CBD Oil For Dogs in Pain By Janice Jones |Updated 06-23-2023
Just within the last few years, there has been a proliferation of interest in CBD oil for people and dogs in large the result of media attention.
With so much information, how does the average pet owner make sense of it all? Information overload is not the only problem, it would seem that the number of companies selling the product has also skyrocketed. How does one choose?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis and hemp. The ingredient that gives the psychoactive properties in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
It is the THC in marijuana that causes the high, but hemp doesn’t contain it, and most of the CBD products on the market are made from hemp. For this reason, CBD is legal in all 50 states.
It is also safe for pets because it either does not include the THC or has such trace amounts as not to be harmful. Receiving all the medicinal properties without the euphoric feeling from marijuana is quickly changing the way we look at our pet’s health (and even our own)
According to Dr. Gary Richter, MS, DVM, a holistic veterinarian in California, CBD affects our own bodies, those of our pets, and for that matter, any animal that has a backbone. We have what is called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
This system is made up of a network of receptors throughout our body, chemical messengers, and enzymes.
The ECS acts as a regulatory system to keep everything in the body working correctly. Its function is to maintain many body functions such as memory, appetite, energy level, stress, pain, immune functions and more.
This system helps us survive in a stressful world. It promotes homeostasis (a state of equilibrium that optimizes the body’s capacity).
The endocannabinoids are chemicals that act as messengers triggering a variety of responses in the body. In a way, these chemicals work like neurotransmitters by altering how neurons and other cells communicate with each other.
These are the receptor cells that receive the endocannabinoids. They are found throughout the body, including the brain, skin, white blood cells, and other organs.
Enzymes can synthesize and degrade cannabinoids. The fatty acid, amide hydrolase, and the protein, monoacylglycerol lipase are the enzymes involved in this process.
When the endocannabinoid system is working well, the body is functioning correctly, but if it is thrown out of balance, our bodies become susceptible to inflammation, disease, and infection. This is where CBD Oil for dogs in pain come into play.
The remarkable thing about CBD is in its ability to enter cells and modulates a wide range of these receptors, that are responsible for a wide range of body functions.
For example, when CBD activates specific serotonin receptors, it can have an effect on mood, appetite, pain, sleep, nausea, and vomiting. This can translate into a number of dog related problems that include anxiety, pain from arthritis, and GI upset.
CBD can also activate a group of receptors called peroxisome proliferator-activated gamma receptors, (PPAR gamma)which can have an effect on cancer cells and the amyloid plaques that are found in Alzheimer’s disease.
Now that we know how CBD works in the body, it is easy to see how it can have such a widespread effect on the body.
Much of the research done on CBD oil has been sponsored by the U.S. government and targets people. Since the ECS is found in our dogs too, it’s not surprising that the same results would be found in our dogs.
There’s also is plenty of anecdotal evidence that this herb is helping our dogs as well.
To make a long story short, the Project CBD lists many uses for the compound that covers nearly every system in the body:
Autoimmune diseases (inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis)
Neurological conditions (Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Huntington’s chorea, stroke, traumatic brain injury)
Metabolic syndrome (diabetes, obesity)
Neuropsychiatric illness (autism, ADHD, PTSD, alcoholism)
Gut disorders (colitis, Crohn’s)
Cardiovascular dysfunction (atherosclerosis, arrhythmia)
Skin disease (acne, dermatitis, psoriasis)
It is mind-boggling to think that one substance can have such far-reaching benefits not only to our dogs but to us.
To add to the list, Helena Miles from Greencamp adds to the list of benefits of CBD to dogs.
I wanted to discover how well CBD oil worked on Cushing's Disease and chronic pain in my dog, Helda, my ten-year-old English Bulldog. For simplicity, though, we’ll cover Cushing’s Disease in another post and stick with the pain issue here.
How did I know she was in pain? There are telltale signs that can alert a dog parent that her furbaby is not feeling well.
I was noticing some signs that suggest my dog was suffering from arthritis, and it was later confirmed by my vet. Here's a short list of signs a dog is in pain:
Traditional vets will often prescribe Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, to reduce joint pain and improve mobility. Two of the more common NSAID's prescribed for dogs include Rimadyl (carprofen), and Deramaxx (deracoxib)
Aspirin can be used for short periods but should not be the drug of choice for a chronic condition. Never give a dog Tylenol.
Painkillers such as Tramadol may also be prescribed and act somewhat like opioids. Tramadol has some nasty side effects and must be followed exactly as prescribed.
Steroids are another option but cannot be relied on for long term use.
There are also several supplements available that can help reduce inflammation and protect cartilage. Two of the most common are glucosamine and chondroitin. Sometimes these two supplements are found in dog food.
There are other natural substances that some pet owners find helpful, including Comfrey, Frankincense, Yucca, and Tumeric. Over the years, we’ve tried most of them, and some worked better than others. But I was interested in something natural that didn’t have any side effects.
As you might have already guessed, I decided to try out CBD oil to determine if I could observe any improvement in her quality of life. I was skeptical at first.
CBD oil is one of those products and subjects that is trending high on Google, Social media sites, and other search engines. A product that could create that much buzz, and help so many different ailments sounded too good to be true, but then I tried it myself and was very surprised.
Most CBD oil for dogs comes in either a liquid tincture form, a capsule, topical or as part of a treat.
Dog Treats are often the easiest to use. As long as the dog loves the taste of the treat, the CBD is already measured within the treat, and all the pet parent needs to do is to read the package direction. This method is handy for the pet that will eat anything.
Topical creams can be applied directly to the skin of a dog suffering from allergies, skin problems, rashes, or even on dogs suffering from pain. They are often available in products with more than one ingredient.
Capsules are easy to administer. You just give it as you would any medication, or you can hide in a treat such as peanut butter or cheese.
Tinctures come in a bottle with a dropper. For the most accurate dosage, this is the way to go. They are also considered the purest form and may come with other ingredients. It is absorbed immediately and work faster than other types.
I always recommend you consult your vet before beginning any new supplement, so that is what I did. Dr. Thorson from Boston Heights Veterinary Hospital assured me that the CBD oil for dogs in pain would not interfere with the medication she was currently taking for Cushing's Disease. It was safe to give it to her twice a day, which we began doing.
Here's Helda doing what she always does before starting her on the CBD oil.
From what I learned while doing the research for this article, not every CBD oil is created equally. In fact, they can vary widely. Helda used the CBD oil produced by EVMT, 3in1 Full Spectrum Oil For Dogs
• Human Grade Ingredients
• GMO Free
• Made in the USA
• Contains Terpenes and Terpenoid Compounds
• Bacon Flavored
• Also includes Omega 3 – 6, Vitamin E
Terenoic compounds are naturally occurring organic compounds that work together with CBD to create what is known as the entourage effect, or synergy between the two substances improving the odds of a better outcome than if used separately. They add to the flavor and aroma but do much more.
Helda is the type of dog that will eat anything, so getting the tincture in her was not a problem. We chose to add it to a treat initially, but by the second week, she was licking it off the plate.
We had accomplished the first hurdle, would she eat it? The dosage on the bottle suggests 1 drop per 2.2 lbs. (1 drop per kg.) and you can dose one to three times daily.
Helping a 60-pound move around is not easy. Before beginning the CBD, she slept most of the day and night, only moving long enough to go outside, eat and drink.
She spent most of her time at my feet as I worked and managed to climb on the sofa to sleep at night only some nights. When it seemed too difficult, we’d find her in the morning lying on the tile floor.
The introduction of an orthopedic dog bed helped some, but over about six months, we witnessed her slowly going downhill.
Week one: We saw a slow improvement in her ability to walk outside. She asked to go more frequently and spent more time slowly moving around the yard. Her appetite improved, and she seemed more alert, demanding more attention, and would not accept “no” for an answer.
As a bulldog, she was always calm, but in later years she became, in my opinion, a crotchety old lady. By the end of the first week, she was allowing some of the other dogs in the household to snuggle up with her.
Week two: By now, we saw some definite improvement. Her movements were quicker, and it took less time to get her through the door and out to the yard. Half-way through the week, we couldn’t find her resting in her usual place.
Panicked, I started searched everywhere. It turned out that Helda had decided to go upstairs and climb in my bed for a nap. For a dog that hadn’t done steps for over a year, that was a fantastic accomplishment.
Week three: We wondered if we had seen all the improvement that was possible based on her age and severity of her health conditions.
We'll never restore a ten-year-old English Bulldog with Cushing's and Severe arthritis to that of a spunky puppy again, but just seeing her move around and enjoy life again gives us hope. I can't tell whether it was the CBD Oil in the product or the Omega 3-6, Vitamin E or the Terpenoid compounds found in the 3in1 Full Spectrum Oil for Dog Product that she's been on for 4 weeks now, but the combination has certainly made a big difference in her quality of life.
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