In 2016, I opened a grooming and boarding business. Two of my first clients were brothers, Chewie and Rico. Rico, a fairly calm poodle, was a groomer’s dream. Chewie on the other hand, disliked being groomed, hated boarding, and was visibly stressed and anxious when he would enter our doors. My groomers were wary of Chewie, but they did everything they were trained to do to keep him calm.
Around the same time, I began using CBD on my own pets, and offered Chewie and Rico’s mom, Elissa, the chance to try it with her fur-babies. She was excited to try anything that could help them without harsh chemicals.
Within just a few minutes of giving Chewie a dose of CBD oil, he was calm enough to groom without any fuss. When he came to board with us, he was no longer afraid. His mom thought it was a miracle, but I knew it was because of CBD.
CBD has become increasingly popular for both people and pets since the passage of the Farm Bill, which made farming hemp legal in the U.S. For many groomers and shop owners, the rising popularity of CBD can mean that customers may be using it as an option to calm down pets before going in for a groom.
CBD can help keep anxious dogs and cats calm during their groom and can provide relief from common skin ailments, like skin tumors, growths, hot spots, and itchy areas. Because of the natural relief, the benefit to groomers can be immense. However, education is the most important thing for groomers who use CBD to calm anxious clients. Understanding how CBD interacts in the body can help groomers decide if it is right for their clients.
What is CBD?
The cannabis plant is separated into two plant types, marijuana and hemp. Hemp has less than .3 percent of THC (the psychoactive component associated with feeling “high”) but has all of the cannabinoids, including CBD that the cannabis plant contains. Unlike marijuana, hemp is legal in all 50 states, Canada, and Mexico.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a natural compound found in the cannabis plant. These compounds, called cannabinoids, interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is comprised of receptors, which work to facilitate communication between cells and which can restore homeostasis in the body. Simply put: cannabinoids tell an anxious brain to calm down and direct cells to help them heal.
Every mammal has an endocannabinoid system, however, dogs have nearly double the number of endocannabinoid receptors as humans. This means that they are extremely susceptible to the positive effects of the cannabis plant.
What does CBD treat?
CBD has a variety of uses. It can treat aches and pains, joint pain, arthritis, allergies, tumors, cancer, seizures, stress, and anxiety. For grooming appointments, CBD can help keep an anxious dog calm without making him fall asleep, and can take some of the fear out of the experience.
Another way that CBD oil can help groomers, is through the use of hemp seed oil. Hemp seed oil has the perfect balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, which contribute to a healthy, shiny coat.
Dogs can lead rough-and-tumble lives. Skidding on concrete can cause dry, flaky paw pads, and constant digging in grass can cause exposure to allergens and bugs. While this is adorable, it can make grooming a nightmare. Dogs with allergies, hot spots, and painful skin may not like being groomed as baths and clippers may hurt those spots. Moreover, dogs who have skin tumors and cysts may be more sensitive while being groomed, presenting challenges to the new groomer. But, if the groomer is able to successfully provide relief from those painful areas, the dog will begin to associate the groomer with the feeling of relief, which can improve the grooming experience for everyone involved. CBD salves can also treat a variety of skin conditions, including hot spots, dry skin, and even skin tumors.
What should groomers know before using CBD?
Most CBD companies use tinctures (oils) or treats to administer CBD. You can mix it into your pet’s food or you can put it in their mouth to swallow. CBD can also be absorbed through the gums and can be administered by lifting the dog’s lip and inserting it right into the gums.
CBD products range in the total number of milligrams of CBD per ounce, and they range in the spectrum of cannabinoids. Full-spectrum means that as many natural cannabinoids are present as possible and none were removed or isolated during extraction. Broad spectrum means that some cannabinoids may have been taken out or enhanced. Whenever possible, full spectrum is best for pets.
Most CBD products on the market start anywhere from 50 to 150 mg and go all the way up to 1100 mg of CBD per ounce. Typically, the higher the number of milligrams of CBD, the stronger the effect will be. You should also note that every dog reacts to the medicine differently, but a dog cannot overdose on CBD. Additionally, there are no dangerous side-effects from CBD.
If a pet comes to your shop already using CBD, make sure to discuss with the owner when the dog should receive their next dose to keep them calm during their groom. This can be especially important if the dog is being left at the shop for several hours.
CBD can be a great add-on to grooming services. For example, the grooming and boarding shop that I own, Beautify the Beast, keeps house bottles of CBD oils and salves and offers it to customers as an add-on for $5. Once the pet parents come back and see how calm and happy their pets are, they almost always want to learn more, which is when groomers can educate them about the positive benefits of CBD.
Because of CBD, dogs like Chewie, who would have been impossible for groomers to handle, can now relax and enjoy being groomed without feeling fear or anxiety. The groomers in my shop no longer have to fear anxious dogs because they are able to easily calm them down.
CBD can truly change the lives of everyone in the pet industry and gives dogs and cats the ability to live their healthiest lives possible.