You’ve probably heard about CBD oil for dogs. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a cannabis compound used to treat certain medical conditions in people. Increasingly, dog owners are interested in incorporating CBD oil into their dogs’ healthcare plans. With so many CBD products to choose from, it’s important that you know how to talk to your veterinarian with questions and concerns.
Unfortunately, conversations about veterinary CBD oil are restricted by law, which poses problems for dog owners. We talked to AKC Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jerry Klein to learn how dog owners can navigate CBD oil discussions with their veterinarians to get the information they need to make the best decision for their dogs.
Talking to Your Veterinarian About CBD Oil
AKC: The AKC Canine Health Foundation is currently funding a study on the effects of CBD on dogs with epilepsy. As a veterinarian, how do you respond to dog owners who bring up CBD oil in your office?
Dr. Klein: This is an intriguing topic. There has been a lot of talk about the use of CBD products to help with various health conditions for people, and naturally this talk has extended to the use of CBD oil for dogs. There have only been a few studies published on CBD for animals, which limits true scientific data. Most of the available information is anecdotal. Studies on CBD oil for dogs, like the one being funded by AKC Canine Health Foundation, will hopefully provide the scientific data that’s needed to gain legal approval. These studies will also help determine appropriate medical use and dosage, which isn’t currently available.
AKC: Can veterinarians legally recommend CBD oil to their clients? How can interested dog owners get accurate information?
Dr. Klein: According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, “under current federal and state law, veterinarians may not administer, dispense, prescribe or recommend cannabis or its products for animals.” Laws are changing rapidly, so this may change in some areas of the country. Your veterinarian is likely able to provide recommendations for other products or medications to treat your pet’s problem.
Dog owners looking for more information on CBD oil should do extensive research. Be sure that your information comes from multiple, reputable sources. Look to publications that are peer reviewed.
AKC: Are there risks to CBD that dog owners should ask their veterinarians about?
Dr. Klein: Absolutely. Currently, most of what veterinarians know about CBD oil and dogs is anecdotal, and there is limited scientific evidence about the effects of its use. That said, anytime you give your pet something new, there is always the potential for side effects.
Some of the reported risks of CBD oil include:
- Drop in blood pressure
- Increased sedation
- Reduced saliva production
- Decreased liver enzyme activities used to metabolize prescription drugs
Always check with your veterinarian before you start your dog on a new supplement, especially if your pet is already on prescription medications.
AKC: How would you recommend pet owners bring up CBD oil to their veterinarian?
Dr. Klein: Ideally, clients should be comfortable talking about any topic with their veterinarians. The law may limit how veterinarians can discuss CBD oil with their clients, but clients should always feel comfortable bringing it up.
Changes Ahead for CBD?
Legislation changes all the time. If you want to explore using CBD oil for your dog, let your veterinarian know. Veterinarians have access to the most up-to-date information about products like CBD oil. Keeping your veterinarian in the loop about your decision to use CBD oil for your dog will also help them advise you about any potential contraindications with medications your pet may be taking.