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Hemp, CBD and dogs

When man first domesticated wolves they started a new species of canine… dogs. Over the millennia many different breeds were established. We also became their caregivers. They provide us with love, loyalty and protection and we provide them with all of those plus food, shelter and proper medical care.


"It is always wise to check with the vet before giving your dog anything from the herbal realm and that includes CBD and/or hemp cookies".

Some breeds of dogs are known to have a potential for health problems. German shepherds are known for hip issues. Dachshunds tend to have slipped discs. Poodles can dislocate their kneecaps and many breeds have a tendency to develop cancer.

Other health problems can show up. Cocker spaniels get ear infections easily and some dogs, whether it’s breed specific or not develop epilepsy. Older dogs of any type tend to develop arthritis which can be very painful. Some dogs are super nervous or hyperactive.

The question is how do we treat these problems? While most of these problems should be treated by a vet there are things that we can do to help. It is always wise to check with the vet before giving your dog anything from the herbal realm and that includes CBD and/or hemp cookies.

Pain issues:

Like humans dogs, cats and horses have an endocannabinoid system. This allows them to respond to treatments that include this system. Many times dogs are put on pain medications that have unwanted side effects. Prescription NSAIDs can be used but there are several side effects that could cause more harm than good. These include bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract, ulcers, holes eating through the stomach and damage to the liver and/or kidneys.

Some pain requires stronger treatments. As with humans veterinarians turn to opiates and opioids. While dogs don’t have quite the same problems with addiction there are side effects to these drugs as well. Nausea and vomiting top the list but other problems exist. They include loss of appetite, drowsiness, diarrhea, dizziness and tremors.

There is also the issue of intransigent pain. This is pain that isn’t stopped by any of the other options or that isn’t helped enough by them. All of these things can be helped by and perhaps replaced by CBD from hemp.

Hemp acts on the receptors found in the endocannabinoid system in the nervous system. A study done by Frontiers in Veterinary Science was published on PubMed measuring all aspects of how the CBD in hemp helped the dogs. This was a well-balanced double blind placebo controlled study that used owner questionnaires, canine brief pain inventory and the *Hudson activity scores to indicate whether or not the CBD oil worked. It found a “significant decrease in pain and an increase in activity level” for all dogs who received the oil.


According to the AKC Canine Health Foundation epilepsy is the most common form of neurologic disorder in dogs. The site states that it affects almost one percent of canines. Until recently there hasn’t been a clear way to classify the different types of canine seizures, however using the mapping of brain waves one has been developed. It has similarities to those for humans but because a dog can’t say exactly what they experience there are differences.

Current medications don’t always help these dogs. They may cover some seizures but not others or not be strong enough. These problems are also seen in humans and studies have found that CBD can help.

Clinical trials are ongoing using CBD in dogs that have this disorder. The dogs enrolled have already been diagnosed with the problem and are on medications. Whether these medications are adequate hasn’t been stated in the white papers already published. There is hope that the reports will be reported later in 2019.

Cerebrospinal infections:

Every once in a while a meningitis outbreak will occur among humans. It is most common in college age young people though children have been known to get it. Meningitis is not the only infection that can affect the nervous system and humans are not the only ones who can get it. Many other animals, including dogs can develop it.

There are several terms used in the studies about these infections that should be mentioned. One is neutrophilic pleocytosis. This is a fancy way of saying that there is a large increase in white blood cells found in cerebrospinal fluid. That is a hallmark for a diagnosis of some form of infection in that system. Further testing can show what bacteria or virus is causing it and some ideas about treatment.

Now that there is a good deal of THC free cannabinoids experiments have taken place on using them on dogs with this condition. One study included seven dogs with various forms of infection. A control group of six healthy dogs was used to monitor side effects. Of sick animals four responded to CBD, two deteriorated and one report is missing. The control group had no side effects. Evidence of CBD was found in the fluids of all dogs, including those who were euthanized. The euthanized dogs were given a post-mortem to find out why they deteriorated so rapidly. Both had parasites in the spine and one had cancer as well as the parasite.

While further studies are necessary CBD from hemp is another weapon that may be added to the arsenal against these diseases. Studies in humans may already be underway to check for similar benefits. It should be noted that the dogs were also treated with the standard medications used for these illnesses.


Dogs can become agitated for a number of reasons. Some are high energy dogs who need a large amount of space to run. If they don’t have access to that they become very hyper and may bark a great deal. Others have underlying illnesses which they don’t understand. They just know they don’t feel right. Dogs can also develop various forms of dementia, and one of the outward signs is agitation.

There are several drugs that can be given to dogs for this problem but all of them have side effects and most of those are undesirable. However hemp treats are given to these dogs and they usually settle down.

It can be used topically or ingested. Hemp cookies are a good way of administering the medication without further upsetting the dog. CBD oil can be given mixed in food or via an oral syringe.

*The Hudson activity score is a scale devised to allow veterinarians to assess pain levels in dogs. It has from nineteen to thirty-nine questions that can be used on all dogs.


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