Did you know that dogs are the most popular pet in the US? Over 48 million households in the US have at least one dog, and it’s no wonder. Dogs are loyal, loving companions that quickly become a member of the family.
Unfortunately, our four-legged family members are susceptible to many of the cancers that affect humans. In fact, the National Cancer Institute states that approximately 6 million dog cancer diagnoses are made in the US each year.
When a dog is given a diagnosis of cancer, their families want to do everything they can to help heal them and make them more comfortable as they fight it. In an effort to do just that, pet owners have turned to CBD oil for dogs with cancer in more recent years. But how exactly might it help? We’ll cover everything you should know about using CBD for pets.
The Most Common Cancers in Dogs
The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) states that the most common cancers in dogs include the following:
- Lymphoma: This is one of the most common, accounting for 20% of all cancers in dogs. Golden retrievers are also most commonly diagnosed with lymphoma. It typically manifests as swollen lymph nodes, which can appear under the jaw, in front of the shoulders, behind the knees, or in the chest or abdomen.
- Melanoma: Melanoma is found in the skin, most commonly in a dog’s mouth. It is one of the most common oral cancers in dogs and appears as dark spots that can occur in the mouth or elsewhere on the body. Scottish terriers, Doberman pinschers, standard and miniature Schnauzers, and Chow Chows are most commonly affected.
- Mammary Cancer: These are the most common tumors in unspayed female dogs and most commonly affect older dogs. This cancer affects the mammary gland and starts as small nodules.
- Osteosarcoma: This is the most common bone cancer in dogs and most often affects larger dogs (including Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, and Mastiffs). This fast-spreading cancer most commonly affects the long bones in the limbs.
- Mast Cell Tumors: Typically, these tumors will form on the skin and then spread to other parts of the body. They are identified with a fine-needle aspirate and most commonly affect bulldogs and boxers.
- Hemangiosarcoma: This cancer develops out of cells that line the blood vessels. It most commonly affects the spleen, but can also affect the skin, liver, and heart. Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Portuguese Water Dogs, and Skye Terriers are most commonly affected.
Signs of Cancer in Dogs
Below are some of the most common signs of cancer in dogs. Keep in mind that these are only some of the potential symptoms. You should continue to monitor any changes in your dog's health and behavior to see if there are any red flags, and keep up with vet appointments to ensure any health issues are caught early.
Per the AAHA, some of the most common signs of cancer in dogs that you should look out for include:
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Difficulty eating or swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling that is abnormal or growing rapidly
- Sores that aren’t healing
- Bleeding or discharge
- Sudden lumps on the dog or another growth on the dog
- Difficulty relieving themselves
Of course, if you notice any potential signs of cancer in your dog, you should immediately make an appointment with your veterinarian for a professional assessment.
What is CBD?
Before we talk about the potential use case of CBD oil for dogs with cancer, let’s take a look at what exactly CBD is. CBD (cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid that is found in the Cannabis Sativa plant. Along with THC, it is one of the most abundant cannabinoids in this plant. Unlike THC, CBD does not have psychoactive effects when consumed, so it will not affect your (or your pet’s) state of mind.
While CBD is found in both hemp and marijuana, it is found in higher concentrations in hemp. On the federal level, hemp and hemp-derived CBD products that contain less than 0.3% THC are legal, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill.
CBD Oil for Pets vs. CBD Oil for Humans
It’s important to know that you should seek out a CBD oil that was created specifically for pets if you want to give it to your dog, such as the Strength of Hope Pet CBD Oil. A high-quality CBD oil for pets will contain a dosage more appropriate for animals.
You should also look into the ingredients listed in hemp oil products for pets. Some contain THC, which can negatively affect your dog’s health even at the 0.3% legal limit. Strength of Hope’s Pet Oil and all of our products are 100% THC-free for your peace of mind. Choose Strength of Hope Pet CBD Oil for a pure CBD tincture for your dog.
The Benefits of CBD for Pets
In recent years, many people have started using CBD oil for pets in their households. One survey conducted by the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association found that the more than 600 pet owners who responded used CBD for a variety of reasons. The pet owners stated that they successfully used CBD for pets for anxiety relief, nervous response support, sleep assistance, inflammation reduction, prevention of vomiting and nausea, seizures, pain, and more.
Compared to CBD for humans, CBD for pets hasn’t been as widely studied. However, studies on CBD and pets are slowly emerging (including a few we’ll cover below). Over time, we will hopefully get a clearer picture of the benefits of CBD oil for pets.
Before using CBD for your pet, it’s essential to speak to a veterinarian about your dog's health concerns. CBD is not intended to treat or cure any human or animal diseases. With regular veterinary care, exercise and a healthy pet diet, CBD may be a worthy addition to your pet’s self care routine.
How Does CBD Work in Dogs?
Like humans, dogs have an endocannabinoid system. This system is believed to regulate a variety of physiological functions, including digestion, pain, appetite, motor skills, sleep, mood, and more. In general, it helps the body maintain balance.
The system consists of endocannabinoids (cannabinoids produced naturally by the body) and cannabinoid receptors. While there still needs to be more research into exactly how the dog’s endocannabinoid system works with CBD, it is theorized that it functions similarly to the same system in humans. This would mean that when cannabinoids (like CBD) are introduced to this system, they target these receptors and further help the body maintain homeostasis.
CBD for Pets: How it May Help Dogs with Cancer
There are a few ways that pet owners may be able to use CBD oil for dogs with cancer. It’s important to remember that CBD has not been approved as a treatment for cancer in dogs. Rather, it may be able to be used in tandem with other treatments, as discussed with your veterinarian.
CBD May Directly Support Cancer Treatments
Some very interesting research has been done on CBD’s potential to reduce tumors’ size when used alongside other therapies. While more research needs to be done, it appears as though CBD may be an effective addition to a cancer-fighting treatment plan. Here are a few interesting recent studies:
- In a 2018 study, researchers found that when used with radiation therapy, CBD may be able to decrease the dose of radiation treatment while still maintaining the same effects. Less radiation therapy means less of the side effects associated with this treatment.
- Another 2018 study found that mice with pancreatic cancer who used CBD alongside a chemotherapy treatment had three times the survival rate of those who only received chemotherapy.
- A 2019 study also found that CBD could increase cell death, and make glioblastoma cells more sensitive to radiation (without affecting healthy cells).
While these studies looked at other animal models (rather than dogs), they do show some promising results.
CBD May Help with Symptoms Related to Cancer or Cancer Treatments
Even if you’re not using CBD to fight your dog’s cancer, it may be a useful tool to have on hand to make them more comfortable while they are receiving treatment. If you’ve made the difficult decision to avoid further cancer treatment for your four-legged family member, CBD oil may also help improve their quality of life in these final stages.
For dogs experiencing pain, CBD may be useful. Since so many pain medications come with potential side effects, CBD could be a more natural way to manage the pain that comes with cancer and cancer treatments.
There is a lot of promising ongoing research around CBD's ability to reduce pain and inflammation, and studies are even emerging on using CBD for pain in dogs. In a recent small study on dogs with osteoarthritis, researchers found that the dogs who were given CBD over the 4-week study showed significant improvement in their pain levels, quality of life, and mobility. In addition, a 2018 study on dogs with osteoarthritis through Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine showed similar results.
Another common symptom dogs may experience during cancer treatment is nausea and a loss of appetite. While there aren’t currently any studies on using CBD for dogs with nausea, research has shown that CBD can work as an antiemetic, which means it may reduce feelings of nausea. Another study found that CBD may also help improve appetite, helping your dog more easily eat to get the nutrients he or she needs.
Try Strength of Hope Pet CBD Oil for Your Dog
If you decide to use CBD oil as part of your dog’s treatment plan, consider using Strength of Hope’s Pet CBD Oil. The top-tier formula contains premium CBD and is blended with MCT oil. It is also completely free of THC, which can be harmful to dogs. Our CBD oil for pets (along with all of our products) goes through third-party testing to ensure you are using the safest and most potent formula.
Of course, it is essential that you discuss all treatment options you want to pursue with your veterinarian. Together, you can come up with an effective plan to make sure your beloved family member is on the best path towards healing.