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As dog owners and pharmacists with two beautiful dogs, my wife Jamie and I do everything we can to keep them happy, healthy, and pain-free.
Friends, family, and patients with dogs come to us for solutions to their families’ health problems, including their furry family members. One common problem we hear about is joint pain in older dogs. Jamie and I are always looking for better solutions for these common, chronic issues.
When the owner of a CBD company called Relievet asked for a professional review of their products as dog-owning pharmacists, we happily agreed. We hadn’t considered using CBD before and it was a great learning opportunity.
What Jamie and I found was a dedicated team devoted to helping dogs with pain and anxiety, offering industry-leading products that set the standard for quality, good faith, and carefully following scientific research on CBD. While the research on CBD is promising, for us, the proof also has to be in the pudding.
So we tested Relievet’s products, and we’ve seen them work for our dog’s joint pain without causing any of the toxic effects associated with certain CBD extracts.
My reading of studies on different CBD extracts lead me to feel comfortable with Relievet products. They use the most evidence-based formulations dosed at the levels studied in published research.
We talked to Chris, the founder of Relievet, about his approach. He is deeply passionate about making the best possible products and making them easy to use for pet owners. During one of our conversations, he invited my wife Jamie and I to join his team as formulators and expert consultants.
We were excited to join – I love research and Jamie was excited to apply her strong background in confectionery and pharmacy compounding to coming up with new ways for pets to feel better.
Lately we’ve had a friend ask us about a disease that causes joint pain in dogs – specifically breakdown of the spine. It leads to extreme discomfort, lack of mobility, and loss of quality of life in dogs. Here we’d like to share some of the answers we came up with for them – we hope they’ll guide you and your veterinarian in helping your four-legged family members too!
CBD FOR JOINT PROBLEMS IN DOGS
Before we dive into why you should consider CBD for your dog’s joint problems, we’d like to share a story one of our customers told us after trying Relievet:
"I have been using Relievet products for at least a year now. I use it for my old dog, Misty, who has trouble with hip pain and walking. I also use it for my daughter’s cat who is very anxious and tends to bite and scratch a lot. I see so much of a difference in Misty’s walking when she takes her Relievet.
I just bought the freeze-dried treats in beef liver flavor and she loves them! Easier to give than the drops. I give the cat drops mixed into his wet food and after an hour he is so mellow and loves cuddling! His bites and scratches are rare when he has his drops.
I recommend these CBD drops to friends and family with pet issues. I’ve tried other dog treats and they don’t work as well. Plus I think Relievet is a better value. You get more for your money. I buy directly from their shop in San Diego now. I first ordered online and it arrived so quick!"
WHAT IS IVDD IN DOGS?
IVDD, or intervertebral disc disease, is a condition¹ that occurs in dogs when the soft discs between the bones in their spine break down.
You might have also heard this called “herniation”, “bulging discs”, or “degeneration.” When this happens, it can cause the small bones of the back, called the vertebrae, to grind against each other without cushioning.
This bone-on-bone grinding is painful and causes inflammation, pain, and nerve damage that also leads to nerve pain.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF IVDD?
IVDD can have many symptoms. Some of the more common ones include:
- Pain in the neck or back
- Difficulty walking
- Not eating as much
- Holding head low, unable to lift head
- Paralysis (inability to move)
HOW TO TREAT IVDD?
Moderate IVDD that causes pain but is not life threatening can be treated with pain medications. Veterinarians can prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs like carprofen to help your dog feel better. Carprofen can cause some serious side effects, especially when used in the long term.
A natural alternative, CBD, is shown to be effective² in dogs for conditions causing joint pain, as long as the correct formulation is used. Later in the article we go into more depth on how to choose the best CBD products, but in short the evidence most supports the use of THC-free broad-spectrum extract products.
If you’re worried about the possible negative effects of NSAIDs³ and want an all-natural alternative, it’s worth bringing up good CBD extracts with your veterinarian. Relievet’s products follow the science. They are evidence-based to provide the safest and most effective relief for your pet. Work with your veterinarian to determine the best treatment for your individual pet!
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST CBD PRODUCTS FOR IVDD
There are two main types of CBD products available that help with dog joint pain: Oral treats given by mouth and under-the-tongue oils. Oral CBD treats are typically fed to the pet in whole or half treats to get the right dose, while CBD oil is applied right under the tongue.
CBD oil contains cannabidiol, an anti-inflammatory compound found in cannabis plants. Some oils and treats use full-spectrum extract that contains CBD and THC, or tetrahydrocannabidol. It’s important to avoid full-spectrum extracts. THC is toxic to dogs⁴, and CBD extracts that contain THC are more likely to hurt dogs⁵ than those that are THC free.
One study’s authors reported: “…at our investigated doses, a CBD-predominant oil formulation was safer and more tolerated in dogs than oil formulations containing higher concentrations of THC.”
Broad-spectrum extracts like those from Relievet have CBD with no detectable THC. This means they do not have the toxicity risks of THC at all! It’s been reported in at least one study⁶ that THC-free CBD products do not even increase liver enzymes in dogs – one of the only concerning things reported about CBD extracts in general. “Daily administration of CBD for 30 days does not alter alanine aminotransferase (ALT) or alkaline phosphatase (ALKP) levels.”
The extract should use a carrier oil that is safe and effective for dogs. An Italian study comparing different common oils found that MCT oil products remain stable for longer⁷ and help absorption. This is why Relievet CBD oils use MCT oil as a carrier – it’s safe for dogs and works well to keep CBD potent and stable.
Relievet focuses on making products that are simple, natural, and affordable.
That’s why there are only two ingredients in Relievet CBD oils: Broad spectrum, THC free CBD extract and MCT oil!
Whatever product you choose for your dog, make sure it’s science based like Relievet oils: Broad-spectrum (lab verified THC-free), and using a carrier oil like MCT that keeps the CBD stable and potent.
We generally recommend oils given under the tongue for any dog that can take medicine this way over treats. The CBD oil is more likely to get into their bloodstream effectively. Treats absorb through the stomach and small intestine and a lot of the CBD can be broken down in digestion or through the liver as a result.
If you do use treats, your pet may require a higher dose. Work with your veterinarian to see what’s best for you and your pets.
HOW TO DOSE CBD FOR IVDD IN DOGS
Some websites promote the use of CBD extracts at very high doses (one dose fits all dogs) even for small dogs. Some even claim that CBD extracts are not toxic at any dose. This is simply untrue, especially for full-spectrum CBD extracts that contain THC . As we’ve discussed, THC is known to be toxic to dogs⁸ and causes stumbling, lethargy, vomiting, tremors, agitation, and the inability to stop urinating.
Studies support⁹ dosing at 2mg/kg for dogs when using a sublingual oil for joint pain.
“This pharmacokinetic and clinical study suggests that 2 mg/kg of CBD twice daily can help increase comfort and activity in dogs with OA.”
Doses may need to be carefully titrated up when using treats because the absorption and metabolism of CBD from the gut can use up some of the dose before it gets into your pet’s bloodstream. Work with your veterinarian to find the lowest dose that gives your dog symptom relief.
Using higher doses than the minimum needed to successfully treat your dog’s symptoms only does two things: Increases the chance your dog has negative side effects and helps the manufacturer make more money by selling you more CBD extract than you need. Relievet is dedicated to safe, easy to use, cost-effective dosing. All our products are formulated for specific dog weights with dose droppers that are easy to use.
We hope this helps you work with your pet’s health team to find a solution as good as the one we’ve found for our dog Penny. If you have any questions, comments, or thoughts, feel free to reach out to us! We’d love to hear from you!