Did You Know CBD Benefits Our Dogs, Cats, And Horses?

In previous blog posts, we’ve defined CBD and discussed its benefits by explaining precisely how it works. CBD binds with various receptors within the body, thereby regulating different biological and physiological processes. These receptors are one of the three core components of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which helps regulate our appetite, digestion, metabolism, pain sensation, inflammation, mood, sleep, stress, and memory. The ECS exists within every mammalian body (including dogs, cats, and horses). As thousands of studies discuss the potential benefits of CBD, many users have begun to question its benefits for our four-legged friends and the importance of CBD for Dogs, CBD for Cats, and CBD for Horses. 

Although CBD companies existed several years prior, in 2018:

  • The U.S. House voted to pass the Farm Act Bill, which more broadly defined industrial hemp and removed hemp from the Controlled Substance Act (CSA).
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Epidiolex, an oral CBD solution used to treat seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome (DS). To date, this is the only FDA-approved drug that contains cannabidiol (CBD). 

These two advancements within the hemp industry resulted in a boom of CBD products and companies entering the marketplace and, with that, an abundance of misinformation and gimmick products. It is our intention at Rx Remedies to not only provide effective plant-based remedies for both people and pets(CBD for Dogs, CBD for Cats, and CBD for Horses) but also to help better educate consumers on the benefits of plant-based medicine, including cannabinoids and terpenes. 

How is CBD administered to animals?

The products offered for pets are generally available in the same forms you’d see offered for people – edibles in the form of treats or powders, oils or capsules taken orally, and even topicals. Most companies will offer suggested dosing or application. However, quite a bit of guesswork is still involved in establishing a perfect dose.

How much a pet should take is dependent on the issue they’re trying to treat, the severity of the problem, and how the animal metabolizes cannabinoids, all of which can vary from one pet to another. Additionally, the size of the animal can determine the necessary concentration, as a Chihuahua would surely not require the same amount of CBD as a Great Dane.

Can CBD help with the overall health of your pet?

The available research is encouraging. However, it is still early by scientific standards. A study published in 2018 found CBD helped ease discomfort for dogs with osteoarthritis. This was further supported by a random, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in 2020, which found cannabidiol ” significantly improved the mobility of large domestic canines afflicted with osteoarthritis…” 

Dr. Stephanie McGrath, a neurologist at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital, has been a pioneer researcher in the field of veterinary cannabis since early 2013. Her study to assess the use of cannabidiol for dogs with epilepsy found that 89% of dogs experienced a reduction in the frequency of seizures, which she later published in 2019.

CBD for HorsesAlthough successful and peer-reviewed, these studies are small and considered very preliminary. Still, veterinarians have expressed genuine optimism about these findings, as much anecdotal evidence exists supporting the benefits of CBD in animals.

While McGrath’s research focuses primarily on the benefits of CBD in dogs, researchers like Dr. Kimberly Guary from Tarleton State University’s Equine Center are looking into the benefits of CBD in horses. 

Guary’s unique study hoped to quantify how CBD affects inflammation, stress, and known negative behaviors in horses by focusing on the physiological effects, such as heart rate and cortisol levels. Guary published her findings in October 2021, stating that “Horses exhibit anxiety due to training or housing situations, which is sometimes expressed via…cribbing, aggression, etc.”. Using four mature mares and four mature geldings, Guary’s team developed a randomized controlled treatment where behaviors were recorded following dosages of olive oil (control group) and dosages of CBD. The study concluded that “behaviors including aggression and pawing occurred less when horses were given the high dose (of CBD) compared to the control.”

Rx Remedies, Advanced Equine Supplement, GroupRx Remedies similarly tested their recently developed Advanced Equine Supplement, a proprietary, sixteen-component, phytocannabinoid-rich (PCR), CBD-based, dry powder feed additive specifically formulated for horses. The fourteen-day, three-group, ten-horse preliminary study was conducted to assess: 

  • pain reduction 
  • improved mobility
  • behavioral response, and
  • changes in core temperature, appetite, urine coloration, and manure output. 

Ten horses were selected: those exhibiting pain (n=8) and those not (n=2). Horses were then randomized into three groups: Group 1 (n=6) demonstrated pain, exhibited joint swelling, and were treated; Group 2 (n=2) did not demonstrate pain, yet exhibited limited joint inflammation and were treated; and Group 3 (n=2) demonstrated pain, exhibited joint swelling, and were not treated (control group).

Our hope was at least 70% of the test group would experience a decrease in their pain and inflammation. However, the data far exceeded our expectations with a 100% favorable therapeutic response:

  • All Group-1 horses exhibited reduced pain and increased flexibility favorable responses beginning on or around day 7, and were either flexible or completely flexible without pain by day-10. 
  • All Group 2 horses, with no original pain, exhibited reduced joint swelling and improved behavior. 
  • All Group 3 horses remained with chronic joint stiffness and pain. 
  • An unexpected beneficial response in one test horse was eradicating cresty neck mass, 60-pound weight loss, ceased loss of hair, and recuperated coat sheen. 

Is CBD safe for animals? Will CBD get my pet high?

The World Health Association states CBD is non-addictive, has no withdrawal symptoms, and has an excellent safety profile, however, it is essential to note that CBD can interact with some medications (particularly, if the animal is already on drugs that are metabolized in the liver). Moreover, a study published in 2018 investigated the pharmacokinetics and safety in cannabidiol for dogs, and found “no observable side effects”. Although CBD is completely safe for most pets for daily use, we recommend contacting your veterinarian before using any CBD product. 

CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning you cannot get stoned or high from using it. It is the psychoactive cannabinoid, THC, that makes the user feel “stoned”. Hemp-derived CBD products are legally limited to 0.3% THC or less, which, although they can aid in the efficacy of CBD, is not enough to cause any sort of intoxication. As a point of reference, most strains of medical marijuana have at least 15% THC, so comparatively, hemp-derived CBD products have 45x less THC than those found in medical marijuana.

How do you choose a CBD product for your dog, cat, or horse?

To date, there is no regulatory oversight in the CBD industry—not the FDA, not the DEA, and not the Department of Agriculture. This means hundreds of companies sell CBD products in a totally unregulated market, which places much of the responsibility on the consumer to purchase a legitimate product.

Reputable companies offering quality products will be cGMP-certified and offer third-party lab test results for every batch of oil. These test results should be readily available to potential customers. Make sure the company clearly states “CBD” and not just “hemp oil” or “hemp seed oil,” neither of which contain the healing properties of CBD. 

Also, does the company have scientific and medical expertise? Formulating products isn’t as simple as adding CBD to a tincture or supplement. Both cannabinoids and terpenes are medicine, and therefore, a significant amount of medicinal science is required to understand and apply them in product development.

The bottom line is to first discuss the potential benefits of CBD for your dog, cat, or horse with your veterinarian (this is particularly important if your pet is currently taking other medications). Make sure your product is concentrated, specifically promotes CBD (not hemp oil or hemp seed oil), offers third-party testing, and is manufactured in a cGMP facility. And don’t be scared to contact the company directly with questions or concerns. If they don’t answer your inquiries, then that’s all the answers you need.

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At Rx Remedies, Inc., we believe in doing things right. Though this industry has no regulatory oversight, we hold ourselves to the highest standard. Our goal is to create the most effective, plant-based remedies on the market today.

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