Thursday, October 28, 2021
CBD for Pets

Illustrations by KJ Wilson

CBD for Pets

Anxiety

Pets experience anxiety the same way humans do. Although they can't voice how they feel, it can be easy to tell when your pet is tense or uneasy. Separation anxiety is very common in dogs. Whether you leave your dog at home while you go to work, or in the backseat of your car as you run into the grocery store, the anxiety it causes can lead to frantic pacing, excessive barking, indoor accidents, and destructive tendencies, such as chewing and scratching.

Loud, abrupt noises, like thunder and fireworks, can also trigger anxiety in dogs, leading them to run around in circles, bark incessantly, or cower in the corner or the bathtub. While these behaviors can be annoying, we can't blame our pets for acting up. Fortunately, CBD may be able to help alleviate some of these anxious tendencies.

Quinndellynn, or Quinnie for short, is an eight-year-old purebred, tricolor, short-haired Chihuahua. Her favorite activities are cuddling, laying on the beach, and giving kisses. She was born in Maine, but now lives in Miami Beach with her owner Kristy. Quinnie has always been afraid of thunder, but when she moved to Miami, the storms were more frequent and far more intense. Day after day, Kristy would come home during a thunderstorm to find Quinnie shaking and whimpering in the bathroom.

Kristy began to treat Quinnie's anxiety with CBD, giving her 2.5mg of CBD an hour before a thunderstorm, and immediately noticed results. Quinnie no longer cowers in the bathroom during storms. In fact, she acts as if there was no storm outside, cuddling, bringing over toys to play with, and giving kisses.

Quinnie is a picky eater, and it was difficult to get her to eat CBD dog treats, so Kristy uses a CBD pet tincture that she drops onto a piece of ham or cheese. Now Quinnie gets excited when she sees the bottle of tincture come out. It may be because she is no longer afraid of thunder or because she loves ham and cheese, but either way, CBD keeps her calm during storms.

Hyperactivity

Meet McQuade, a one-year-old Black Lab/Greyhound mix. McQuade had what his owner, Bobby, likes to call "a bad case of puppy ADHD." He was wild, jumpy, overexcited, impulsive, and sometimes had trouble focusing and listening. Although all of these symptoms seem like normal puppy behavior, Bobby insists that McQuade had a particularly strong case of hyperactivity.

Bobby started McQuade on a CBD dog treat regimen six months ago—giving him one 10mg biscuit daily—hoping it would quell the hyperactivity, but mainly hoping it would help McQuade sleep through the night. After starting McQuade's CBD regimen, Bobby immediately noticed a positive behavioral change. With CBD, McQuade is a whole new dog. It mellows him out so that he is calm, not jumpy or overexcited. He listens and follows commands better. And, most importantly, McQuade now sleeps through the night.

Pain

As dogs grow older they experience joint and muscle pain that may present as limping, decreased movement, or difficulty climbing stairs or into the car. Natural pain management using CBD is a healthy method for symptom relief and bettering your pet's quality of life.

CBD can also be effective in relieving pain caused by injuries, as evidenced by Bruin who has been given CBD for pain management for the past year and a half. Bruin, an eight-year- old Bullmastiff/Rottweiler mix, injured his knee while chasing down a soccer ball on a rainy autumn day in 2017. Immediately, he started to limp and was clearly in pain.

Bruin has a large frame—he weighs 100 pounds—and his weight was putting a lot of stress on his knee. His owner, Chris, thought that the veterinarian would just put him on some sort of pain medication, so he saved himself the visit and decided to treat Bruin himself. Chris began putting CBD tincture in Bruin's food, giving him 10mg of CBD in the morning and another 10mg in the evening.

After a couple days of rest and a steady dosage of CBD, Bruin started to make a recovery. He was still in pain, but his limp improved over the next few days, and in one week he was back to running around like nothing ever happened.
Chris was so pleased with the results from the CBD that he decided continue the same daily regimen. If Bruin does not get his daily CBD, he sometimes will not even want to get out of bed, but with CBD he runs around like a puppy and shows no sign of injury or pain.

Seizure Prevention

Many studies have been conducted examining the effectiveness of CBD as an anticonvulsant used to prevent seizures in those affected by epilepsy. Findings have shown that CBD is effective in preventing seizures in both humans and animals.
Brian Gallant, a Maine resident originally from Augusta but now living in Portland, recalls how CBD changed his parents' dog's life. Shadow, a silver Labrador Retriever, is 12 years old and has been dealing with seizures since he was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2013.

His veterinarian prescribed an anticonvulsant medication called Levetiracetam, also known by the brand name Keppra. Shadow took 250mg of Keppra daily, which cost his owners $76 each month. While on Keppra, the frequency of Shadow's seizures decreased but were still occurring two to four times a month. Over the next few years, Shadow's prescribed dosage gradually increased to 750mg per day and was costing more than $200 each month. Even at his maximum dose of anticonvulsant medication, Shadow was still having multiple seizures a month.

Shadow's owners, Elaine and John, are not marijuana users and not the biggest advocates of cannabis in general, but their son Brian suggested that CBD might be a helpful natural alternative for Shadow's condition. In March 2016, Elaine and John began treating Shadow with CBD daily and started to wean him off of his seizure medication. Since his introduction to CBD three years ago, Shadow has not had a single seizure.

Kiba is a three-year-old purebred Husky, born in Colorado and raised hiking the hills around Denver. When he moved to Maine with his owners Kristin and Tim, he quickly adjusted
to his new life playing in green grass, lush forests, and on ocean shores. Shortly after the family moved to Maine, Kiba had his first seizure and was diagnosed with epilepsy. He was 18 months old at the time. Epilepsy is not rare in dogs and is more common in Huskies than in other breeds.

The veterinarian prescribed Keppra, which helped reduce the frequency of the seizures for awhile. When Kiba had his next seizure, the vet increased the dose of Keppra, which worked for a few weeks, and then Kiba had another seizure. This cycle continued for some time until it got to the point where Kiba was having seizures every two weeks.

It was Kiba's veterinarian who recommended using CBD in conjunction with his regular medication. Kiba, who weighs 45 pounds, started with half of a 10mg CBD dog treat each day and has been seizure-free ever since. Now Kiba gets 8mg of CBD pet tincture, dropped right into his mouth, every afternoon at the same time he takes his seizure medication. Though CBD can be a very effective natural alternative to conventional pharmaceuticals, it is not always a replacement, and best results may be seen when using both in conjunction.

CBD for Cats

The use of CBD for cats is less common than for dogs, but it can be very effective at treating the same symptoms. I have personal experience treating my cat Ray Ray with CBD. A few months ago, I moved from the house I lived in for the past six years to an apartment in downtown Portland. Ray Ray, my seven-year-old perma-kitten, moved with me.

As soon as he took his first steps out of the cat carrier and into his new living room, I could tell something was wrong. He was extremely anxious, immediately went and hid under the bed, and began to cry. He cried off and on all night, and even when I held him, I could tell he was unhappy. I assumed his initial shock would pass in a few days and he would be back to his spunky, curious self, but after a week he was still anxious and barely eating.

After that first week in the new apartment, I decided to treat Ray Ray's anxiety with CBD. The only pet product Pot and Pan Kitchen offered was CBD dog biscuits, and I knew Ray Ray would never eat them, so instead I used a tincture. Ray Ray weighs eight pounds, so I gave him a very low, 2mg dose of CBD. I cannot say he loved me putting the tincture in his mouth, but after a little squirming and head shaking he was over it.

Thirty minutes after giving Ray Ray his first dose of CBD tincture, he jumped into my lap and began purring and nuzzling me. That night, he slept in my bed and did not cry. The next morning I was happy to see that he was eating his food again.

I gave Ray Ray CBD every evening for the next week. His behavior was back to normal as was his appetite. I went out
of town the following week and was worried that without his dose of CBD he would return to hiding and crying. However, when I returned, I was pleased that he was very excited to see me and was not anxious at all. Ray Ray has been off CBD for two months and has remained his cute, happy, loving self. I have asked myself, "Would Ray Ray have overcome his anxiety on his own, without CBD?" Probably, but maybe not in such a short period of time.