Does Full Spectrum CBD Oil Help Dogs with Arthritis & Pain?

Arthritis is common in dogs. It’s so common in fact, that arthritis affects around 25% of all dogs at some point in their life. This typically occurs in older age, but risk factors like extra weight or genetic predisposition can cause it earlier. One remedy for this is CBD oil for dog’s arthritis. This all natural hemp extract is able to provide deep relief and recuperation due to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain reducing) effects whether consumed orally or topically via the skin. Many people from Australia to the US already swear by it for their knee or joint aches and its capacity to improve day to day living. It’s able to assist with both reducing joint inflammation and calming pains and aches from arthritis in dogs too. Let’s look at how hemp extract can help your dog get their confidence back and improve their mobility. Learn how to use CBD for your dog’s arthritis, what benefits it offers and help your dog take the next step in managing their condition.

Background on arthritis

Arthritis is a condition that can occur in many animals like dogs, cats and even horses. It causes inflammation, swelling and irritation in joints. This could be a knee, elbow or even finger joint. It ranges from a mild irritation to extremely painful in severity. There are two types of arthritis that can occur – rheumatoid arthritis, caused by inflammatory immune conditions and osteoarthritis resulting from the normal aging of joints. When arthritis occurs it degrades the cartilage in the joints known as the synovial sheath. This cartilage provides cushioning and smoothness between joints allowing them to move with minimal friction. When it begins to wear away it leaves the bone edge exposed and causes nerve pain in the affected region. It can happen in any joint in the body but is more typical in the knees and shoulders of dogs.

In dogs, the most commonly occurring arthritis is osteoarthritis – it’s also called Degenerative Joint Disease. This is a natural occurring health problem resulting from aging of the cells and joints due to ‘wear and tear’. It can be exacerbated by factors like your dog’s weight, genetics and environmental factors like diet. Rheumatoid arthritis can also impact your dog’s joints – this is where inflammation from free radicals, infections or immune conditions leads to the joint becoming inflamed. Both conditions are typically more common in older dogs and can often increase in severity with age. Resulting stiffness and pain in moving can lead to many dogs losing confidence in running, jumping or activity which may result in weight gain.

In the US, there are 89 million dogs who live in households and out of that almost 22 million dogs are suffering from arthritis daily. Similar numbers can be seen in Australia where dog ownership is high from Sydney to Melbourne and beyond. Even though arthritis in dogs is a common disease there is no cure. The best approach is to mitigate its symptoms through lifestyle changes and products like full spectrum CBD oil for dogs.

How does arthritis affect dogs?

It can have both direct physical effects but also change your dog’s behaviours due to the pain or soreness they’re experiencing. Some common symptoms found in the dogs who suffer from arthritis are:

  • Stiffness
  • Sleeping more than normal and lethargy
  • Reduced mobility and enthusiasm
  • Limping and gait changes
  • Excessive panting
  • Inability to jump or hop when previously they had no issue
  • Reluctance to walk or run

Symptoms and how they display can vary based on the individual dog, their age, breed, and personal traits. It’s completely unique to each case in how a dog may respond to their arthritis. Severity of their arthritis is also a factor in which symptoms occur and to what extent. The tricky thing about this issue is it’s completely invisible to the eyes and entirely within the animal’s joints. The only signs you may see are your dog in pain, having trouble walking or stiffness and limping. Symptoms usually only display also when the condition is already fairly progressed which is frustrating and makes it harder to reverse in the first place. Often older dogs will also have behavioral changes – they might not want to go out for walks, may be less energetic, may whimper or have issues in running around and being their ‘normal’ selves. 

Osteoarthritis can be crippling and can lead to further weight gain which exacerbates their predicament. It is important to know when a dog is just getting old and when they have a problem. Pain and whimpering are never normal and not part of old dog behaviour. However stiffness or slowing down may not always be related to arthritis. Keep an eye on your dog and take them to a veterinarian if they are showing signs of symptoms. 

Why do dogs get arthritis?

Several key factors usually explain the majority of cases.

  1. Age – usually arthritis affects dogs as they get older, with joints wearing out due to use over time. The effects of gravity and weight compound into the joint, leading to degradation eventually.
  2. Genetics – not all breeds get arthritis at the same rates. Larger breeds like German Shepherds and Labradors get arthritis much more frequently due to the weight on their joints compared to smaller dogs. Each dog also has different genes – many dogs may simply be predisposed due to their draw of the genetic lottery.
  3. Lifestyle exercise and diet are also factors. If dogs become overweight from lack of movement and poor diet their risk of joint problems is higher. Keeping weight off is typically the most sustainable way to prevent arthritis in the first place.

How can it be treated?

There are different ways to treat the symptoms of arthritis in dogs. These can vary in their efficacy however. Some common methods are:

  1. Improving Your Dog’s Lifestyle

The biggest element to managing any chronic disease and ensuring the best health outcomes in dogs or humans is preventative health measures. Ensuring lifestyle risk factors are minimized is essential. Preventing weight gain, providing your dog with a varied and healthy diet, avoiding pollution and toxins are all ways to help reduce the likelihood of arthritis occurring. They can also help in reducing symptoms if it’s already present. This is also one of the simplest avenues to follow in helping your puppy. Even small changes over time can make a big difference to your dog’s health.

  1. Medication & Painkillers

Most dogs with osteoarthritis are prescribed painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs by vets to help manage the pain and inflammation caused by degeneration of the joints. The most commonly used medicines are Remedy and Metacam. These are synthetic and non-steroidal drugs. Unfortunately, both of them have side effects when used and can be taxing on the liver. The most common side effects are skin irritation, weight loss, black or bloody stools, and diarrhea. Your dog’s kidneys will also be stressed by the chemicals in these medicines. Increased water consumption and changes in urination will typically be seen. The side effects from using pharmaceuticals for dogs can be significant. In many cases a natural alternative may be better suited, particularly for older dogs.

  1. Full spectrum CBD oil

This natural product extracted from hemp is giving more owners and their pets relief. It  can mitigate the pain and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis. Derived from cannabis, the active ingredient within hemp oil known as cannabidiol or CBD has therapeutic properties. When taken it activates the endocannabinoid system present in dogs. This system has receptors throughout the body including the joints known as CB2 receptors. These can activate, releasing endocannabinoids that reduce inflammation and help to fight pain as an analgesic. Importantly it doesn’t contain THC which is toxic to dogs. It has no psychoactive effects and won’t get your dog high. By helping both with symptoms and the aching caused by osteoarthritis, CBD can help your dog regain its enthusiasm and confidence to live a fuller life.

Does hemp oil work for arthritis in dogs?

It’s clear from studies that CBD helps with arthritis and its pain in humans. It has even been endorsed by the Arthritis Foundation in the US as one treatment method to help manage the aches caused in the joints. Does this translate into being useful for dogs? The answer isn’t yet fully clear but comments from veterinarians and owners alike suggest it does. Hemp extract has both pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects. Because of these properties, its seen as an alternative to treat dogs without downsides of NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Its also known that the endocannabinoid system present in dogs plays a major role in slowing the progression of arthritis. Cannabinoid receptors are found in both the degenerated and healthy joint tissues in dogs with osteoarthritis. These receptors are responsible for the treatment of arthritis with cannabinoids like CBG and CBD.

Studies have shown that cannabidiol plays a vital role in preventing the progression of pain that is associated with arthritis. In 2018, The College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University conducted an awareness campaign where basic studies about CBD for arthritis were discussed with owners of the dogs who were affected. Researchers also studied full-spectrum CBD oil as a treatment for dogs with osteoarthritis as an oral dosage of 2 to 8mg daily. Dogs who were being studied were assessed before the treatment and also after two to four weeks of treatment. Against placebo it was clear that both symptoms of pain and movement ability were improved for the test group, suggesting hemp extract is effective.

Is It Safe for Dogs?

In the above-mentioned study, minimal side effects were observed during the treatment. Some minor side effects occurred such as diarrhea and changes in stool color. Most of the studies conducted have shown that the oil works by boosting endocannabinoid activity across the dog’s body. Recently the researchers from the University of Kentucky in the USA have found that Transdermal CBD topicals also have surprising effects in treating arthritis. Results indicated that cannabinoids in the oil including CBN, CBG and terpenes all help in reducing pain and swelling in the joints. Different studies have shown that CBD acts a step further by helping in managing pain at any stage. The best part about it is that it doesn’t have any addictive qualities or toxicity even at higher doses.

How to use it

Hemp oil is being used increasingly as  a reliable and safe medication. Because cats and dogs have similar endocannabinoid systems as humans, they get the same benefits from endocannabinoids released from the cannabinoid receptors. Some  guidelines before using it as a treatment:

  1. Dosage

The most important thing to know before taking any medication is what the right dosage to take is. Fortunately, CBD is non-psychoactive and non-toxic. Hence it is not capable of causing overdose – it will not harm your dog or poison it in any way. However, it is wise to keep structured records of dosage for your dog. The correct dose depends on the severity of their symptoms and what your veterinarian recommends for your dog. Generally, 2 to 4 drops of CBD oil are used as a treatment 2 to 4 times a day. Again, you need to consult a vet before increasing the dose if the inflammation or pain does not reduce. Always monitor for side effects or significant changes in behaviour – if this occurs stop providing the oil to your dog.

  1. How to give it to your dog

Hemp oil is rich in healthy polyunsaturated and long chain fatty acids. Because of this most animals love to consume it for the healthy calories and fats it provides. You can drop the liquid directly into your dog’s mouth for easy ingestion, or add it into their food. Alternatives to oil are pellets, powders or sublinguals but we recommend using a tincture due to its high bioavailability. It will be better absorbed and provide the maximum benefit to your puppy.

Talking to Your Vet in Australia

If your dog’s suffering from arthritis, it’s the right time to consult your veterinarian about getting full spectrum CBD oil prescribed. It can help your pet get more active, maintain a proper weight, and improve quality of life. Cannabinoids like CBG and CBN are best used as a part of a holistic approach to pet health, not simply a therapy by themselves. It’s up to us to supply them a balanced diet and supplements for well-being. CBD oil for dog’s arthritis can be a tremendous natural solution in reducing symptoms and managing pain. The oil is made by CO2 extraction from hemp plants. You can get it online from stores without any prescriptions but you should first consult the vet before using it. 

Always ensure what you purchase is free from THC which can be harmful to your dog.  In Australia your vet can help guide you through the process of securing it for your puppy. This may involve forming a plan to cut down usage of harmful NSAIDs. Be aware that CBD may interfere with other drugs and medications your dog takes like de-wormers.