My eleven-year-old Schnauzer, Odie, is an old man at heart. He always has been. But when he started wobbling and having trouble walking up stairs, I knew the problem was deeper than his grumpy-old-man demeanor. A trip to the vet confirmed what I suspected: Odie was suffering from joint pain.
Joint pain and stiffness is fairly common in older dogs—specifically pain in the hips, knees, elbows, and tail area. But, the way we think about what causes joint damage and pain has changed. Veterinarians used to think joint pain was a direct result of wear and tear from years of running and playing. However, recent studies show that joint pain is actually caused by constant inflammation. Inflammation causes more than joint pain: it can also cause gut issues, like IBS, and can exacerbate existing medical conditions.
Treating the root of the problem, inflammation, using holistic methods can help alleviate joint pain and can prevent future joint pain from starting.
How does CBD work with joint pain?
Like Odie, I also suffer from joint pain due to arthritis. I was able to successfully treat both Odie’s and my joint pain with cannabidiol (CBD) oil.
CBD oil extracted from the hemp plant (which has less than .3 percent of THC, the psychoactive component associated with feeling “high”) works with the endocannabinoid system to reduce inflammation. The endocannabinoid system has existed in almost every living organism from humans to animals and even some insects for millions of years. This universal system’s overall function is to regulate homeostasis within the body.
CBD provides communication between varying types of cells within our bodies using receptors. These communications regulate certain cells to act in defense of the body. For example, if you are injured, CBD helps instruct cells on how to handle the injury.
Because of the way it interacts with the body, CBD does not simply treat symptoms -- rather, it repairs the root of the problem. In dogs with joint pain, this means that the inflammation is reduced and the damage is minimized. For dogs who are aging but who don’t show signs of joint damage or pain yet, CBD prevents damage by keeping inflammation down. Furthermore, hemp seed oil is a great source of GLA, essential fatty acids including Omega-3 and Omega-6, linoleic, and alpha-linoleic acids (even better than fish oil), and protein, all of which work together as an anti-inflammatory. The CBD oil that I give Odie contains turmeric so that receives an extra boost of anti-inflammatory properties.
How do I apply CBD oil to my dog?
Most CBD oils will come with instructions about suggested dosage and with a tincture dropper to put the oil directly in the dog’s mouth. CBD oil is absorbed through swallowing or through the dog’s gums, so if your pet is finicky you can lift their lip and administer onto the gums directly.
CBD can be used in conjunction with traditional medications, however your pet may naturally wean off of the medications while using CBD.
Is CBD safe for all pets?
CBD oil is safe for all mammals to consume, but is important to pay attention to the ingredients in CBD being given to a pet. It is important not to buy a human product with a pet label. For example, CBD made for people often has a flavor additive, like Xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. Some of the more natural sweeteners, like sugar, can also cause inflammation in dogs (which is counter-intuitive to the healthy effects of CBD oil).
Because CBD is a growing, but fairly new market, people need to pay attention to five key factors when choosing a CBD oil company:
- Hemp grown in U.S.
If the company uses industrialized hemp oil from overseas, that is a red flag.
- Products should be thirdparty lab tested
Third-party lab testing holds CBD companies accountable for the contents of the products.
- Pet products should be formulated specifically for pets.
Products intended for humans can contain harmful ingredients.
- CBD companies should be willing to educate potential customers
It is important that you trust the company from whom you purchase CBD. If they are willing to educate you and others on CBD, they will likely be more trustworthy.
- Full spectrum CBD is preferable
You may see the terms “full,” “broad,” or “single-molecule.” These terms refer to the range of cannabinoids in the CBD oil. Full spectrum is preferable to get more of the benefits of CBD.
Treating your pet with CBD oil can not only prevent future joint damage, but is a safe, effective way to stop your pet from suffering further joint damage. With CBD, Odie can walk without pain and can live his senior years without pain.