Best CBD for Senior Dogs: The New Miracle Cure?

Do this before searching for the best CBD for senior dogs: Make sure you understand what it is, the benefits versus the risks, and how to find the best product.

Coton de Tulear in garden with bottle of CBD oil

It seems everywhere you look, CBD is being touted as the miracle cure for everything from allergies to seizures. And CBD’s popularity has now spread into the pet world.

All the products and ads give us hope for making our dogs happier and healthier. This is especially true for our older dogs, who tend to have more chronic health problems.

Because my Coton de Tulear, Lucy, has several chronic health challenges, I’ve done extensive research about CBD to determine if it’s a safe product to help her epilepsy and other specific health needs.

I couldn't wait to talk with Lucy's neurologist about the possibility, but my excitement turned to disappointment when I found out it wasn't a viable option for her. Lucy's liver issues mean we have to be careful, as CBD could impact her liver enzymes.

But CBD is great news for other dogs battling seizures – CBD has been a game-changer, reducing their episodes! However, a word of caution: always check with your vet before introducing CBD to a dog with health concerns. Had I not spoken with Lucy's vet, I might have eased one health issue only to unintentionally create another.

Like you, I would do anything to ensure my dog is not suffering. If conventional veterinary medicine cannot provide the help my dog needs, I have no problem seeking alternative medicine. And I know I'm not alone in that. CBD is a fast-growing product and is available almost everywhere now. My local health store has an entire aisle of CBD products. 

My goal is to share what I’ve learned to help you decide if it’s right for your dog. While this article is focused on seniors since they are the demographic most likely to need relief from pain and anxiety, dogs of any age can benefit from this information.

CBD products in the lab

Understanding CBD for Senior Dogs

First of all, what is CBD? CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in the cannabis plant that has become increasingly popular for its potential health benefits. CBD has been shown to interact with the endocannabinoid receptors in the nervous system, which can help with pain relief, anxiety, and other medical conditions.

CBD is a non-psychoactive substance, which means it does not cause a "high" in dogs or humans.

When shopping for CBD products for your senior dog, it is important to look for high-quality products specifically formulated for dogs.

Full-spectrum CBD oil includes THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the psychoactive compound. However, the amount of THC in CBD oil for dogs is typically very low and not enough to cause any psychoactive effects.

Broad-spectrum CBD oil contains all of the cannabinoids found in the hemp plant except THC. This type of CBD oil is the best option for senior dogs who may be sensitive to even small amounts of THC.

Why Senior Dogs May Need CBD

senior Coton de Tulear in garden

As dogs age, they may start to experience various health challenges that can impact their quality of life. From joint pain and difficulties moving to anxiety, aging dogs face several hurdles. CBD has emerged as a hopeful solution for these challenges.

One of the most common issues that older dogs face is joint pain. Various factors, including arthritis and hip dysplasia can cause this. CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce joint pain and improve mobility.

In addition to joint pain, older dogs may also experience a weakened immune system and chronic pain. CBD has been shown to have immune-boosting properties and can help reduce chronic pain.

CBD can also help improve energy levels and reduce stress and anxiety.

While there are certainly potential benefits for CBD for your older dog, it’s essential to understand and weigh the pros and cons.

Pros and Cons of CBD for Senior Dogs

Benefits of CBD for dogs

  • Anecdotal evidence: There is much anecdotal evidence that CBD can help senior dogs who suffer from autoimmune disease, chronic pain, epilepsy, obesity, allergies, and anxiety.
  • Seizure control: Some research shows positive results in reducing seizure frequency.
  • Pain management: CBD's anti-inflammatory properties might help manage chronic pain from arthritis or other conditions.
  • Anxiety and stress relief: CBD may promote calmness and reduce anxiety symptoms caused by separation, loud noises, or other triggers.
  • Digestive issues: Preliminary studies suggest CBD may help with inflammation-related bowel conditions.
  • Generally well-tolerated: Most dogs experience no or mild side effects, like drowsiness or dry mouth. Once again, ALWAYS check with your vet – especially if your dog has ongoing medical issues.

These benefits are promising, but because there is often false advertising and no regulation, it’s important to know the potential risks.

Possible risks associated with CBD for dogs

  • Limited scientific evidence: While research is ongoing, conclusive evidence for various benefits is lacking.
  • Unregulated industry: CBD products are not FDA-regulated or approved. The lack of FDA regulation raises concerns about product quality, dosage accuracy, and potential contaminants.
  • False claims: This AKC article reports that 13 CBD oils for pets had inaccurate label information. 
  • Impact on liver enzymes: As I learned from my vet, CBD can negatively impact liver enzymes, so it’s not recommended for dogs with certain liver diseases.
  • Drug interactions: If your dog is on medication, consult your vet before adding CBD products. These products can interact with certain medications, potentially impacting their effectiveness or safety.
  • Cost: High-quality CBD products can be expensive, especially for larger dogs or long-term use. 
  • Not a cure-all: CBD is often a band-aid for symptoms and doesn’t address the root cause of medical problems. CBD shouldn't replace traditional veterinary care.

Okay, you’ve done your research - now what?

detective hat and magnifying glass

How do you find the best CBD products?

Unfortunately, we have to rely on companies and stores who can use slick marketing campaigns to get us to buy their products. To ensure we're dealing with authentic, high-quality products and not just a great salesperson, we need to educate ourselves on what to look for when searching for the best CBD for seniors - or any dog.

Most of the information on the internet about CBD comes from people selling the product. It’s important to seek out independent, non-biased articles to make informed decisions when researching. Otherwise, it would be like cigarette companies telling us how safe Marlboros are.

Types of CBD products for your senior dog

There are different types of CBD oil products available for dogs, including:

  • Tinctures: This is the most popular form of CBD oil for dogs, as they’re easy to administer and absorb quickly. They’re also a good option if your older dog has difficulty chewing or swallowing.
  • Treats: CBD treats are easy to administer, and your dog will love the taste. You can give them treats or chews as a reward or include them in their daily routine.
  • Capsules: You can add these to your dog’s food or give it directly.

Select CBD products that meet these criteria for your senior dog:

  • Choose a product specifically formulated for pets. Lower-quality human CBD products often contain ingredients that are harmful to dogs, such as THC (even trace amounts can cause toxicity in some dogs), artificial flavoring and sweeteners, or Xylitol, which is deadly for dogs.
  • Look for CBD products made with natural and organic ingredients. This can help ensure that your senior pet gets a high-quality, natural supplement that is gentle on their body.
  • Select products labeled broad spectrum, which means THC is filtered out during production (THC is toxic for dogs).
  • Look for CBD oils that have been third-party tested for purity and potency. Third-party testing ensures there’s no conflict of interest during testing.
  • Avoid CBD products that contain heavy metals and pesticides. Effective 3rd-party testing will let you know if a CBD product contains these harmful ingredients.
  • Don’t buy from companies that make medical claims about their products since the FDA does not allow this.
  • Consider the dosage and delivery method that will work best for your dog's needs. Some CBD oils come in dropper bottles, while others are infused into treats or capsules.
  • Find products that have a high number of positive reviews

Recommended CBD for Senior Dogs

First, I would suggest searching your local area for highly rated stores. I found out that there’s a store in my city that only sells CBD products. I love this option because I can talk to someone knowledgeable about the products and ask questions about my dog’s needs.

If a local store is not an option for you or if you want the ease of shopping online, the following companies use 3rd party testing, are transparent about their ingredients, and have good reviews.

There are over 13 million Google results for CBD products for dogs, so it can be daunting to figure out which one is best for your senior dog.

Go through the criteria above to ensure the best quality ingredients, testing, and customer service. Work with your vet and monitor your dog for any reactions.

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