In the ever-evolving world of pet wellness, CBD for dogs and cats has emerged as a popular and promising natural remedy. We get asked about it all the time – and we know that there are many people (ourselves included) who’ve seen some incredible benefits from CBD for their animals.
And we’re listening! You want to know more, so let’s dive into the world of CBD, exploring what it is, how it’s made, its potential benefits for dogs, the importance of a Certificate of Analysis (COA), and how to find a high-quality CBD product.
This is just part one of a two-part series. Want to learn more about how to use CBD? Check out part 2 here!
What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis sativa L plant.
Unlike its cousin THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD doesn’t have psychoactive properties, meaning it won’t get your furry friend “high.” Instead, CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the body, which plays a crucial role in regulating various physiological processes. It comprises a vast network of chemical signals and cellular receptors that are densely packed throughout the brain and body.
There are different types of CBD oil, so it’s helpful to know about the differences between them:
- Full-Spectrum CBD: Contains a wide range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other beneficial compounds found in the cannabis plant. This is believed to produce an “entourage effect,” enhancing the overall therapeutic potential.
- Broad-Spectrum CBD: Similar to full-spectrum but without the THC. It retains multiple cannabinoids and terpenes for a holistic effect.
- CBD Isolate: Pure CBD with no other cannabinoids or compounds. Some pet owners prefer isolates for precise dosing without any trace of THC.
Because we’re big believers in holistic health, and things working synergistically, we reach for full-spectrum because it includes all of the various beneficial components of the plant!
What Can CBD Be Helpful For in Dogs and Cats?
Now, thanks to the fact that the endocannabinoid system has receptors all throughout the body, it’s not just good for one or two systems!
In fact, CBD has shown promise in addressing a multitude of health concerns in animals, including:
- Anxiety: CBD is well-known for its potential with stress and anxiety. Many people use it just for that. And it has been shown, through research, to have the same potential for animals. CBD may help alleviate stress and anxiety, promoting a sense of calmness.
- Joint Health: It’s often recommended to support dogs with arthritis or joint pain, providing potential anti-inflammatory effects. In fact, research out of Cornell University found that more than 80% of the dogs in the study with osteoarthritis experienced a decrease in pain, allowing them to be more comfortable and active.
- Seizures: An impressive number of studies have been done on CBD for seizures and epilepsy, including several looking at its potential for dogs. In fact, these studies suggest that it can exert anticonvulsant effects in dogs.
- Digestive Issues: Studies suggest that CBD might assist in relieving nausea, promoting appetite, and addressing digestive concerns, such as IBD. Part of this may because of how it helps to reduce inflammation in the body.
- Dementia: CBD has been shown to have significant positive impacts on brain function, making it a potential candidate for dogs with dementia, or canine cognitive dysfunction. When our senior girl started showing signs of CCD, CBD was a big help with her stressful episodes and with keeping her calm at night.
- End of Life Care: While none of us want to think about it, for many of the reasons stated above, CBD oil can be very helpful for end of life care. The potential for pain relief, as well as the calming sensation, allows CBD to address many of the things that can cause discomfort for your animal when going through the end of life process.
See! It isn’t just one or two bodily systems that may benefit. Research shows the whole body may be positively impacted! And who doesn’t love that balance!
Finding a High-Quality CBD for Dogs and Cats
Now, there are many (and we mean many) CBD products on the market for animals.
Some are amazing. So we want to help you understand what we look for when sourcing the right CBD for our animals:
- Source of Hemp: Look for products sourced from organically grown hemp to minimize the risk of contaminants. Hemp actually absorbs heavy metals and other contaminants from the soil, so you absolutely want an organic product.
- Extraction Method: There are a few different methods of extraction when it comes to CBD, but CO2 extraction is considered one of the cleanest methods, preserving the integrity of the plant compounds. It does’t use chemicals, which of course is important to us. It is typically the most expensive method, meaning the higher quality options will usually be more expensive, but it’s worth it.
- Third-Party Testing: Reputable brands invest in third-party testing to ensure transparency and product quality. Access to COAs should be readily available. These will show the amount (and type) of the different cannabinoids in the bottle, as well as test for contaminants like heavy metals.
- Formulation for Pets: We often look for products that are specifically formulated for pets. Since we don’t want levels of THC above 0.3%, most companies will ensure their pet products don’t exceed that threshold. Some may include other ingredients that can be helpful for animals as well!
Quick Tip: Read a company’s reviews, and review their website. A trustworthy, transparent company will post reviews from verified customers, and will provide information online – including those very important COAs…
Reading the Certificate of Analysis
A Certificate of Analysis (COA) is a crucial document provided by reputable CBD manufacturers. It verifies the content and quality of the product. We never buy CBD for dogs or cats (or ourselves, for that matter) without reviewing the COA first!
When examining a COA, look for the following:
- Cannabinoid Content: Ensures the CBD concentration matches the product label.
- THC Levels: Should comply with legal limits (0.3% or less). This is especially crucial for avoiding any psychoactive effects.
- Terpene Profile: Provides insight into the aromatic compounds that contribute to the overall effect.
- Purity and Contaminant Testing: Screens for heavy metals, pesticides, and other potential contaminants.
Quick Tip: If a company does not make their COAs readily available online, or at the very least provide them to you when asked, we suggest finding another company to purchase from.
CBD for dogs and cats can be very useful for a variety of situations. As a natural remedy, it’s definitely something to consider for your beloved beast. Just remember, individual responses can vary from animal to animal. With careful consideration and quality products, CBD may become a valuable addition to your pet’s holistic care routine.