How do veterinarians really feel about CBD for dogs?

CBD oil is all the rage and we’re not talking about CBD oil for your pain. It’s received increased attention in regards to treating pain in our dogs. This initially sounds alluring, right? A natural product to help ease the health conditions of our precious dogs, because after all, dogs are like family. Anything that can make them feel better is our kryptonite. But like any new popular trend or fast emerging product marketed to make our lives easier – it’s going to have its fair share of pushback, particularly when it comes to health. Applying this to our pets just adds a whole other layer.

As a result, the CBD market is now rising with questions from pet owners everywhere, as more people get access to products. And veterinarians everywhere are feeling the impact, being the source of a number of questions, requests, and expectations among patients regarding CBD’s effects on dogs.

The answer is… there is no definitive answer. Currently, CBD has been reported heavily via anecdotal evidence given by pet owners to assist in pain relief. However, it’s important to note that due to the evolving, growing nature of this sector, there’s going to be diverse opinions. Thus far, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) believes that research of CBD as a treatment for animals is still very limited. On the other hand, it can’t be denied that there are success stories – both within scientific and anecdotal evidence.

When it comes to discussing it as a treatment with your veterinarian, that’s where things get a bit more tricky. Regardless, you should always notify your vet if you’re thinking about giving your dog CBD. Just take note: some vets are on board with CBD for dogs while others are apprehensive. You may not always get the information you’re seeking. So what’s the deal?

The Great Vet Divide: What side are you on?

This anonymous survey was conducted by the VIN News Service in early 2018 to assess veterinarian’s views pertaining to marijuana and CBD/hemp products. A total of 2,130 responses were recorded and evaluated. 63% of veterinarians reported they were asked about CBD oil at least once a month.

Some of the most interesting stats to come out of this survey based on first-hand observations or owner reports of:

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain, 34% identified CBD as very helpful, and 56% as somewhat helpful.

Acute Pain

Acute pain, with 23% assessing it was very helpful and 60% as somewhat helpful.

Anxiety & Seizure Frequency

75% of vets that participated noticed CBD as being helpful at reducing anxiety and seizure frequency.
There are now clinical trials that back this up.

More pertinent though is 85% reported rarely or never initiating conversations about CBD with their clients.

So why don’t some vets recommend CBD?

So far, the two most common reasons that come up as to why a vet would not advise or recommend CBD are lack of knowledge and illegality. Let’s go further into both these reasons.

Why some vets support CBD

In the event that you bring up cannabis at your next veterinarian appointment, there may also be some support for discussing CBD based on the following reasons:

How to talk to your vet about CBD for your dog

It’s only natural to want to talk to your vet about any changes in your dog’s health and inquire before introducing something new to their diet. While you shouldn’t be alarmed at talking to your vet about CBD, it’s important to be cognizant that your vet will likely be unable to prescribe or recommend CBD products to you at this time. And currently, it’s up to you to initiate the conversation.

But that doesn’t mean they don’t want to discuss this with you. Here are some tips for talking to your vet about CBD oil to help you make the best decision for your dog:

  • Know that as a pet owner, you should feel comfortable talking or bringing up any topic with your vet. But if you’re able, try to find a vet that has experience with CBD.

  • Tread lightly as you introduce the subject keeping in mind that there are still legal restrictions depending on location.
  • Be honest about your goals for CBD use and why you want to administer it to your dog.
  • Ask if they have any opinion or understanding about side effects and/or dosage.
  • Tell them about your pet’s medical history and any other medications you give or have administered to your dog to evaluate potential drug interactions.
  • Be open to hearing their recommendations for alternative products or medications.
  • If you’ve already started your dog on CBD prior, keep a journal and track symptoms, patterns, and trends that emerge, both positive and negative.
  • Bring the CBD product you choose in its original packaging to have your vet assess ingredients (just ask your clinic if you can do this or should you bring photos, as cannabis laws vary).

Conclusion

For the most part, CBD oil hasn’t seen many adverse short-term negative side effects in dogs thus far, unless it has been taken in excess. But most of the results so far are based on anecdotal, pet owner experiences with CBD. Hopefully, in the years to come, more clinical research is released and it’s more normalized among the veterinary world. Laws and studies are always ongoing and changing. If you want to explore using CBD for your dog, do thorough research and let your vet know.