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Can CBD Help my Dog with Joint Pain?

Exploring the Potential Benefits of CBD on Osteoarthritis and Other Joint Diseases in Dogs

Degenerative joint disease in dogs remains a prevalent cause of discomfort.

While several forms of pain management and treatment have been common for decades, CBD oil for pets has risen to the forefront of clinical studies. 

Osteoarthritis affects approximately one in four dogs. Characterizations of this painful disease include several types of damage to your dog’s joints. Several other joint and related diseases exist in dogs, often leading to a decreased quality of life due to the pain and decreased state of mobility.

Because of CBD’s promising potential for human chronic management of discomfort as referenced in this study, this chemical compound of the Cannabis plant is creating a buzz in clinical trials for pets. Doctors are working to increase the number of clinical trials of CBD products for pain management and proper CBD dosage for pain in dogs – and humans.

Joints: What Exactly are They and How do They Work?

In short, a joint connects two sections of bone together. Most of the joints in your and your dog’s body are mobile, allowing the two bones they connect to move together for various functions. Your dog, like you, has different types of joints in his body.

The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint. As the name implies, one bone is rounded and the other contains a rounded socket for the ball to sit in and ‘roll’. Ball-and-socket joints allow for a wide range of motion including backward, forward and sideways. The knee joints, on the other hand, are referred to as hinge joints. Hinge joints’ primary function is to allow forward and backward movement, such as when your dog walks and the leg bends. 

Joints aren’t strictly bone; several components converge to create a healthy joint that allows for a wide range of motion. Cartilage covers the surface of the bones and helps to reduce friction during movement. Strong connective tissues known as ligaments connect the two bones together and surround the joint itself. Ligaments have strong elasticity to allow them to stretch during movement. 

Another type of connective tissue, tendons, connect the muscle to the bone – muscles provide the movement for the bones themselves. In addition to these connective tissues, joints also contain fluids for lubrication and soft sacs for cushioning. 

Joint Pain and Disease in Dogs: Causes

Damage to any part of the joint can lead to severe and chronic pain for your dog. Several underlying diseases contribute to OA, including hip or elbow dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament disease or even patella dislocation. 

Hip dysplasia is a leading cause and one most people have at least heard of when it comes to joint issues in dogs. Hip dysplasia, a common disease often found in large breed dogs, has genetic implications. The disease is prevalent in Labrador retrievers, German shepherd dogs, Rottweilers and Bernese Mountain dogs, but not limited to any breeds, sizes or ages. This disease is also found in cats and humans.

Dogs with dysplastic joints exhibit stiffness in the general area of the body where the joint is located. When looking at Xray images of hip or elbow dysplasia, even the untrained eye can often spot the issue when compared with an image of healthy joints. In these painful diseases, the joints are deformed and may even have fragments (elbow dysplasia). With dysplastic hips, the femur is often deformed where it meets the hip and the hip socket – the socket that holds the ball of the femur for the joint – is often too shallow to correctly fit the femur. Continual use of a bad hip joint often leads to permanent damage and osteoarthritis of the hips, directly affecting a dog's mobility.

Pain Management: Can CBD Oil Help my Dog?

Several clinical studies are underway to review the efficacy of CBD products for managing chronic pain in dogs with joint disease. CBD has natural anti-inflammatory properties that help fight and control the inflammatory response caused by joint problems. Some studies have backed this, showing promising results of greater range of motion and pain relief in dogs with these conditions. This increased range of motion paired with increased relief from discomfort can certainly help with your dog's quality of life.

Because osteoarthritis affects such a large portion of the dog population, veterinarians strongly recommend focusing on treatment – not cure – for dogs to continue with a high quality of life that isn't ridden by arthritis pain and mobility issues.

It remains imperative to find ways to treat this degenerative disease. In one study by Frontiers in Veterinary Science, discomfort decreased tremendously with a regimen of CBD oil for management while the dogs’ activity levels improved greatly. The study involved a specific strain of hemp that contained 10mg/mL of CBD and lower concentrations of other cannabinoids such a THC, CBC and CBG. Studies have shown that CBD interacts with receptors that help the control the body's inflammatory response.

Don’t worry – the dogs used were client-owned dogs seeking to help alleviate their pooch’s joint pain due to OA! The dogs ranged in age, with both younger and older dogs partaking. Each pet owner filled out a questionnaire detailing the extent of their dogs’ lameness, activity and other factors of the disease.

Other options for natural forms of treatment include weight management and exercise. Just like in humans, obesity in dogs can lead to a myriad of other problems, directly affecting your dog's quality of life.  When it comes to the joints, the extra weight causes decreased joint health due to the increased levels of stress on all parts of the joint, leading to damage and potentially a chronic condition such as OA. Speak with your veterinarian about the potential benefits (and negative effects) CBD may have on your arthritic dog's health and discuss a full treatment plan to help alleviate the chronic pain associated with this painful condition.

Buyer Beware: Choosing the Right Supplement to Safely Help Your Dog

As with everything new and exciting, CBD oils and supplements for pets have exploded in the market due to the rise in popularity and health benefits it can have. It is not uncommon to be able to buy CBD oil and supplements marketed for your dog at your local convenience store. 

However, not all CBD products are created equal and it’s imperative to understand where the product comes from and what its active ingredients really are. Unfortunately, several investigative reports have found that some CBD products for both pets and people show little to no CBD content; others may also contain dangerous ingredients. One ingredient you need to watch out for: THC content. 

Both THC and CBD are known as cannabinoids, chemical compounds found in hemp plants and marijuana. THC is the chemical compound of Cannabis sativa that produces the psychoactive high from marijuana. THC is particularly dangerous for your pets in high doses, making it imperative to know the THC content in any CBD product.

Sometimes CBD Products contain active ingredients that could be harmful to your dog’s health. Ensure the products that you purchase, no matter the form, come from a reputable company that offers third-party lab testing, commitments to excellence and an overall high quality product. At High Falls Hemp NY, we are dedicated to formulating the most reliable and safe CBD oil for dogs.