High Country: DIY CBD dog treats from Kitchen Toke
Plus, Aspen Animal Hospital’s Dr. Anne Cooley shares how cannabinoids can help canines.
Our lives in Colorado began together. While stuck in a New York City cubicle plotting my escape and before I even found an apartment in Denver, I put my name on a waiting list for a Goldendoodle puppy with Aspen Hill Doodles (kismet for the place we would later land permanently).
Gittel, who lives up to her name (it means “good” in Hebrew), celebrated her 13th birthday earlier this month. When her age comes up, she surprises most people we encounter in town or on the trail with her youthful stamina. Aside from being well-bred and -exercised, I believe having Gittel on a regular regimen of CBD has elevated her health throughout her golden years.
As CBD continues to corner the wellness industry, companies have also introduced formulas for pets — a recent launch from Martha Stewart included. The pet CBD category alone grew 946% in 2019, according to the cannabis market research company Brightfield Group.
I personally started experimenting with CBD as a daily supplement for Gittel in her food and through store-bought treats three years ago. Like humans, dogs (and nearly all animals) have a naturally-occurring endocannabinoid system (ECS) in their bodies, making CBD a natural and effective way to treat pain, cancer, neurologic disorders, stress, anxiety and inflammatory issues.
But with FDA approval still pending and a lack of research, veterinarians are operating in a gray area when it comes to officially prescribing CBD in practice. In the latest issue of Kitchen Toke magazine, Caroline Coile reports:
“In the first controlled study of CBD’s effectiveness in dogs, researchers at Colorado State University enrolled 16 pet dogs with epilepsy to receive either CBD or a placebo for 12 weeks. Then the dogs went a month without receiving either, and then received the opposite drug for the next 12 weeks. Neither the researchers nor the owners knew which drug the dogs were receiving. The dogs given CBD had significantly fewer seizures (a median decrease of 33 percent), with greater seizure reduction correlated with greater CBD concentrations in the blood plasma. However, it didn’t work for every dog. These researchers are now working on a larger trial using higher CBD doses.”
Our veterinarian and Aspen Animal Hospital owner Dr. Anne Cooley, who does incorporate CBD into patient care, agrees in the efficacy for dogs with epilepsy, but sees the biggest success when using cannabis oil for anxiety, nausea and neuropathic pain — especially if dogs have an allergy to traditional medications.
“We encourage our patient pet owners to try it — add it on to your multimodal therapy or by itself. It’s a product we reach to as a safer, natural alternative for issues in the liver and kidneys and for overall pet health,” explained Cooley. “Obviously [animals] can’t tell us how it might make them feel, so all of this is very difficult to assess. But I’ve never experienced a negative response — just a non-response. And every animal responds differently.”
Cooley cautions against buying CBD oil that isn’t specifically developed for pets, because it often contains the industry standard trace amount of 0.03% THC, which is toxic for animals. Instead, always consult with your veterinarian before using CBD as a treatment or supplement and for dosage recommendations dependent on weight. Cooley added, “The lethal oral dose for THC is less than three g/kg in dogs, although behavioral effects are noted with 0.1% of that dose.”
Once you get the OK from your doctor, here are two CBD-infused dog treat recipes for High Country’s quarterly Kitchen Toke spotlight to try at home.
PEANUT BUTTER THUMBPRINT COOKIES
•1 cup whole-wheat flour
•½ cup wheat germ
•½ cup peanut butter, plus extra for serving
•3 tablespoons coconut oil
•CBD oil, as discussed with your vet
•Heat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
•In small bowl mix flour, wheat germ, peanut butter and oil. Add tincture and then water, a teaspoon or so at a time, until a smooth dough forms.
•Roll into small balls; arrange on baking sheet. Make a small indentation in the center of each.
•Bake until golden and dry, 20 to 23 minutes.
•Transfer to wire rack to cool.
•Before serving, fill indentations with peanut butter. Unfilled cookies can be stored in airtight container for 5 to 6 days or frozen.
•Makes about 20 cookies.
TUNA AND BROWN RICE TREATS
•8 ounces fresh tuna, thinly sliced
•CBD oil, as discussed with your vet
•2 cups cooked brown rice
•Line a small loaf pan with plastic wrap.
•Gently toss tuna with CBD oil.
•Line bottom of pan with tuna; top with rice and press gently to form even layer.
•Continue layering, finishing with rice. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours.
•Invert onto board; cut into 1- to 1½-inch squares or as desired.
•Wrap individually; freeze up to 1 month.
•Makes about 12 treats.
•This recipe is cat-friendly, too.