Can CBD for dogs help with arthritis and pain?
What does the evidence say?
DOGS WITH ARTHRITIS
AND MOBILITY ISSUES
Can CBD help?
DOGS WITH ARTHRITIS
AND MOBILITY ISSUES
Can CBD help?
Arthritis in dogs is a common ailment that can cause significant discomfort and pain for our furry companions. As pet owners, we want the best for our dogs and seek solutions that may improve their quality of life. Is your dog struggling to get up off its bed, reluctant to move, and losing interest in their favourite things? Are your old dog's back legs collapsing? If so, they may have canine arthritis, a painful and debilitating condition affecting the joints. As arthritis worsens, actions that used to be second nature, like climbing the stairs, getting into the car, or playing, become an effort as they become slow, stiff, and sore.
One emerging option that has gained popularity in recent years is CBD for dogs. But can CBD really help alleviate the symptoms of arthritis and provide relief? In this blog, we will explore dog arthritis, whether CBD could help, what the research says and answer commonly asked questions.
Understanding Arthritis in Dogs
Before delving into the potential benefits of CBD, it's essential to understand what arthritis in dogs entails. Arthritis is the inflammation of a joint, and it can affect dogs of all ages and breeds. The most common type of arthritis in dogs is osteoarthritis, which is often associated with age and wear and tear on the joints. It is estimated that 20% of all dogs over the age of one show signs of arthritis1.
Symptoms of arthritis in dogs include stiffness, limping, difficulty in getting up or lying down, and reduced mobility. Dog Arthritis can significantly impact their overall well-being, making it crucial to find effective treatment options. Several factors can contribute to the development of arthritis in dogs, including genetics, obesity, injury, and infection. Large breed dogs are particularly prone to developing arthritis, as are dogs that have suffered from previous injuries or have had joint surgery.
Although younger animals can suffer from this condition, the age-related degenerative form of arthritis is more likely to become a problem as your dog advances in years.
As your dog ages, the protective cartilage surfaces of the joints become thinner, and the cartilage cells begin to die. When this happens, the cells release enzymes that cause inflammation of the joint capsule, and bony growths can develop.
When the cartilage thinning becomes severe, the joint space decreases, causing friction and deterioration of the bones. These processes cause changes to how the joint functions and set off a spiral of pain and reluctance to use the limb, which leads to stiffness and muscle atrophy.
Arthritis in dogs most commonly affects the lower back, hips, and other leg joints, although it can develop in any joint in your dog's body. Struggling to cope with arthritis can severely impact your dog's quality of life.
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What Breeds are most at risk of developing dog arthritis?
While arthritis can affect dogs of any breed, age, or size, certain dog breeds are more prone to developing arthritis due to genetic predisposition, structural characteristics, or breed-specific factors. Here are some breeds that are often considered to be at higher risk for developing dog arthritis:
- Large and Giant Breeds
Large and giant breeds are generally more susceptible to arthritis due to the added stress on their joints from their larger size. Breeds such as Great Danes, Saint Bernards, Mastiffs, and Labrador Retrievers are more prone to arthritis.
- Working and Sporting Breeds
Dogs in working and sporting breeds are often more active and are at risk of joint injuries or wear and tear over time. Breeds like German Shepherds, Border Collies, and Golden Retrievers may be more susceptible.
- Herding Breeds
Breeds in the herding group are known for their agility and mobility, but this can put added strain on their joints. Breeds like Australian Shepherds and Border Collies are examples.
- Bulldogs and Pugs
Breeds with brachycephalic (short-nosed) facial structures, such as Bulldogs and Pugs, may be more prone to joint issues due to their unique body shapes.
Dachshunds, with their long bodies and short legs, are at increased risk of back problems and intervertebral disc disease, which can lead to arthritis in the spine.
- Chondrodysplastic Breeds
Breeds with chondrodysplasia, a genetic condition that affects bone development, may be predisposed to arthritis. This includes breeds like Basset Hounds and Dachshunds.
- Older Dogs
While not a breed, older dogs are more likely to develop arthritis simply due to the natural ageing process and the degenerative nature of dog arthritis.
- Overweight Dogs
Dogs that are overweight or obese are at a higher risk of developing arthritis because the excess weight places added strain on their joints.
It's essential to note that while certain breeds may have a higher predisposition to arthritis, any dog can develop this condition. Arthritis can also result from factors such as injuries, developmental issues, and genetics, not just breed-specific factors. Regular veterinary check-ups, a healthy diet, appropriate exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce the risk of arthritis in dogs, regardless of their breed. Additionally, early detection and appropriate management can significantly improve the quality of life for dogs with arthritis.
CBD for dogs with arthritis: What does the science show?
Many dog owners look towards more natural remedies to help with conditions like arthritis, with many leaning towards CBD for dogs. CBD is a popular topic when discussing potential treatment for dogs with arthritis however it is important to consider all the facts and studies when exploring CBD for dogs. There are many claims surrounding CBD for dogs and it can sometimes be difficult to decipher what is true. Below we will explore common misconceptions about CBD for dogs as well as whether there is evidence to back up its potential benefits for dog arthritis.
Firstly what is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, another compound found in cannabis, CBD does not have psychoactive effects, meaning it will not get your dog ‘high’ which is often a misconception people have about pet CBD. CBD works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the body.
The ECS is a complex system that helps regulate a wide range of bodily functions, including mood, appetite, and pain sensation. When CBD is ingested, it interacts with receptors in the ECS, helping to regulate these bodily functions and potentially providing therapeutic benefits. To learn more about CBD for pets, check out our blog: Is CBD safe for pets?
Can CBD for dogs cure arthritis?
Firstly, it is important to note there is no cure for arthritis in humans or dogs. So rather than looking at dog arthritis treatment, it might be better to think about it as dog arthritis management. There are just different methods to manage the symptoms of arthritis, like pain and inflammation, that help with ease of movement and keeping your dog active. One of these methods that has grown in popularity is the use of CBD with many owners seeing positive improvements. Some studies have reported the beneficial effects of CBD2.
Can CBD reduce inflammation associated with dog arthritis?
Some studies suggest that CBD does have an anti-inflammatory effect on dogs. One explanation of this is that it interacts with receptors in the ECS that are responsible for managing pain and inflammatory responses. CB1 receptors are predominantly present in the central nervous system (CNS), whereas CB2 receptors are found mostly outside the CNS, like in the peripheral nervous system and immune cells. When activated, they can modulate the immune response, potentially leading to anti-inflammatory effects3. CB2 receptors have also been shown to be involved in the modulation of pain perception, particularly in the context of inflammatory pain.
Activating these receptors may reduce pain sensitivity, making them a potential option for pain management4. Most of the research investigating how CBD activates these receptors has been conducted in humans, meaning that while the findings could be transferable to animals, as they also have an ECS, more research is needed to confirm this.
The Department of Veterinary Science published a study in 2021 which investigated the potential anti-inflammatory properties of CBD in dogs and found that CBD was significant in reducing an inflammatory response5.
While initial studies are promising, further studies are needed to understand the possible therapeutic role of CBD in inflammation and whether this anti-inflammatory effect would offer pain relief for dogs.
Can CBD oil for dogs reduce pain associated with dog arthritis?
In short, CBD has the potential to aid in the reduction of pain sensitivity however more research is needed to understand if this natural remedy could offer natural pain relief for dogs. Pain often associated with dog arthritis is a result of inflammation and the degeneration of joint cartilage. Because of this, CBD has been investigated as a potential option to help reduce associated pain, swelling and mobility issues in dogs.
While studies investigating the benefits of CBD in helping with symptoms associated with mobility issues are in their infancy, there are some encouraging signs.
A case study published in the Veterinary Record in 2020 investigated whether introducing CBD alongside current drug treatments reduces pain in dogs with osteoarthritis6. They found that dog owners reported a significant decrease in pain and increased activity scores after CBD treatment was initiated. Vet-assessed pain on palpation scores also decreased after CBD was introduced. This may suggest that CBD could have the potential to aid in helping dogs with arthritis feel more comfortable.
These findings were also duplicated in a study conducted by the Department of Veterinary Science in 2020. In this study, 24 dogs with osteoarthritis were enrolled into a 12-month programme where they were either given anti-inflammatory medication alone or in combination with a daily CBD dose of 2mg per 1kg. The owners of the dogs enrolled reported a reduction in their dog’s pain after giving CBD in combination with anti-inflammation medication7. Pain severity and interference scores were significantly lower in dogs receiving a combination of CBD and anti-inflammatory compared to dogs only receiving anti-inflammatory medication. In addition, quality of life scores were significantly higher in dogs receiving the combination compared to dogs only receiving anti-inflammatory medication. We would always recommend consulting with a professional before combining CBD with prescriptions to ensure pet safety.
These findings are very promising and suggest CBD for dogs may have the potential to be effective as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for dog arthritis. When considering using CBD for arthritis in dogs, we would always recommend consulting with a professional or veterinarian as they can help to determine the appropriate dosage and method for your dog’s specific needs.
Dog Arthritis: Some of the key pain areas
Can CBD be combined with other dog joint supplements to aid with dog arthritis?
The above research would suggest that CBD works best when used as part of a multi-pronged approach to aid in reducing symptoms associated with dog arthritis. By combining lifestyle changes, veterinary care and dog joint supplements owners may be able to find an effective management strategy to offer pain relief for dogs suffering from arthritis. We would always recommend consulting with a professional before combining supplements with prescriptions to ensure pet safety.
One potential multi-pronged approach that owners could consider is combining CBD with the dog joint supplement UC-II. UC-II has been clinically proven to reduce pain and inflammation in dogs with arthritis by promoting their body to rebuild and repair joint cartilage, which allows for smooth, pain-free movement. Research has shown this ingredient will outperform other dog joint supplements, like glucosamine and chondroitin (8,9).
To learn more about UC-II and how it works check out our blog: What is UC-II? Exploring our Dog Joint Supplements. The reason why combining UC-II and CBD may be beneficial is because UC-II can take a while to build up in their system whereas CBD is absorbed quickly into their system meaning CBD may offer comfort quickly as the UC-II becomes present in their joints over time.
It is important to remember that all dogs are unique and finding the best multi-pronged approach for your dog is what is important. Just like humans, sometimes what works for one dog might not for another. Additionally, early detection of dog arthritis and appropriate management can significantly improve the quality of your dog's life and help slow down the severity of the condition.
Choosing the best CBD for dogs: What should you look out for?
Choosing the best CBD for dogs requires careful consideration to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the product. Here are some essential factors to look out for when selecting CBD for your furry companion:
Quality and Source of CBD for Dogs
Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum, or Isolate: CBD products come in different forms. Full-spectrum and broad-spectrum products contain all the naturally occurring compounds in the hemp plant, including terpenes and flavonoids, to provide the user with the full entourage effect. CBD isolate is CBD in its purest form and has been refined further to remove any other cannabinoids, terpenes or flavonoids. As the effects of many terpenes and flavonoids have not been investigated in animals, Naturecan believes the safest way to deliver CBD to dogs is through CBD isolate. To learn more check out our blog about why we choose CBD & CBDA isolate for pets.
Source: Ensure the CBD is derived from high-quality, organic hemp plants grown in a reputable location. Hemp plants can absorb toxins from the soil, so it's essential to select products made from hemp grown in clean environments. Each store will have a unique source for their hemp. At Naturecan, our hemp is sourced from USA-grown hemp and undergoes a six-stage testing process using advanced purification technologies. Learn more about Naturecan’s extraction process in our blog.
Third-Party Lab Testing
Look for CBD products that are tested by an independent, third-party laboratory. These tests should verify the product's cannabinoid content, confirm the absence of harmful contaminants like pesticides and heavy metals, and ensure that it meets quality and safety standards.
THC Content: Check the THC content in the CBD product. While trace amounts of THC (below 0.2%) are legally allowed in many CBD products, it's crucial to ensure that the THC concentration is safe for your dog. Check out our CBD oil for dogs product page to see our certificate of analysis that details our cannabinoid content, THC content and other information. You will see that all of our products have non-detectable levels of THC to ensure you are giving your dog CBD in its purest form.
Check for a third-party Certificate of Analysis (CoA) stating that the THC levels of the CBD product are < 0.1%. However, as there are no global standards for THC testing, you must remain cautious. A lab an ISO17025 accreditation is the highest standard for lab testing.
Dosage and Concentration
Determining the appropriate dosage for your dog's size and condition can be difficult but you can use our CBD dosage for pets page for guidance. You may find large discrepancies between the average dose recommended by different brands and this can be a result of their cannabinoid profile and what dosage they can reach while ensuring the THC content is below the legal limit. At Naturecan, our CBD oil for dogs contains non-detectable levels of CBD meaning we can offer higher doses that may yield more positive results while ensuring pet safety.
CBD for dogs will also come in various strengths of CBD so ensure you know how much mg content of CBD there is per bottle and dose. At Naturecan, we offer 3 different strengths based on your dog’s weight. You can find more information on our CBD for dogs dosage page. If owners have any concerns, we would always recommend consulting with your veterinarian for guidance on the right dosage for your dog.
CBD for Dogs Delivery Methods
CBD for dogs is available in various forms, including oils, capsules, treats, and topicals. Consider your dog's preferences and any dietary restrictions when choosing a delivery method.
CBD oil for dogs is versatile and can be added to food or administered directly, while CBD dog treats offer an easy way to dose on the go. CBD oil for dogs offers great versatility, flexibility and fast absorption, which is great for dog owners looking to easily adjust the dosage according to the dog’s needs. CBD oil typically contains minimal additional calories, making it suitable for dogs on specific dietary restrictions.
Whereas CBD dog treats offer great convenience and palatability as they are pre-dosed, making them convenient and easy to administer, especially if out on a walk or traveling. They can also be a great option if your dog is a bit of a fussy eater, as the treats are a tasty way to administer CBD.
Transparency and Brand Reputation
Choose products from reputable companies that prioritize transparency and provide detailed information about their sourcing, manufacturing processes, and quality control standards. Reading reviews and seeking recommendations from trusted sources can help identify reliable brands.
Consult with a Veterinarian
Before starting your dog on CBD, consult with a veterinarian who is knowledgeable about CBD for pets. They can offer guidance on the appropriate dosage, potential interactions with other medications, and the best way to integrate CBD into your dog's wellness routine.
Start Low and Go Slow
When introducing CBD to your dog, start with a low dose and monitor their response carefully. Adjust the dosage as needed over time while observing any changes in their behaviour or condition. This makes CBD oil for dogs a great starting choice as you can start slow and work your way to the recommended or desired dose.
Safety and Monitoring
Continuously monitor your dog's well-being while using CBD. If you notice any adverse effects or changes in behaviour, discontinue use and consult your veterinarian. Remember, while CBD may offer potential benefits for dogs, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution and individual responses can vary. The safety and well-being of your dog should always be the top priority, so choose CBD products with care and consult with a professional if you have any concerns or questions.
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In summary, early research has shown promising results when investigating CBD for dogs and the management of arthritis-related symptoms. While there is still limited scientific research on the subject, anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD may be an effective remedy to aid dogs with arthritis. Still, more research is needed to confirm these findings and establish the optimal dosage and treatment protocols.
One of the benefits of CBD for dogs is that it comes in various forms so owners can find a delivery system that works for them and their pet. In addition, CBD may also have other potential health benefits for dogs which is explored more in our CBD for dogs blog. When owners consider using natural remedies, like CBD, we would also recommend doing your own research and finding a high-quality product.
Overall, CBD is a promising natural remedy option for dogs. While more research is needed to fully understand its effects, it may be worth trying CBD for dogs and seeing how it helps your dog. As research into CBD for pets continues, we can expect more insights into its potential benefits and best practices of its use in managing symptoms relating to dog arthritis.
CBD for Dogs: Frequently Asked Questions