The benefits of CBD are vast, but can it affect brain activity? We look at whether CBD dog treats can help canines with epilepsy.
Whether it's the second or the twentieth time, seeing your furry family member convulsing on the floor is stressful and worrying.
While it may only last seconds, pet owners want to find a way to help their dog. In the moment, all you can do is move them out of harm's way and wait it out, ready to comfort your pet once it subsides.
Unfortunately, seizures are one of the most common neurological conditions in canines. This reality has led to the investigation into natural options to help bring relief and slow down seizure activity in the brain. The benefits of CBD are vast, but can it affect brain activity?
This article takes a look at whether CBD dog treats can help dogs with epilepsy.
Seizures in Dogs
There are many reasons why your pet may be spasming, but if your dog is experiencing seizures regularly, then they may have a form of epilepsy. First off, let's start by defining these two terms:
A seizure is a sudden and involuntary electrical impulse that takes place in the brain. This interruption in neurological function is temporary and activates muscles that cause spasms. When dogs are seizing, they show a combination of symptoms, depending on their condition, such as collapse, shakey eye movements, clenched jaw, incontinence, kicking limbs, whining, barking, and dilated pupils. Seizures can last a few seconds or several nail-biting minutes.
Epilepsy is a term used to describe neurological disorders characterized by frequent seizures.
Common Types of Dog Seizures
Here are the most common types of seizures in dogs:
Generalized Seizure or Grand Mal Seizure
Grand Mal Seizures are the most common types of seizures in dogs and are also called Tonic-Clonic Seizures. The disturbance occurs in all parts of the brain. Grand mal seizures can look like involuntary twitching in all the animal's limbs and may include loss of consciousness.
Focal or Partial Seizures
A partial seizure affects one section of the brain, resulting in seizure activity in a single area of the dog's body. Pets may remain conscious during a focal seizure which can be distressing for the animal.
This seizure type will cause your pet to behave strangely. It may only last for a few minutes, and your dog may exhibit unusual movements or actions, like biting the air or chasing unseen objects. Psychomotor seizures can be challenging to detect, but the regular occurrence of the same strange behavior patterns can confirm the diagnosis.
Structural brain lesions often characterize idiopathic epilepsy. While many believe that it's genetic, the seizure cause can be unidentified.
Causes for Dog Seizures
As with idiopathic head tremors in hounds, seizures often have unknown causes. Here are some of the causes behind frequent seizing:
Inflammatory brain diseases like Encephalitis or Meningitis
Kidney or liver disease
Low or high blood sugar
How Do CBD Treats For Dog Seizures Work?
With so little research out there for the effects of CBD in pets, anecdotal evidence from pet owners is usually what pet parents hold onto when their animal needs help. That and the fact that pets have the same endocannabinoid system as humans.
This endocannabinoid system balances many vital functions in the body, including neurological actions. CBD may affect the CB1 receptors in your pet's brain to calm overactive neurons, thereby improving seizure activity.
Studies have shown positive results in humans, stating that CBD shows anticonvulsant effects, acts as a neuroprotectant, and can also help with sleep and behavior, which is usually affected in epileptic patients.
Another study looked at early life seizures in children and found promising results and reported a reduction in the frequency and intensity of seizures in those using CBD. When looking at the safety profile of CBD and treatment-resistant epilepsy, CBD offers a safe and effective solution.
The Benefits of CBD for Epileptic Dogs Include:
Supports immune system function
Supports healthy cellular activity
Can help with occasional discomfort
It may help protect body cells and support cellular health
Support for the central nervous system
Provides antioxidant support
It has a calming effect on dogs exhibiting nervousness, discontentment or responding to environmentally-induced stress
Supports normal brain and nerve function
The great news is that there is finally research confirming that CBD can help your pet and reduce their seizure frequency. The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation is currently funding a clinical trial on the "Efficacy of Cannabidiol for the Treatment of Canine Epilepsy".
The AKC Epilepsy Research Initiative works to understand the condition of seizures better. With their cannabidiol CBD clinical trial, the goal is to determine if medical professionals and dog owners can use CBD to treat seizure frequency. Participants have stated that positive findings "have the potential to improve the quality and length of life for dogs with uncontrolled epilepsy and add a much-needed tool for veterinarians in the treatment of canine epilepsy."
Dr. Stephanie McGrath, a veterinary neurologist at Colorado State University, is the leading neurologist on the current study. In her experience with dogs with epilepsy, it's been said to see that 30% of dogs on standard antiepileptic treatment continue to suffer. At the same time, their condition is made worse with the harsh side effects of antiepileptic drugs.
The Results Are Pending...But Exciting
So far, Dr. McGrath has described the trial as "promising" and "exciting". During a pilot study with sixteen dogs with seizures, McGrath found that 89% of canines who received CBD oil had a reduction in seizure frequency. "It's really exciting that perhaps we can start looking at CBD in the future as an alternative to existing anticonvulsive drugs," McGrath said.
During the pilot study, McGrath saw a significant correlation between the degree of seizure reduction and the dose of CBD. Dosages will be carefully considered in the final study conclusion.
CBD Treat Dosage For Dog Seizures
Manufacturer guidelines for dosing should accompany the CBD dog treats that you've bought. Directions for CBD dosage will depend on your dog's size, as each bite or chew contains a standard measurement of CBD.
A general guideline falls within the range of 1-5 mg of CBD per 10lbs of body weight.
Dosage instructions for Honest Paw's full-spectrum CBD Bites and Chews are as follows:
Dogs less than 25 lbs: 1 x 5mg treat per day
25-50 lbs: 2 x 5mg treats per day
Over 50 lbs: 3 x 5mg chews per day.
There may be special cases when you want to offer your dog a more potent dose based on their unique needs. Dogs with seizures or other severe health conditions may benefit from a larger quantity of CBD. Studies on using CBD for dogs with seizures generally suggest dosing your dog twice a day.
CBD Oil for Dogs Versus CBD Dog Treats
An alternative to cannabis edibles is full-spectrum CBD oil. Studies in drug-resistant epileptic patients have shown that small, sublingually administered doses, resulted in higher effectiveness. If your dog will tolerate a dropper in its mouth or need larger doses, then a potent tincture may be more cost-effective and show enhanced results.
CBD oils under the tongue also enter the bloodstream quicker (20-60 minutes) than edible pet CBD products. Cannabidiol absorbed through the stomach may take between 45-90 minutes to kick in.
Side Effects And Safety Concerns
Cannabidiol is a natural option and has very few side effects when compared to seizure medications. Dog's who have a sensitive digestive system may experience some diarrhea, but these temporary side effects will lessen by lowering the dosage. After a few days, once your pup has adjusted to the hemp plant oil, you can slowly increase their dosage again.
Another possible side effect is low blood pressure, which can result in nausea or lethargy. Let your pet sleep it off, and they'll feel ready to run around after a few hours. A dry mouth is also common, so make sure your pet has plenty of water.
Can A Dog Overdose on CBD Dog Treats?
While a high dose of CBD oil may affect your dog in the abovementioned ways, you can be comfortable knowing that dogs cannot overdose on CBD. So even if your pet finds its way into the bag of CBD dog treats, a bout of diarrhea will probably be your only concern.
Since CBD from hemp contains little to no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), your dog cannot get high, but instead, they'll enjoy the therapeutic and health benefits of CBD dog treats.
Finding the Right CBD for Your Dog
Buying product after product to find a solution for your pet's seizure frequency can be expensive and disheartening. We want you to get it right the first time. Purchasing CBD treats can be overwhelming. How do you tell the good from the bad?
Here are a few things to look out for when it comes to buying CBD dog treats for seizures:
Full-Spectrum Hemp Products
Hemp contains 0.3% or less THC and is legal in all U.S. States. CBD oil for dogs is extracted from the flowering heads, leaves, and stalks of the hemp plant and, when done right, contains a full-spectrum oil full of active cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes.
Together, these plant compounds are more effective in providing more substantial results than CBD isolate products.
It's also essential to make sure that hemp seed oil isn't the only hemp product in dog treats. While the hemp plant seeds can be beneficial, they do not contain CBD and will not have the same therapeutic qualities.
Hemp seed oil is rich in omega fats and provides a superfood for pets and their owners. Some brands may still use it in their CBD products, but you want to make sure that CBD full-spectrum oil is present.
Organic – From Farm To Doggy Bowl
We often get told that organic is better, but why? Organic farming practices keep GMOs out of their crops; they cultivate healthy soil without pesticides and harmful chemicals. As a result, the air is healthy, and the community can thrive from nutrient-rich produce (and more effective CBD).
Likewise, you want a brand that has an organic approach when mixing up their CBD treat ingredients. The CBD dog treats are kinder to your sensitive dog's gastrointestinal tract by excluding common allergens like soy, gluten, and dairy.
Go For An Ethical Brand
CBD companies that you can trust have sent their products to be lab tested by third-party labs. They then receive reports called a Certificate of Analysis. These reports display the actual contents of the CBD products.
You want to look for a clean and pure product free of harmful chemicals and bacteria, with a 0.3% or less THC content. An honest brand will be transparent and should show you these lab results upon request.
Public opinion reviews are also worth reading. See what people are saying about the brand. An A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau speaks volumes to the brand's ethical practices.
Do your research so that you can be confident that you're giving your pup the very best. Don't be swayed by appealing price points, but go with an appropriate pricing category without compromising high quality.
Feeling Shakey? Try Some CBD Dog Treats
The effects of CBD to treat seizures in dogs are promising. Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, there are no horrible side effects. The hemp plant compounds offer a natural alternative that is even getting veterinarians excited. CBD dog treats are a great way to offer hemp oil to your dog. They're tasty, convenient, and full of natural ingredients that will get your pup's tail wagging.
With one CBD treat at a time, those shakey days may become a thing of the past.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much CBD should I give my dog for seizures?
A general guideline falls within the range of 1-5 mg of CBD per 10lbs of body weight. There may be special cases when you want to offer your dog a more potent dose based on their unique needs. Dogs with seizures may benefit from a larger dose of CBD.
How long does it take for CBD treats to work for dog seizures?
Cannabidiol absorbed through the stomach may take between 45-90 minutes to kick in.
How often do I give my dog CBD treats for seizures?
Studies on using CBD for dogs with seizures generally suggest dosing your dog twice a day.