Have you noticed a slower pace in your companion dog? Perhaps you've dismissed it as old age or laziness. But did you know that arthritis, a painful and debilitating disease, is common in dogs? However, even though this chronic condition can change your pup's previously active lifestyle, all hope is not lost.

You may have heard about the latest hot topic in the world of holistic options – cannabidiol for dogs. But does CBD oil help dogs with arthritis? We discuss osteoarthritis and how it affects your furbaby, as well as how CBD oils can make a difference in their comfort levels by helping with stiffness, muscle recovery, and general joint and bone health. 

Finally, we'll tell you how to find a high-quality CBD oil that will give your dog improved results and fewer side effects than inferior CBD pet products.

What is Arthritis in Dogs?

In a nutshell, arthritis is the term for irregular changes in one's joints. Pet owners must understand the disease so that they can prioritize preventative care for their dogs.

Arthritis is a progressive disease, meaning that it typically develops over time (although certain events can lead to the condition growing at a more rapid rate). It is most commonly characterized by pain and inflammation, leading to joint stiffness and a lack of mobility.

The Science Behind Arthritis in Dogs 

Joints in dogs work the same way as they do in humans. A thin layer of cartilage covers the end of each bone in the dog's body. It protects the bones from each other, allowing the dog to move freely. The synovial fluid lubricates the bone and cartilage, making your dog's day-to-day activities pain-free.

When arthritis in dogs occurs, the synovial joint fluid and the spongy cartilage wear down. The breakdown causes inflammation, thus leading to pain and stiffness when doing activities that were once easy. Additionally, the more the bones rub against each other, the more painful it becomes for your pup.

As you can see, arthritis in dogs can be a heartbreaking experience for pet parents. It's not easy to see your furry best friend deal with pain or experience difficulty with activities they once enjoyed.

However, early recognition of the disease and taking action with your veterinarian can make a difference in slowing down the joint and surrounding areas' degeneration. It will also help you to gain control of your pet's pain management.

Types of Arthritis in Dogs 

There are different types of arthritis in dogs. These are the most common:

Degenerative Joint Disease

Osteoarthritis (OA), Degenerative Joint Disease, is reported to affect 20% of all dogs over one year of age based on data from 200 veterinarians. It's caused by friction between the bones due to the erosion of the cushioning cartilage. Escalated progression of the disease will result in increased discomfort caused by bone spurs. These are nasty hard bumps of extra bone that form on the ends of bones.

Inflammatory Joint Disease

Inflammatory Joint Disease may be caused by an infection or by an autoimmune disease called Rheumatoid arthritis. In this disease, white blood cell antibodies attack healthy cells surrounding the joint tissues and eventually damage healthy bone and cartilage. It can affect one single joint or multiple joints.

Signs of Arthritis in Dogs 

Regular wellness checks and early detection of disease is the most important thing that a pet parent can do for their furbaby. Annual exams can prevent the heartache of seeing your pup suffer from pain and inflammation.

It gives dog owners a chance to act appropriately. Pets often hide discomfort, so it's important to know the early signals of joint pain. If the pain symptoms are glaringly obvious, such as limping or a refusal to walk, then the condition is typically quite progressed. Paying attention to your dog's mobility and flexibility is vital to noticing incremental signs of wear and tear.

Arthritic Symptoms in Dogs Include:

  • General stiffness

  • Disinterest in walks and exercise that they once enjoyed

  • Reluctancy to stand

  • Increased sleep, lethargy

  • Abnormal movements or moving slowly and cautiously

  • Decreased mobility

  • Timidness when getting on the bed/couch or into the car

  • Visible joint deformities

  • Swollen joints and joint pain

  • Aggression when arthritic joints are touched

  • Personality changes (irritability/depression)

  • Intermittent lameness

  • Weight gain due to inactivity

Like many early symptoms, several signs of arthritis in dogs are non-specific and could be a symptom of another underlying condition. It's imperative to take your dog to the veterinarian to seek a proper diagnosis.

An x-ray may be necessary to identify inherent diseases that cause associated arthritis. Hip Dysplasia is one such disease that causes arthritis due to a wearing away of the cartilage and causing faster degeneration of the dog joint. A vet will also be able to confirm whether your dog's condition is a degenerative joint disease or a bone disease. 

Causes of Arthritis in Dogs

Primary osteoarthritis is described as largely idiopathic, meaning there is no known cause, but it can be associated with several risk factors. A study by the Frontiers of Veterinary Science assessed the risk factors of canine arthritis. They found the following influencers to be:

  • Genetics. The study found a link between chromosomal regions and joint diseases.

  • Body size or weight. Higher body weight can increase the strain on the joint. This is relevant for both overweight or obese dogs and also for larger breeds. Overweight dogs have a much higher chance of developing cruciate ligament disorders, with "obesity quadrupling the risk."

  • Breed. Some breeds have a certain predisposition and risk of joint disease related to breeding standard and heritability. For example, breeds susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia include Mastiffs, Boxers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, and the Italian Corso dog. Smaller breeds such as French Bulldogs, Pomeranians, Chihuahua, and Yorkshire terrier, are more likely to develop patellar luxation. These diseases can bring on secondary arthritis.

  • Life Stage. Further studies are needed to determine whether age is truly a risk factor as there is no way to determine when the onset of the disease began. Both young and old dogs can suffer from arthritis. Age as a risk factor holds conflicting opinions. However, more cases are seen in older dogs. This may be because dogs live with the degenerative disease for several years before their owners notice. 

  • Neuter Status. Neutered dogs are more likely to have joint disease, although the reason is unknown. There is the possible cause that neutering can influence weight gain in dogs, which adds pressure to the joints. 

  • Exercise Regime. The study found that dogs born in months that offer more exercise opportunities had an increased risk of joint disease. Over-use of and damage to (developing) joints in puppies is believed to be another factor that can bring on joint disease. Trauma to joints can also affect joint development. 

Diagnosing Arthritis in Dogs

Your vet will likely ask you if you've noticed any behavioral and personality changes in your dog to diagnose arthritis accurately. Think back on the list of signs above and see if your Fido ticks any of the boxes. 

The expert will then do a series of tests, including blood work as well as a urinalysis. This will help rule out any additional conditions. While the blood tests and the urinalysis cannot diagnose arthritis, they can help the vet detect infection and inflammation.

After the initial tests, your veterinarian will perform radiographs (X-rays) on your dog's affected areas. Joint disease can occur in any joint in the canine body, including the elbows, knees, shoulder, ankles, hips, lower back, and wrists. The X-rays are very telling regarding arthritis and will provide the vet with enough information to begin an appropriate treatment plan.

The Endocannabinoid System 

Just like in humans, the canine body has many functions. Our bodies work hard to balance our hormones, sleep, body temperature, inflammatory response, immune system, heart rate, skin moisture levels, and much much more.

The system responsible for all this amazing behind-the-scenes effort is called the endocannabinoid system. It goes without saying that this system is extremely important. When the mammal body has an imbalance, the endocannabinoid system is activated to restore normality. 

The endocannabinoid system is made up of receptors that interact with cannabinoids. You get endocannabinoids from within the body, and phytocannabinoids come from food and plant compounds. The cannabis plant produces cannabinoids (including CBD) that react with the endocannabinoid receptors upon entering the mammal body. 

These cannabis plant compounds become neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors throughout your dog's body. These cannabinoids can activate certain receptors which play a role in maintaining physical and mental wellbeing. 

Benefits of CBD Oil for Pets

Once you understand all the endocannabinoid system functions, the list of benefits of CBD oil becomes believable. From supporting the immune system to stabilizing emotions, CBD oil benefits can seem too good to be true.

CBD hemp oil has the potential to have a holistic effect on the canine body. For dogs with mobility issues struggling from osteoarthritis, the use of CBD can have desirable effects and bring relief to discomfort from sore and stiff joints.

Here are some of the many benefits of CBD oil for dogs, many of which can support a dog struggling with arthritis:

  • Supports the body's immune response

  • It helps support joint flexibility and mobility

  • Helps maintain a normal inflammatory response in the body

  • Can help with occasional stiffness and soreness

  • Provides connective tissue support

  • Promotes healthy joints and flexibility

  • Helps manage normal stress and promotes a calming effect

To support and promote long-term health in your dog, consider buying some pet CBD hemp oil. If administering oil seems tricky for your hyper pooch, why not try CBD dog treats or other CBD products that have been specially created with your dog in mind. Honest Paws has a range of human-grade, high-quality CBD pet products that are tasty and full of wholesome ingredients. 

CBD Oil for Dogs With Arthritis

Studies have shown that cannabinoids work similarly to opioids and NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) for dogs with arthritis and accompanying pain. Cannabinoids in the endocannabinoid system work with the pain control system by activating the brain's pain-inhibiting neurons. 

A human study on Cannabidiol for Pain Treatment found that CBD performed analgesic (pain-relieving) and anti-inflammatory effects of CBD in various models, "including neuropathic pain, inflammatory pain, osteoarthritis, and others." In a related canine study on osteoarthritis, CBD showed improved dogs' mobility and reduced pain, with no observed side effects.

With CBD, the endocannabinoid system is supported, and thus the impulse to inhibit pain is enhanced. 

A high first dosage of CBD oil may see some side effects, such as diarrhea, lethargy, dry mouth, and lowered blood pressure. Adjust the CBD dosage until you see your dog become calm and comfortable, without undesirable side effects. 

Best CBD Oil for Dogs with Arthritis 

There is a lot of information out there when it comes to CBD oil. Finding the best CBD oil for dogs with arthritis can be challenging when there is so much to choose from.

Unfortunately, with the increased demand, substandard CBD oils for dogs make their way into the market. We'd hate for you to be fooled into buying one of these inferior products that can be dangerous for your pet. 

To make a safe and high-quality purchase, make sure the CBD oil you buy ticks these boxes:

  • CBD oil must come from hemp and not marijuana to ensure the 0.3% or less THC content. THC can be toxic for pets; avoid it at all costs!

  • Organic sources are important in providing refined hemp CBD oil that is free of pesticides and herbicides. The hemp farm should have non-GMO practices.

  • Third-party lab tests are vital! You can ask the company you buy from to give you the Certificate of Analysis (COA) that displays their CBD oil contents. This way, you can confirm the low (0.3% or less) THC content and the purity of the product.

  • Full Spectrum oil provides full-plant benefits, unlike broad-spectrum or isolate CBD oils. Full-spectrum CBD oil contains flavonoids, terpenes, and other vital compounds of the Cannabis plant. The CO2 extraction method is the cleanest way to extract full-spectrum CBD oil.

Developing A Care Plan For Your Dog's Arthritis

If you're facing the daunting diagnosis of canine arthritis, then take a deep breath. Chronic disease is a challenge at the best of times, but there are things that you can do to help your pet and manage their pain. 

First, talk to your vet. If you are interested in buying CBD oil for dogs, it's important to get their input and make sure that the hemp oil won't interfere with prescription medication.

High-quality CBD oil is widely available without a prescription and has many health benefits. Once you've found the perfect dose for your pet, then you can administer it daily to see an improvement in your dog's condition. 

With a good quality CBD oil, results can be seen within 30-90 minutes, depending on your pet's unique condition, the CBD product you use, and the dosage amount. A substantial decrease in side effects of arthritis can be seen after two weeks and four weeks. (A expert study with arthritic canine patients administered 2mg/kg every twelve hours for desired results.)

There are other practical things dog owners can do to help their dogs. Making changes around the home, such as adding a raised food bowl, placing a ramp on stairs, and giving them an extra supportive orthopedic bed, can improve their quality of life.

CBD for Joint Pain, is it the Best Choice?

CBD is an attractive therapeutic and all-around holistic option for dogs struggling with joint pain and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis. Treatments that use NSAIDs to manage pain are effective, but research has shown an inadequate ability to reduce pain caused by osteoarthritis. Instead, NSAIDs triggered side effects in old canine patients (55%) with other diseases, mainly gastrointestinal tract issues.

CBD offers an alternative. The study found that CBD increased comfort, activity and reduced pain in canine patients. CBD is natural, has minimal side effects, and can support the entire body functions.

Even if residual pain keeps your pup awake or causing them anxiety, the very nature of how CBD works with the endocannabinoid system may help your pup overcome their sleeplessness and keep them relaxed and calm. 

Honest Paws has the best CBD oil for dogs with arthritis. Our CBD products target the following dog needs: Calm, Mobility, Relief, and Wellness. By supporting your pet with a quality product, they can have a happy life. Perhaps they will even join you for a walk one of these days. 

Frequently Asked Questions

When can arthritis start in dogs?

Both young and old dogs can suffer from arthritis. Age as a risk factor holds conflicting opinions. However, more cases are seen in older dogs. This may be because dogs live with the degenerative disease for several years before their owners notice. 

How to treat arthritis in dogs?

CBD is an attractive therapeutic and all-around holistic option for dogs struggling with joint pain and inflammation caused by osteoarthritis. Arthritis is a chronic condition that requires pain management. 

How to alleviate arthritis pain in dogs?

Studies have found that CBD pet products can help increase comfort, activity, and reduced pain in canine patients. CBD is natural, has minimal side effects, and can support the entire body functions.