I Started My Dog On CBD: What is Cannabidiol and How I Made My Decision

CBD is the buzz. You cannot ask for advice about any problem your dog has without somebody recommending you put your dog on CBD.

My position on any novelty treatments is cautious curiosity. I was tracking the stories and information, and I felt that being aware of the option was good enough for the time being. My dog didn’t have any issues that didn’t respond to tried measures I was comfortable with. CBD was filed in the back of my mind to access should the need arise.

That is what I told Cookie’s PT when she wanted to know what my stance was. She was looking for pain relief for her dog, who had bone cancer. That is a situation when one ought to examine everything which could aid their toolbox.

I Started My Dog On CBD: I Started My Dog On CBD: What is Cannabidiol and How I Made My Decision

What is CBD?

As you know, cannabidiol (CBD) comes from the Cannabis sativa, or hemp plant. What you probably did not know, is that mammals have an entire system that involves the production and use of cannabinoids—the endocannabinoid system.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS)

The endocannabinoid system is a cell-signalling system that consists of three core components:

  • endocannabinoids
  • endocannabinoid receptors
  • enzymes

Endocannabinoids are signalling molecules the body makes to regulate physiological processes such as:

  • neurological processes
  • immune function
  • endocrine function
  • musculoskeletal system
  • pain and inflammation
  • metabolism

You can see how that opens the possibility for CBD to help with a wide range of issues.

Further reading: Understanding the Endocannabinoid System in Cats and Dogs

Cannabidiol (CBD)

CBD, as you know it, is a plant version of cannabinoids. Amazingly, there is still relatively little understanding of how it works. Does CBD replace the function of endocannabinoids? Or does it do something else? We know that it does not simply take on the same job. Rather, it seems to help increase the concentration of the cannabinoids the body makes by preventing their degradation. It is also possible that it binds to ECS receptors we haven’t discovered yet.

That said, both anecdotal evidence and research suggest that CBD offers many health benefits.

How can dogs benefit from CBD oil?

Research indicates and there is great potential for dogs to benefit from CBD supplementation. According to recent papers, CBD can reduce:

  • anxiety
  • seizures
  • inflammation
  • pain

With many potential benefits, CBD has been well-tolerated by dogs overall. When you ask them hypothetically and off-the-record, many veterinarians have a positive outlook on the usage of CBD for dogs.

Why I took CBD off the back burner for my dog

When Cookie developed front leg lameness, we approached it as we always do. Our go-to treatments include:

  • initial rest
  • physical therapy
  • hydrotherapy
  • laser therapy
  • acupuncture
  • short-term NSAIDs if needed

It was, however, slow going this time. Every time we saw that Cookie was improving, she ended up with a setback. While originally we were confident about the initial diagnosis, the issue became progressively more clouded and confusing. I found myself using NSAIDs a lot more than I was comfortable with.

We needed a better actionable diagnosis and new tools, especially since we mostly believed it was a muscle injury.

The experience of Cookie’s PT

Cookie’s PT did start her dog on CBD and felt it was helping. You know that sometimes it is hard to measure treatments’ benefits because there are too many variables. However, she got a clear picture of how much CBD was helping her dog’s pain when she happened to run out. Between the last dose and the arrival of the next bottle, her dog’s pain increased dramatically.

Anecdotal evidence? Sure, but convincing.

I started my dog on CBD

I always said that I was willing to consider CBD if I felt that the standard options weren’t working for my dog. That time has come and I made the decision to give CBD a try.

Is it working? It seems to be. I mentioned that it can be hard to tell, particularly when you attack a problem from more than one angle. However, I was able to abandon the NSAIDs while managing Cookie’s pain.

Eventually, we did achieve a diagnosis that explained all that went on. Because it turned out that the most probable root of the problems was Cookie’s elbows, we now could have treated with PRP as well. However, I also keep the CBD on board for the time being.

I am not an expert on CBD products, of which there are many out there; I decided to use the same brand Cookie’s PT was using. Cookie is tolerating it well and had no adverse effects whatsoever.

5 things you must know before giving your dog CBD


For essential information about CBD for dogs, head over to The Pet Lifestyle Guru. Rebecca knows way more about CBD and a holistic lifestyle for dogs than I do.

You will find dosing guidelines, relevant regulations, and product criteria to consider.

While there, don’t forget to check out the rest of insightful articles on the subject of all-natural, dog-friendly solutions for your dog. And, don’t miss her yummy, nutritious dog food and treat recipes.

Related articles:
Recognizing Signs of Pain in Dogs: How Do I Tell My Dog Is Hurting?
Chronic Vs Acute Pain In Dogs: What Is The Difference?
Talk to Me About Dog Arthritis: Why Are My Dog’s Joints Painful? Canine Arthritis Strategies Roundup
Pain Management For Dogs: Types of Pain Medications for Dogs And What They Do

Further reading:
CBD for Dogs: Everything You Need to Know
What to Know If You Want to Give Your Dog CBD

Categories: Alternative treatmentsCBDDog health advocacy

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

  1. I have been reading up about CBD for a while now, curious about it’s uses for pets. Especially for my girl Daviana who is now starting to show her age a little more. That being said, I’m like you – when I hear about something like this I am cautiously curious about everything. That being said, I’m not counting it all out yet at this point.

  2. CBD is something that is becoming more high profile, I do not know a lot about CBD so your post has been helpful in clarifying some things I was not sure of.

  3. I’m glad that Cookie is improving! I know several people who think CBD has helped their pups.

  4. I’m happy to hear CBD is working for Cookie so far. I hope it continues to as well. I like your approach to try everything your familiar with before trying somthing new. Great strategy.

  5. I use CBD on Layla but not all the time, it is more for anxiety as with age she is having anxiety attacks so a little drop in her mouth I have found is helping her calm down. I am very careful and use a local brand as I feel safer as such. Great post

  6. Hey Jana – thank you for the shout out! I love how you go about assessing CBD for Cookie. It’s so important that people don’t get persuaded by the marketing hype that surrounds CBD. While it IS very effective for most dogs – there are things people should know regarding how it works and for what conditions. It’s not the panacea of magic that many advertising pieces would have us believe. Will share with our readers too!

    • Absolutely. Though, interestingly, one should not underestimate the placebo effect. Apparently, it doesn’t just work for people but somehow even for dogs by extension. Even more interestingly, a recent study showed that placebo often works even when the person on it knows it’s a placebo. There is a whole other interesting realm out there.

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