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Dogs, Seizures & CBD Efficacy

February 11, 2019

By Heather Hoffacker

Caveat: It is vital to consult a licensed veterinarian if your dog experiences seizures. Discuss CBD with your veterinarian to determine the best course of treatment.

Seizures are one of the most frequently reported neurological conditions in dogs.
With epilepsy, the seizures can be single or may occur in clusters, and they can be infrequent and unpredictable or may occur at regular intervals. Traditional treatments for seizures (Phenobarbital, anti-convulsants, etc) can have serious side effects and are ineffective in about 30% of pets. (Chandler, Kate. "Canine Epilepsy: What Can We Learn from Human Seizure Disorders?"). Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural and safe anticonvulsant that has proven effective in early research and may help alleviate seizures in our canine companions.

One of our clients, Donna, has a mini dachshund that began having grand mal seizures at six years-old. It was violent, painful and her meds were not easing the pain and frequency. Donna tried her prescriptions in combination with Phyto-enriched Full Spectrum Hemp Oil treats (such as Treat-its) and the difference in frequency, intensity and pain was improved from the second dose. Two years later, Donna says her dog is suffering about 3 seizures a year where it used to be three seizures a month.

Causes of seizures

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The most common cause of seizures in dogs is Idiopathic epilepsy, an inherited disorder. Other causes of dog seizures include: 

  • Liver disease
  • Kidney failure 
  • Brain tumors 
  • Brain trauma or 
  • toxins

Seizures often occur at times of changing brain activity, such as during excitement or feeding, or as the dog is falling asleep or waking up. Affected dogs can appear completely normal between seizures. For Donna’s dog, the biggest trigger for her seizures is the excitement when Donna comes home from work and the excitement and anxiety around breakfast and dinner time.

The American Kennel Club is sponsoring a major research study regarding use of CBD in dogs for treatment-resistant epilepsy. CBD has been shown to combat seizures, reduce seizure severity, and enhance other seizure medications. (Jones, Nicholas A., et al. "Cannabidiol Exerts Anti-convulsant Effects in Animal Models of Temporal Lobe and Partial Seizures.")

Patient human trials support the use of CBD for treatment-resistant epilepsy.6-8 In a recent double-blind study by the New England Journal of Medicine, 10-20 milligram doses of CBD were administered to children with treatment-resistant epilepsy, and significant reductions in seizures were recorded compared to placebo. (Consroe, P. and A. Wolkin. “Cannabidiol: Antiepileptic Drug Comparisons and Interactions in Experimentally Induced Seizures in Rats.”)

The Food and Drug Administration approved CBD as a treatment for this form of epilepsy in 2018. Remember: It is vital to consult a licensed veterinarian if your dog experiences seizures. Discuss CBD with your veterinarian to determine the best course of treatment.

  • Symptoms of a Seizure: W link)
  • Shaking/trembling
  • Loss of bladder/fecal control

Safe CBD Dosage to Treat Seizures in Dogs

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Again, we cannot stress the importance of consulting your veterinarian before trying any new supplement.  The dosage of cbd that is found effective can depend upon size, weight, metabolism, drug or supplement interactions, strength and frequency of seizures or other factors such as breed.  Each cbd package, no matter if it is a tincture, treat or pill must have dosage guidelines and ingredients on the back of the package. ALWAYS read the ingredients.  Make sure the product is full spectrum hemp, organically sourced and has been third party tested for actual cbd content.                                                                

When starting your dog on a CBD regimen, we recommend starting low and slow. Dogs have more cannabinoid receptors than humans so the dosages will be much lower. These formulas will help you determine suggested dosages based on the dog's weight:

  • Low Dose: .025 mg per lb - .055 mg per kg
  • Medium Dose: .07 mg per lb - .15 mg per kg
    High Dose: .15 mg per lb - .33 mg per kg
    Often these dosages are given twice per day. Each dog is different. Just as recommend with humans, when finding an ideal dose of CBD oil go "low and slow. "

Side Effects & Interactions

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CBDs like any supplements have potential side effects when dosed incorrectly such as lethargy and dry mouth. Consuming a broad-spectrum CBD product likely has fewer side effects. As always, a responsible pet owner, if the pet is taking other medications talk to your vet about drug interactions before you start using CBD or any supplement for your pet.

No animal should live in fear or pain. Seizures are a painful and distressing occurrence for both our furry friends and the owners.  No one wants to see their dog suffer and CBDs may just be a viable answer for you and your dog.  Relieving stressors, following a vet’s instructions and possibly using CBD may be a highly effective regimen for your dog’s well being and a key to helping your dog live their best life!

About the Author

Heather is a lifelong animal lover. She is passionate about the impact that CBDs have on dog’s lives.  Heather is a writer, an educator and CEO of Treat-its Calming CBD Soft Wellness Chews as well as Director of Project Fluffybutts Rescue. Project Fluffybutts Rescue gives away Treat-its to shelters in order to calm the anxiety and fear in the toughest transition time in their lives.



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