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North Hills Monthly

Pet Owners Exploring CBD as Treatment for Anxiety, Inflammation in Animals

Dec 31, 2019 11:33AM ● By Hilary Daninhirsch

The CBD explosion has been in the news for a while, but recently, there has been a rise in the therapeutic use of CBD products for pets. After all, animals have endocannabinoid systems just like their humans.

Some pet parents are administering CBD to their pets to help alleviate conditions that cause inflammation and to help with anxiety, cancer, and seizures.

Melanie Vaughan’s 10-year-old boxer had an ACL tear in her knee. Because of the dog’s age, Vaughan’s veterinarian hesitated to perform surgery. Vaughan, the part owner of 12 Your CBD Stores in the Pittsburgh area, began giving her dog CBD.

“It changed her completely. She is now 10 times more active to the point where I took her back to the vet because I thought she might be too active,” said Vaughan.

Patti McCloud, who runs a Your CBD store in Natrona Heights, said that a customer’s dog was previously terrified of thunder but after being given CBD, the dog is much calmer during storms. She said that customers have also used it for their pets’ separation anxiety.

Vaughan observed that because pets do not know what you’re giving them, it eliminates the placebo effect, and you are able to observe an accurate result.

“It really does benefit pets the same way it does humans because it’s such a high anti-inflammatory that it attacks areas of inflammation but balances natural serotonin levels,” she said. Vaughan added that another customer applied topical, human-grade cream to a wound on a dog’s leg that would not heal, and it not only aided in healing but diminished the dog’s pain significantly.

CBD products for pets come in different delivery forms. Most stores offer tinctures (oils), flavored treats, or creams. Vaughan recommends tinctures over treats because of the better absorption rate.

Rhonda Broadway recently opened Total Peace and Wellness, a CBD store in Lawrenceville. She explained that her pet products are broad spectrum rather than full spectrum.

“Broad spectrum CBD products contain an array of cannabinoids and terpenes but zero THC. Broad spectrum is the better choice for individuals who want to assure there are no traces of THC in the product they are consuming, and it is the preferred choice for most pet owners that purchase products at our store,” she said.

At Total Peace and Wellness, Broadway sells a variety of tinctures that are appropriate for both dogs and cats, and also carries dog treats. Tinctures can be mixed with food or dropped orally into a pet’s mouth. She also has a pet bath bomb which she said could be helpful for anxious dogs as well as dogs with muscle or pain issues.

“For pets, CBD is good for arthritis and helps relieve seizures and pain due to inflammation. It may also reduce pain associated with cancer or actually reduce cancerous cells, and reduce anxiety and aggression; it is also good for palliative care,” said Broadway.

Healthy Pet Products has been offering CBD for pets for about five years, well before the current CBD explosion. Allison Raithel is the nutritional wellness director with the retailer, which has stores in McCandless, Cranberry and the South Hills.

“We are into being ahead of the curve. We all practice holistic lifestyles ourselves, and offering CBD is part of a complementary therapy our customers are looking for,” she explained. “A lot of people are looking for anti-inflammatories that are complementary to vet care meds that won’t have long-term effects. CBD works beautifully for inflammatory issues in elderly dogs.”

However, she stressed that it is not a replacement for medication. Rather, “People are using it for a complementary therapy to unlock wellness,” said Raithel.

Healthy Pet Products carries treats, balms for treating hot spots and surface skin abrasions, and transdermal oils, which Raithel said can be put into a dog’s inner ears.

Like with any CBD product, consumers need to be careful. “You want to be very aware of what you’re purchasing,” said Vaughan. “Unfortunately, scam artists are putting oils in a bottle, putting a CBD label on it and are taking advantage of people.”

Raithel and Vaughan said that they only carry products from reputable manufacturers, particularly those that are transparent with their scientific claims and research studies. Your CBD Stores are affiliates of SunMED Medical Solutions, a manufacturer of CBD, so they carry SunMED products exclusively.

Healthy Pet carries CBD products from four manufacturers and makes sure that all of the products in the store were given the National Animal Supplement Council quality seal and that the manufacturers are all transparent with consumers when it comes to sources, production and manufacturing practices.

They also trust products backed by the U.S. Hemp Authority and have good relationships with the owners, developers and/or scientists of the companies whose products they stock.

“People trust what we say and the products we recommend,” said Raithel. “We’re not vets, but we will not recommend anything that doesn’t hold up to our standards. We don’t want anyone to feel they bought anything that could harm their pet.”

CBD is not yet regulated for either humans or dogs, but the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is pushing for it.

“What we know to date about CBD products for pets suggests that they may have clinical value, so we’re excited about that potential. However, there are still many issues remaining about these products’ legality, ingredients and health benefits,” said Michael San Filippo, a spokesperson for the organization. “So, when it comes to keeping pets healthy, it may be best for the time being to rely on things that we know work: preventive care, regular wellness checkups and FDA-approved medications recommended by your veterinarian.

Still, he added, “There is definite veterinary interest in these products as potential therapeutic agents; therefore, the American Veterinary Medical Association is encouraging manufacturers of these products to demonstrate their efficacy and safety and seek FDA approval for any therapeutic claims.”