The fastest growing health trend for both humans and pets in 2019 is CBD Oil. Perhaps you have seen it on the shelves of your local pet boutique or even at your vet’s office.If you have a mobility impaired or senior dog, you may be wondering if this is just another passing fad, or if there is any science to support its use. Of course, you want to do all you can for your pet. But you also don’t want to waste your money or risk your beloved pet’s health.It turns out that CBD oil, also known as cannabidiol or hemp oil, has been extensively researched. This article will give you a basic primer on what CBD oil is, how it works, and what sorts of health benefits it may offer your dog.What is CBD Oil? CBD Oil is derived from a special strain of cannabis known as hemp. You may be thinking: “Wait. I thought marijuana was toxic to dogs.” You are right to have this concern. Strains of cannabis grown for recreational and medical use in humans usually contain high amounts of THC, a psychoactive compound that is toxic to dogs in large doses.
However, hemp is special. This strain of cannabis is regulated by law to contain less than .3% of THC, far too small an amount to harm your pet when hemp oil is properly dosed.Hemp is high in another cannabinoid found in hemp: Cannabidiol. This compound is not psychoactive, and it won’t get your dog high. But it does have several scientifically researched health benefits. This article will explore those most relevant for our senior and disabled canine companions.The Endocannabinoid System The use of cannabis for its medicinal qualities goes back centuries. However, the scientific exploration of the healing qualities is much more recent. The last few decades in particular have been marked by a surge in laboratory studies on tissues, animals, and humans.One of the biggest breakthroughs was the discovery of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) in the early 1990’s. It turns out that this system acts with a series of receptors, transmitters, and specialized enzymes to regulate several bodily functions including: metabolism, immunity, digestion, skin health, allergic reaction, anxiety, and more.Many people think that it sounds like a scam when they see that CBD oil may have so many health benefits, however, it is precisely because the Endocannabinoid System regulates so many other functions in the body that it can have a broad stabilizing effect on these same systems.Your dog, like all mammals, has her own (ECS). In addition to producing her own endocannabinoids, her ECS responds to the introduction to cannabinoids such those found in hemp oil. These can be introduced via food, supplements, and even when applied topically.Can CBD Oil Help My Disabled or Senior Dog? CBD oil may play an important role in a vet approved plan for your dog’s health. Especially in canines who suffer from mobility issues, persistent pain and inflammation, or chronic conditions that often come with age such as arthritis.Let’s take a closer look at some of the science:Pain Management For many disabled and senior dogs, pain management is a key component of treatment to maintain quality of life. Pain can be caused from injury, surgery, and chronic and progressive disease such as IVDD, hip dysplasia, and arthritis. Reducing pain is important for your special needs dog’s quality of life.Generally, pain management will include prescription medications such as opioids. Although these medications are very effective, they also come with serious side effects. Side effects include chemical dependence, long term liver damage, and the potential for a lethal overdose. On the other hand, the natural supplement cannabidiol has been demonstrated in multiple studies to be effective in reducing pain. Inflammation is a significant source of pain for many of our handicapped and older dogs suffering from chronic conditions. Typically, these conditions are treated aggressively with NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).Unfortunately, this class of drugs has come under recent controversy concerning the safety of their use, particularly for immune compromised and aging dogs. This is particularly a concern for long term pain management. These drugs are well known to cause various issues in the gastrointestinal tract and the functions of the livers and kidneys. In fact, renal failure and death are risks of the long term use of this class of drugs.
Confirmed by multiple research studies, we now know that cannabidiol exerts powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Occurring when taken either orally and when applied topically to the affected areas of the skin. One study showed that CBD is so effective against the inflammation caused by Osteoarthritis that it may even slow the progression of this degenerative disease by preventing the nerve damage caused by inflammation! And, its safety profile is strong with fewer and less severe known side effects.Reduce Pain Medications In fact, CBD Oil is thought to enhance the activity of opioids and NSAIDS. Making it possible to reduce the dose of these powerful narcotic drugs for some dogs without compromising on quality of life. This is great news for dog owners looking to avoid complications from long term use of either of these drug classes. It certainly warrants a conversation with your veterinarian! As our dogs age, they begin to show less interest in activities they once enjoyed. Daily walks, a jaunt to the dog park, a swim in the pond. It is heartbreaking to watch the process unfold, and of course we all want to prolong our canine companion’s mobility as long as we can.Because it can address both pain and inflammation, CBD Oil may help to improve your aging dog’s mobility. In fact, one study done on dogs showed that 2mg of CBD administered twice daily improved mobility for dogs affected with Osteoarthritis. Although CBD Oil is available without a prescription, always talk to your veterinarian before giving it to your dog. This is especially important since CBD oil can interfere with the metabolism of other drugs your canine may need for proper treatment.You may have been told to not eat grapefruit at the same time you take medications. The chemicals in grapefruit can temporarily inhibit cytochrome P450 enzymes in the liver which are critical for metabolizing these medications. Cannabidiol can have a similar inhibiting mechanism so timing your dosing may be very important.
Made just for dogs: Avoid products made for people which can include flavorings and other ingredients that can be harmful for canines.Organic sourcing: Refined hemp oil can contain harmful pesticides and herbicides routinely used in industrial hemp farming.