Can CBD Oil Help My Dog's Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

11 min read

a pug laying on a rug
Claudia Bensimoun author of  Can CBD Oil help wiht my dogs inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in dogs is a condition that results in chronic intestinal inflammation. It can be serious, painful, and even dangerous, and needs to be treated by your veterinarian to avoid other serious health conditions.

If your dog is suffering from recurrent or chronic vomiting and/or diarrhea resulting in weight loss and poor appetite, consult with your veterinarian to rule out IBD.

Inflammatory bowel disease can affect any dog breed, with German Shepherds, Yorkshire Terriers, and Cocker Spaniels being the most prone to gastrointestinal disorders. IBD is a group of digestive system diseases that are diagnosed by specific symptoms, and also by inflammation without an exact cause.

IBD can affect dogs of all ages, breeds, and sexes. The most common age for the onset of this disease is six years in dogs, though it may affect dogs younger than two years of age.

If you have a furry best friend suffering from IBD, your vet may have recommended a CBD pet tincture. In this article, we’ll discuss why CBD may be beneficial for inflammatory bowel disease in dogs. Keep in mind that IBD is a serious illness that is painful and dangerous to pets.

Fortunately, IBD in dogs can be prevented and treated after a cause has been detected. That said,  CBD pet products may be beneficial for decreasing intestinal inflammation, and promoting weight gain.

Glucocorticosteroids are also used as an anti-inflammatory but suppress the immune system, whereas cannabidiol can strengthen the immune system keeping your dog healthy and free of disease and infection.


What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

Inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD may be difficult to diagnose because of the many symptoms that are similar to other diseases. Severity of this condition depends on the type of immune cells involved which include lymphocytes and plasmacytes, eosinophils or neutrophils (bacterial infection). 

There are two most common types that exist in pets. Let’s discuss these, and see how CBD may be beneficial.

Lymphocytic-Plasmacytic Gastroenteritis in Dogs

Lymphocytic-plasmacytic gastroenteritis is the most common form in dogs, and occurs when lymphocytes and plasma cells enter the stomach lining and intestines. This is a result of an abnormal immune response to environmental stimuli. 

No exact cause is known, but intestinal bacteria may be the cause with the body reacting to the intestinal bacteria. The most common signs are diarrhea, but vomiting also occurs if the stomach has been affected. 

Eosinophilic IBD

This is an inflammatory condition affecting the stomach and intestine, and is the second most common type of IBD affecting dogs. Eosinophilic IBD occurs when the lining of the stomach is affected by a specific white blood cell called theeosinophil. 

Gastritis caused by the eosinophil (EGE) may be severe and causes intermittent vomiting. Eosinophilic IBD tends to be more serious than lymphocytic IBD.


How is IBD Diagnosed?

IBD may be difficult to diagnose. That said, intestinal changes caused by IBD can be seen when your vet uses an endoscope. Goals of treatment will be to reduce vomiting and diarrhea, to encourage weight gain, and to decrease intestinal inflammation. Modifying dog food diets may also be recommended, and may be effective. 

Changes in your dog’s diet may also help enhance medications. This may allow for reduced drug dosages or for a discontinuation of meds once symptoms have improved.


Dog Food Diets for IBD

Dogs may benefit from a hypoallergenic or elimination diet. Your dog will need to have a new source of protein, and/ or diet changes. Sometimes homemade diets are recommended such as lamb and rice or venison and rice. Commercial diets for IBD are available from your veterinarian. The new diet needs to be fed for a period of up to six weeks, with no dog treats, unless approved by your vet. Dogs that have large intestinal diarrhea generally do well with diets that are high in fiber.


Sold out

Tests for GI illness in Dogs

GI illness that includes vomiting and diarrhea in dogs also include fecal testing. Your veterinarian may do several tests to diagnose GI. These tests may include:

  • Microscopic fecal examination
  • Fecal Gram’s stain (to check for abnormal bacteria overgrowth)
  • Elisa Test to check for protozoa parasite Giardia
  • Fecal PCR test to check for the DNA of numerous parasites, bacterial toxins, and bacteria.

Symptoms of IBD

Symptoms will include vomiting, diarrhea with mucus, sometimes blood, and weight loss, and it may take your vet a while to get to the cause. Dogs affected with irritable bowel syndrome may also suffer from discomfort after eating, causing them to eat less and lose weight. You may also notice frequent, and smaller bowel movements. 

Since IBD can result in nutritional deficiencies, the goal of treatment is to reduce diarrhea, encourage weight gain, and decrease intestinal inflammation.

With commercial pet food not specifically meeting all the nutritional needs of our pets, it’s important to include nutritional supplementation like probiotics and CBD to help with digestive issues. That said, supplementation taken as an individual supplement will ensure the right dosage and efficacy more so than supplements that are added into commercial dog food formulas. 


Can IBD Be Cured?

Fortunately, IBD in dogs can be prevented and treated after a cause has been detected. Your vet may try out a series of meds, and/or try out new dog food diets to see which one your dog responds to.  Because IBD is a complicated condition that may be confused with other common canine bowel problems, your vet will have to rule out other common bowel problems. 

Parasites or dietary issues like food allergies need to be taken into consideration. Food allergies are most times an unlikely cause, but may contribute to the development of irritable bowel syndrome in dogs. 


Intestinal Inflammation

  • Can result from excessive allergic reactions to food, bacteria, or parasites inside the intestine.
  • Intestinal inflammation damages the mucosal barrier that protects the intestinal lining, and results in the intestine becoming more sensitive to antigens.
  • If the intestine has persistent inflammation, it will result in it thickening, and cause other changes in the lining of the intestine.

That said,  CBD oil may be beneficial for decreasing intestinal inflammation, and promoting weight gain. Glucocorticosteroids are also used as an anti-inflammatory, but suppress the immune system, whereas cannabidiol can strengthen the immune system keeping your dog healthy and free of disease and infection.


Gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis refers to inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. It normally occurs in the stomach and intestines resulting from a bacterial infection, parasites, or viruses. They can also come about from a reaction to a medication or a change in diet.


Diarrhea in Dogs

This is a sign of a digestive disorder, and can be attributed to numerous causes. Watery diarrhea that has large volume is usually linked to hypersecretion. This is a condition when there is excess fluid that is secreted into the intestines, and may be the result of a bacterial infection. It can also be caused by malabsorption where the body is unable to properly absorb nutrients.

brown dog laying down looking sad

Malabsorption

Malabsorption comes about when there’s a defect in the intestinal cells that are responsible for absorption. This can be due to viruses like parvovirus, coronavirus, and rotavirus. It can also be caused by defects that would limit the ability of the intestines to absorb liquids. Defects in the pancreatic secretions that are needed for effective digestion also cause malabsorption. 

Diarrhea can result in dehydration and electrolyte imbalance in dogs, which may result in shock. That said, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian to check for specific disorders or diseases affecting the digestive system.


Treatment

Drugs may not be beneficial in every case involving diarrhea or constipation. Dogs will sometimes be prone to diarrhea when they need to get rid of harmful organisms and their toxins. Additionally, some of these drugs may not be beneficial in treating the condition. Your veterinarian may also recommend fluid and electrolyte replacement to prevent dehydration if your dog has severe vomiting or diarrhea.


Bloat

If your dog is suffering from one of the most dangerous conditions, bloat, immediate emergency veterinary care is critical in which a stomach tube or surgery may be recommended, if the digestive tract is distended with gas, food, or fluid.


Non-Infectious Diseases

The causes of non-infectious diseases that affect the digestive system will include the following:

  • Overeating
  • Consuming a low-quality diet
  • Chemicals
  • Consuming a foreign object that results with injury to the digestive system
  • Enzyme deficiencies
  • Gastric ulcers

Digestive system diseases include symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea due to kidney, adrenal gland, or liver failure. The causes of bloat or gastric torsion are still unknown.


What is CBD Oil? 

CBD is a non-psychotropic phytocannabinoid that yields therapeutic and medicinal benefits for all dogs. To help you understand more about the benefits of CBD oil for dogs that have lost their appetite, CBD studies have shown that CBD may be beneficial in improving appetite, easing chronic pain, helping with digestive and skin issues and more!

CBD oil for pets contains 113 plus phytocannabinoids which work together as a therapeutic supplement. THC is the one phytocannabinoid that is not included in CBD pet products. Because hemp plants have low levels of THC to begin with, it makes it easier for hemp farmers to further eliminate THC levels even further so ensure 100% safety for all cats, dogs and horses.

Hemp CBD has a higher cannabidiol concentration, and lower THC level compared to marijuana. Hemp is a natural supplement that cannot be overdosed on. It’s safe and non-toxic, and excess cannabidiol is excreted. That said, it’s much healthier than giving your dog Benadryl or pain meds that may have long-term side effects, and harm the kidneys and liver, although with serious illnesses your dog will need to have pain meds and drugs.


2018 Study Demonstrating CBD Oil for Nausea & Loss of Appetite

A 2018study shows how cannabidiol (CBD) may be effective in preventing nausea. The study adds that the researchers “observed a surge in levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the rat interoceptive insular cortex (IIC) -- a brain region responsible for nausea in humans -- following injection with the nauseating chemical compound lithium chloride.

The increase in serotonin and subsequent gaping behavior (a behavior displayed by rodents to flavors paired with a nauseating treatments) was prevented by treatment with cannabidiol -- a form of cannabis that does not contain the component found in recreational marijuana responsible for the drug's psychotropic effects,” via EurekAlert.

The study goes on to add that “Treatment with a drug that elevates the endogenous cannabinoid, 2-AG, also prevented the elevation of serotonin in the IIC by activating the cannabinoid type 1 receptor. These findings implicate the endocannabinoid system and IIC serotonin release in the sensation of nausea, opening up new therapeutic opportunities to explore in future research.”

CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system which controls endocrine processes. When it activates the receptors in the brain and body, CBD also influences the endocrine system. This system consists of a group of tissues that release hormones into the bloodstream, which in turn travel to other parts of the dog’s body.


CBD Interacts with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

Some hormones will only act on a single tissue, while other hormones affect the whole body. When cannabidiol is used in dogs with reduced appetite, it triggers a “jump start” on the endocannabinoid system, and stimulates appetite. 

Cannabidiol acts on the endocannabinoid receptors and affects the receptors by regulating neural transmissions. CBD oil for dogs is helpful in the treatment of numerous conditions without taking on the intoxicating effect of marijuana. 

Hemp CBD for pets contain phyto-cannabinoids, terpenes and fatty acids which support a huge range of ailments like phobias, anxiousness, joint pain, inflammation, digestive issues, mobility, seizures and anxiety. Today, there are numerous studies that indicate that CBD for pets may have many uses, some of which traditional meds fail to match.


Cannabidiol May Be Beneficial for Digestive Health in Dogs

First and foremost, if your dog is showing signs of illness, consult with your veterinarian for treatment. Some signs of digestive issues in dogs can be serious like poisoning, bloat, pancreatitis, liver or kidney failure or an obstruction in the gut or stomach. CBD does not replace veterinary care or treatment.


Sold out

Gut Health & The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

The ECS includes a series of receptors, specialized proteins, and neurotransmitters that all work together to regulate your dog’s body functions. With gastrointestinal motility issues, the ECS is important in regulating GI motility in dogs. 

In addition, research has found that cannabidiol is effective in improving gastrointestinal motility. It does so by reducing inflammation and allowing for proper functioning of the digestive tract.


CBD as an Antibiotic

Another 2019,CBD  study fromthe University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience with Dr. Blaskovich and his team of researchers together with Botanix Pharmaceuticals LTD, published in the American Society of Microbiology, found that cannabidiol is beneficial in fighting gram-positive bacteria like staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae, with potencies similar to that of established antibiotics such as vancomycin or daptomycin. It’s now being researched for its potential as an antibiotic.


CBD for Inflammation Reduction in Dogs

A 2017  study concludes that “"Given cannabidiol's documented anti-inflammatory effects, existing safety data in humans, and potential for varied delivery routes, it is a promising new antibiotic worth further investigation. The combination of inherent antimicrobial activity and potential to reduce damage caused by the inflammatory response to infections is particularly attractive," via Science Daily.”

Importantly, the drug retained its activity against bacteria that have become highly resistant to other common antibiotics. Under extended exposure conditions that lead to resistance against vancomycin or daptomycin, Cannabidiol did not lose effectiveness. Cannabidiol was also effective at disrupting biofilms, a physical form of bacteria growth that leads to difficult-to-treat infections.”

Leading research publishedin Frontiers of Pharmacology adds that cannabidiol treatment improves endothelium dependent vasorelaxation in mesenteric arteries of Zucker diabetic fatty rats. It concludes that “this study has shown that a shortin vivo treatment protocol with CBD was associated with improvements in endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation in mesenteric arteries, and an improvement in the profile of cardiovascular and metabolic parameters,” via Frontiers Media SA.

Today, we understand how closely gut health is related to other body systems like the central nervous system and the immune system. With the endocannabinoid system playing a major role in the gut/brain axis of dogs, it seems that CBD hemp pet products may be beneficial for your dog’s stomach problems.

ECS helps regulate digestive signals and transmissions in the body. Receptors (CB1 and CB2) work better with support when the dog’s stomach is upset

It can also be used as a preventative care supplement to boost optimal health in pets.

A new2020 study about how cannabinoids can help treat IBD in people adds that “Endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) have shown a regulatory role in inflammation and mucosal permeability of the gastrointestinal tract where they likely interact with the gut microbiome. Anecdotal reports suggest that in humans, Cannabis exerts antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory, and antidiarrheal properties,” via PubMed.


CBD Oil for Dogs  

Cannabidiol oil works together with the ECS to support gut health. If you’re opting to purchase a CBD tincture for your furry best friend as a digestive aid, be sure to look out for the following:

  • Organic CBD oil
  • Specifically formulated for pets
  • Offers accurate and informative dosing information
  • Offers a certificate of analysis (COA)

CBD can help pets with irritable bowel disease, gastritis, food allergies, and other stomach issues. Additionally, it may be beneficial for both parasites and infections. Studies are still ongoing. Cannabidiol pet products that are of a high-quality CBD oil can also help to reduce the effects of traditional veterinary medications to help dogs feel more comfortable while they’re being treated.

CBD may also help by increasing your dog’s appetite, and also by boosting your dog’s weakened immune system. Cannabidiol tinctures or treats are also beneficial for reducing stress and pain in dog’s that are suffering from an upset stomach.

Minimizing your dog’s digestive issues while boosting immune health involves more than just a high-quality dog food formula. Why some dogs are prone to IBD is unknown. What we do understand is that the extensive infiltration of cells from the immune system into the intestinal tissues causes painful inflammation. Dogs suffering from IBD may display numerous symptoms that may mimic other diseases.

Adding probiotics and/or  CBD may be beneficial to guard against intestinal distress, bloat, and to inhibit the growth and activity of harmful bacteria via live microbials. A dog’s immunity also resides in his gut, meaning that looking after your furry best friend’s gut health may just ensure optimal health, vitality, and focus!


For More Articles Check Out


Meet The Author 

Claudia Bensimoun the author of Can CBD Oil help with my dog's Inflammatory bowel disease

Claudia Bensimoun

Claudia Bensimoun is a freelance journalist and author, and specializes in veterinary content, and eBooks. She's a long-time feature writer for Animal Wellness magazine, Fido Friendly magazine, and the United States Dog Agility Association. In addition, Bensimoun has written for numerous pet websites, magazines, newspapers and online publications. Her interests include wildlife conservation, animal welfare, disaster/ humanitarian relief, veterinary research, and veganism.



Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.