CBD is being touted around the world as the new wonder drug for pets, able to help naturally improve and even cure pain associated with joint disease and cancer, helping to reduce stress and anxiety. Are these claims really true, or is this the modern equivalent of snake oil being sold to hopeful pet owners? CBD is an all natural chemical that has the potential to change the way people, and pet owners alike, approach common health issues. Taking what is known about CBD, and combining it with the few completed informal studies, pet owners will be able to make better informed decisions when it comes to giving CBD to their pets.
What Exactly Is CBD?
It seems the world has exploded with CBD products since Colorado legalized marijuana in 2012, with CBD products for humans and pets flooding the market. While most people understand what marijuana is, many have questions surrounding CBD. So what exactly is it? CBD is technically called a Cannabidiol, which is part of the Cannabis family, just like marijuana, and impacts the way one’s endocannabinoid system functions.
However, unlike marijuana, CBD does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the chemical found in the plant that gives people the "high" they experience. Instead, CBD just helps the body maintain homeostasis, making it an excellent option to help with pain and anxiety for humans and animals. The chemical CBD can be derived into several different forms, and many CBD options for pets can be found as creams, oils, capsules, or even embedded into yummy treats for your pets to enjoy.
What Can CBD Help With?
CBD for pets may be able to help with a number of different ailments that impact both cats and dogs. Although the medication is still new, promising research has shown great results with CBD helping to reduce pain and anxiety in pets. Some common ailments CBD may be able to help with include:
- Pain associated with hip and elbow dysplasia
- Cardiac Diseases
- Appetite Stimulant
In addition, CBD may have anti-cancer properties, but these are still under scientific development requiring proper research. CBD also has anti-inflammatory properties which can make this an excellent choice for cats and dogs that have been injured, or are recovering from an injury.
Choosing From Capsules, Creams, and Oils (oh my!)
CBD for pets comes in a variety of different forms, all safe to administer to your cat or dog. So when it comes time to choose a CBD product, how do you know which is the best approach? The first step is to consider your own pet, and what he or she will tolerate the best. Typically, CBD can be administered as a capsule, oil, or a cream.
- Capsules: CBD capsules are available that can easily be hidden in your pet's favorite treat. Alternatively, CBD laced treats are also available in a range of flavors. These are perfect for pets that readily take any tasty treat. Often, CBD treats are the preferred way to administer this medication because the drug can be masked by a variety of flavors.
- Oils: Easily distributed with a dropper, oils can be applied to your pet's favorite food or treat. The oil form of CBD usually has a higher concentration but can be problematic if you have a picky eater.
- Creams: The biggest benefit of using a CBD cream for pets is the fact that you can completely bypass the digestive system, administering the cream directly to the body. This is great for pets that are using CBD to treat arthritis or joint pain.
The second consideration to make before selecting a CBD product for your pet is to think about the effectiveness of this medication in its various forms. In a recent, informal study, CBD's effectiveness in pets seems to be linked to the way the drug is administered. It turns out that animals' bodies have the ability to use the available CBD in different ways with different efficacy, depending on the way the medication was administered.
In the study, veterinarian Stephanie McGrath examined three different CBD delivery methods: an oil, a cream, and a capsule, all containing the same dose of CBD intended for dogs. After administering the CBD, she tested the pharmacokinetics, or certain indicators within the blood, after a 12 hour period. McGrath wanted to know how quickly the CBD was absorbed, how high the levels were, and how quickly the CBD dissipated from the body. Without fail, the oil version of the CBD performed the best, reaching the highest level of concentration and staying in the body the longest, indicating that CBD oils are the best delivery method for CBD in your pet. The oral capsule performed second best, with the cream in distant third.
Where Can I Buy CBD For Pets?
Because CBD is a perfectly legal and acceptable form of medication it thankfully is regularly available for purchase. Many big box stores carry a range of CBD products formulated to treat different diseases and conditions. These should be available in store for purchase, without a prescription from your veterinarian. Likewise, many online only, big pet companies also carry some form of CBD for pets. Big box stores typically offer oils, treats with CBD, and capsules for pets.
Alternatively, specialized CBD and hemp manufacturers initially intended for humans have transitioned into providing high quality CBD products for pets. Available through online stores, pet owners can seek out specialized pet CBD stores that carry oil and chews for pets. Often, these privately owned stores will have a wider variety and will offer more specialized treatments allowing you to narrow down and hone in on your pet's individual condition.
So Will CBD Help?
Understanding the delivery methods and the best ways to give CBD to your pet can make a difference with how effective it is. Although formal research is still in the early stages it seems that there are some promising results from CBD usage in pets. Properly metabolized throughout the body, pet safe CBD seems to help cats and dogs with pain, anxiety, cancer, and arthritis. Although safe, veterinarians warn pet owners to temper expectations as the official scientific results continue to develop. If you are looking for a great, natural alternative to help treat your pet, it may be a good idea to look at CBD medications. Of course, before giving your pet any new medication, it is always a good idea to check with your veterinarian first.