Palliative Care for Pets: Finding comfort and pain relief with CBD

CBD oil for palliative care

Is your dog or cat coming to the end of its life? We want our pets to be in the least amount of pain and suffering as their bodies weaken. Comfort is the key, which is where CBD oil may help.

Watching our beloved pets decline with age and suffer towards the end of their lives is excruciating to witness. For some pets their suffering warrants laying them to rest. For others who still have a sense of vitality and quality of life, palliative care can offer pain relief and comfort.

Medical cannabis and CBD have made a huge resurgence in recent decades not only for humans but also for our animal companions. Medicinal cannabinoids are being researched for everything from arthritis to anxiety in humans. No wonder many pet owners are turning towards CBD for palliative care for their dogs and cats.

Veterinary approaches to CBD for palliative care

The focus of palliative care is to ensure owners and pets are achieving the best quality of life possible. The aim is to prevent and ease physical pain where feasible, and alleviate any emotional distress.

As our pets age, they can experience a wide range of medical conditions that can impair their mobility and behaviours. Treating ailing pets with life-limiting conditions can result in complex medication regimes that can be exhausting for owners and pets.

Using CBD for palliative care can reduce the need for polypharmacy and enhance your pets’ quality of life and comfort as they decline or face life-threatening illnesses.

CBD oil for pets 

CBD oil is generally well-tolerated by pets and causes few side effects. Despite its benign safety profile, CBD is not suitable for all pets. It’s wise to seek out professional advice from our vets at CBD Vets Australia before you consider treating your pet with CBD.

There are a number of safety concerns when buying CBD oil from the black market, chief amongst them being THC or additives that can be harmful to pets. 

Under the guidance of a well-informed vet, CBD can be used safely to support your pet during palliative or hospice care, let’s explore how.

Inflammation and pain

CBD is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It has the capacity to reduce inflammation and associated pain through similar pathways to ibuprofen. 

When the body is presented with illness, injury, infection or the effects of aging, inflammation is the body’s response – alerting us through pain, discomfort or swelling that something is not right. 

Osteoarthritis is an example of an inflammatory and painful condition where CBD has been proven to help dogs in clinical research. CBD acts via several mechanisms to reduce inflammation in the joints and has direct analgesic effects which can improve pain measures and movement.

By reducing inflammation and pain in pets with osteoarthritis or other painful conditions we can enhance their quality of  through improved mobility and reduced discomfort.

CBD for anxiety and stress behaviours in animals

Most pet owners can attune to the behaviours or actions their companion is showing due to anxiety. Pain, discomfort, being alone, cognitive decline and vision or hearing problems can all lead to stress and anxiety in animals. 

Just like humans, pets have a cardiovascular and nervous system. We also all have an endocannabinoid system. This system regulates a multitude of processes, among them emotions, stress and fear responses. 

CBD oil influences the endocannabinoid system and interacts with neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which may reduce fearful or anxious behaviours like excessive scratching, licking, barking, whimpering or pacing.

Sleep and cognition in palliative care

Sleep is just as important for our wellbeing as it is for our pets. The body does some of its best restorative and healing work whilst asleep. Sleep is often a concern during palliative care as pain or restlessness due to discomfort is a common cause of pets waking through the night.

Some pets with anxiety or those showing cognitive decline with age can tend to pace or be awake in the night. By reducing anxiety as well as modulating neurochemistry and sleep cycles, CBD can help pets who are suffering from sleeplessness or distress in the night get adequate rest.

CBD can be a hugely supportive therapy for pets during palliative care. Its wide application has the potential to reduce the need for polypharmacy and improve the quality of time that you get to have with your pet during their final stages of life. 

If you think your dog or cat might benefit from CBD for palliative care, pain or anxiety get in touch with the team at CBD Vets Australia at [email protected] or contact your local vet and refer them to CBD Vets Australia.

By Jessica Kindynis

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