Navigating Pain Relief for Pets: How CBD Oil Can Help Your Dog
As dedicated companions, our four-legged friends bring boundless joy and unconditional love into our lives. However, just like humans, dogs can experience pain due to various reasons, such as aging, illness, or injury. This would, of course, warrant a trip to the vet, but in the recent years, an alternative remedy has gained traction in the world of pet care: cannabidiol, or CBD.
In this article, we will delve into how fur parents can provide pain relief and natural dog care with CBD.
A Silent Struggle: Recognizing Pain in Dogs
Dogs, known for their resilience and cheerfulness, often conceal signs of pain in an attempt not to worry their owners—making it challenging for pet owners to identify and address their furry companions’ discomfort. However, there are telltale signs that we can look out for.
1. Changes in Behavior
Aggression or Agitation
Pain can make a dog more irritable or aggressive, especially if the affected area is touched or approached.
Some dogs may become more withdrawn or avoid social interactions when they are in pain.
2. Altered Activity Levels
A dog in pain may be less active than usual, reluctant to play, go for walks, or engage in physical activities.
Reluctance to Move
Dogs may hesitate or be reluctant to stand up, climb stairs, or perform activities that usually don’t cause distress.
3. Changes in Eating Habits
Pain can lead to a loss of appetite. If a dog is in pain, it may eat less or show disinterest in food.
Changes in Drinking
Increased or decreased water intake may occur, depending on the nature and location of the pain.
Dogs may vocalize (whine, yelp, or whimper) more than usual if they are in pain. This can be especially evident when they move or when pressure is applied to the painful area.
5. Changes in Sleeping Patterns
Pain can cause dogs to have difficulty finding a comfortable position, leading to restlessness during sleep.
Conversely, some dogs may sleep more than usual as a response to pain.
6. Changes in Posture and Gait
Limping or Favoring a Leg
Dogs may limp or avoid putting weight on a particular leg if they are experiencing pain in that limb.
Dogs may arch their back or assume a hunched posture when in pain.
7. Grooming Changes
Excessive Licking or Chewing
A dog may excessively lick, bite, or chew at a specific area, indicating localized pain or discomfort.
Dogs in pain may neglect their usual grooming habits, such as not grooming their coat or keeping themselves clean.
8. Changes in Facial Expression
Dogs may exhibit facial expressions that suggest discomfort, such as a tightened jaw or narrowed eyes.
Also known as “half-moon eye,” this occurs when the whites of the eyes are visible, indicating stress or pain.
9. Changes in Breathing Patterns
Pain can lead to shallow or irregular breathing patterns in dogs.
While panting is normal for dogs, excessive panting without physical exertion or heat may indicate pain.
10. Seeking Solitude
Dogs in pain may seek solitude, preferring to be alone rather than engaging with family members or other pets.
The Promise of CBD: A Holistic Approach to Canine Pain Relief
Studies on canine pain relief using CBD conducted at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine found out that more than 80% of dogs with osteoarthritis experienced a decrease in their pain following the administration of hemp-derived CBD. Moreover, the subjects also showed an 83% reduction in stress and anxious behavior. This is all thanks to CBD’s therapeutic properties:
Much like humans, dogs also have an endocannabinoid system primarily composed of CB1 and CB2 receptors, endocannabinoids like anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), as well as enzymes like fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL). While the exact mechanism of CBD’s interaction with the canine ECS is still unclear and undergoing research, one thing is for sure—CBD helps relieve pain and inflammation in dogs.
One of the primary mechanisms through which CBD may alleviate pain in dogs is its anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation is a common contributor to pain, especially in conditions like arthritis. CBD interacts with specific receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS), modulating the immune response and reducing inflammation.
CBD is believed to have analgesic or pain-relieving properties. It binds with CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain and nervous system, influencing the perception of pain. By modulating these receptors, CBD may help dampen the sensation of pain, providing relief to dogs experiencing discomfort, such as in the following conditions.
1. Arthritis and Joint Pain
Arthritis, a common ailment in aging dogs, can cause significant discomfort and impact mobility. CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce joint inflammation, alleviate pain, and improve the overall quality of life for dogs with arthritis.
2. Post-Surgery Recovery
Dogs undergoing surgical procedures may experience pain during the recovery period. CBD can be a valuable addition to post-surgery care, assisting in pain management and promoting a smoother recovery process.
3. Cancer-Related Pain
Dogs undergoing cancer treatments or dealing with the pain associated with cancer may benefit from CBD. While not a cure for cancer, CBD’s analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects can offer relief from cancer-related discomfort.
4. Neuropathic Pain
Dogs experiencing neuropathic pain, often associated with nerve damage or conditions like intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), may find relief with CBD. Its interaction with the nervous system may help mitigate neuropathic pain symptoms.
Practical Considerations for Using CBD in Dogs: Dosage and Administration
Before incorporating CBD into a dog’s wellness routine, it is crucial to consult with a veterinarian. A professional can assess the specific needs and health conditions of the dog, providing guidance on appropriate dosage and potential interactions with existing medications. Some other considerations include:
1. Proper Dosing
Once your veterinarian gives you the green light to use CBD on your furry friend, the next step is to determine the proper dose. It is always advisable to start with a low dose and monitor their response. Each dog is unique, and their sensitivity to CBD can vary. Gradually increasing the dosage allows for a careful observation of the dog’s reactions.
2. Selecting the Right CBD Product
There is a wide variety and forms of CBD products for dogs in the market, including tinctures, treats, capsules, and topical solutions. The choice of product depends on the dog’s preferences, the nature of the pain, and the ease of administration. Tinctures, for instance, provide flexibility in dosage adjustment, while treats offer a convenient and enjoyable way to administer CBD.
3. Ensuring Quality
Ensuring the quality and purity of the CBD product is paramount. Look for products that undergo third-party testing, providing transparency about the product’s potency and the absence of contaminants. Opting for organic and full-spectrum CBD products may enhance the therapeutic benefits.
4. Ensuring Pet-Friendly CBD Formulations
When selecting CBD products for dogs, choose formulations specifically designed for pets. These products are often flavored to appeal to dogs and may have lower concentrations suitable for their size.
5. Awareness of the Legality of CBD for Pets
While hemp-derived CBD is already considered legal in many places, regulations can vary. Therefore, it is vital for pet owners to learn about the legal status of CBD in their location and ensure compliance with local regulations.
CBD: A Compassionate Approach to Canine Well-Being
As the bond between humans and their canine companions deepens, the quest for compassionate and practical solutions to address their well-being becomes increasingly vital. CBD, with its potential to provide natural and holistic pain relief, stands as a beacon of hope for dogs facing discomfort.
From the playgrounds to the living rooms, CBD is carving a niche as a soothing calm, offering our loyal friends a chance at a more comfortable and joyous life. As research in this field expands, the future looks promising for the integration of CBD into the holistic care of our beloved canine companions.