Features // January 6, 2021 // Ben Berkowitz

Dogs and CBD: A New Age of Canine-abis

Dogs and CBD: A New Age of Canine-abis

I am hearing often these days that if COVID-19 doesn’t bring out the hustle in you, then nothing will. Amidst a global pandemic, it's an intense challenge starting, let alone completing anything.

Nevertheless, in the early winter months of last year I took a leap into the grey market of bartering and socially distanced gifting, and started making my own CBD dog treats. I wanted to combine two great loves of my life: I love dogs, and I love cannabis. 

Big Business for Pets

I’ve been to parties for weed dog treat companies, and I know dog trainers who swear by CBD oils and treats for dogs. CBD products for pets was an $8 million business in 2017 and more than quadrupled in size in recent years, with projections estimating that the CBD pet market could reach over a billion dollars by next year.

I wasn’t thinking of it as a treat business. For me, it was an experiment in learning how to incorporate CBD into treats for dogs and enjoy making something that they would love. I have seen dogs in previous years really freak out, especially on July 4th, with the official fireworks displays bolstered by many clandestine and more sonically invasive explosions. 

For a lot of dogs, this is a panic-inducing problem. Owners don’t want to leave the house, and don’t know how to combat the stress. There are many lovely products that work for less intense situations, like Rescue Remedy.  When a dog is having minor anxieties, Rescue Remedy is often a big help. But for a lot of dogs, it's not enough to help with extreme situations.

 

Can CBD Work Wonders for Dogs?

Initially, I was skeptical about CDB for dogs. In total honesty I love cannabis, but I am always wary of promoting its universal omni-healing properties, and sounding like a weed preacher 100 percent sold on its all-powerful goodness. Yes, CBD is awesome, it does many amazing physiological things when interacting with our bodies, but I needed to see it to believe it with dogs.

Non-dog owners who have never had to deal with an acutely stressed or anxious dog don’t know the bloodcurdling screams and feeling of helplessness that goes with it. But CBD amazed me. I saw it work with dogs that I had spent time with during terrible thunderstorms and fireworks, or during other stressful times like having been recently attacked by another dog, or being a rescue dog adjusting to a new life off the street. CBD made a big difference.  I saw it help friends' dogs with anxiety of all kinds — and also its anti-inflammatory properties make relaxing their muscles and joints so much easier for our canine buddies.

A note about CBD for pets: never give your pet THC. Most vets agree that you should not give your dog any amount of THC, which will certainly make them uncomfortable and could possibly make them very ill. CBD sourced from hemp, which by law must contain less than .3 percent THC, is largely believed to be safe for pets.

Tasty Treats for the Fur Family

There are some good brands to buy  and also plenty of simple, easy recipes — or you can always buy CBD oil and add it to treats you already have. You have options!

I dose dog treats with about 5mg of hemp-derived CBD and then feed them based on the dog's size — approx. 0.25mg of CBD per each pound of the dog's body weight. You can individually dose each treat with more or less. We like a carrot banana biscuit and peanut butter treats, and sometimes sweet potato jerky! Much like human edibles, it's a just a way to get the CBD into the dog's system, while making it tasty and fun.

CBD doesn’t fix everything, but it calms the nervous system, and it enhances a natural resistance to stress in both humans and dogs. Some veterinarians want more data, hoping for future research into how CBD works so they can better inform their patients’ owners.  In many states, vets risk their license or other legal repercussions if they initiate any conversation regarding pets and cannabis. A ridiculous “don’t ask don’t tell policy” exists amongst many veterinary associations. And I think most vets agree that as legalization continues become the norm for each state (and hopefully at a federal, and even international level), we will really see how widespread and effective CBD can be for all the dogs in our lives who need it.