As with our human family members, seeing a pet age can make us very sad. With age often comes:
- Joint pain
- Mobility issues
- Skin disorders
- Loss of eyesight
This can make a pet owner feel helpless and wondering what they can do. Well, it turns out cannabidiol (CBD) oil derived from hemp harnesses benefits that can help make your aging pet happier and healthier.
How Does CBD Help Pets?
Dogs and cats, just like humans and most mammals, have an endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system includes two types of receptors, CB1 and CB2. These receptors can be found all throughout the body, including in the brain and skin. The ECS plays a role in a long list of physiological processes, from appetite to pain perception, but it has one main goal: keeping the body in a balanced state, known as homeostasis.
When ECS-equipped creatures ingest cannabinoids, molecules like CBD found in the cannabis plant, these compounds interact with the ECS receptors. They help send signals through the body to create physiological changes.
You’ve probably heard of people taking CBD to manage pain, anxiety and serious conditions like intractable epilepsy. But because animals have an ECS too, hemp CBD can work well for pets with these same conditions.
And since CBD doesn’t produce the same head high like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can, you don’t have to worry about your pet feeling high if you give them hemp-derived CBD.
Here are five instances where CBD may help alleviate some of the health conditions your senior pet may be dealing with.
1. Hemp CBD Can Help Calm Your Pet’s Anxiety
Pets can spiral into an anxious panic due to a lot of things, like:
- Separation anxiety
- Car rides
- Vet visits
To fight anxiety, veterinarians typically prescribe similar antianxiety drugs that doctors give to humans. While these prescription drugs are effective, they can come with many serious side effects.
Research shows that CBD has great anxiolytic, or antianxiety, potential. In a summary of studies looking at CBD to treat anxiety, one found that CBD, when applied to rats with induced anxiety, produced anxiolytic effects. Perhaps more interestingly, the antianxiety effects of CBD are similar to the effectiveness of diazepam, a commonly prescribed antianxiety medication.
So, if your elderly hound or feline is experiencing more anxiety with age, hemp CBD could be a good option. If your fur baby is chronically anxious, a low dose of CBD oil in their food daily could help calm them down. But you can also give them CBD oil or even hemp CBD dog treats just before a situation that produces acute anxiety, such as a trip to the vet.
2. CBD Can Ease Joint Pain & Mobility Issues
As pets age, joint pain and mobility issues are incredibly common. Some estimates say one in four household pets experience arthritis at some point in their life.
Arthritis isn’t just one condition, but rather it encompasses a long list of diseases that negatively affect joints. The commonality among all of these diseases is chronic inflammation, which leads to:
- Serious pain
- Lack of mobility
For severe cases of arthritis, vets usually prescribe anti-inflammatory medication and pain pills. Unfortunately, these drugs can lead to other health issues like liver failure if used over long periods. CBD makes for a nice, natural option to treat joint pain and mobility problems without the possible negative side effects that prescriptions pills carry.
The research is pretty clear when it comes to CBD’s ability to reduce inflammation. Scientists found that transdermal CBD consistently applied for four days on rats with induced arthritis significantly reduced joint swelling.
But CBD not only shows potential for solving chronic inflammation that causes arthritic pain; it can also help manage the pain itself in case of a flare-up. Pet researchers at Cornell University found that dogs with osteoarthritis pain experienced significant relief when given CBD oil orally.
So, if your elderly pooch or feline is having mobility problems, and you want to help reduce their inflammation, you can add CBD oil to their food regularly. You could even treat your pet to a nice massage with hemp CBD oil or cream on their legs, paws, hips and anywhere you think they need extra pain relief.
3. Give Your Pet Hemp CBD to Reduce Nausea
Is your pet avoiding meals? Is fido eating grass every time you go for a walk? Have you noticed a lot of extra drooling? These are all signs that your pet is feeling nauseous.
Nausea can be brought on by all sorts of things, including:
- Eating something bad
- A viral or bacterial infection
- Inflammatory bowel disease
Nausea usually goes away within a few days. To help the nausea pass, most pet owners will feed their furry friend a temporary bland diet, perhaps with some pureed pumpkin or ginger mixed in.
Sadly, as pets get older, stomach issues can start to arise more often. This could be a result of a medication’s side effects or a lowered immune system that makes them more susceptible to viral infections.
If this is the cas, CBD oil could help. A 2012 study in the British Journal of Pharmacology looked into whether CBD could be a treatment for nausea in rats. According to the study, CB1 and CB2 receptors in a pet’s ECS are found at locations in the brain and gastrointestinal tract that are involved in nausea.
4. Add CBD Oil to Your Pet’s Food to Combat Itchiness & Skin Conditions
So many things can cause your pet to start itching, such as:
- Pet dander
- Food allergies
- Environmental factors
While skin issues can be brought on by many external reasons, what happens on the inside is the same across the board: an overactive immune system.
Skin allergies are very common and can lead your pooch or kitty to chew, lick and scratch their skin incessantly. If this behavior continues, it can cause injury and damage to the skin.
To fight these skin issues, veterinarians usually suggest:
- Allergy medications
- Topical treatments like a specialty shampoo and conditioner
But, there are ECS receptors in the dominant type of skin cells that make up the outer layer of mammalian skin. It’s thought that CBD interacts with these receptors in the skin to help clear up skin conditions.
A study from the department of pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of Kuopio, Finland looked at hemp CBD oil’s ability to treat atopic dermatitis. The study found that the fatty acids found in full-spectrum hemp CBD oil increase the necessary level of fatty acids for healthy skin.
The same logic applies to giving your pet fish oil supplements to help their coat and skin thrive. Additionally, a 2013 study found that CBD and other cannabinoids boost healthy skin cell production. So, if you notice your pet is scratching more than usual, try giving them a daily dose of CBD oil for a few weeks, then reassessing if it’s helped them.
5. Dietary CBD Can Help Improve Eyesight & Alleviate Glaucoma Symptoms
Human eyes are pretty similar to other mammals’ eyes, including that of our pets. Light travels into the eye through the cornea, then moves through the lens and the pupil where the light is focused on the retina. The retina then passes that visual information to the brain via the optic nerve.
Glaucoma is a common eye condition in pets and humans. It’s when pressure builds up on the eye, eventually damaging the optic nerve—meaning the brain never receives any of the necessary visual information.
There’s no cure for glaucoma, but there are treatments that reduce pain and drain excess fluid that add to ocular pressure. The earliest study looking at CBD as a treatment for glaucoma dates back to 1971. While admittedly dated, the study found that CBD resulted in a 30% reduction of intraocular pressure.
In 1984, a study showed CBD and another cannabinoid, cannabigerol (CBG), successfully reduced intraocular pressure in cats when they consumed the cannabinoids consistently.
Though it may be tempting to administer the CBD oil directly to your pet’s eyes, this won’t help improve their eyesight and could even do damage. Stick with the ingested methods of hemp CBD here—either in oil drizzled over food or in the form of CBD treats. It may take some time for the CBD to build up in your pet’s system, so give it a few weeks or even months of monitoring to see if your pet’s eyesight has improved.
It’s hard to watch your beloved furry companion go through the aging process. What’s encouraging is that hemp CBD shows promise in treating many of the conditions elderly pets face.
Photo credit: tinyowl7/Shutterstock.com
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