We all love our dogs very much and want the best for them, just as we do for all our close family members! When it comes to wellness, more and more people are looking for natural ways to support their pet’s health and well-being. CBD for dogs can be a great natural supplement for your pet.
Under all that fur, dogs have a lot more in common with people than you might imagine. Just like humans, dogs have an endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex system within our bodies and within the bodies of all mammals, that makes chemicals called cannabinoids, completely independently of whether we use or have ever used cannabis.
The ECS appears to have many positive functions within the body that science is still trying to understand. What we do know is that it plays a major role in maintaining homeostasis. This means the ECS helps keep a body’s internal processes optimal and stable in the face of challenges. For this reason, CBD has the potential to be helpful to a dog’s health and well-being in the same ways that it can for humans. Our chews help to support a calm disposition; health of joints and connective tissue; and cognitive health.
What Is CBD?
CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol. It can be extracted from hemp plants or marijuana plants but is most often associated with hemp because hemp plants naturally contain higher amounts of this compound. Unlike the THC found in marijuana plants, CBD is non-intoxicating, so it does not affect or alter perception. By its legal definition, hemp must contain no more than 0.3% THC. In contrast to marijuana, hemp plants not only have higher levels of CBD, they are also naturally lower in THC. CBD is one of more than 80 cannabinoids and other beneficial plant compounds, such as terpenes and flavonoids, so far identified in hemp. Full-spectrum hemp extracts that contain CBD along with all these other plant substances are superior to single-compound extracts because the numerous plant compounds naturally combine to create what scientists have identified as an “Entourage Effect.” The Entourage Effect means that while CBD has its own benefits for the body, a full spectrum of compounds derived from the whole plant work together with the body’s own endocannabinoid system to create a wide variety of positive effects.
Benefits of CBD for Dogs
Supporting a Calm Disposition
We hate to see it, but we all know that frantic look in a dog’s eyes (assuming they aren’t already hiding) when fireworks are exploding outside, or there’s a thunderstorm wreaking havoc. Loud noises can make dogs afraid. Dogs are also pack animals, and when we leave them alone at home to go to work, or in the car while we run into the grocery store, they can get hyperactive and nervous because they don’t know when we’re coming back.
Noise and separation can be extremely distressing to you and your dog. Sometimes dogs get so upset they hurt themselves; consequences can also be destructive to your home and vehicle interior. Scientific studies show that CBD has a calming effect in humans as well as in rodents undergoing stress tests in the lab. Given that humans, rodents, and dogs have the same endocannabinoid system, it’s not unreasonable to expect that our functional chews for dogs help provide a sense of calm and helps with behavior that arises from stress.
Supporting the Health of Joints and Connective Tissue
As our canine buddies get older, their bodies can get grumpier. They might not chase after that ball as easily, and they may start to show signs that they’re in discomfort. As such, our chews can be helpful for maintaining joint health and flexibility.
A playful dog is a happy dog and maintaining your dog’s ability to get exercise over their lifespan will benefit your dog’s health and well-being (and your happiness) overall.
Supporting Healthy Cognition
Factors that impact brain health in humans are many and complex. Some studies suggest that a decline in endocannabinoid production might play a role. As dogs get older, it’s a good idea to pay attention to their brains! That’s why our chews for senior dogs, blended with our botanicals like elderberry, vitamin E, and DHA, can help maintain proper immune function and brain health, so our best furry friends can stay healthy in body and mind.
What to look for in CBD products for Dogs
Many pet parents are already using CBD for dogs to support their health and wellbeing. The Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association did a survey and found that out of 632 people, 72 percent said they used hemp (CBD) with their dog, and 64 percent reported that it helped in a variety of ways.
So, what should you look for to ensure you’re giving your dog the highest quality CBD products available? Here’s a checklist to help you make the best decisions when buying CBD for your pup.
- Transparent Ingredients: Trustworthy companies are transparent about the ingredients they use. Look for products from companies that follow current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). This will mean that their products have been made with safe ingredients in a clean, high-quality environment. Some CBD products for humans have been found to contain potentially harmful ingredients, such as synthetic marijuana, toxic solvents used in the extraction process, contaminants, or even pharmaceutical medications that aren’t listed on the ingredients panel. Be sure to look for products specifically formulated for dogs. Even without known toxins and contaminants, some ingredients in CBD products for humans, such as xylitol and grapeseed oil, can be toxic to dogs. Also research the reputation of the company you’re buying from, and make sure they provide information on their growing and extraction practices; independent third-party verification of THC levels and other substances; and serving guidance.
- Certificate of Analysis (COA): Many manufacturers of hemp extract products do their own in-house testing. In-house testing runs the risk of being biased, so companies that want to ensure purity and safety by providing the highest quality products will have their testing done by independent third-party labs. When testing is complete, the company is given a COA (we publish our own), which shows THC and CBD levels, and confirms the presence or absence of contaminants. Reputable companies provide the results of their third-party testing claims, often by making batch reports available online. If a CBD oil manufacturer does not provide a COA and accompanying lab results, it's in your best interest to avoid their products.
- NASC Certification: Is the manufacturer of CBD for your dog certified by the National Animal Supplement Council? The NASC Quality Seal enables consumers to make safe and empowered purchasing decisions when shopping for their pets. The seal is awarded only to manufacturers and suppliers that have successfully passed an NASC facility audit and comply with rigorous quality standards, including strict labeling requirements, real-time adverse event reporting, and random product testing by an independent lab.
- Full-Spectrum Hemp Extract: General consensus, anecdotal evidence, and scientific research all point to full-spectrum oils being more effective than CBD isolates. Full spectrum refers to hemp oil that contains all of the cannabinoids and compounds that are found in the original hemp plant, including essential nutrients, fatty acids, minerals, proteins, chlorophyll, fiber, flavonoids, and terpenes. Using full-spectrum hemp extract CBD products means your dog will get the benefits of both CBD and all the other whole-plant hemp compounds, which will work in concert for greater positive effects (this is the Entourage Effect we mentioned earlier). In addition, the effect of full-spectrum oils is more consistent than CBD isolates.
- Source of the Hemp Plant: Where hemp is grown can have an impact on the quality of the extract that comes from it. You should also know whether the soil where the hemp was grown is free of metals and minerals that might cause contamination. Keep in mind products from overseas are not subject to testing, so you might never really know what you are getting. For example, China-sourced CBD (which is common in the industry) is typically grown in contaminated soil. Hemp absorbs and concentrates toxins from the soil, and which may get transferred to the final product.
If the CBD oil you’re purchasing doesn't list information about where the hemp was grown, ask the seller or check the company's website to find that information. Keep in mind that manufacturers who use good growing practices will be happy to share this information with you. The ideal situation is when a company owns and monitors its supply chain of hemp plants.
- Extraction Method: Manufacturers of high-quality CBD oil primarily use one of two extraction methods: CO2 extraction and solvent extraction. CO2 extraction is also used in the food industry and is generally regarded as safe, when it is pure CO2 extraction without the use of solvents. The process entails using carbon dioxide to pull cannabinoids from the leaves and flowers of cannabis plants.
In contrast, cheaper, lower quality manufacturers use the stems and trimmings of a hemp plant, which contain lower concentrations of CBD, and so toxic solvents are needed to maximize the extraction process. Even though solvents can be removed from the extracted oil, residues may remain. With long-term use of such a product, these residues can accumulate in the body.
The highest quality CBD oils come from a pure CO2 extraction or are ethanol extracts.
You certainly don’t want to jeopardize your pet’s health, and it’s worth noting that higher priced oils usually mean higher quality and purity.
Best CBD Products for Dogs
CBD Oil Products
Dogs tend to absorb CBD a little differently from humans. CBD is best absorbed through your dog’s oral mucus membranes, which means you can give the CBD oil product orally.
CBD Dog Chews
CBD oil extracts in the form of chews can have other active natural ingredients that complement the CBD and taste yummy too.
In products designed to support a calm disposition, look for herbs known as “nervines,” which can be nourishing and soothing to your dog’s nerves. In our chews, these include valerian root, passionflower, and chamomile.
When looking to support your dog’s cognitive health, look for products that contain essential fatty acids and antioxidants. Ours include elderberry powder, DHA, EPA, and vitamin E.
When you’re looking to support the health of your four-legged pal’s connective tissue and joints, look for hemp extracts that also contain natural ingredients shown to support a healthy inflammatory response, as well as the health of the joints and bones. In our chews, ingredients include glucosamine, turmeric, and chondroitin.
How much CBD oil should I give my dog?
Dogs are more sensitive to CBD than humans, and so they typically need lower amounts. You should always start with a low serving size and then gradually build up to a higher amount if necessary, making sure your pup is able to tolerate it.
Some CBD products, like chews, are based on weight, and you should strictly follow the serving-size guidelines. Give your dog the CBD product consistently for 4-6 weeks for best results, because like with any dietary supplement, the consistency of a proper routine is key. To that end, try to give it to them regularly at the same time of day as well.
The amount of CBD used in dog studies has varied. The Cornell University study that looked at the effects of CBD on older dogs used 2.5 mg per kilogram. Remember, your dog is an individual and may need to go slow. And be sure to follow directions on the product label.
CBD is metabolized by the liver, as are many pharmaceutical drugs. If your dog is on any medications, consult with your holistic vet to make sure you’re both alert to any potential interactions.
Improving the Lives of Those Who Improve Ours
Here at Charlotte's Web, when it comes to dogs, we like to say that they're not pets, they're family, and you only give your family the best. Just like their humans, dogs—specifically, their endocannabinoid systems—can benefit from a full spectrum of naturally occurring cannabinoids as well.
We know there’s nothing you want more than to see your four-legged pal happy and healthy. That's why our hemp extract is nurtured and tested for quality, from seed to shelf to you. We want to ensure that just as their loyalty to you is unwavering, so is the quality of what we're producing and providing for them.
As we've illustrated here, high-quality hemp extracts can help dogs maintain wellness, whether at rest or at play. The benefits of such extracts can help support the calming, cognition, and hips & joints of our four-legged friends, especially as they age.
CBD for dogs functions in much the same way that it does in humans, so it's vital to maintain proper education around how it effects both. When buying CBD for your pet, it's important to be aware of the discrepancy between manufacturers in terms of quality and contents, among other things (which we've listed further above). Be sure to research each brand before purchasing and consult a veterinarian about CBD and your pet.
For more information on CBD, visit us at CharlottesWeb.com
Harvey DJ, Samara E, Mechoulam R. Comparative metabolism of cannabidiol in dog, rat and man. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. (1991) 40:523–32