So little Ralphie is showing signs of anxiety, aggression, depression, seizures or joint pain or perhaps you are just concerned about his overall well-being. You have read about CBD helping with an array of health issues like stress, nausea, gastrointestinal issues, compromised immune system and organ failure with other pet owners and you too want to give it a try so that little Ralphie can benefit from natural alternatives.
How do I find the right CBD Pet Product?
There seem to be a million and one CBD products for pets on the market these days. Some come in the form of treats, others in oils, and others as hemp products. But which should we be going for and which should we be avoiding all together?
It is important to find the right product for your pet that’s not only high quality but accurate and effective. Here are your top 15 rules to follow before and after checkout:
#1 Avoid pre-made CBD pet treats
They are cute and tempting but be careful as they’re not always safe. Many CBD pet treats are processed with heat, which damages the CBD, rendering them less effective on your dog. Edible CBD treats are also especially susceptible to variations in the concentration of active ingredients, thus may not always contain what is written on the package nor be safe. The likelihood is that, unless specifically manufactured as CBD rather than containing CBD best to be avoided. Also check the ingredients of pet treats to ensure that any chocolate or raisins treats contain are dog safe as these may be toxic.
The CBD oil dropper will give you more control over the dosage you are giving your pet. In addition, you can take advantage of the dropper to place the oil directly in your dog’s mouth, on your dog’s food or favourite treat.
#2 Choose a hemp-derived product
CBD, whatever the end format, can be extracted from either the hemp plant or the marijuana plant. It is best to ensure that the CBD products you purchase your furry friend are extracted from hemp. This is because the hemp plant contains little to no THC. Which brings me on to my next point:
#3 Choose a product with no detectable THC
While all hemp derived CBD in Europe should contain under 0.2% THC (depending very much on the country where it was fabricated), purchases made on behalf of Ralphie should contain zero detectable THC. You will be able to find this information on the certificate of analysis that accompanies CBD products.
Dogs react very differently to THC than humans do, and their level of tolerance is much lower. To give you an idea, <0.2% THC would never initiate a feeling of euphoria in humans, in fact, we probably wouldn’t notice anything. However, even trace amounts of THC could have negative effects on cats and small dogs. How do we ensure that the trace levels of THC are what they claim to be? Check out #4.
#4 Never purchase a CBD oil product without 1st looking at the Certificate of Analysis (COA)
The certificate of analysis (COA) are the laboratory testing results of the CBD oil you are purchasing. Ideally, you are looking for a certificate that presents high amounts of CBD and zero THC.
It is important that you look for a COA. If you are unable to find one on the website of the CBD seller you are considering, I suggest that you move on. Legit CBD brands have nothing to hide and will be 100% transparent, yet due to the lack of regulation, others will. You might not always get exactly what you think you’re getting. Unfortunately, some pet products might contain more THC than is appropriate and result in unwanted side effects including difficulties with standing and eating.
COA will also allow us to be more accurate when dosing as we can verify levels of CBD claimed and ensure we are in control of quantities.
You can view examples of pet CBD COAs here.
#5 Look for “certified organic” on the label
If you are investigating CBD it is likely that you want a natural alternative to ensure your pets well-being. Products labelled ‘certified organic’ won’t contain pesticides or herbicides. This is extra information which CBD companies are not required to disclose and adds to their transparency. Why is this important?
Well, hemp has the unique ability to pull in any toxins the soil may have. By going organic you are ensuring that your product is as natural as possible. An alternative is to go for a salmon oil based or cod liver oil based product, reducing the amount of hemp oil as much as possible.
#6 Go for “Nano-Sized Microemulsion” CBD
There are many different types of CBD oil qualities and prices. Let me help you grasp one of the main differences.
One factor that greatly determines the quality and potency of your CBD oil is the method in which the CBD is emulsified. So, to put it simply, mixed thoroughly together with its oil base(s) to become a smooth liquid.
The cheaper end of the spectrum starts at “Standard Emulsion” or standard oil sized particle if you like. This is where the oil particles themselves are larger and so CBD absorption into the bloodstream is poor. Best to avoid these products as, at the end of the day, you are just paying for a cheap supplement with little real CBD effect.
Basic good quality CBD oil will start at boasting something called “Liposomal Emulsion”. This is where the oil particles have been broken down into smaller sizes first. Thus, when Ralphie takes the drops, absorption will be quite good, about 10-15% better absorption. This will help explain the slightly higher prices in this product range.
Luxury brands stand out due to their excellent technology and maximum bioavailability thanks to their “Nano-Sized Emulsion“. There are very few CBD brands that produce oil this way, due to the hefty price tag. What distinguishes this emulsion from the rest is its excellent absorption into the bloodstream due to the tiny size of the particles.
#7 Low price is more often than not a Red Flag
Following on from point #6, should you come across a CBD oil that is significantly cheaper than the rest, ask yourself why. As my dad used to say, there is no such thing as a free lunch.
Are they cutting corners somewhere? What is the quality of the hemp oil they putting in their product? How much CBD are they really putting in their bottles? Do you want this for your pet? If the answer is no, look for another oil even if it is a little more expensive.
#8 Beware of “Hemp Oil” only products
Hemp oil and CBD Hemp oil are two different products. It is very important that we understand this as consumers. ‘Hemp Oil with CBD’ has added CBD and the oil acts as the carrier. ‘Hemp Seed Oil’ does not contain enough CBD to be therapeutic.
So why are we finding more and more products labelled ‘Hemp Oil‘?
This new term has been created by manufacturers to skirt Ad regulations. By not putting CBD on their product label they are able to advertise in places that would otherwise have been out of reach to them. The problem with this miss information is that you no longer know what you are buying, you can’t verify the amount of CBD in the product and there is no COA. If this is the case do not purchase the product.
#9 Choose a spectrum for your pet instead of an isolate
While searching for the perfect product you will come across two or three different types of definitions: “full-spectrum CBD”, “broad -spectrum CBD” and “CBD isolate”.
- Full spectrum: The hemp plant contains a total of 113 natural cannabinoids. Full spectrum products will include all compounds, essential oils, terpenes as well as a full spectrum of cannabinoids found in the plant.
- Broad spectrum: I like to think of broad spectrum like a mix between full and isolate. It has all of the enhanced benefits of full spectrum with the added benefit of no THC. So, all compounds found within the plant are preserved in the extract; yet, the THC is completely removed.
- CBD isolate: is the purest form of CBD extract. It is produced by removing all other compounds, terpenes, flavonoids, THC and anything else necessary from the plant until you are left with just CBD. CBD Isolate is usually extracted from hemp thanks to the plant’s low concentration in THC.
A 2014 study from the Lautenberg Centre for General Tumour Immunology in Jerusalem showed that using a product that more closely mirrors what nature designed is ideal. Researchers found that those administered with full spectrum CBD saw higher levels of relief than those who weren’t. For this reason, many believe the whole plant offers an “entourage effect” with a more complete variety of phytochemicals your dog may be able to benefit from.
#10 Get the dose right
Once you decide which oil is right for little Ralphie, the next step is to figure out dosing and strengths.
CBD oil is great for this as the dropper allows you to administer little volumes of the oil under the pet’s tongue. At first, your pet may not be excited about this form of delivery, however, it is the fastest method of absorption.
I would suggest that you start by administering a lower dosage per day and then gradually increase with time if need be.
Don’t forget to read the recommended dosage guidelines by the product manufacturer.
So, how much CBD should you give your pet?
The general consensus is that if you are looking to increase comfort and decrease anxiety in dogs, we may be looking at approximately 2mg/kg of CBD every 12 hours. However, you should be consulting with an experienced veterinarian before deciding how much CBD to give to your pet.
Remember, it is important to buy from reputable retailers with COA. Due to slack regulations there are still many products with differing concentrations of CBD than what is actually on the label. This in particular is what makes it extremely worrisome when trying to calculate an appropriate and safe dose for a 2-kilo dog versus a 90-kilo dog. This brings us nicely on to our next point…
#11 Stick with renowned retailers and brands
I just can’t highlight this point enough. Avoid going with the cheapest CBD pet oil option. It is important to select companies which take the time to comply with the strict testing process that ensures the overall health of our pets. Any company you choose should be willing to provide you with information about product, its purity and test results.
#12 Know what CBD can and cannot do for your pet
Many relate CBD with marijuana, and thus worry they may be introducing their pets to drugs. Rest assured, pet CBD comes from hemp and not marijuana. Why is this important? Well, other than the legal status of hemp 😉 the difference between the two plants is the level of THC (the high). Hemp has much lower levels of THC meaning that your pet won’t be hallucinating after administration.
The medical benefits come from the way CBD interacts with receptors in our pet’s body and bran; the endocannabinoid system. This system is involved with memory, pain, sleep, among others. Read this article for more information on the endocannabinoid system. Quality CBD may reduce inflammation, the risk of seizures and lower pet anxiety and stress. If your pet is suffering from any of these conditions, it may be an interesting natural alternative to other medications.
#13 Have realistic expectations
Remember that this is not a silver bullet. CBD oil for pets is designed to help not cure. Evaluate little Ralphie’s response to his CBD pet oil. This may be something you want to do at home with your family or together with your veterinarian.
#14 Consult your vet first
Just as you would go to your family doctor or specialist should you have a health-related question, do the same for little Ralphie.
Take the time to talk with experts in the industry. Check with your family veterinarian first to see if they have had any experience with CBD and what they may have to say. They know your pet’s situation better than anyone else and may be able to offer you helpful advice.
#15 Exercise caution the first time you & your pet try CBD
This is like anything; this is an experience to be done together. Avoid giving Ralphie CBD a day that you have to leave him unattended for the first few hours. We want to ensure that the effects are the desired ones and that we don’t observe anything that may concern us.
It is only natural that you would want to give back to your pet all of the things they give us: love, loyalty, friendship, mood-boost, reduced anxiety and values. They are a symbol of protection and strength and should be well taken care of.
CBD oil for pets has many benefits, it’s been reported to act as a painkiller, help control seizures, be used for anti-inflammatory purposes, reduce stress and anxiety (especially in younger dogs that love to nibble on your favourite shoes!), help control vomiting and promote appetite, it may even slow tumour growth as it is an overall health supplement for your pets immune system.
However, do ensure that you purchase your pet oil from a reputable brand that provides you with a COA, uses products which have been tested, are natural, contain little to no THC and have positive reviews from other clients.
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