This article by Jennifer was originally published on FOMO Bones.
The sometimes cruel nature of life’s natural aging process can also affect our canine companions. They are prone to contracting some of the same illnesses we do in old age. Ailments such as arthritis that make simple tasks painfully unbearable are equally prevalent in senior dogs and cats, which is why pet owners need to take certain steps to soothe their aches and pains in their final years.
As they age, dogs may start to suffer from one of the many diseases that can take hold in us—the pet parents—too, such as cancer, chronic pain, and arthritis. Canine arthritis, just like human arthritis, gets worse when our pups are exposed to cold, wet weather or when they gain weight or overexert themselves. Certain breeds are more susceptible to hip, joint, and bone disorders, but every breed of dog can develop arthritis as they age.
What are the Symptoms of Arthritis in Dogs?
Unlike real children, our canine kids can’t tell us when something is up. And when they are experiencing pain, we have to pay attention to the subtle hints and visual cues that our dog cunningly gives us. If you notice any of the following symptoms, then your dog may have arthritis:
- Staggering or problems when walking
- Changing positions very slowly accompanied by groaning or whining
- Stiffness when getting up or lying down
- Reluctant to go on walks
- A strong aversion to stairs
- Spending more time sleeping than usual
- Panting or whimpering
If you start noticing any of the above symptoms taking place on a daily basis, then you need to visit your vet right away to start treatment. Arthritis is a degenerative disease, so delaying action is not an option.
The Main Issue with Traditional Arthritis Treatments
Upon visiting your vet and confirming that your dog has arthritis, you will at first be relieved to hear that anti-inflammatory painkillers will most likely be prescribed. “Great!” I hear you say. Sadly, there is some bad news. The majority of mainstream pharmaceuticals used to treat joint pain and bone disorders are accompanied by some pretty horrendous side effects including:
- Loose stools or diarrhea
- Seeming spaced out
- Clumsiness and lack of spatial awareness
- Irritated skin or allergies
- Yellowing of the eyes which can indicate liver problems
- Vomiting and weight loss
- Dehydration and restlessness
- Stomach ulcers
Most importantly, many of the common medications used to treat canine arthritis can potentially damage your dog’s internal organs, which opens a whole other range of health issues.
This is exactly the reason why the majority of doggy parents are reluctant to give their precious pooches pharmaceuticals that could potentially jeopardize their health along with making them miserable.
Thankfully, if you are among the people who are searching for a natural, gentle, yet incredibly effective remedy to treat your four-legged friend’s arthritis, there is now an option capable of treating the symptoms of arthritis in dogs.
Using CBD Oil to Treat Arthritis in Dogs
Like the increasing popularity of such products as hemp oil, marijuana, hemp seed oil, and medical cannabis, cannabis oil is fast becoming the number one natural remedy for treating almost any issue that you can think of, even arthritis. During recent years, several studies on the efficacy of CBD oil and the healing benefits of the cannabis plant have been published, as well as hundreds of thousands of testimonials from patients who have been helped by this powerful elixir. As people are waking up to the fact that natural, non-toxic products can be even more potent than pharmaceuticals, CBD products are being legalized all around the world for the use of pain relief and more. More research is being performed and even the notoriously strict FDA has approved the use of CBD-rich products to successfully treat disease and illness symptoms.
Using CBD oil for medicinal purposes has been scientifically proven to reduce pain and inflammation in the joints and protect joints from further damage. Further still, CBD products do not contain THC, the psychoactive element found in cannabis. The key to overcoming debilitating illnesses, such as arthritis, in your dog is to ensure that the pain is manageable enough for him to still be able to do light movement and exercise. Not only will this improve his mood, but it will also prevent your pet from gaining weight through lack of exercise.
How Does it Work?
To explain it in simple terms, CBD for pets works through triggering sensors in the natural endocannabinoid system present in vertebrates. These sensors then convey a message to the brain to relieve pain and activate the other internal systems necessary to combat illness and inflammation.
How to Give CBD Oil to Your Arthritic Dog
You can administer CBD to companion animals in a variety of different ways, with the most popular being CBD tincture or oil. Pet-approved oil will likely have omega-3 present, which is going to give your dog added health benefits. If your dog is relatively chilled out, then you can use a syringe to give him a few drops in his mouth. If he is not so keen on the taste and refuses to take it, then you can mix it into his meals to disguise the taste.
If your dog has your sneaky medicine-giving tactics figured out, then CBD-infused dog treats are equally effective, and they taste good (to your dog, at least). You could also try rubbing CBD balm onto your dog’s skin but bear in mind that it will take longer to work, as it needs to be absorbed into the bloodstream via the skin.
How Much CBD Oil Should You Give Your Dog?
Dosage will depend on a few factors, such as the size and weight of your dog. Obviously, it also depends on how advanced his arthritis is. If you are using CBD as a complementary treatment to pharmaceutical medication, then always run your intention past your vet for approval before getting started.
As a rule of thumb, you should start with a smaller dose of CBD oil and increase if necessary. There is currently no firm decision on the correct dosage of CBD oil since research is still in its early stages. So, you will need to be consistent and vigilant by increasing the dosage slowly and gradually until you can see a visible improvement in your dog’s symptoms.
While arthritis is classified as a degenerative disease, CBD may slow further joint damage and treat future pain. It also has the added benefit of treating other issues, including insomnia, anxiety, and seizures. Basically, there is no downside to giving your dog CBD oil, especially if he is getting old. That said, CBD is a medicine and should be treated as such. Make sure that you are consistent with your timings and dosage and if your dog is improving, then don’t stop giving him the tincture; keep administering the same dosage and watch its goodness manifest!
Author bio: Jennifer is the voice behind the FOMO Bones blog. She’s pretty sure she was a Great Dane in her past life, but her team at FOMO pegs her as more of a Labrador. Regardless of her breed, she’s a dog enthusiast with 15 years’ experience training dogs and owner.