover, if a dog is on other medications, high levels of CBD could cause harmful drug-drug interactions.
Most pet owners should start with a smaller dose of CBD oil to see how it affects their dog. Our four-legged friends can only handle and process so much CBD at once. A study from the World Health Organization said that the most serious side effects will include extreme drowsiness, lethargy, stomach pain, and diarrhea.
A dog cramping in pain and leaving diarrhea all over the floor is a horrible outcome for a dog owner. It definitely can happen, and these types of side effects are indicative of giving a dog too much CBD.
How Does CBD Oil Make My Dog Feel?
Cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid receptors in the central nervous system, making the dog more internally balanced. The CBD oil helps relax your dog and can potentially help assuage some of the pain they are experiencing.
How Do I Know if CBD is Working For My Dog?
There are three signs to watch out for to tell if your dog's CBD is working properly. Hopefully, they will be moving around and more willing to stand up and walk around. The next sign is the dog's return to their normal verbal cues, if your dog has grown increasingly quiet as their pain increases they could start barking and howling more again.
The final sign is a relief in symptoms, as they return to their normal play and normal routines.