Watching a pet deal with arthritis is devastating.
And while there are medications to help them deal with pain and inflammation, these often induce a variety of side effects.
Luckily, there’s now a solid body of research showing that CBD can reduce the symptoms of arthritis and slow its progression, all without producing any side effects.
In this article I’m going to discuss how CBD may help alleviate your dog’s symptoms of arthritis and joint pain.
First I’ll take a closer look at what causes arthritis before showing you exactly how CBD can help manage this condition.
Finally, I’ll also direct you to some CBD pet products I’ve tried myself.
Understanding Arthritis and Joint Pain
Before we look at the specifics of how CBD works to manage symptoms of arthritis and joint pain, it’s important to know what arthritis is.
Below is a quick outline of arthritis, what it is, what causes it, and how it affects your dog.
What is Arthritis and What Causes it?
Canine arthritis is very common.
According to some estimates, it affects up to 1 in 4 dogs.
In the US, where there are over 89 million dogs living in households, this equates to over 22 million dogs dealing with arthritis on a daily basis.
And, despite being so common, arthritis and joint pain still aren’t completely understood.
In fact, the term “arthritis” is kind of an umbrella term used to refer a group of over 100 diseases causing joint degeneration and joint pain.
All forms of arthritis cause chronic inflammation of the joints, which causes pain and stiffness in the affected areas.
The most common type of arthritis in dogs is osteoarthritis, also known as Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD), which is basically caused by the degeneration of cartilage in the joint.
Cartilage is a firm but flexible connective tissue that serves as a natural shock absorber in the joints and between bones.
As it deteriorates, the bones in the joint become more exposed and begin to rub against each other, resulting in painful movements and stiffness.
The damage that causes osteoarthritis usually occurs due to the “wear and tear” of the joints, and tends to affect senior dogs.
However, joint injuries or infections can also damage cartilage and lead to arthritis.
Common symptoms of arthritis in dogs include:
- Slowness when getting up or laying down
- Reluctance to go on walks
- Reluctance or inability to jump
- reduce d mobility
- Excessive panting
- Sleeping more than usual
Arthritis Affects Your Dog’s Weight
Dogs with arthritis are prone to become less active.
As moving around becomes more and more difficult, dogs will naturally want to avoid activity.
As they do so, it’s only natural that they begin to put on weight, which only complicates their condition further.
The heavier your dog, the more weight is put on his/her joints, only exacerbating the painful symptoms of arthritis.
Hence, its very important that you pay close attention to your dog’s weight and use dieting and, where possible, exercise to help them stay in good shape.
Traditional Arthritis Treatment
There are many different approaches to treating dog arthritis.
Most vets will prescribe your dog some kind of pain killer and/or anti inflammatory to help combat the pain and inflammation caused by arthritis.
Some of the most common medications prescribed to dogs with arthritis are Metacam and Rimadyl, two non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIs).
As with any prescription medication, both of these meds can cause side effects. These include:
- Black, tarry or bloody stools or diarrhea
- Increased or decreased activity
- Skin irritation
- Stomach ulcers
- Unexpected weight loss
- Increased water consumption and changes to urine (smell, color, and frequency)
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Liver and kidney damage
Rimadyl, in particular, can also react with other medications.
Alternative Therapies and Natural Supplements
More and more pet owners are looking to avoid the nasty side effects listed above and therefore try new, alternative therapies to help their dogs manage their condition.
- Massage therapy
Many pet owners also look to natural supplements to provide relief to their dog.
Some supplements believed to help manage the symptoms of arthritis include omega 3 fatty acids and glucosamine, both of which are said to improve joint health and promote mobility.
Can CBD Help Dogs With Joint Pain and Arthritis?
Yes, CBD can be very effective at relieving the symptoms of joint pain and arthritis.
Studies have shown that CBD can have powerful pain-relieving and anti inflammatory effects, making it a very viable option for treating the symptoms of arthritis.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a natural compound found in cannabis and hemp plants.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, but don’t worry:
This stuff won’t get your pet “high.”
The compound that causes the psychoactive effects or “marijuana” is THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol.
CBD is a completely different compound that’s safe, reliable and, most importantly, non psychoactive.
In fact, research suggests that CBD may be far better tolerated than other standard medications.
When CBD enters the body it interacts with the endocannabinoid system (or ECS), a natural biological system found in all mammals.
The system is predominantly made up of 2 types of cannabinoid receptors (known as CB1 and CB2) which are located all throughout the brain and body.
By interacting with these receptors, CBD can have a wide variety of beneficial effects.
First and foremost, CBD has been shown to fight inflammation.
Numerous studies on CBD have shown that the compound can reduce inflammation all around the body.
Most recently, researchers from the University of Kentucky, USA, found similar results using transdermal CBD gels in 2016.
After inducing arthritis in rats, the researchers treated the animals with varying strengths of CBD gels for 4 consecutive days.
The results from the study showed that CBD helped reduce swelling in the affected joints and reduced inflammation.
Moreover, the study also showed that CBD helped reduce signs of pain in the rats.
CBD for Pain
Fighting inflammation is obviously key in managing the progression of arthritis.
However, the results from the above study show that CBD goes a step further, also helping manage the pain associated with the condition.
But the results from this study aren’t unique.
Given the rise in popularity of CBD as a medicine, a growing body of research has already documented CBD’s powerful pain killing properties.
In fact, I’ve witnessed the pain killing effects of CBD myself.
A few years ago, my dog Rosie was diagnosed with cancer and hip dysplasia.
If you’re familiar with hip dysplasia, you’ll know that it produces some similar symptoms to arthritis:
Due to a malformation, the “ball and socket” in Rosie’s hip didn’t work properly, rubbing against each other rather than sliding smoothly.
This caused Rosie a lot of pain and inflammation, which affected her activity levels and lifestyle.
Looking for ways to help her cope and enjoy an improved quality of life, I soon stumbled on CBD.
And, after plenty of research and consultations with my vet, I decided to give it a go.
And I’m so glad I did.
Within just a few days of beginning her treatment, Rosie was a different dog.
She seemed in a lot less pain and was much more active.
She also regained her appetite (which she began to lose as a result of her cancer treatment) and enjoyed an overall improved quality of life.
Best of all, the CBD produced no side effects at all.
In fact, during my research I learnt that the only side effect associated with CBD is some slight drowsiness, although this is very rare and didn’t affect Rosie
Treating Your Dog With CBD: Things to Keep in Mind
Today, CBD is widely accepted as a safe, reliable, and well-tolerated medicine both for humans and animals.
In fact, because dogs and cats have the same endocannabinoid system as humans, they actually respond to CBD in the same ways we do.
However, dogs are more sensitive to the effects to cannabinoids like CBD, meaning they’ll usually require smaller doses than humans.
Here some things to keep in mind if you plan to use CBD to treat your dog’s arthritis/joint pain.
Getting the right dose is important with any medication or supplement.
Luckily, seeing that CBD is non toxic, non psychoactive, and incapable of causing an “overdose” you don’t have to be worried about over intoxicating your dog with this stuff.
Nonetheless, it’s a good idea to use structured doses to assess how your dog responds to the treatment.
The exact dose your dog needs will depend on their condition, their breed and size, and the strength of the supplement you’re using.
When using CBD oil, for example, you’ll generally want to stick to doses of roughly 2-4 drops of oil administered 2-4 times daily.
If using capsules or CBD-infused treats, dosages will vary depending on the strength of the product, so make sure to follow the package instructions.
I’m not the only who found success using CBD.
In fact, many other pet owners like you and I are using CBD on a daily basis to help their furry friends deal with arthritis, joint pain, and countless other conditions.
And, like me, they’re enjoying great results.
Dog owners using CBD find the supplement helps their dogs deal with inflammation and pain without any side effects.
By helping them manage these symptoms, CBD also encourages dogs to stay active and enjoy physical activity like walks and playing fetch.
This is obviously really important for helping the pet enjoy a good quality of life while simultaneously helping to keep their weight in check.
Try CBD With Your Pet Today
If your dog struggles with arthritis or joint pain, I highly recommend using CBD to help them deal with their symptoms.
As I mentioned earlier, I saw huge improvements in Rosie within just a few days of treatment.
And, as you saw above, I’m not alone.
To treat arthritis, I recommend trying CBD oil or topical solutions like balms and sprays.
Alternatively, you can also try CBD capsules and treats, although they will take longer to take effect as they have to pass through the digestive tract (which can take 45 minutes or more).
I used CBD products by both Canna-pet and King Kanine, and can highly recommend both.
King Kanine’s topical balm and spray may be particularly useful for treating localized pain and inflammation in your pet’s joints.