An estimated 20% of all dogs regardless of age suffer from osteoarthritis, making it the most commonly faced chronic disease for dogs.
These dogs, typically older and larger breeds, suffer many symptoms. They may be reluctant to play, irritable, or show changes in their behavior. Luckily, new studies support the use of CBD for dog joint pain. The results are astonishing-- dogs with osteoarthritis that were given CBD had significantly decreased pain and increased mobility.
One researcher behind a recent study noted “almost every dog saw significant improvement in their conditions, in regards to reduced pain and increased ability to move around. And the dogs seemed happier and were able to do more.”
If your dog is one of the many that suffer from joint pain and osteoarthritis, CBD is a safe and therapeutic option for managing their symptoms and improving their quality of life.
What causes joint pain in dogs?
Many dogs experiencing joint pain are suffering from osteoarthritis (OA), the most common form or arthritis. There is no cure for this progressive condition, which is marked by swelling of the joints due to the breakdown of connective tissue. Osteoarthritis, also known as Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD), is extremely common in dogs, especially middle-age to senior dogs and large breeds.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) notes that while any dog can develop osteoarthritis, there are factors that can put your dog more at risk:
●Age, particularly middle-age to senior dogs
●Injuries such as fractures or ligament tears
●Infections that affect the joints, such as Lyme Disease
How do I know if my dog has arthritis?
Your dog may be trying to alert you to their osteoarthritic joint pain through a variety of behaviors.
Veterinarians at the American Kennel Club have compiled a list of signs and symptoms of dogs suffering with osteoarthritis:
●Stiffness, lameness, or difficulty getting up
●Reluctance to run, jump, or play
●Irritability or changes in behavior
●Pain when petted or touched
●Difficulty posturing to urinate or defecate, or having accidents in the house
●Loss of muscle mass over the limbs and spine
If you notice your dog exhibiting one or more of these symptoms, request a full physical examination with your veterinarian. They may examine and feel your dog’s joints, test their range of motion, or order X-rays for further analysis.
If your dog is diagnosed with osteoarthritis (OA), there are many ways to manage their pain, such as giving them daily doses of CBD.
Can CBD help dogs with joint pain?
Research supports the use of CBD for treating osteoarthritic joint pain in dogs with compelling results.
A recent study launched to determine if cannabidiol (CBD) was safe and effective for dogs with osteoarthritis (OA). Dogs were given either 2 or 8mg/kg of CBD or a placebo over four weeks, with a two-week washout period. Throughout the treatment, hematology, serum chemistry, and physical examinations were performed to assess the impact of the CBD.
Analysis of the study “supports the safety and therapeutic potential of hemp-derived CBD for relieving arthritic pain.”
Researchers revealed CBD’s ability to reduce swelling as the key to the study’s success, connecting CBD’s “potent anti-inflammatory properties” to the “significantly improved the mobility of large domestic canines afflicted with osteoarthritis.”
How do I give my dog CBD?
Dogs can take CBD the same way as humans, such as under the tongue or in their food. Tincture bottles are ideal, as the dropper allows you to easily measure and administer the correct dosage.
PHD Organics offers CBD specifically designed for pets in 150-450mg tincture bottles. Your dog may enjoy the salmon flavor of the CBD by itself, or it may also be added to food or treats.
How much CBD should I give my dog?
Based on the results of the study, it is recommended that “2mg/kg of CBD twice daily can help increase comfort and activity in dogs with OA.” However, dogs can still experience the benefits and relief of CBD oil at smaller doses.
PHD Organics differentiates their pet products by potency and weight:
For pets 0-20lbs, try an 150mg tincture bottle. 1 full dropper (1ml) gives your pets 5mg of CBD relief and benefits, and lasts one month when taken daily.
Pets 20-40lbs can take a higher dosage, such as a 300mg tincture bottle, for a 10mg CBD dosage over one month.
Lastly, pets 60lbs and over, who are most at risk for osteoarthritis, can take the highest dosage of 15mg CBD per dropper. A 450mg tincture bottle will provide them with the relief they need all month long.
Users of PHD Organics may also notice a shinier coat, healthier skin, and increase in cognitive function in addition to joint and arthritis pain relief in their dogs.
Be sure to monitor how your dog responds to CBD. Give doses at the same time(s) daily and increase dosage gradually if necessary. Schedule a vet visit if you notice any abnormalities in your dog’s behavior.
How else can I help my dog with joint pain?
There are several other ways to support your dog with arthritis, such as weight management and modifying your home environment.
The AKC warns “in dogs with osteoarthritis, carrying excess weight on damaged joints is not only painful, but can also speed up the process of cartilage breakdown.” Additionally, in otherwise healthy dogs, obesity can predispose them to earlier development of osteoarthritis, as well as many other diseases.
One way to manage your dog’s weight is to make sure they are getting enough daily physical activity. The Veterinary Centers of America (VCA) states “regular moderate exercise contributes to better joint health, even in the face of OA.”
Modifying your home to help your dog with joint pain is easy and simple. Small changes such as raising the level of their food and water dishes can alleviate lower back pain during mealtimes. Keeping your dog’s nails clipped short helps to “increase traction and reduce strain on their joints” according to VCA. Lastly, keep your dog away from slippery flooring by placing area rugs, or blocking off slick areas with baby gates.
The Bottom Line
Many dogs are likely to develop osteoarthritis and experience joint pain in their lifetime, especially if they have factors that predispose them to the condition. Dogs with osteoarthritis (OA) show a variety of signs and symptoms, such as difficulty getting up and playing, or having accidents in the house.
Recent studies have proven that CBD is a viable option for managing their symptoms. Dogs treated with CBD experienced quality of life improvements, such as decreased pain and increased mobility. Choose the correct dosage for your dog by matching the potency of their dosage to their weight.
In addition to CBD, weight management and home modification can both benefit your dog greatly.
Veterinarians at VCA all agree, when it comes to osteoarthritis, “success means maximizing your dog’s comfort and function while minimizing pain.”
Earlenbaugh, E. (2020, July 1). CBD For Dogs? New Research Backs Canine Cannabis Use For Osteoarthritis. Retrieved September 10, 2020, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/emilyearlenbaugh/2020/07/01/cbd-for-dogs-new-research-backs-canine-cannabis-use-for-osteoarthritis/
Gamble L-J, Boesch JM, Frye CW, Schwark WS, Mann S, Wolfe L, Brown H, Berthelsen ES and Wakshlag JJ (2018) Pharmacokinetics, Safety, and Clinical Efficacy of Cannabidiol Treatment in Osteoarthritic Dogs. Front. Vet. Sci. 5:165. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2018.00165
Racine, E. (2019, July 22). Osteoarthritis in Dogs - Signs and Treatment. Retrieved September 10, 2020, from https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/osteoarthritis-signs-treatment/
Verrico, C., Wesson, S., Konduri, V., Hofferek, C., Vasquez-Perez, J., Blair, E., . . . Halpert, M. (2020). A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of daily cannabidiol for the treatment of canine osteoarthritis pain [Abstract]. PAIN: The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain, 161(9), 2191-2202. doi:10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001896
Williams, K., & Downing, R. (n.d.). Helping Your Dog with Osteoarthritis. Retrieved September 10, 2020, from https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/helping-your-dog-with-osteoarthritis
About the Author
Lily Kiepke is a freelance writer and blogger based in the Denver metropolitan area. She enjoys using CBD to relieve anxiety and improve sleep. When she is not writing about cannabis, she can be found hiking in the Rocky Mountains or curled up with a good true crime book.