For a host of dog lovers, CBD has proved a miracle cure, helping dogs with everything from arthritis and seizures to pain and anxiety
Kimberley Pike couldn’t believe her eyes. In the span of just a few hours, Zoey, her German Shepherd—who has mobility issues and possible arthritis—had gone from moving slowly and painfully, to playing with Kimberley’s three other German Shepherd Dogs.
“At first, Zoey was given Metacam to help ease her pain, but I wasn’t happy with the results,” says Kimberley, who lives in Spaniard’s Bay, NL. “It did ease her pain but she seemed sleepy all the time. I did some research on medications, but all had side effects that I wasn’t comfortable with.”
When Kimberley’s dog groomer told her about the benefits of CBD oil, she began her research, administering Zoey’s first dose in October 2018.
“Within a couple of hours, I could see a change in Zoey,” says Kimberley. Zoey, now seven years old, started behaving like a puppy again. “She looked so happy. No whining or moaning or struggling to get up. Within a couple of days, she was up and down our stairs with ease.” The cloudiness in Zoey’s eyes also cleared up, something Kimberley also attributed to CBD.
Kimberley is just one of many pet owners turning to cannabidiol—more commonly known as CBD—to treat their dogs’ ailments.
CBD products for pets have become increasingly popular, confirms Dr. Katherine Kramer, medical director for VCA-Canada Vancouver Animal Wellness Hospital, a small animal integrative hospital in Vancouver, B.C. And for good reason. Dogs are highly sensitive to THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol—which is the principal psychoactive component of marijuana—but CBD is derived from hemp and is non-psychoactive.
“There is increasing evidence that CBD can be helpful for pets with arthritis or chronic pain, cancer, seizures, and some behavioural issues, such as anxiety, cognitive impairment,” says Dr. Kramer, who is also a director of the Canadian Association of Veterinary Cannabinoid Medicine. “There are many companion animal research projects currently looking into the benefits of cannabis. As we learn more about how these products interact with the endocannabinoid system, we should find even more indications for their use.” As with any treatment, the decision as to why and when to use a product should be discussed with your vet, says Dr. Kramer. “Your veterinarian should always be your first resource for any health question that involves your pet,” she says. “CBD (as well as other supplements) can potentially interact with many medications, so your veterinarian needs to know.”
Over the years, Dr. Kramer has had numerous patients on various cannabis products. “The majority of dogs (and cats) have amazing responses,” she says. “Many pet parents turned to CBD when conventional medicine was not providing relief. Many of my clients have told me that ‘CBD gave us our dog back’.”
A New Leash on Life
12-year-old Shih Tzu-Maltese mix Frankie William is one of these dogs. Frankie has a twisted spine and bad hip and knee, as well as anxiety. When his owner, Toronto, ON resident Laura Lockhart, administered CBD oil she noticed a difference immediately. “It was like his energy calmed and he was back to his old self. He’s doing ‘zoomies’ again, playing with his toys and going up and down his ramp (to the bed). It’s like he’s young again. I love it.” She has since been giving him two to three drops a day, as per the vet’s directions.
Vet guidance is important, emphasizes Dr. Kramer. “Working with cannabis products has given me another option for therapy, to treat pain and discomfort, to provide palliative care. I can’t imagine practising without it.”
Despite being hemp-derived, CBD is legal throughout Canada and in all US states. As CBD becomes more widely accepted, more people are looking to try it for their pets.
Before using it on her dog, Lynne Kaska described herself as “anti-CBD.” Her love for her service dog,
a Catahoula mix named Reese, convinced the Dallas, TX-area resident to give it a try.
Reese suffered from irritable bowel syndrome, atypical Addison’s disease, and patella luxation (for which he has had surgery). After two years of battling lack of appetite, vomiting, nausea, lethargy, and diarrhea, and trying countless remedies (including trying B12 injections to stimulate his appetite and energy) with no real success, Lynne contemplated retiring him. Then she tried CBD oil. The oil in addition to the prednisone he was taking improved Reese’s symptoms immensely.
“Within two weeks, people were telling me what a huge difference they saw in him,” says Lynne. “I slowly started reintegrating him into public settings. He doesn’t tuck his tail as much as he used to and his shaking when he’s nervous has dramatically improved. He gained 40 pounds in six months and nearly doubled in size in what Lynne calls a “miraculous” recovery.
Ryker, a three-and-a-half-year-old silver Labrador Retriever, takes CBD for epilepsy, which he developed at seven months. At 14 months old, Ryker’s owner, Kim Stover-Dowidait, changed his diet and started him on CBD oil as an alternative to some of the seizure medications on the market that have some side effects. “His seizures diminished from weekly to having one a month,” says Kim. “At one time he went seizure free for eight months. It was a lifesaver for us. He has so far stayed off all meds, just relying on a good third-party-tested oil.”
CBD also helps inflammation. Two-year-old Labrador Retriever mix Leeloo was on Prednisone for three months, only to have the inflammation return a few months later. Her owner, Malena Sweeney, didn’t want to put her back on steroids due to the side effects, and so she decided to give CBD oil a try. “Within a week her eyes were back to normal, and it hasn’t been back since.”
Owner Jenn Grenier also saw fast results for her dog Sprocket, a nine-year-old female Boxer/Pit mix diagnosed with intervertebral disc disease, arthritis, and bilateral elbow disease. She was on NSAIDs, nerve medication, and narcotics which helped with the pain, but can also be damaging to the kidneys and liver and would alter Sprocket’s personality. Jenn, an Upton, MA resident, began looking at alternative medicine and learned about Canna-Pet, a company making CBD products for pets. She “initially thought it was too good to be true. How can one product help so many ailments?”
After only a week, Sprocket was well enough that Jenn felt confident enough to bag up the heavy-duty medications and put them away. “Going on three years of taking it, my senior dog is happy, healthy, and pain free,” says Jenn.
All of these dogs have something in common—their canine lives have been changed by CBD oil.
“This oil has changed our girl’s life and ours too,” says Kimberley of Zoey. “She is a totally different dog since this oil—whining has stopped, moaning has stopped. She moves with ease around our home. She’s back to being active, swimming and hiking.” The only issue now, she says, is to keep Zoey from running and jumping too much. “Because of her arthritis, I wouldn’t want her to hurt herself,” Kimberley says. “But she definitely feels like she can do it. My Zoey is not in pain anymore and she’s happy. That makes me happy too.”
Originally published in ModernDog