Have you ever been sea sick?
What do they always say?…
“Don’t go below deck for too long. It makes it much worse!”
The captain of the ship won’t be recommending CBD to you, but that’s exactly what could help your dog.
Today I’m going to take an in-depth look at the science behind how CBD works to relieve nausea and vomiting, as well as improve appetite.
Finally, I’ll also look at a few specific CBD pet companies whose products I’ve used and show you where you can get them to try for yourself.
What is Nausea?
Nausea is defined as a strong feeling of sickness, usually characterized by a feeling of wanting to vomit.
It is a common symptom of many conditions, but can also strike on its own with no clear underlying cause.
For example, nausea can be a symptom of:
- Worms or parasites
- Anxieties, especially separation anxiety
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
But don’t worry:
Just because your dog is nauseous, it doesn't mean their pregnant or suffering from IBD.
In fact, just like in humans, nausea in dogs is usually caused by dietary factors.
The wrong kind of food can make your pup feel sick, as can eating too quickly, overeating, or eating right before exercise.
Dogs may also experience nausea as a result of riding in the car, specific medical treatments (like chemotherapy or other drugs) and various medications.
Nausea can affect any dog, regardless of their breed or size, although it is more common in older dogs than puppies.
What are the Signs & Symptoms of Nausea?
Unfortunately, dogs can’t exactly speak up and tell us when they’re feeling nauseous or sick.
And because nausea doesn’t cause physical symptoms like pain or inflammation, it’s a notoriously hard condition to diagnose.
Hence, it can take a while for pet owners and even vets to diagnose a pet with nausea, especially if they’re only experiencing a mild case of it.
However, nausea in dogs can be accompanied by some symptoms, including:
- Excessive drooling
- Consistent licking
- Consistent chewing
- Dry heaving
Nausea is also commonly accompanied by vomiting or diarrhea, which tend to be the 2 main ways in which dog owners know their pup isn’t feeling too good.
“My Dog is Eating Grass, Does This Mean He's Nauseous?”
Some people believe that eating grass is a sign that your pet is feeling sick.
In fact, my mom taught me this when I was just a kid, and I believed it for a very long time.
The theory here is that dogs eat grass in order to make themselves throw up because they feel nauseous or unwell.
However, this theory hasn’t been proven and there is no real evidence to suggest that it's true.
In fact, most vets consider eating grass as normal dog behavior.
It is extremely common among puppies or younger dogs, who tend to eat grass out of boredom.
So, don’t worry:
If your dog is chewing on grass while laying out in the sun in the backyard, chances are they're just bored.
How Serious is Dog Nausea?
Just like you might experience nausea from time to time, so does your dog.
Like I mentioned earlier, the most likely cause of nausea in your dog is their diet.
Sudden changes in your pup’s diet can upset their stomach, as can eating anything they shouldn’t have.
For these acute cases of nausea, there are are many home remedies you can use to help your dog feel better which I’ll list further down in this article.
Your vet can also provide you with antiemetic drugs for your dog, but to be honest, I think they aren’t necessary for minor cases.
Most acute cases of nausea tend to pass with time.
When Does Nausea Become a Serious Problem?
Now, while most regular cases of canine nausea aren’t too serious, there is a point where nausea can become a real problem for your pet.
Nausea can be a serious health problem, especially when it's accompanied by appetite loss, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Extended periods of nausea accompanied by these symptoms can lead to rapid weight loss and, in extreme cases, muscle wasting.
Luckily, dogs will rarely just experience these symptoms out of the blue.
Instead, they’ll usually be caused by some underlying condition or medical treatment.
My dog Rosie, for example, suffered from cancer and hip dysplasia.
As part of her cancer treatment, Rosie underwent regularly chemotherapy sessions.
Now, we were lucky because Rosie experienced hardly any side effects of the treatment.
The one symptom she did experience, however, was nausea.
Chemotherapy drugs are notorious for causing harsh side effects, even though canine chemotherapy is far less intrusive than the chemo used on humans.
Nausea and appetite loss are probably the most common symptoms among dogs undergoing chemo.
Rosie’s nausea would usually strike shortly after her chemo session and last for about 1 or 2 days.
We noticed pretty quickly, seeing as Rosie’s appetite was also affected, which was strange seeing that she was always such a good eater.
I used CBD oil either before or after Rosie's chemotherapy and noticed (after about 30 minutes) that she seemed more active and, most importantly, hungry.
Now, Rosie’s case wasn’t very serious, and we were able to get on top of it pretty quickly using CBD oil.
But other dogs aren’t so lucky...
For some dogs, nausea can be an extremely debilitating symptom.
Like I mentioned, constant nausea often leads to appetite loss which can in turn cause rapid, unwanted weight loss and muscle wasting.
These symptoms are especially complicated for sick dogs.
Sick dogs need to stick to a healthy, balanced diet in order to help their bodies gather the strength to recover.
Unfortunately, nausea and appetite loss are also some of the first signs that affect a dog that isn’t feeling well.
However, there are a number of ways to treat dog nausea, which I’ll look at below.
How Can You Treat Nausea in Dogs?
Like I mentioned earlier, most regular cases of dog nausea should pass within a few days.
However, nausea can also be long-lasting or even chronic, in which case you’ll want to get your dog some kind of treatment or medication quickly in order to get them back on track.
For mild cases of acute nausea (usually caused by gastroenteritis or a dietary issue), I recommend trying one of these home remedies:
- Baking Soda and Water: Add a teaspoon of baking soda to a cup of water and let your dog sip the mixture every 2 hours or so. It’s not a very fancy treatment, but the bubbles in the water can help soothe the stomach, bloating, and nausea.
- Kefir: Kefir is a yogurt-like milk beverage packed full of healthy probiotics. These healthy bacteria are great for strengthening your pet's gut and can help settle their stomach and soothe feelings of nausea as well as vomiting. You can buy kefir ready-made, or make it at home using kefir starter granules and organic, unpasteurized milk. Give your dog a dose of kefir once an hour for roughly 3 hours. Here are some basic dosing guidelines for giving your dog kefir:
Small dogs: 1-2 teaspoons
Medium dogs: Up to 2 tablespoons
Large dogs: Up to 4 tablespoons
- Ginger: Ginger is a powerful root that has been used as part of traditional medicine for centuries. It’s a particularly powerful antiemetic, which is why your mom might have given you ginger ale or tea to soothe your stomach when you were little. Luckily, dogs can benefit from ginger too. A single dose of ginger root extract or a ginger capsule, for example, can help soothe a dog's nausea.
Studies Show That CBD Can Reduce the Intensity of Nausea Symptoms
The home remedies I mentioned above are great for dealing with mild acute cases of nausea.
They also work great for controlling motion sickness, which affects a surprising number of dogs after having traveled in the car.
Again, your vet will be able to prescribe your dog antiemetic drugs (like Metoclopramide or Maropitant) for severe cases of nausea and vomiting.
However, I personally recommend giving CBD a try first.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a natural compound found in cannabis and hemp plants.
Chances are you’ve heard of it already, seeing as it's taken the world by storm lately thanks to its broad range of medicinal properties.
Here’s a breakdown of how CBD works and how it can help your dog overcome symptoms of nausea:
When CBD enters the body, it interacts with the endocannabinoid system.
This system is present in all mammals and is responsible for producing a variety of endocannabinoids which closely resemble CBD and other compounds found in cannabis/hemp (such as anandamide and 2-AG).
This system is made up of a network of receptors which are found all around the brain and body, including in the digestive system.
When CBD enters the body, it interacts with receptors of the endocannabinoid system and helps to restore balance to our system.
For example, studies suggest that CBD indirectly activates a receptor known as 5-HT1A (or 5-hydroxytryptamine-1A), a serotonin receptor in the brain.
A 2012 study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that, by indirectly activating this tiny receptor in the brain, CBD reduced nausea-like behavior in rats and shrews.
The researchers behind the study used nicotine, lithium chloride, and cisplatin to induce conditioned gaping (a behavior used to measure nausea) in the in rats and vomiting in the shrew.
Research also shows that the receptors that make up the endocannabinoid system (known as CB1 and CB2) are found at key sites in the brain and gastrointestinal tract involved in nausea and vomiting.
Moreover, studies have shown that by activating CB1 receptors at these sites for prolonged periods of time, CBD is able to reduce the intensity of nausea as well as reduce vomiting.
As a result, many medical marijuana programs now support the prescription and use of CBD to manage nausea, especially in patients undergoing chemotherapy or using drugs to manage HIV.
Now, I know what you’re thinking:
“Just because CBD works for humans and rats, how can I be sure it will work for my dog?”
And it's a fair point.
After all, your dog’s anatomy and behavior are very different to that of a rat or human.
In fact, I was skeptical about using CBD with my dog Rosie for much the same reason.
However, as I dove deeper into researching CBD, I learned that dogs have the same endocannabinoid system as humans and other mammals, meaning they respond to CBD in much the same way we do.
For more information about why CBD is safe and reliable for dogs, check out my CBD safety page here.
Are Dogs With Upset Stomachs Actually Seeing Results With CBD?
In this article, I’ve talked a bit about my personal experience with CBD.
Nonetheless, I’m sure you're wondering if there are other people out there who, like me, have had success using CBD to treat nausea in their dogs.
Well, the answer is yes.
Dog owners all around the world have caught on to the health benefits of CBD and its antiemetic effects.
Bear, for example, is a Golden Retriever who suffered from severe nausea and anxiety when traveling in the car.
Luckily, Bear’s vet recommended his owners try CBD oil. On his next road trip over 1000 km from Syracuse to Chicago, Bear didn’t get sick once thanks to CBD.
Murdock is another pup dealing with anxiety and motion sickness when traveling.
His owners were already familiar with CBD, so when he started getting car sick and suffering from anxiety when traveling, they were quick to give it a try.
With just a single CBD capsule, Murdock no longer gets travel sickness and is noticeably calmer when in the car.
Finally, Sylvie is an older Golden Retriever who, like my dog Rosie did, relies on CBD to get through chemo.
Her owners were super surprised by just how well she dealt with her treatment, keeping up a really solid appetite and hardly ever vomiting or showing signs of being sick.
Bear, Murdock and Sylvie have all been using CBD products from Canna-Pet. So many other dogs have seen great results with this particular brand. You can learn more on the official website: www.Canna-Pet.com
The Best CBD Products for Nausea, Vomiting and Motion Sickness in Dogs
Nausea is a really complicated symptom and can be a serious problem for dogs.
Regardless of whether your dog feels sick after chemo or when traveling in the car, CBD can help.
I’ve used a variety of CBD pet supplements, but the brands I recommend the most are Honest Paws and HolistaPet.
Specifically for nausea, I’d recommend using Honest Paws Wellness CBD Oil and administering it under your pup’s tongue.
This will offer them the fastest relief.
Alternatively, for car sickness or other cases of nausea where you know and can anticipate the cause (like chemo), you could use CBD treats, which are available in a variety of flavors. Honest Paws and HolistaPet have really good treats you can purchase along with oil or capsules.
Just remember that your dog will likely not eat the treats if they’re already feeling sick, so you’ll want to use them before their nausea kicks in.
For CBD dog treat recommendations, both of these brands are recommend:
Again, using an oil is better for when your dog is already sick.
Using treats is a good preventative measure to take if your dog seems to suffer from nausea often, or perhaps you're planning a long ride in the car.