Several weeks ago I was contacted by HempMy Pet about their hemp pet treats and CBD oil for dogs. Now, I’ve heard about hemp oil for dogs, and the Internet has a wide variety of hemp products and organic pet treats available. Since a veterinarian endorsed the products on the website, I wanted to learn more.
UPDATE APRIL 9, 2020: The pilot study on CBD oil for canine osteoarthritis pain relief has been published, and here’s the link.
Update June 27, 2021: My colleague Ingrid King published an excellent article covering Cannabis for Cats at this link.
WHO IS HempMy PET?
Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Longmont, CO, HempMy Pet is the first vertically integrated hemp oil production company and only uses strictly organic farming methods, creating only the highest-quality human grade formulations for pets. With over 30 years of experience in cannabis cultivation and dietary supplement manufacturing, HempMy Pet cultivates it’s own hemp in Colorado from seed to manufacture to sale.
HempMy Pet makes strain-specific full-spectrum hemp oil supplements for pets. The company sent me some of their hemp-infused products to try with Bravo, including tictures, oils and bisuits. I’m impressed by the third-party testing for purity, potency and safety.
PETS, PREVENTION & POSSIBILITIES
As a reader, you know about my heartbreaking loss of Magical-Dawg to degenerative myelopathy, which some CBD oil products claim to help. But as a responsible pet parent and former vet tech, I’m careful about product recommendations.
It’s taken me some time to research the pros, cons, true facts and sticky challenges about CBD oil for dogs. I contacted two veterinary experts, Dr. Rob Silver from http://nurseyourpet.com/ and pain medicine veterinary specialist Dr. Robin Downing from https://downingcenter.com/ to get their expertise about hemp products for pets.
WHAT IS CBD OIL & CAN MY DOG GET “HIGH?”
Cannabadiol (CBD) oil is derived from cannabis plants, which include marijuana and hemp. Marijuana is a schedule 1 drug under federal law, treated the same as LSD, ecstasy, and heroin. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive component of marijuana.
Industrial hemp used for making rope, fabric and other products, is legal, and although not all states allow cultivation of industrial hemp, in can still be imported after it’s grown. In order to be classified as “hemp,” the plant must contain no more than 0.3% of THC. In other words, your dog won’t get “high” from CBD oil products derived from hemp.
CBD oil is one of more than 80 different cannabinoids found in the plant’s flower. CBD oil is the medical component that is most often used in pet supplement products for its health benefits. Also, CBD oil obtained from hemp is equally effective–and usually safer–than marijuana-derived products because hemp does not contain significant amounts of THC.
MARIJUANA TOXICITY IN DOGS!
Dogs are very sensitive to THC and toxic levels can be a real danger for them. The number one animal ER issue in states in which medical and/or recreational marijuana is legal is marijuana intoxication, says Dr. Downing.
Dr. Silver describes the adverse reaction as static ataxia—the dog stands stiffly with widespread paws, and can’t move other than to rock back and forth. At higher doses the dog may fall and eliminate on himself.
NEVER give your dog human CBD or medical marijuana products, and only offer those formulated specifically for pets. Some dogs have died from eating marijuana-laced chocolate treats.
Cats have reactions, too. Here’s a surprising reaction.
HOW CAN CBD OIL HELP MY DOG?
Both dogs and cats have cannabinoid receptors throughout their body, including in the central nervous system. That makes experts believe that CBD oil and other cannabinoids may offer a number of benefits by attaching to these receptors. The medical uses that are cited for cannabis in pets include:
- Analgesia (pain relief) (such as arthritis)
- Decreasing inflammation (some suggest CBD oil helps with IBD)
- Seizure control
- Neuroprotection (such as for DM)
- Anxiety relief (noise phobias, for instance)
- Managing nausea
- Stimulating appetite
- Cancer patient support
VETERINARY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CBD OIL?
Ordinarily I would send you to your veterinarian for a recommendation. Legal issues are currently the biggest roadblock to widespread research, development, and implementation of cannabis and CBD-containing products for pets.
In fact, no state has specific legal language opening the door for veterinarians to recommend or prescribe cannabis products for their patients. “The only medical professionals prohibited (legally) from discussing and recommending cannabis in animals are veterinarians,” says Dr. Downing.
Dr. Silver says, “The Farm Bill of 2018 looks to change this and make hemp legal. It may become legislation by September of this year.”
HOW TO CHOOSE A CBD OIL PRODUCT
If your veterinarian can’t tell you, how does a pet parent choose a safe CBD oil product for a dog? Just because it’s “natural” doesn’t mean it’s safe, and not all products are the same. Effectiveness varies based on whether the product contains dried plant, liquid preparations and elixers, edible components and sources of the ingredients and ways produced.
“Because these are presented as supplements or treats they are not subjected to the scrutiny of the FDA, and that means they are out there in the ‘wild west’ of the supplement world,” says Dr. Downing.
Dr. Silver warns consumers to watch for specific red flags, such as misspelled words on the label or no phone number to call to ask questions. A number of products touting the benefits of CBD oil, when tested, showed little to no amount of this ingredient.
Also, Dr. Downing says at least one study demonstrated very poor oral absorption of CBD when it was used as an isolated, stand-alone compound (CBD Isolate). She believes future studies need to examine “whole plant” extracts versus single agent extracts. In other words, combinations of cannabinoids may prove more effective than single agents.
“Reliable companies are interested in acquiring and repeating independent analyses that allow them to display a Certificate of Analysis,” says Dr. Downing. This is a way for a producer to affirm and assure the public that what they produce is consistent, not contaminated, and has a specific concentration of active ingredients.
I’m pleased that HempMy Pet products include a Certificate of Analysis on their products.
BRAVO & HempMy Pet Products
Based on these cautions, I offered Bravo the HempMy Pet products with confidence. The company uses a full-spectrum hemp extract, creating an entourage effect with all active compounds present including CBD oil.
HempMy Pet products contain a combination of CBD, CBG, CBC, CBD-V and other beneficial cannabinoids, along with broad spectrum of terpenoids.
PUMPKIN HARVEST ORGANIC TREATS
We received the large dog formula (5 mg hemp extract/cookie) of the Pumpkin Harvest treat. The resealable bag contains 15 organic dog biscuits with one recommended per 50 lbs. I gave Bravo one, but he begged for more! He’s a treat hound, of course, and at a current 70 pounds, he claimed he deserved another half a cookie.
CBD OIL TINCTURE & COCONUT OIL
We also received Hemp Extracts Tincture 1000 mg, and for his size, Bravo’s recommended dosage is 1/2 to 3/4 ml, either added to food or to a specific area of the body. This would be handy for any known area of the body with a problem for topical administration, with an added bonus of no danger if the dog licked it off.
Finally, we received a jar of Hemp Infused Coconut Oil, and one serving (1 tsp) contains 15-20 mg of Hemp actives. Bravo’s weight means his dose is 3/4 to 1 tsp, added to food or topically to areas in need. Bravo licked it right off the spoon. Karma was interested, but didn’t try any–but it would easily mix into canned food. No, these are not labeled for cats, but Karma needs to stick his nose in everything.
HOW MUCH CBD OIL SHOULD I GIVE MY DOG?
The proper dose may pose a challenge with some products. Dr. Silver says that people who use medical marijuana or CBD-containing products adjust dosages up and down to find the effect they need. But veterinary medicine has little information about how CBD oil works in pets.
Dogs can’t tell us when “enough” is enough for pain relief, for example. That said, based on human experience using similar products, Dr. Downing says you should see a positive effect pretty quickly. Products formulated for pets should have dosing recommendations on the product as a guideline. Tinctures (liquids) may be the most helpful in adjusting doses incrementally.
ALWAYS READ GUIDELINES!
The guidelines on HempMy Pet products offer very specific dosing recommendations, with the caveat to consult with your veterinarian. These products are NOT designed to diagnose, treat or cure any specific disease, but offer overall health benefits to dogs. Different pets may show individual improvements in different ways, such as feeling more calm in the face of a thunderstorm. While these products are not inexpensive, they are high quality and “you get what you pay for.”
Whether your pet suffers from a health challenge, or you simply want to treat your healthy pet, be sure to inform your veterinarian about any supplements your dog receives. While CBD oil supplements are considered to be safe, veterinary medicine has no studies about drug interactions. I look forward to more definitive studies into the benefits of CBD oil for pets. And until then, Bravo will enjoy his treats–and your dogs can, too. Get your HempMy Pet treats here!
What about you? Have you offered your pets CBD oil supplement products? For what purpose? And did it help? DO tell!
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Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!