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CBD and Your Dog: First Things to Know

Should you give CBD to your dog?

So you’re all in for CBD. You’ve used it for sleep, for relaxation, for weight loss, and for overall wellbeing. You’re thrilled with the way it’s enhanced your quality of life. And you’re spreading the good word. You’ve recommended it to your grandma for her glaucoma and to your co-worker for his carpal tunnel. Now you’re thinking about giving it to Fido. 

It’s a good idea to start by looking at the available research. Studies on the use of CBD for pets have been fairly limited, and are just beginning to appear in larger numbers due to the rapid increase in popularity of this medicine. These studies have focused primarily on the use of CBD for treating arthritis and epilepsy in dogs, as well as for canine pain relief. What does the research say, and what precautions should you observe when considering giving CBD to your companion animals?

Dogs and CBD:  Clinical Research

Clinical trials conducted at Colorado State University indicate early positive results using CBD to reduce the frequency of seizures in dogs, including some cutting-edge research which lends great credibility to this application. There is also strong evidence of the efficacy of CBD for treating pain and mobility issues related to arthritis. 

In the absence of a large body of research, though, and in response to growing numbers of pet owners who are curious about using it for their animals, some veterinarians are beginning to advise clients to try it if they want, while being guarded about giving a definitive recommendation.  It’s helpful to look at anecdotal evidence, including the experience of many dog owners who have had success in treating their dogs with CBD.   

What Vets Are Saying About CBD for Dogs

“There is a growing number of vets who are saying to their clients, ‘We don’t know much about it.  If you want to try it, try it,’” says Aidan Gannon, owner of Petz Love Food and Supply in Lone Tree, Colorado.   He bases his recommendations for his customers on the input of vets who have done detailed case studies and seen positive results with their clients, as well as his own investigation of various brands on the market.

Gannon became interested in CBD when customers began coming into his store asking about it for their animals.  “I started taking it myself, and I found that it worked extraordinarily well for inflammation for my lower back… and [when I used it for a few days] the quality of sleep was a lot better.”  Then he heard from holistic veterinarians who gave CBD to their patients. They were seeing positive results for a range of health issues, from anxiety to skin problems to cancer. What he learned was enough to convince him to begin carrying CBD in his store.

Many vets are uncomfortable recommending CBD, primarily because the research is still in the early stages.  The only studies have been conducted by Colorado State University.

“It depends on the veterinary outlook,” says Gannon.  The younger generation of veterinarians, he says, are more likely to use it for their patients and are more comfortable recommending it. Older vets tend to be more hesitant, mostly because CBD is not a part of conventional medical treatment.

Pointers for Starting Your Dog On CBD

When beginning CBD with your dog, keep a few things in mind.  

  • Don’t mix CBD and pharmaceuticals. If your pet is currently on medications, phase them out first (in consultation with your vet, of course) to avoid any interaction between the two.  There are two reasons for this. 1. You may be canceling out the effects of CBD with pharmaceuticals, or vice versa. 2. Combining CBD and pharmaceuticals may stress the animal’s liver. 
  •  Make sure that you’re buying CBD oil sourced from organically grown plants. Because the hemp plant pulls toxins out of the soil as it grows, using only organic material protects you and your fur baby from ingestion of those harmful toxins absorbed by the plants during their growth cycle.
  • Read the label. Be certain that you’re buying CBD oil and not hemp oil.  CBD products often contain hemp oil as a carrier, but do be certain that there is actually CBD in the product.
  • Read the COA (certificate of analysis).  The COA should be conducted by an independent lab and indicate that the product was given a “pass” rating for pesticides, heavy metals, and microbials.
  • Choose a full spectrum product (one that contains all of the original chemical constituents of the whole plant, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids) rather than an isolate.  Full spectrum is superior to isolate (CBD only, with THC removed) in terms of its healing properties. However, many find success with isolates, and these are definitely preferable to not using CBD at all. 
  • If you do go with a full spectrum product, especially one with a high THC concentration, watch carefully for any adverse reactions. Animals, like people, are highly individual in their responses to cannabis. If you notice any digestive upset or any kind of psychoactive reaction such as panting, pacing, or signs of anxiety, scale the dosage down and reintroduce more gradually, or try a different product.  Adverse reactions are highly unusual but they can happen, especially with puppies – possibly because their metabolism is higher than that of adult dogs.
  • Find out how the CBD oil was extracted.  Nathan Richer of Natural Pet Organics prefers CO2 extraction over other methods because this is the cleanest method, offering the highest quality of CBD.  Solvent extraction, by contrast, results in harmful residues in the product as well as a shorter shelf life. Since the extraction method is not always listed on the label, it is always best to ask the retailer.  If they can’t give you an answer, contact the manufacturer.
  • The product should be sufficiently potent, containing at least 250 mg of CBD per ounce.  Anything less than this is likely to be ineffective for your pet.
  • Start low and slow to find the correct dosage.  Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM, recommends 1 mg per 10 lbs of body weight when starting out. 
  • Beware of CBD oils that are priced significantly less than similar products from other manufacturers.  These, across the board, are inferior products. Don’t waste your time or your money.
  • Stay in touch with your vet and have them reevaluate your pet on a regular basis, particularly if the animal has had elevated liver enzymes.  Blood tests should be performed periodically to make sure that they’re not in the danger zone.
  • CBD is not a cure-all.  As mentioned above, animals are highly individual in their responses.  Scale your expectations and be prepared to switch gears after a trial period of a few weeks if you don’t see any improvement.  

Keep all of these suggestions in mind when shopping for CBD oil for your dog, and you’re likely to find the best product for your canine’s needs. There are a lot of products to choose from, so have this list close at hand while shopping and researching.  Your reward may be a dramatically improved quality of life for your best friend. 

Loren Freed

CBD CBD for Sleep Sleep Health

Ebook: A CBD Bedtime Story

CBD and sleep
CBD, in combination with adaptogenic herbs, can help alleviate stress and support healthy sleep.

Stressed and Sleepless

Jenelle flung herself on her friend Trina’s couch and threw an arm over her eyes.  She was exhausted.  The pressures of nursing school were taking their toll and the stress was getting to her.  She hadn’t slept well all week.

 Trina plumped herself down next to her friend.  Jenelle caught a glimpse of mismatched socks: purple with tiny pink frogs on the left foot, black and white checks on the right.  Trina inspected her.

 “Girl, you’ve had enough todaying for today,” Tiana told her.  I’m giving you a Dream Cap.  You’re gonna get some rest.”

Top Kush CBD Dream Cap to the rescue

 Jenelle opened one eye.  “A what?”

 “A Top Kush CBD Dream Cap.”

 Her friend regarded her skeptically.   “You know I don’t take pills.” 

 “And you know I don’t give out drugs.”

Trina left the room. She came back with a small bottle and a glass of water.  She set the glass on the end table and handed the bottle to Jenelle who squinted at the label.  The print swam before her tired eyes.

“Here, let me read it to you.” Trina took the bottle back.

“Top Kush CBD Dream Cap:  25 mg CBD, 3 mg melatonin, 80 mg proprietary blend of passion fruit flower extract, licorice root extract, and jujube fruit extract.”

A Science Bedtime Story

“Let me ‘splain to you.  Gonna tell you a little science bedtime story.”

 Jenelle suddenly remembered that her pal, for all her kooky exterior, had degrees in neurochemistry and plant biology, and when she got to explaining things – look out.

“Need my nerd glasses for this.”  Trina grabbed a pair of thick black frames from the end table and put them on.  Jenelle noticed that they didn’t have any lenses.

CBD:  Goldilocks and the Science of Sleep

“So, once upon a time there was a girl named Jenelle who wanted to be a nurse.  She was going to be a wonderful nurse because she worked so hard at taking care of her patients.  But she didn’t know how to take care of herself! 

“Then her best friend Trina came to the rescue and told her about Top Kush CBD Dream Cap.

“You know what CBD is, right?”

“Uh, I know that it comes from marijuana.”

“Half a point, sweetie.  CBD is derived from the industrial hemp plant which is related to marijuana.   Hemp and marijuana are both in the cannabis family.   CBD is one of a family of substances known as cannabinoids that occur naturally in many plants.  You’ve heard of some of them:  echinacea, black pepper, even chocolate!   But the CBD that is used in products such as Dream Cap is derived from industrial hemp.

The Endocannabinoid System

“What makes CBD so great for humans is something called the endocannabinoid system, or ECS.  It’s a biological system in the human body that is responsible for maintaining homeostasis — so not too hot, not too cold, etcetera.  The Goldilocks zone, if you will.  

“The ECS is composed of a system of receptors in our bodies that activate cannabinoid molecules.  You can think of them as puzzle pieces.  Each receptor interlocks with a specific type of cannabinoid molecule.  So endocannabinoids are part of our basic biological design.

“You with me so far?”

Jenelle blinked sleepily.  She nodded.  She didn’t remember learning about any of this in her college biology classes.

Endocannabinoids, CBD, Melatonin, and Sleep

“Our bodies produce endocannabinoids naturally.   They help to keep our circadian rhythm in a state of balance, among other functions.  When we don’t get enough sleep, those endocannabinoid levels decrease.  That’s when we get all of the side effects of sleep deprivation – decreased cognitive performance, carb cravings, weight gain, increased insulin resistance, low energy, increased impulsivity, irritability, exhaustion, and generally looking the way you do right now, sweetie.  

“All of these symptoms mean that our ECS system) is out of tone.   We go into big-time metabolic dysfunction.  I could go on about the biochemical mechanisms but you’ll probably be asleep by the time I’m done so I’ll cut to the chase, and here’s where CBD comes in.

CBD Help Regulate Our Metabolism

“Introducing CBD has the effect of reversing the deficit in the ECS system.  It helps that system get back to doing what it’s designed to do – regulate our metabolism and generally make us feel well and enable us to function in a healthy fashion.  And that includes sleep!

“Current scientific research has found two ways that CBD can help with sleep: by reducing anxiety and also directly by interacting with the receptors in the ECS system that I’ve mentioned.  Anxiety is a HUGE factor in sleeplessness.   You’re on overdrive now and you might know a thing or two about anxiety.  But CBD can definitely help to turn that around.

“And when you add melatonin, you’ve got an unbeatable combo.  Melatonin is produced naturally by our bodies to regulate our sleep/wake cycles.  When we get too much artificial light, the body is signaled to produce less of it.  That’s when supplementation can be helpful, ‘cause melatonin supports natural sleep.

Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire

“So let’s talk about the herbs in Dream Cap.

“Passion flower and sleep go together like peanut butter and jelly, or Ernie and Bert, or Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, or — well, you get the idea.

“And here’s why.   Passion flower increases GABA – or amino-butyric acid — a neurotransmitter that helps to reduce feelings of anxiety by sending messages between the brain and the nervous system.   GABA actually reduces the activity of nerve cells in the nervous system.  So naturally, when those cells are less active, you’re going to feel more relaxed and less anxious.   One study in which participants drank passion flower tea showed statistically significant sleep improvement. 

“Passion flower also contains the flavone chrysin, which is a mild sedative.   So passion flower is a great herb for anxiety and sleep.

“But not only that – it’s great for inflammation, ADHD, menopausal symptoms (not that you have to worry about that just yet), lowering blood pressure, and reducing insulin levels.  It’s also a really gorgeous flower.   They grow wild on my grandma’s farm in Tennessee.  So pretty!

Jujube Fruit and High Quality Sleep

“Jujube fruit works in a similar way. So here’s the lowdown on jujube and sleep.  Jujube contains two types of phytochemicals: saponins and flavonoids.  One of these saponins (jujuboside A) helps to quiet activity in the hippocampus region of the brain.

“The seeds of the jujube fruit are rich in essential fatty acids, which are associated with higher quality sleep in clinical trials.   They’re also loaded with vitamins and nutrients – especially vitamin C – and have can even kill tumors!  They’re great for digestion too, and help normalize blood pressure.  Plus, they’re delicious eaten raw or juiced.  What’s not to like?”

Jenelle’s eyes were glassy.  She stifled a yawn. 

“Don’t fall asleep on me yet.  I’m not done!” Trina laughed.

Licorice Root Enhances Sleep Combination

“So, licorice root.   Licorice has been used to support the adrenal glands, which regulate the body’s stress response.  So it’s definitely an important adaptogen. 

“But here’s the thing about the way it works in Top Kush CBD Dream Cap.  Licorice is called a “guide” in Chinese medicine because it shows the other herbs where to go, letting them know where their effects would be most beneficial.  It enhances the other herbs in a combination. 

“I love licorice – I have this image of it in my mind waving its little arms and saying.  ‘Over here, guys!’   So licorice in the Dream Cap helps to make the other herbs work more effectively.   Pretty cool, huh?”

Jenelle nodded.  The soothing rhythms of her friend’s voice and the mental pictures she was painting made her feel that everything was going to be okay.  


“What’s special about Top Kush is that they’ve been out in front of the CBD market for years now – since 2014 (which is practically an eon in the CBD world) – and they were one of the first companies to get on board with lab testing, regulation and quality control.  Girl, there are so many CBD products out there and I’ve probably tried 100 of them!  Top Kush gets my vote, though. The COA tells the story.”

“COA?” asked Jenelle, groggily.  

“Certificate of Analysis.  It’s a report compiled by an independent lab which tests for the presence of various cannabinoids – most importantly CBD and THC.”

“THC!” Jenelle almost jumped a foot into the air.  She knew what THAT was. “We get drug tested every semester!  If that shows up on my test, I’ll get kicked out of school!”

“Girlfriend, relax!  I’m getting to that.   Dream Cap is broad spectrum, which means no THC.  You can see that on the COA. Ok?  So calm down. 

“CBD products aren’t required to be tested, since there’s no Federal or state regulation – yet.  But Top Kush does it voluntarily.  Their test results are available to consumers, too.  All you have to do is ask their customer support.

“I’ve read tons of COAs – that’s how much of a nerd I am – and let me tell you, Top Kush is one of the cleanest companies out there.  That’s another reason why I trust their products.

“One more thing.  This is a standard dose capsule.  You don’t have to fuss with drops or worry about how much to take.  The experts have already figured it out!  You get the right dose every time – 25 milligrams of CBD.  One cap a day and you’re done.”

Sleeping Happily Every Night

Jenelle’s heart rate was returning to normal.  Her eyelids were drooping.  She stifled a yawn.

“You’re going into nursing because you want to help people get well, correct?  Here’s a newsflash.  Wellness begins with you.”  Trina pointed a polka-dotted fingernail at her.  “You can’t be well if you don’t sleep well. 

“Top Kush CBD Dream Cap supports natural healthy sleep.   And with the herbs and melatonin, it’s an easy all-in-one solution for wellness.”

Trina opened the Dream Cap bottle, shook out one capsule, and handed it to Jenelle along with the water.  Jenelle swallowed the capsule and emptied the glass.

Trina pulled a knitted throw over her, slid a couch cushion underneath her head, and turned out the lamp.  

“And she slept happily every night.”  She planted a kiss on Jenelle’s forehead.   “Sweet dreams.”

“Thanks,” mumbled Jenelle.  She was already half asleep.  Trina tiptoed out of the room.

Kiss your stress goodbye.   Say hello to your daily wellness solution.

Meet Top Kush CBD Dream Cap.

Loren Freed, Health and Wellness Writer 615-578-8873