ECS Series: Neurological System

When CBD first became the buzz word, many had never heard of an endocannabinoid system (ECS), let alone how important it is for the normal development of the nervous system. And while the medical community has learned volumes regarding exactly how the ECS interacts with and modulates neurological tissues, passing that complex information to pet parents … well, it’s left folks scratching their heads. Today we’re going to simplify things so you have an understanding of just how important a healthy endocannabinoid system is to the well-being of your pet’s nervous system. 

Let’s start with what makes up a nervous system in cats and dogs. Hint: it’s the same cells, tissues, and organs which make up the nervous system in humans … just like the ECS. The nervous system is made up of two main parts based on location: central and peripheral. The central nervous system (CNS) consists of the brain and spinal cord, while the peripheral nervous system (PNS) encompasses all other parts of the body. 

Image from FourLeg.com

 

Central Nervous System

The brain has three main sections, each with its own special functions but not isolated from others. Cerebral tissues govern conscious decisions; the brainstem hosts nerve centers which oversee most of the critical life functions; and cerebellar input controls movement and balance. 

Within the cerebrum, nerve cells (neurons) transmit information via action potentials – electrical impulses which must meet a certain milli voltage threshold before messages jump to the next cell. Signalling for action potentials, whether initiation or cessation, is performed by neurotransmitters like endocannabinoids. If too low, no information is passed at all or is rerouted to nearby neurons which are capable of continuing the action potential. This happens all the time as part normal neurological functions. It can also occur after traumatic injuries, stroke, and other serious neurological imbalances. Sometimes those same imbalances can cause an action potential to be too high or continue too long, contributing to imbalances like seizures, insomnia and anxiety (runaway thoughts especially). 

The brainstem controls the flow of messages between the brain and the rest of the body. Bodily functions like breathing, swallowing, heart rate, blood pressure, and whether one is awake or sleepy. No, cats do not have a more developed brainstem which tells them to sleep 24/7; that’s their prey drive telling them to save as much energy as possible. When hunting, cats usually miss their targeted meal 7/10 times … that’s a lot of energy use and sleeping helps their body remain ever ready for an opportunistic chance to pounce. When balanced, the brainstem functions normally in the background, a part of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Thankfully, imbalances are not common as they are often life-threatening. 

Cerebellar functions are markedly pronounced in cats when compared to dogs and humans. This is why they often land easily on their feet after catching birds, an adaptation that increases their chance of survival both from a meal perspective and in escaping injuries. It’s not foolproof and gravity affects us all when 10 stories high, so consider screening in balconies for safe outside time. When balanced, the cerebellum allows dogs and cats to navigate the world with more agility and us mere humans. When unbalanced, conditions like cerebellar hypoplasia occur, a congenital malformation in kittens whose mothers contracted certain viruses while pregnant. Despite the condition being permanent, CH cats often have very healthy long lives … and are adorable in their awkward playing

Frederico happily posing for the camera.

 

Spinal cord functions can best be described as a multilevel highway whereby certain information is transmitted in different anatomical locations. Like the brain, the spinal cord contains both white & gray matter, though the white matter of spinal cords is peripheral, whereas the brain’s white matter is centrally located. This makes sense when we consider white matter contains relatively few cell bodies and is composed mostly of long-range myelinated axons, a type of neuron which can speed electrical information across relatively long distances. 

In the spinal cord, peripheral white matter neurons are responsible for proprioception, the ability for dogs and cats to place their feet without conscious thought. Try this: with your dog standing quietly on solid ground, gently lift a front paw and place it furred sided down. Your dog will immediately turn it over so that his pads are ground-facing. A little deeper into the spinal cord’s white matter we find motor skill neuronal transmission. Simply put, information on this level allows your cat to make those amazing leaps straight up to catch birds, bugs and feather toys. The next level allows the body to recognize and respond to mild sensory stimuli, allowing dogs and cats to avoid thorny ground and similar pinprick like sensations.The deepest layer of spinal cord white matter transmits deep pain, that which really hurts, like traumatic injuries or severe soft tissue damage. Centrally located, spinal cord gray matter is the workhorse, transmitting all kinds of data between the body and brain.

From Today’s Veterinary Practice

Peripheral Nervous System

Neurons found within the PNS transmit both sensory and motor input, much like neurons do in the CNS. In this case, motor information directs muscle movement in tissues like the heart, intestines and skeletal muscles. Sensory input helps determine things like when to stop eating (stretch receptors in the stomach), when to use the litter box (stretch receptors within the bladder), and when to roll over during solar charging (temperature sensors within the skin). While it’s the CNS which tells the body to perform these tasks, it is the PNS which informs the brain of the stimuli, and the spinal cord which carries the information. The PNS is highly flexible and imbalance in any one area can often be compensated for elsewhere. For example, if your dog sustained an injury which severed a peripheral nerve in his paw, he may have areas of insensitivity … but nearby sensory and motor nerves are likely to take over allowing for a normal gait. 

 

Endocannabinoid-Neurological System

No, there’s not actually a system named that but the integration is so deep that it might as well be called such. Endocannabinoids and their plant-based counterparts (phytocannabinoids) like CBD, function as neurotransmitters, neuromodulators, and immunomodulators. In addition, the entire ECS integrates with a variety of other receptor systems, modulating their functions in order to maintain healthful homeostasis. Other neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, glutamate & gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) are directly or indirectly modulated by the ECS. While this process is complex, the effects can be simplistic and drastic. 

 

Via influx of compounds like CBD & THC, cannabis receptors are able to calm action potentials attributed to imbalances within any tissue containing neurons. In other words, all tissues within the body are modulated by the ECS. This means a healthy, well-supported ECS is able to quickly cause peripheral vasodilation, bronchodilation and release of compounds which are soothing, all during times of anxiety. In addition, balanced cannabis receptors are vital in helping the brain’s action potentials remain healthy, working with the body when action potentials become too great. In order to help them remain balanced, supplementation with ratioed hemp supplementation is important as CBD only products only address a part of the complex system. 

I know we’ve covered a lot today, but I hope you are left with a better understanding of the nervous system and how the ECS supports its normal functions. Furthermore, providing the ECS with balanced compounds it can use wherever chemical messengers signal, can help your pet remain in top shape for years to come. We’ll see you next time when we discuss the ECS and behavioral responses. 

 

ECS Series: GI Tract & Immune Support

Trust is no small thing and it’s sometimes hard to know who to trust when it comes to your pets’ health care. Your dog is a member of your family, and your cat allows you to be a member of hers. As family members, our cats and dogs hold special places in our lives, so we want to be extra careful when choosing supplement companies. We are humbled to have your trust that Canna Companion products are grounded in science and made with love, providing the best hemp pet supplement for your family member. 

Today we’re continuing our discussion on how the endocannabinoid system (ECS) helps the body remain balanced, specifically within the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and immune system. Did you know 70% of the immune system is found in the GI tract, and that the ECS is integral to the normal development of GI tract motility? In addition, the balance the ECS always strives for has significant homeostatic effects on the immune system. Supporting the normal functions of that system with hemp supplements, a healthy diet and regular exercise, ensures your pet remains balanced and happy. 

The Immune System

The immune system, like the endocannabinoid system, is quite complex in action, yet simplistic in function. And like the ECS, the immune system functions relatively the same between species. Immune systems aim to protect the body from all things and do this by incorporating three key types of immunity: physical barriers (skin, mucous membranes), innate immunity (certain white blood cells and their responses which are present at birth) and adaptive immunity (responses based on exposure to threats, whether perceived or real). They enlist the help of chemical messengers (interleukins), entire cell lines (immunoglobulins, white blood cells), and organs (spleen, thymus, GI tract) in order to protect the body from harm. When harm does occur, these same helpers go into overdrive, helping the body return to a healthful homeostasis.  

Adaptive immunity is perhaps the most familiar aspect of the immune system as it deals with microbial exposure, which triggers a cascade of cellular events starting with chemical messenger release and culminating in memory cell formation. Interleukins alert the body that an invader is present, while memory cells help the body mount an appropriate immune response should exposure occur in the future. It is during this process that antibodies are made, either via vaccination or actual exposure to microbes.

When balanced, this system may produce mild fevers and malaise as the body defends itself with adaptive immune responses, a very active process. If unbalanced, responses from initial or subsequent exposure can be inappropriate relative to the inciting factor. Allergic responses are an example of an unbalanced state, whereas mild fevers in kittens during their first exposure to common upper respiratory tract viruses indicate a balanced healthy immune response. 

Innate immunity is essentially the inflammatory responses which help the body repair minor damage like bruising and lacerations, and their associated mild/superficial infections. Inflammation ensures delivery of white blood cells specializing in eating or otherwise destroying invaders and dead tissues. When your puppy barrels around the corner, playing chase with your human child, and catches his hip on the hallway corner, innate immunity immediately goes into effect. Interleukins again alert the body something is awry and the acute inflammatory cascade is triggered, bringing white blood cells which can repair the damaged tissue. The process is clearly visible in the form of a large bruise which fades over time. This too can become unbalanced though there are often a variety of causative factors which result in runaway inflammation (and are beyond the scope of this discussion).

Physical barriers are arguably the most important aspect of the immune system as they are the first line of defense. They are also the largest aspect of the immune system covering the body inside and out. Externally our pets rely on fur and skin, and even ocular tissues like the cornea, to physically protect deeper, more delicate tissues. Internally mucous membranes cover all non-furred areas, offering both a physical layer and an antibody rich liquid covering (mucus) which sheds potential invaders while bathing them in defensive cells.

In addition, commensal microbes make up a large portion of physical barriers, greatly contributing to the overall immune system’s appropriate response. They challenge the immune system on a regular basis, keeping it on it’s toes and ready to respond to more aggressive threats. Lastly, commensal microbes compete for valuable housing space, preventing harmful organisms (pathogens) from colonizing and causing disease.   

 

Gastrointestinal Tract

It is both the liquid covering (mucosa) and commensal organisms (microbiota making up the microbiome) that greatly contribute to the immune system. But the gastrointestinal tract has a few more tricks up its sleeve which makes it the workhorse of the immune system: digestive enzymes which can be lethal to pathogens, extremely large surface area (more than the skin) and highly muscular “tubes” designed to expel toxins quickly (when needed). The GI tract begins in the oral cavity, extends into the stomach and small & large intestines, then into the rectum and finally anal tissues. Along the way, the neurological system is deeply involved, as are the spleen (reservoir for many immune cells) and the gallbladder and pancreas (digestive enzyme excreters). 

Tying It All Together

Now that we understand a bit about how the immune system works, and how the GI tract is included in that system, let’s bring things back around to the ECS. A healthy, normally functioning endocannabinoid system is necessary for the normal functions of the GI tract. It accomplishes this task primarily via modulation of nerves at various stages and junctions throughout the body, including mucosal cells and blood vessels. That modulation occurs via cytokines, chemical messengers like interleukins. 

We’ve learned that interleukins are involved in all aspects of the immune system, serving as an alert system that something is unbalanced, or signaling the all clear – balance is restored. The ECS is also listening to those same interleukins and responds via down or upregulation of cannabis receptors in those areas, whatever the body needs to maintain balance. It does this via alterations in intracellular and extracellular concentrations of compounds like CBD & THC at receptor sites. When in balance, receptors are better able to respond to interleukins and thus to the needs of the gastrointestinal tract and immune system. Supporting the endocannabinoid system with similarly balanced supplements, provides the body all it needs for healthful homeostasis. That support translates into more quality time with your favorite lap warmer or running enthusiast. 

Thank you again for placing your trust in Canna Companion. We continue our ECS Series with the neurological system, the foundation for all ECS actions.

ECS Series: Joint Support

When it comes to the health of your pets, you want them to have the best food, medical care, toys, bed, treats, supplements … the best, period. We believe the only way for you to determine what exactly is ‘the best’ is through education. How can you choose from all the products on the market; which one is best for your beloved furry friend?

These questions are especially true when considering hemp supplements. In an exploding market during uncertain times, everyone seems to have an opinion, but those opinions, while well intended, may not be rooted in fact. In our Endocannabinoid System series, we’ll provide the facts about how hemp can support the body in a variety of ways, beginning with the system’s normal functions and how that relates to mobility during injury (short term support) and the normal aging process (long term support). 

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

By now you’ve probably heard cats and dogs, like humans, have a receptor system which responds to cannabis administration, called the endocannabinoid system. That response can be positive (reduced anxiety during times of high stress) or negative (overdose of single compounds like CBD and THC), and the difference is sometimes a complex thing incorporating individual response, relationships between compounds, health status, route of administration, dose of compounds, and more. But at its core, the ECS is a simplistic receptor system whose sole purpose is to maintain healthful homeostasis within the body.  

Researchers have known for some time the ECS is integral to normal development of nervous tissues from embryo to adulthood, and it performs such actions via DNA-directed chemical release at key times during cell differentiation, division and migration. In short, genes signal protein development within cells, essentially waiving chemical ‘flags’ in front of cannabis receptors to get their attention. Depending on the type of flag being waived, the cannabis receptor responds in a number of ways, all with the express goal of normalising that one cell. Applied all over the body, the ECS helps the body develop a normally functioning nervous system, including nerves which integrate with muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joint tissues. 

 

The Normal Joint

Joints develop during embryonic stages and continue until physical maturity, about 2 yrs of age for most cats and dogs. The structure of joints is made up of a variety of tissues including bone, cartilage, joint fluid, ligaments, tendons, and the connective and muscular tissues surrounding them. Each tissue has specific uses and limitations. For example, ligaments are designed to be somewhat flexible for normal range of motion, but are limited in that capacity so they can support the heavy bones on either side of the joint capsule. Inside the protective joint capsule are compounds (synovia) and tissues (cartilage) which provide lubrication for normal range of motion. Via the same chemical messaging system as above, the ECS helps direct and is directed by the cells within these tissues so that joints grow and develop normally, including changes found in healthy senior dogs and cats. 

The Normal Senior Joint

Nothing can stop the aging process, but having an understanding of what’s going on can allow you to better support your pets’ aging joints, allowing your older cat or dog to maintain healthy range of motion during all stages of life. Normal daily activities, which differ greatly among species, place stress on all aspects of the joint. Twisting motions of chasing agile prey (toys) test the limits of ligament flexibility, and jumping onto / off of surfaces places significant impact on bones, cartilage and joint fluid. Over time, and as genes are less able to instruct bodily repairs, ligaments become less flexible, cartilage thins and joint fluid lessens, making the joint overall less mobile. Does this mean no more feather toys for your small lioness or that you should forgo agility classes for your Border Collie? Definitely not! The benefits of gentle and sustained exercise over a lifetime far outweigh any negative impacts on aging joints; this is especially true when combined with a healthy diet and ideal body condition score

 

The ECS & Normal Aging Joints

Let’s recap what we’ve learned today: the ECS is vital to normal development; the ECS responds to the body via chemical signals; normal joints have tissues supporting flexibility and strength; and older joints have less flexibility and less cushioning ability during impact. In order to respond to the body’s ever-changing needs, the ECS must remain highly adaptable and has developed the ability to make and activate receptors within a short period of time (< 72 hr in most cases). Up/down regulation is not a new concept in veterinary medicine as many receptor systems do this. However, what is especially adaptive regarding the ECS is its ability to up and down regulate using both internal signaling and externally administered compounds. 

We know there are cannabis receptors within joint tissues, not just from current research, but from a developmental perspective as well. Because the ECS is required for normal nervous tissue, and nerves integrate with other tissues like bones, ligaments, muscles, and tendons, there must be cannabis receptors within those tissues. Receptors listen and respond to chemical signaling from cells found within and around joints, helping it maintain normal flexion and extension motions. Whenever an imbalance is found within the joint, like a temporary knee sprain, the ECS will upregulate receptors until balance is restored, then downregulate so it doesn’t waste resources. Long term, however, the ECS simply cannot keep up with upregulation signals without external support. 

It’s all about balance.

Supplements providing multiple compounds from which the ECS can choose, are often more beneficial than single only ones. This is due to the complex nature of the ECS and how it serves as a homeostatic receptor system in the body. Simply put, its job is to maintain balance, and it cannot do so unless it too is balanced. In this case, cannabis receptors appear balanced when the primary endocannabinoids (anandamide & 2-AG) or their external phytocannabinoid counterparts (THC & CBD), are also in balance.  Currently it appears ratios of 1:1 – 10:1 provide the ECS with compounds which allow maintenance of normal functions without unbalancing itself. Furthermore, because we want to avoid dysphoria (“high” from THC) and liver value elevation (from excess CBD), ratios CBD:THC 3:1-7:1 are preferable in cats and dogs. Using small amounts of both compounds also allows for lower doses, lessening the risk of minor adverse effects like mild sedation and soft stool. 

How does this apply to long term ECS support and normal aging joints? If we want to offer the best support possible so that it can better maintain joint homeostasis, we need to provide compounds in ratios and amounts the ECS can use without unbalancing itself. Signaling from normal older joints occurs more frequently and with more “oomph” than in normal adult joints, putting more strain on the ECS internal reserves. Less flexible ligaments send signals indicating a less balanced state and the ECS responds, encouraging more normal joint mobility as a result. The same happens with worn cartilage and the signals it sends out, and with all other joint-related tissues. When you administer a low dose, multicompound, CBD-rich external source of phytocannabinoids, the ECS can more quickly respond to joints, and you can rest assured your beloved senior friend can chase her prey and run his trial in comfort for a bit longer. 

 

We look forward to continuing your ECS education in our next segment: GI Tract and Immune System Support.

Pet Guardianship Responsibility

When I was in college, I called my roommate one day to let her know I was on my way back from my weekend visit at home and to ask her to pick up some kitten food. “We have cat food,” she replied. I repeated my request and she said, “What have you done?” What I had done was to pick up a kitten out of a feral colony that lived in the neighborhood. She was from a litter of only two, her sibling had died, and her mom was sick. I was sure I could handle this. There are a lot of things that you should consider before adding a new animal to your household. I considered precisely none of these when I first brought Foxfire home.

Over a decade later, when I brought Tori home, it was after over a year of research into whether I was able to provide a household appropriate for her needs. Among the things that I learned during that time was the fact that the most common reason corgis are surrendered to shelters is behavior. People often get corgis because they’re cute and they give no thought to the fact that they are high energy, stubborn, herding dogs. When things don’t work out, everyone is unhappy, including the animal who is frequently surrendered or rehomed. Today we’re going to discuss some of the many things that you should look into and prepare for before you welcome a new pet into your life.

Tori modeled for our Extra Strength Medium Dog packaging.

 

Different animals have vastly different needs, but they all need veterinary care. If you already have animals in your house, consider speaking to the veterinarian you take them to for information on introducing a new pet to the household, but also what type of pet might fit well with the ones you already have. If not, ask any friends or family in the area who they take their pets to. Find out if they are taking new patients, then schedule a tour to get a feel for the place and people. Make sure that you consider how you will pay for the veterinary care for your new addition. Veterinary insurance is widely available with many different types of plans that can help you cover costs. Consider setting up a savings account to pay for any routine care, accidents, or illness.

Cats and dogs have social needs. If you aren’t at home for long stretches of time, it’s important to ensure those are met. Many places have daycare for dogs where there is a controlled environment for them to interact with other dogs. This will also help with their need for exercise. If you are getting a cat and don’t already have other animals at home, consider adopting two together so that they have a companion. Tech is also providing us with a growing number of ways to interact with our animals even when we are away. Cameras allow you to watch your pets, but now some of them also allow you to speak with them, offer them treats, or even activate toys with play routines that actively learn what your pet’s preferences are.

Another critical thing to consider is what temperament you are looking for in a companion animal. If you want someone to keep you company while you’re reading all day long, consider adding an older cat or dog to your household. Whereas, if you’re looking for a running buddy, a puppy and a high energy breed might make more sense. And be sure to check with their veterinarian about how to safely train a dog to run with you. If you have children, you may want to avoid herders, since they can have a tendency to nip. There are so many different pets who need homes, ensure that you’re getting one who fits with the pace and style of yours.

Chihuahuas like Allie Lou prefer plenty of warm place to snuggle.

The floorplan of your home, the amount of time you have available, and even the local weather are all things that you need to take into account. Food, exercise, access to litter boxes or yards, all of these are things that you should take the time to review before bringing a new pet home. Some breeds don’t tolerate cold climates well and will need sweaters and warming beds. Some have high grooming needs and will require a lot of time, money, or both to keep them comfortable. If you have your heart set on a specific breed, talk to other people who own them (either in person or online) and see what it’s like. And take that information into account when deciding if they are, in fact, a good fit for your life.

 

Animals enrich our lives in so many ways. We owe it to them to consider their needs and whether we are prepared to meet them before we make the decision to bring them home. Doing this research in advance can ensure that you and your companion have a long, healthy, happy time together.

Monty, a Belgian Malinois, is happiest after a long day on the trail.

First Aid Tips for Dogs

 

First Aid is important knowledge for any pet parent to have. It is particularly critical during times where there is a lot going on, such as the holiday season. There are numerous changes to routines animals face during this time: out of town guests, travel, inclimate weather, and more. Any of these can pose a threat to their well-being and emotional state, whether it is via food they shouldn’t eat, stress from air travel, or a paw sliced open on ice. 

The best thing we can do to protect our canine companions in these circumstances is to be prepared. There are really only two steps to canine first aid preparedness: know the basics & consider additional circumstances.  The basics are pretty easy, if a bit detailed.  

 

Medical Information

Have the contact information for your regular veterinarian and for the closest emergency vet clinic posted in an easy to find place, and placed in an outer pocket or luggage tag in your dog’s first aid kit.  Include hospital name, regular doctor’s name, phone number, and physical & website addresses. On the other side of this paper, have your dog’s information.  Be specific and include name, age or date of birth, breed, sex, known conditions or special handling needs, and medication/supplement list.  It’s also a good idea to download the Red Cross’s app, so you have quick access to first aid information for your dog.  

 

First Aid Kit

The main portion of first aid kit should contain a minimum of 3 days worth of basic supplies: collapsible food & water dishes, food & favorite treats, unopened bottle of water, and security item(s) like favorite blanket or toy.  For you preppers, check out doggie bug out bags; you can buy one ready-made though it’s ideal to tailor one for your dog’s specific needs.  

Packed and labeled in a smaller container, include items like medications, supplements, rescue therapies, unopened bottle of artificial tears or small bottle of unopened contact lens solution (both great for gently washing debris from eyes and wounds).  Some medications may harm your dog if stopped without tapering. Examples include anti-seizure, anti-anxiety, and GI or immune-modulation medications. Drugs like antibiotics, antacids, and prescription eye/ear medications should also be in the first aid kit, but a missed dose is unlikely to cause serious problems.  

 

Good supplements to have are those which serve multiple purposes so you don’t have to pack a ton of them.  Here are our favorites and why; remember to pick ones you know historically help you dog, and change them up as her health care needs change.

  • Hemp supplement: the endocannabinoid (ECS) excels at helping manage temporary stressors.  When your dog has need of first aid, her ECS is in high gear and will happily utilize compounds from hemp products.  This is one case where hemp oil is preferred as it absorbs quickly and repeat administration is easy; if your dog is already taking capsules, it is okay to administer hemp oil on top of her normal regimen.  
  • Essential oil blend or kit: terpenes found in many essential oils, like lavender oil, can be quite helpful in calming your dog and assisting her immune system in wound management.  You can place a drop on her collar or bedding for aromatherapy, and around the edges of a wound for immune system support. Warning! Make sure you choose essential oil brands which source responsibly and extract safely.  Here are some resources if you want to learn more: First Aid with Veterinary Medical Aromatherapy (great to have in a first aid kit) and Animal Desk Reference II (very detailed). 
  • TCVM or other herbal blend supplements: if your dog takes such supplements, make sure to pack them.  Contact your holistic or integrative doctor regarding any first aid herbal blends they recommend and have those on hand too. If your dog isn’t seeing an integrative doctor yet, the AHVMA is a place to start the search.     

 

Lastly, and also in a separate labeled container, have all wound care products, including nitrile gloves for you.  Your dog’s veterinarian may have a list of recommended items, or you can create your own. If you make your own, pack just enough to protect open wounds until you reach the nearest emergency veterinary hospital.  Items to consider: no stick pads, cling gauze, and paper tape. You may need someone to assist you during the wound cleaning process, as your dog may be in pain and can lash out.  

The basics of first aid wound care are thankfully simple.  With gloved hands, remove any loose large pieces of debris.  Next, rinse the area with contact lens solution, then apply anything your veterinarian recommends as directed, or lavender essential oil around the wound.  Start with the no stick pad placed over the wound, then bandage as shown here .  For non-limb wounds, you may need to hold a few no-stick pads in place if paper tape is too loose, or fit your dog with a snug (but not too tight!) T-shirt over the bandage.  Remember, your aim is to protect the lesion until you can get to a veterinary hospital.  

 

 

Now, let’s consider additional circumstances, where things like travel, guests and weather come into play.  If you’re traveling, look up nearby emergency veterinary hospitals and add them to the medical professional contact list.  Similarly, prepare for seasonal weather changes specific to the region in which you’ll be traveling. Always be sure that it is warm enough if you are taking your dog out for a walk. Cold winter weather comes with risk of hypothermia, frostbite, and wounds to paw pads among other things. You can help protect against these things by ensuring that your dog has a sweater or jacket if they are a short-haired breed, or one without in insulating double coat if thicker coated. Numerous companies sell booties or other paw pad protectors specially designed for snow and ice. 

Should your dog get too cold (body temperature is below 98.5° via rectal thermometer) or if you find a dog out in the cold weather, the key is to rewarm slowly. First, wrap them in a wool or fleece blanket or equivalent (hoodies work for small dogs), and then place heat packs or water bottles near them. Make sure these items, too, are wrapped in towels to protect from rewarming too quickly or burning their skin. And make sure to get your dog veterinary care as soon as possible.

Of course veterinary care should always follow first aid. Whenever possible, take notes on any care that was provided so you are able to inform your veterinarian of what treatment has been offered. While accidents cannot always be prevented, a little knowledge goes a long way toward keeping our pets safe and healthy.

CBD & Situational Anxiety in Dogs

Any of us who have faced anxiety know that it can have a number of different sources. Situational anxieties arise when certain conditions are met in a short timeframe, and dogs can face a number of circumstances unique to the pack mind.  Every pet will be different, but there are things which can be done to help them be more comfortable during these frustrating times. The first step, of course, is determining the cause of their distress.

 

Common Causes of Canine Anxiety
Some of the more common causes of situational anxieties in dogs include weather, fireworks, moving, and changes to routine. Once can summarize these situations by simply stating either the pack is threatened (or perceived to be) or separated (or the possibility exists of separation).  To a dog, the pack is everything: their family, their friend, their playmate, and their security. Let’s look at how that thought process can lead to anxiety under seemingly innocuous circumstances.  

  • Loud noises: whether fireworks or thunderstorms, loud noises signal a potential threat to the pack.  What often triggers dogs to exhibit anxious symptoms is the lack of seeing the threat — it’s just loud noise which might cause problems with no obvious way to protect the family.  
  • Traveling: some dogs, like some humans, enjoy traveling and all the wonder and awe it can bring.  But to others, leaving the home territory can indicate the need to protect, or be protected from, causing significant anxiety for your pup.  Travel is especially difficult if your dog has a history of negative experiences either during or after travel.  
  • Routine changes: this particular stressor may seem routine to you — leaving for work every day — but your dog may see it as a huge change simply because their alpha human is missing … and how can they protect her if she’s not here?  Add in holiday travel and temporary pack members (holiday company), and your dog’s routine may be sufficiently changed to trigger significant anxiety.  

Symptoms of Situational Anxiety in Dogs

Now that we know what can stress our dogs, let’s talk about how to determine the language your dog uses to let you know he’s anxious.  Just like the large variety of breeds, there are seemingly endless ways a dog can exhibit distress.  The easiest way to tell is simply by changes in his normal behaviors, either by being aloof or clingy – whichever is opposite his normal personality.  If such changes occur around loud noises, travel preparations, or household changes, it’s likely your dog has situational anxiety, though schedule a visit with his veterinarian just to make sure nothing else is amiss.  

In general, dogs show ongoing anxiety via pacing, panting, and vocalizing.  The latter is usually sharp and high-pitched and all usually have facial expressions like wide eyes, elevated but back-ward rotating ears, grimacing (lip corners pulled up), and tail carriage down and to the left (right signals confidence).  

They may be destructive, either towards their own beds, toys and blankets, or to household items like your bed, favorite shoes, luggage or the wall.  It is a sign of frustration and the need to ‘protect,’ which leads to this behavior. While it’s difficult, refrain from punishing your dog after the fact; he simply won’t make the connection and will be confused as to why you’re upset.  

Other dogs prefer to hide under blankets, beds, tables — anything which might shelter them from the potential threat.  And still others act normal but won’t eat or develop transient diarrhea.  

 

How to Help Reduce Your Dog’s Anxiety

One of the best things that can be done to help your dog through these is to prepare in advance. Many situational anxiety triggers are things which can be anticipated. This allows us to make sure that our pets will have a comfortable place where they can go to be more calm.  Include items which smell like you to help them remain calm, and offer chew toys which are hard to destroy. Chewing can ease anxiety as well as serve as an anxiety symptom, with the difference being his overall behavior — destruction usually signals boredom or anxiety, while gnawing methodically indicates healthy endorphin release.   

Additionally, things like white noise machines can mask frightening sounds, and diffusion of essential oils can provide calming aromatherapy to the most high-strung of pooches.  High value treats can also be a part of this, particularly when used to reward desirable calm behaviors.  There are also a number of supplements which could be beneficial, including pheromone sprays and diffusers that can be a useful part of your preparations. Ensuring that this space is always somewhere available and comfortable will be a big benefit, as your pet can seek shelter anytime he needs comfort.

 

Can CBD Help My Dog’s Anxiety?

You bet!  Let’s talk about how … When we administer cannabinoids like CBD, they support your dog’s natural cannabis receptor system, called the endocannabinoid system (ECS for short).  The ECS has one main function: listen to and correct cellular stress signals.  It accomplishes this task by changing the levels of CBD and THC at the receptor level, causing a variety of chemical reactions which lead to your dog feeling calmer.  In short, administration of hemp-based CBD, can have a calming effect on the mind, and is soothing to the body, particularly when situational anxieties arise.  

 

Which Hemp Product is Right for my Dog?

Developed by veterinarians, Canna Companion offers three different canine supportive supplements, all differentiated by CBD:THC and dosed based on your dog’s body weight.  When a whole plant product is administered, CBD helps mitigate the negative effects of THC, while allowing THC’s health benefits to shine — one of which limits the sedative effects CBD can have on your dog.  We want your dog stress-free, not a cute ball of fur on his favorite bed!  

We typically recommend our Regular Strength Canine capsules as the low CBD:THC supports the cannabis receptor system quite well for most conditions.  Start twice daily administration ideally 10-14 days prior to the known stressor, continuing for a few days after the stressor is gone.  There is no need to continue hemp supplementation if your dog is no longer anxious and stopping “cold turkey” is acceptable.  

 

For those dogs with multiple stressors or who need a punch to the ECS for high-stress times, our higher ratioed Extra Strength Canine capsules are preferred.  Begin administration as above, and if your dog needs more during times of extreme stress, it’s okay to give either formulation at twice the labeled dose; for example 2 capsules twice daily on days when a known anxiety trigger will occur. 

What if your dog will not take pills, you’re leaving in a few days, or your dog has extreme responses (running through sliding glass doors)?  Try our Whole Plant Hemp Oil;  with a CBD:THC between the capsule formulations, it’s a great choice for smaller patients and those with strong opinions about capsules — and anxiety triggers.  Oils also offer the option of bypassing GI absorption for ECS support in minutes, when administered orally rather than during or after a meal. This method may result in sedation or a wobbly gait, particularly if labeled doses are exceeded, but it also may be just the thing to help your dog relax.     

 

Whatever your dog’s needs, Canna Companion is here to help. Contact our Customer Service team or schedule a professional Consultation today.  Our passion is helping your pack member feel his best no matter what routine changes come his way!

 

8 Benefits of Adopting a Senior Dog 

 

The month of November is “Adopt a Senior Dog Month” and the Canna Companion family would like to make sure that our fellow pet parents know some of the benefits to look forward to when adding a furry friend to the family.  We all know that puppies are very cute, fun and may be around a lot longer than an older dog. However, there are several reasons why you should look for a senior dog to adopt rather than a rambunctious energy filled puppy.  An older dog has its own special characteristics and there are benefits in adopting an older pet that we cannot overlook.

 

  1. Temperament: Senior dogs already have established their personality and are less energetic than a puppy. By adopting an older dog you have a good idea of the type of dog you welcome into the family.  Whether you adopt a purebred pup or a mixed breed friend, make sure you consider how well that dog will fit into your family.  

 

  1. Training: Many senior dogs already have some basic training behind them, so very little training is required to get them on the right track and adjust to your home.  Adopting an already-trained dog will save you a lot of time and energy that you’d normally have to dedicate towards training a young dog the basics.

 

  1. Older dogs make instant companions: Unlike a puppy, which requires leash training and time to bond with a human pack, an older dog is ready to accompany you on a long walk and already knows how to integrate with humans.  An adult dog will make a great workout partner, a loyal companion, and a great snuggle buddy.

 

  1. You can teach an old dog new tricks: Dogs can be trained at any age and older dogs are just as smart as younger ones. Older dogs have a greater attention span than a puppy, which make them easier to train, especially with fun tricks.

 

  1. You become an instant hero.  Adopting an older dog may save its life: Many people are quick to adopt puppies and younger dogs, often overlooking dogs over the age of five. Shelters are overcrowded and unfortunately, older dogs are among the first to be euthanized if they aren’t adopted in a timely manner. By adopting a senior dog, you are not only providing it with a better life but are also saving it from being put down.

 

  1. They are independent: Senior dogs love to be by their humans’ sides, but they have also mastered the art of amusing themselves. Unlike puppies, you can trust older dogs to play safely on their own when you are occupied, especially once acclimated to their new home. While puppies get into the trash or shred your newspapers, senior dogs happily chew a bone or find a nice cozy spot for a nap.

 

  1. They Have Lots of Love to Give: Senior dogs may bear a few scars – both physical and emotional – but they don’t let their pasts keep them down, no matter how dark they may have been. Dogs have a way of forgiving, forgetting and living in the present. If you give your love to an old dog, you can be sure he will devote the rest of his life to loving you back.

 

  1. They Never Stop Expressing their Gratitude: When you gaze into the wise and worldly eyes of a rescued senior dog, you will see an animal who knows they have been saved. They don’t care where you live, what you look like or what you do for a living; they will dedicate the remainder of their lives to thanking you. 

 

If you’ve been considering adding a new member to your family, let that member be a senior dog.  Adopt one from your local shelter this month to celebrate national Adopt a Senior Dog Month.  And if that new friend needs a little help adjusting to their forever home, consider Canna Companion CBD pet supplements.  Contact us today for more information — or to just tell us how wonderful your newly adopted senior dog is getting along!

Winterize Your Home for Senior Dogs

Slowly, the autumn breezes are turning to a winter chill. Every day brings a greater risk of waking up to frozen car door locks. With the colder weather comes discomfort for elderly joints, including in those of our canine companions. There are many options for keeping our senior dogs comfortable and at ease during cold weather, including supplements like Canna Companion which support joint mobility. 

Keeping them warm is one of the best things you can do for your senior dog, so providing some blankets for them in their beds is always nice. Additionally, there are heated beds made specifically for pets. There are both microwavable heating pads or electric beds. As long as you make sure you follow the instructions, these are all very safe.

If your dog gets in and out of the car frequently, or if they are allowed on the furniture, they may struggle more with getting to those spaces. We advise providing a ramp or stairs to help them get to those areas a bit easier. Pet slings can help pets who need a little help but don’t need a full set of stairs.  This will help to ease joint strain while also allowing them to get up off the floor, where it is colder.

Some dogs may not like it, but other dogs rather enjoy sweaters, jackets, and other items of clothing that will keep them warm on cold days. Try a number of different fits and textures, because not all dogs will like the same things. Additionally, if you are taking your dog out for a walk, consider a waterproof coat, booties, and a longer warm-up time. This will help your dog acclimate much more quickly.

A few further ideas include keeping dogs out of the garage to protect them from poisons such as antifreeze and deicer, and, perhaps best of all, cuddling with your pups whenever you have a chance. Together, we can help make this winter far more comfortable for your senior dog.

National Pit Bull Awareness Day

National Pit Bull Awareness Day (NPBAD) is October 26, 2019.  This is a day of appreciation and education designed to change perceptions and stereotypes about pit bulls and their responsible owners. NPBAD was established to educate and foster positive communications and experiences in the communities in which people and their dogs live, and it is an initiative dedicated to restoring the image of the American Pit Bull Terrier.

 We all can make a difference in our own way. We all can and should play a part in correcting false information and changing the perception of these incredible dogs. We are their voice, and they are depending on us to educate the public (not only about the breed in general, but with respect to responsible ownership practices), to dispel the false information out there, and to restore their reputation as a great American icon. Leading by example is a great place to start!

Extending the National Pit Bull Awareness celebration to year round education is a great opportunity for shelters, breed clubs, and rescue organizations to spotlight the breed with adoption, education, and responsible ownership events in multiple communities and venues!  Since its designation in 2011, we’ve been thrilled to see so many shelters and rescues across the country hosting events during the entire month of October, with the hope that the spirit of National Pit Bull Awareness Day is carried all year through.  

Through education and compassion, we will bring about a positive change for these incredible dogs!

Choosing the Right Cannabis Product for Your Dog’s Size

With hundreds of breeds out there, it’s no surprise that man’s best friend can range in size from about 1 pound to over 200 pounds! With that huge variation in size comes a multitude of breed-specific personality traits and health issues alike. For example, some breeds are more susceptible to certain conditions, like obesity or ear infections, while others are more likely to suffer from mobility issues like hip dysplasia.

As a pet parent, you’re likely always on the lookout for additional ways to keep your dog happy and healthy, no matter his breed or individual quirks. A hemp-based supplement can provide extra support for a number of your pup’s essential physiological processes, from joint function to neurological health. But how do you identify the ideal product for your canine, and how much of it does she actually need? We’ve put together a guide that can help you determine the proper supplement and dosage for your furry friend.

Cannabis for Small Dogs

Dogs age differently from humans—so differently that the first year of their lives is the equivalent of 15 “human years!” But they also age at different speeds depending on their breed, a phenomenon that grows more pronounced the older they get. For instance, a 12-year-old Miniature Pinscher would be approximately 64 in human years, while a Great Dane would be closer to 77!

What all this means is that smaller breeds like Chihuahuas tend to live longer than large breeds like Dalmatians. Proper care, good genetics, and preventative measures can provide your small breed with a high quality of life and many years by your side. Canna Companion’s unique formula can supplement your efforts with additional support for everything from the GI tract to the immune system.

Weight plays a large role in determining the amount of cannabis that will benefit your dog, so it’s essential to pay attention to dosage guidelines. Though there are no known long-term effects, ingesting more than the daily recommended amount can leave pets lethargic and uncoordinated for several hours. Canines up to 20 pounds should receive Canna Companion’s regular strength capsule for small dogs, with 205 milligrams of hemp. Dogs between 21 and 50 pounds will benefit the most from our capsule for medium dogs, which contains 355 milligrams of hemp.

Cannabis for Large Dogs

With all that extra weight to support, large breeds are more prone to degenerative conditions and joint issues, and they also age more quickly than smaller breeds—so it’s essential to provide your pup with everything he needs to stay in peak physical condition from the start. But even a dog in perfect health will begin to show normal signs of aging, such as stiffer movement, as he gets older.

Canna Companion can help ease joint discomfort that comes from daily activity, as well as help with comfort and care as aging dogs enter their golden years. Dogs from 51 to 80 pounds should receive Canna Companion’s large canine capsule with 440 milligrams of hemp. Extra large canines 81 pounds and over should take our capsule containing 525 milligrams of hemp.

Finding the Right Product

Cannabis, hemp, marijuana—the terminology gets confusing, but the most important takeaway is that cannabis dosages are largely unregulated and unmeasured. Your dog is much more sensitive to cannabis than you are, so it’s crucial to understand exactly how much of the substance you’re administering. Canna Companion was developed by licensed veterinarians who continue to maintain strict quality control so you can be sure that your dog is getting the exact dosage that appears on the label.

Once you select the proper product based on weight, you can work with your veterinarian to determine the exact regimen that your pet needs. Your decision may ultimately come down to oil versus capsule form. If your dog is quite small and doesn’t take pills very well, you may want to try Canna Companion’s whole plant hemp oil. Hemp oil is also a great option if you’re hoping to see effects faster, as it takes longer for the body to absorb oral pills.

Leveraging Hemp for a Happier Pup

No matter how old our dogs get, they’re still puppies at heart. At Canna Companion, we’re dedicated to helping you keep your canine companion happy and healthy well into his senior years so that he can maintain that puppy mentality and enjoy life by your side. Our veterinary experts created a hemp-based supplement that accomplishes just that by supporting a wide range of essential processes within your pup’s body. Reach out today—we’re always happy to answer questions about our products or schedule your complimentary consultation!