Dogs and humans share a great deal in terms of their anatomy and physiology. They are both mammals. Consequently, they have a wide number of common ailments that affect them. One of these is obesity, which is becoming a major health hazard in dogs.
Because our furry friends are dependent on us for their food and nourishment, they frequently pick up the bad habits and behavior that we impart on them. In other words, dogs and humans are both becoming more obese because dogs and humans are inextricably linked together in modern society. CBD for obesity in dogs may hold value to help treat these issues.
Certain aspects of mammalian biology are the same across species. This means that the use of certain supplements in regulating appetite for humans will also work for dogs. One of these supplements is known as cannabidiol (commonly referred to as CBD). It is part of the class of chemical compounds known as cannabinoids that interact with and activate cannabinoid receptors in mammalian biology. (See Article on the Endocannabinoid System)
What Causes Dog Obesity?
The underlying causes of obesity in dogs are the same as in humans. Furthermore, there is a distinction between being overweight and obese. In canine medicine, being overweight means that the dog has a body fat composition that is above optimal levels (15 to 30% in most dog breeds). Being obese, however, means that the body fat percentage is so great that there serious adverse health complications for the dog. Veterinarians use a test called Body Condition Scores (BSC’s) to determine whether the dog is obese or not. It is similar to the Body Mass Index (BMI) used in human patients.
The causes of dog obesity are essentially twofold:
Overconsumption and a sedentary lifestyle. The former simply means that dogs, like humans, will frequently eat as much as they can in one sitting. If a mammal consumes more calories than it burns in a day, then the sugar in its blood (glucose) gets converted to glycogen (and eventually fat) and stored in the tissues.
Furthermore, dogs’ lifestyles mimic the lifestyles of their owners. As humans evolved to have a more sedentary lifestyle, the dogs’ lives evolved right alongside us. They no longer have to hunt and/or scavenge with their human owners and can quickly become obese from not burning enough calories.
Both of these behaviors are part of the evolutionary programming for mammals. When food is present, the dog eats as much as possible in case there is no food in the future. When no activity is required, the dog stays still in order to save its energy stores. Essentially, the lifestyles of dogs and humans have changed faster than their bodies, leading to widespread obesity.
How Does Obesity Affect Dogs?
The adverse health complications of obesity in dogs are essentially the same as those in humans. They are serious and may even become fatal. They include:
- High blood pressure. This is due to the heart having to pump more blood to fat stores in the tissues.
- Diabetes. This is due to frequent spikes in blood glucose levels (dogs use the same hormone, insulin, to regulate blood sugar).
- Heart disease. This presents itself in two primary forms: atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and coronary artery disease (fatty deposits block the flow of arteries). Both result in higher rates of heart attacks and/or strokes.
- Joint and skeletal pain (osteoarthritis). This is due to the increased pressure and weight on the skeletal system and the joints of the body.
- Cancer. Due to a complex mix of factors, obesity in mammals results in higher rates of certain types of cancers.
Obesity is an incredibly negative condition for dogs and humans alike. It is one of the most pressing issues in veterinary medicine. It is also further complicated by the bond between dogs and humans. This bond is so strong that dogs will eventually mimic the behavior and bad habits of their human owners. This includes overconsumption of food and sedentary lifestyle.
How Can We Prevent Obesity in Dogs?
The simplest way to prevent obesity in dogs is to limit their food intake and to increase their physical activity. Furthermore, many dogs are fed human food by their owners. This is problematic as a lot of food consumed by humans (particularly processed food) has high levels sodium, sugar, and certain preservatives. These cause high blood pressure, spikes in blood sugar, and overall obesity.
It is advisable to feed your dog food that is designed specifically for them. They should be fed only once or twice a day (depending on the size and level of physical activity). There are certain brands of dog food that are even low in sugar and high in protein. This same combination of nutrients has net positive effects on human obesity as well.
However, CBD is a promising supplement in treating both canine and dog obesity. All mammals have cannabinoid receptors as well as a regulatory system known as the endocannabinoid system (also known as the ECS). The ECS controls a wide variety of functions. However, it also regulates appetite and weight in all mammals by controlling:
- Digestion and nutrient absorption
- Metabolizing energy (glycogen) from food
- Conversion of glycogen to fat for energy storage
CBD interacts with receptors within the ECS (known as CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors) to achieve what is known as homeostasis. This is a healthy and balanced level of health and well-being in the mammalian body.
CBD blocks CB1 receptors to keep the levels of ghrelin low (this is the hormone that controls appetite). Furthermore, through its interaction with CB2 receptors, CBD also regulates another hormone known as leptin. This hormone is secreted in the mammalian brain and it regulates the sensation of being full.
What Is CBD?
CBD is a natural derivative of the cannabis plant, a phytocannabinoid. As an active cannabinoid, it interacts with the wider Endocannibinoid System and indirectly activates CB1/CB2 receptors. These cannabinoid receptors are located all over the mammalian body.
Research in 2012 revealed that mitochondria have these receptors on their outer layers. Mitochondria are the tiny structures in mammalian cells that are responsible for energy production. They take oxygen and sugar (in the form of glucose) and churn out usable energy. Every time you see your dog zooming all over the living room carpet, that means their mitochondria are working overtime!
These mitochondria are microscopic energy factories. CBD for obesity in dogs acts as a natural booster to their production of energy and their burning of calories. This means that CBD jacks up metabolic function and allows the mammalian body to burn more fat.
Furthermore, if energy goes unused, it is stored as fat. There are two types in mammalian biology: brown fat and white fat. The form of white fat is less metabolically active than brown fat (due to fewer mitochondria and fewer blood vessels). If there is more white fat, all the risk factors of obesity increase, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and/or cardiovascular disease. On the other hand brown fat has tons of mitochondria and lots of blood vessels. It is like battery packs embedded in the tissues of the dog. When they run around the dog park or chase squirrels in the back yard, they are effectively and quickly burning through those brown fat preserves.
Studies have shown that using CBD for obesity in dogs increases brown fat production (“good” fat) and decreases white fat production (“bad” fat). It also causes the dog’s metabolism to create fewer new fat cells. This effectively means that CBD not only decreases appetite but also alters the mammalian metabolism to better burn calories. It helps the ECS achieve a homeostatic state much more easily.
CBD Benefits for Dogs
Using CBD for obesity in dogs will not only help with weight problems but will regulate appetite too. It has a wide variety of medicinal qualities for dogs, including:
- Reducing pain and/or inflammation
- Reducing nausea and/or vomiting
- Treating anxiety and/or restlessness
- Treating muscle tremors and/or spasms
- Promoting general cardiovascular health
- Decreasing appetite and regulating blood sugar levels
Because CBD is so definitively linked to the ECS and homeostasis, it is more helpful to think of it as a supplement that promotes overall health and wellbeing. Its consumption is not linked to just one set of benefits as it helps the mammalian body attain an overall homeostasis.
Proper Dosage: CBD For Obesity In Dogs
Using CBD for obesity in dogs is so safe and well tolerated that it is impossible to give your dog too much. Overdoses simply do not happen. If anything, giving the dog too much will only result in drowsiness and sleep. It is prudent to let your veterinarian know that you are giving the dog CBD. You should also find a product that has a definite dosage in milligrams for each unit sold.
There are many ways to use CBD for obesity in dogs. In it is oil (or tincture) form, a small dog will be fine with a 150 milligram bottle, a medium dog with a 300 milligram bottle, and a big dog with a 600 milligram bottle. You may also buy 5 milligram CBD dog treats. However, the number of treats given should be limited if the ultimate goal is to treat the dog’s obesity.
Dogs truly are “man’s best friend”. They will follow us everywhere, eat when we eat and sleep when we sleep. Therefore we have a responsibility to help them be happy and stay healthy. Use CBD today to help your dog shed that weight so they can live an active and happy lifestyle!
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