Home Dog Health TOP #54: The Benefits of CBD for Dogs

TOP #54: The Benefits of CBD for Dogs

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It's been known for a while now how medicinal marijuana helps people with a variety of health problems. In recent years, we've seen an increase in similar related treatments for our pets, and particularly canines. Yet many people still overlook the benefits of CBD for dogs, so I decided to delve deeper into this topic and discuss how and why we should be using cannabidiol with pets.

In today's podcast episode I'm speaking with Kat who is the founder of Austin and Kat. For her business, she had to do a huge amount of research on cannabidiol for pets, how it works, what can be cured using it and what other benefits it provides. Note that CBD is a naturally occurring component in hemp plants and it does not contain THC, and there's been a number of scientifically proven uses of CBD with pets and humans.

Listen to the episode in the video above and find the full podcast transcript below. For more, visit this episode’s post on the official Theory of Pets website.

The Benefits of CBD for Dogs
(podcast transcript)

The Benefits of CBD for Dogs - Podcast

INTRO: Welcome to Theory of Pets. I'm a passionate pet owner with a drive to help others like me uncover the truth about the pet industry and what goes on behind the scenes.

Medicinal marijuana has been a very controversial topic in the human health industry over the last decade or so. There have been states in the United States that have made it legal to prescribe medicinal marijuana. Some states still don't consider it legal and there have been many studies done recently about the health benefits of marijuana for certain conditions. There hasn't been as big of light shone on medicinal marijuana for our pets. And that is something that actually has being used for years now. But a lot of pet owners don't know about it and they're not really sure exactly what it entails.

Typically with animals you don't prescribe or get prescribed medicinal marijuana. They use CBD, which is Cannabidiol and it is a naturally occurring component in hemp. So it's not the marijuana itself, it doesn't have the THC, which is the psycho reactive part of the marijuana, it's just strictly the medicinal benefits. They extract that out of the plant and that's what you're left with. There are companies that sell the oil, there are some companies making treats with it.

Today I got to talk with Kat from Austin. Kat has created this company and they sell a some oil with CBD and also some dog treats that are infused with CBD. And I wanted to talk to her today about the benefits of CBD for pets and the conditions that it can help. I have actually used CBD treats and the oil with my dog in the past and I will talk about that today as well. So I am a firm believer of this completely natural treatment for dogs.

One of the things that I do want to make sure that everybody listening understands is that this is completely natural and it is not psycho reactive. So a lot of people say, is my dog going to get high from eating these treats, or if I give him this oil? And the answer to that question is an absolute and certain no. That has been proven in studies. That is a 100% fact. So if that's what you're wondering, the answer to that is no. Now I'm actually going to let Kate tell us a little bit more about CBD for dogs, it's benefits and of course what led her to start “Austin and Kat.”

Interview with Kat

Samantha: Hi Kat. Welcome to the show and thank you so much for being here with us today to discuss the benefits of CBD for Pets.

Kat: Yeah. So my journey's been kind of a crazy one to say the least, because I did not start out to enter into the pet industry. I was an event producer in Maine. I produced a triathlon series for 10 years and kind of stumbled into the pet industry kind of by accident. I had an aging pet who was not doing super well in terms of his health. He was approaching 12 and his name was Brady, he Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. And anyone who knows that breed knows that it's a super active breed and loves to run and be super active. So he was my running partner, but he was really hitting that older stage of life where he just wasn't able to have that get up and go that he once had and you could really see in his personality that he just wasn't feeling well.

So I'd been talking with my vet about nutritional supplements I could use and I kept stumbling across the word CBD and it was kind of becoming the buzzword, so this was back in 2014. And people were just starting to learn a little bit about it. It was starting to pop up in health food stores. So I became super interested in was it something that I could actually give my pet if people were using it and it was aiding them in pain management and inflammation. So on my visit to the vet who was also one of my training partners, we chatted about it and he said, you know what, it doesn't sound like it could hurt him, and if anything it maybe will help him and not have to send him to using pharmaceuticals. And I was never on board to using like actual pain medication. I was super healthy and holistic myself and you treat your pet the same way you would treat yourself.

So we tried CBD with him just using it as an oil. And the results that I got were significant. I mean, they were remarkably quick and what I noticed with Brady was not so much a cure to his ailments, but he didn't have that achiness, you didn't see him creaking around. He kind of got a little bit more spunk in his step. If anything, the thing I noticed the most was he became engaged with our family again. He had always been part of it, but he had kind of retreated onto his own because he really wasn't feeling well. So continued to use this and I got a similar effect the next time I use it and I'm thinking, okay, maybe this is something that could really help my dog.

So started reading a lot about CBD and learning about how it worked in people, because there wasn't any research at the time. But I was curious to see how it worked with people. So I was reading about the results that people were having and they were all super positive and kept reading and reading and realized that if I was going to be using something like this for Brady as a nutritional supplement, I needed to find a way to get it into him that was easier. And that's when I started making dog treats and I always had a passion for cooking and baking. So it kind of was a natural progression into that.

But, you know, I never started it to start a company. I started it to help my dog and kind of through telling my friends that I was doing to help him, people started getting interested and I started making these biscuits and I thought I could sell them at a farmer's market. I could sell them to my friends, but it just kind of kind of tumble weeded it into this really cool project that I started to work on.

And what was really unique and what happened was I also had a puppy at the time, his name is Austin, and Austin was one of those puppies and the only way I can describe it is I've never had sons, I have two daughters, but I imagined my friends with their six year old little boys that they couldn't contain their energy well I had in this puppy. He was just really excitable and he was just a ball of energy and needed to channel it somewhere. I could exercise him and throw the ball and take him swimming and it just didn't seem to take that anxious level that he had, he had this like nervous energy. And I just happened to give him one of the treats that I had made for Brady and within about an hour I noticed Austin was a little bit calmer and a little bit more relaxed.

So I was thinking — okay, wait a minute, I know it helps with pain and inflammation, but it also can help with dialing it down and bringing this dog back down to like a more calm and balanced place. So there I was, got treats for both dogs and now I'm kind of sharing them with my friends and stuff. Then fast forward a little bit of time, in 2016 I decided to do a trial with 50 pet owners that I knew via social media, through my town, through the vet. We did a trial with these people to see what they thought and everyone got great results.

So I knew I was really onto something at that point and decided, okay, let's do this. Let's make this the company. That was November of 2016 and fast forward to 2018, the summer. And here we are.

Samantha: I have to tell you, so I am much like you with my human family and myself. I look for natural remedies. We use a lot of essential oils and holistic treatments. I have kids as well as pets and my husband and myself and we have kind of always leaned towards the holistic side. I mean, sometimes you just can't help it and you have to get antibiotics or something, But for the most part we really tried the natural way. And especially when it comes to pain, just because of all the issues around pain medications and addiction and things like that, we've always tried to do as little as possible.

So anyway, a few years back and any of my followers and readers that have followed me for years, we had a Boxer named Chloe who was a rescue. We adored Chloe, we had her for a few years. Everything was wonderful. She ended up getting really sick. We spent a lot of money and about a week and a half in the vet's office, between our vet and our emergency that and Chloe had congenital heart disease. And what had happened was she was only five years old at the time. The disease doesn't typically show signs until the dogs are much older. But because she was over bred, she came from a puppy mill originally and so because of the inbreeding and the overbreeding, this disease was basically more active in her. She had shown signs much earlier than they had ever seen it before.

So they put her on the medication and she had to take five pills a day for this heart condition. Chloe also, because of her background, she was so skittish. When we would have thunder showers when my husband or neighbors, if they were out back like target practicing with guns, if I dropped a pan in the kitchen on the kitchen floor and it made that crash sound, she would run and hide, she would shake, she would pant, she would get herself all worked up. So I said to the vet when she was diagnosed… I stay home thankfully so we can do the medication, we can deal with the reduced exercise and all the things that come with a heart condition. We can change her diet.

But my worry is this anxiety and the stress that she has, especially around noises, loud noises, I don't want her to get herself worked up. Chloe's heart disease was her heart beat faster, about three times faster than it should have been beating. So she was on an anti arrhythmic medications. And I said, when she gets herself all worked up, her heart starts racing, she's panting, she really gets herself worked up into a frenzy. Our vet, we have a wonderful vet who we absolutely adore, she is a holistic veterinarian and she had mentioned just doing the research and kind of looking into CBD. This was four years ago, this was back in 2014. So like you, I had heard a little bit of noise about CBD, but didn't really have an understanding of what it was or what it did. When she first said, of course, and I think everybody's first instinct when they hear it's made from marijuana is like — oh, I don't want my dog to be high and, you know, whatever. So she said, but it doesn't have the hallucinogens and the things that are actually in marijuana, it's just the oil.

So the more research I did and the more I learned about it, I said, you know what, it's natural. It's not going to hurt her. Let's give this a try.

We did it worked amazingly for her and her anxiety. So I thought, well, after the research, my mother has a Lab who, again, a rescue, bad arthritis at a very young age. So I had told her, I said, I've done this research and maybe this would help your Lab? So she tried it. Amazing results. Like you said he just was engaged. It was like, all of a sudden you just brought this dog's quality of life back. She just raved about it, told friends about it and people. About a year later we had a friend who had a dog who had severe separation anxiety and they had fallen in love with this dog and she didn't want to get rid of the dog, but they didn't know what to do. It was to the point where the dog was like breaking windows, tearing things in their house apart.

Kat: Oh my gosh.

Samantha: Very, very severe separation anxiety. They could not find a kennel that would hold her. So I said try these dog treats and we actually at the time we had a role on, you roll it like in their ears or somewhere where there was skin. So I said try this and see what happens. And it didn't reduce the separation anxiety 100%, but it brought it down to a manageable level where they could kennel her while they were gone. So on many different levels, like you said, we have seen first hand how this treatment, this natural treatment can have such an amazing effect on dogs with such severe issues.

Kat: Yeah. Well what's really amazing too Samantha is, our evidence is anecdotal, right? It's just what we witness because there's not a lot of research out there. And that's what's so great about it is we can see results. It's not like you're giving your dog a treat or oil and saying, oh, you're going to feel better if you take this. And the dogs like, yeah, I feel better. The dog actually feels better. The dog has a treat, thinks, oh yay, I'm having a treat. And within an hour you see these great results. And like you said, it's not a cure all, it's not going to solve all problems. There are some extreme cases that, we're at wits end also, we'd love to help, but the post traumatic stress from being a rescue could just be beyond our help. But being able to, like you said, with your friend being able to get it to a manageable level, that itself is worth its weight in gold.

Samantha: And they were kind of like you were there trying to stay away from a prescription and they knew that the prescription was proven to show these results and they were going to get it to a point where it was manageable, but they had also heard that the prescription sometimes will take it down a little bit too far. So you have this dog who's just kind of like lethargic and doesn't really have the energy that they used to, kind of in a negative way. So they were looking for something that could make it manageable without the extremities of a prescription. And their dog's like seven now and she's better than she was, but they still use treats and they still rely on the CBD just to keep her at a very manageable level or when they're out of the house.

Kat: Yeah, I mean keeping that dog in a balanced state is key. Just look at your kids. I mean, I'm not saying give your kids CBD, but what I'm saying is if you can get your kid in that level of they're not in that fight or flight mode, that's all you're wanting to do with your pet is keeping it away from fight or flight, and having it in this place where they know they're safe and they know that they'll be okay.

Samantha: Absolutely. So for readers that, like everybody else that hears CBD comes from the marijuana plant, what can you tell us about the oil itself and what should pet owners know when they're thinking about maybe if this treatment is right for their path?

Kat: Yeah. So it's really interesting. So the CBD that we use is extracted from hemp. And hemp produces an extremely low amount of THC, in fact it's barely negligible. In fact, our CBD that we use once we finish our testing after our products are made is below the 10th allowable limit of 0.03%. So we're at 0.01%, so barely traceable. So that's one of the key things that you want to know. And with the increase in the number of states that have legalized marijuana both recreationally and medically, there are oils and products out there that do contain THC. And it is in my opinion — and again, this is just my opinion — I don't believe you need to be giving a dog THC, just because of the toxicity and side effects that that could cause. It's not going to kill your dog, but there are adverse reactions that are accompanied with having THC with a pet.

So I always encourage people to make sure they find out where the source of their CBD oil is coming from. I encourage people to use CBD oil extracted from hemp, which is what we use. The other thing I encourage people to do is always make sure that the company that you're purchasing an oil or dog treat is very transparent and willing to share their test results from a third party testing store. So that's really key. That way you also know you're getting a consistent product. If you're buying dog biscuits today that are five milligram, for example, per treat, you would want to know that in six months, those same dog biscuits that you buy, which may be a new batch of treat, are also going to be consistently with the five milligrams. Because that's one of the key things when you're giving your pet CBD, is consistency. Same time every day, same way every day. If you're doing it every day. If you're doing it in, in the case of like dogs that are reactive to thunderstorms or fireworks, you probably have a different protocol with the way you're going to be using it. But administering this to your pet is key and doing it consistently

Samantha: And one of the things I also want to mention, there's some fantastic information on your website, which is Austinandkat.com — I will link to that for anybody that happens to be listening on line or through iTunes or anything like that. There'll be a link to your website. There's some really great frequently asked questions and that you guys have the page actually where it's all about CBD and hemp and just kind of common questions that people have. One of the things that you stress that I think is really important is that this is completely safe. It's nontoxic, it's not habit forming. This is a natural treatment for whatever you're trying to treat with your pet.

Kat: Yeah. So our dog treats, I call them functional job treats. They actually serve a purpose. So if you're training your dog to sit or to come, that's the last thing in the world you're going to want to be giving them new is CBD. Use your little cute treats from one of the other fun companies out there. These treats serve a purpose. These treats are a wellness product to help aid your dog with issues that they may have, whether it be anxiety, pain and inflammation, digestion, skin and coat helps tremendously with skin and coat and even itching scratching, you know, when it's allergy season.

Samantha: Oh, that's fantastic. I know so many people have trouble with that as well. So Austin and Kat, I'm going to link to your website. Where else can people find your treats?

Kat: So we're in about 150 stores nationwide and have recently picked up a distributor in California which has over 1200 stores, so hopefully they'll be adding more and more to their stores. And then you can purchase them online. So hopefully coming to a store near you.

Samantha: Yeah, absolutely, that's great. And we keep talking about the dog treats, but I also do want to mention too that you guys have a hemp oil, a CBD hemp oil that you create as well.

Kat: Yeah. So we have a CBD… We actually have a pet oil, so you can also use it for cats, which is really a nice feature. A lot of people have issues with their cats, they have similar ailments to dogs and they also have their own set of issues. But we do do a pet oil. We do it in two different sizes. Our oil is really nice, we did things a little different than some of the other CBD pet companies out there. We used two carrier oils, so the carrier oil is what holds the CBD. So when we make our biscuits, we use the carrier oil of coconut oil, coconut oil in the biscuits. But in our pet oils we use a carrier oil of hemp seed oil, which is an organic oil that we use. And then we also add in an ethically sourced wild Alaskan salmon oil, which makes it super palatable to pets. Then it also has all those additional health benefits with Omega-3 and 6, which makes it really nice addition to a pet's diet. And it's really easy to use. It's in a little medical grade dropper so you know exactly how much you're going to be giving your pet. You can add it…. Ideally you'd give it to them orally. Or in the case of my dog, Austin, who's an incredibly mouthy Lab, we put it in a little Ramekin and he licks it clean. But if you can give it to them orally without a food source, the results you'll see are a much quicker.

So with a pet treat, you'd be looking at anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes before you'll start to see a noticeable improvement. But with a pet oil it's much quicker. You can do it without the food and you can see results anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes.

Samantha: I got the chance for Top Dog Tips to review both the treats and the oil and two things I have to say about the oil. One, I love that it's for multi pets because we have two dogs and four cats. So we're a multi pet household and I love finding things that I only have to buy once. I don't have to buy separately for dogs and cats. So I love that. The other thing that we have used the oil for, which has been really great, we have four cats, two of them are wonderful riding in a carrier, they're great at the vet. The other two are like trying to take a toddler to Walmart. Whenever we bring them to the vet, they screech in the car, they get out of their carrier at the vet and you don't have a good hold on them. They will bounce all around the room. So we have actually used the oil before taking them to the vet to help calm them and it has made it much easier to manage them when we're out of the house. We don't have to do it often. So I never really thought about giving them like any…. Our Vet said they could give us a sedative to give them before we bring them in. But I hate to do that because we just only do it usually once a year. But the CBD oil helped so much with our shots, our regular visit for shots this year,

Kat: That's awesome. You know, another great time to use it is when you go to the groomers.

Samantha: Oh yes.

Kat: Yeah. It wasn't something that… You know, I've got a dog that will happily go to the groomers or go to the vet. But there are a lot of people who have a lot of issue when they have to do those types of things. So if you're able to do the oil a good half an hour before you leave, you'll definitely have no issues. Again with the biscuits really want to plan appropriate amount of time. Also something coming back from my old… I was a triathlete for many, many years and they always say never do anything new on race day. Well, the same thing holds true with CBD. If you know your dog has serious issues with thunder storms and fireworks for example, the worst time to try it is the day of the first thunderstorm or fireworks, you want to practice beforehand and make sure you see the types of reactions your pet's going to have and then you can get the dosing proper for those particular instances.

Samantha: Absolutely, that's good advice. Those were the only questions that I have and I know you have to get off quickly, but was there anything else that you wanted to mention before I stop recording?

Kat: You know, I think one of the things that I like to let people know about Austin and Kat is we're a brand that really cares. I'm not a veterinarian, but I've done loads of research. I consult with veterinarians regularly. But we care very passionately about the people and the pets that we work with. If anyone ever has any questions or wants to learn more, we're always happy to set up a conference call or email back and forth. But it's really important that I'm there to educate people so that they are doing the things that are in the best interest of their pets and inevitably then in the best interests of their family.

Samantha: Absolutely. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your time today. We were able to get a lot of great information out for pet owners who may have been thinking CBD might be right for their pet, but weren't sure and had a lot of questions and of course some great information about your company as well.

So if people have questions about that, again, I linked to the Austin and Kat website underneath this podcast. If you're listening on social media or checking it out on our website, you can find that link there, as well as some links to different studies on CBD and its benefits for our canine companions. You can also find more information on our website theoryofpets.com. There's a comment section there. If you guys have any questions, feel free to put them on there, they will come directly to me. If I can't answer it for you, I will be sure to forward it along to Kat and see if she can get it answered for you, if it has to do with CBD for pets.

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