CBD for Pancreatitis in Dogs

Posted by Lianne McLeod D.V.M. on

CBD for Pancreatitis in Dogs

Pancreatitis in dogs is a very serious condition that pet parents should be aware of. It can be extremely painful and significantly impact a dog's quality of life. Canines suffering from pancreatitis may require prescription medications and careful management to alleviate symptoms and promote healing.

hemp oil for pancreatitis in dogs

In recent years, hemp oil has emerged as a potential supplement to support dogs with pancreatitis. With its demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties, hemp oil offers a natural alternative to complement traditional treatments.

This article will explore pancreatitis in dogs, the application of CBD oil as a treatment option, as well as the composition, sources, benefits, potential side effects, dosage, and administration of this natural remedy.

Understanding Pancreatitis in Dogs

Pancreatitis refers to inflammation of the pancreas, an organ located near the stomach and small intestine. The pancreas plays a crucial role in digestion and insulin regulation. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, it can lead to various symptoms such as acute chronic pain episodes, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, severe abdominal pain, depression, and loss of appetite.

pancreatitis definition

There are two main types of pancreatitis, namely acute and chronic. Acute pancreatitis is when the symptoms present quickly and are severe, while chronic pancreatitis is characterized by recurring inflammation.

Managing pancreatitis in dogs involves addressing the underlying causes, which may include dietary indiscretion, obesity, certain medications, and other health conditions. Veterinarians typically recommend dietary modifications, such as decreased fat intake, while some may prescribe pain management options to alleviate symptoms and support pancreatic function.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD oil, short for cannabidiol oil, is a natural extract derived from the Cannabis sativa plant. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another compound found in cannabis known for its psychoactive effects, CBD does not produce a "high" sensation. Instead, CBD is known for its potential therapeutic benefits and is used in various forms for medicinal purposes.

cbd oil

CBD oil is a complex mixture containing various components, each contributing to its overall composition and potential effects. Below are the primary components found in CBD oil:

Cannabidiol (CBD)

CBD is the main active ingredient in CBD oil. It is a cannabinoid, a class of compounds naturally found in the cannabis plant. CBD is non-intoxicating and has been studied for its potential therapeutic properties, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anxiolytic, and neuroprotective effects.

Other Cannabinoids

Besides CBD, hemp oil may contain other cannabinoids such as cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the psychoactive compound in cannabis, but in CBD oil derived from hemp plants, THC content is typically minimal (less than 0.3% in the United States), reducing the risk of intoxication.


These are aromatic compounds found in many plants, including cannabis. They contribute to the distinct flavors and aromas of different cannabis strains. Terpenes in CBD oil may include myrcene, limonene, pinene, and more. Terpenes also have potential therapeutic effects and can influence the overall "entourage effect" when combined with cannabinoids like CBD.



Flavonoids are phytonutrients found in plants, known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They contribute to the color, taste, and aroma of CBD oil. Flavonoids found in cannabis include quercetin, apigenin, and kaempferol.

Fatty Acids

CBD oil contains various essential fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which promote overall health. These acids play a role in supporting cardiovascular health, brain function, and inflammation modulation.

Vitamins and Minerals

Some CBD oils may contain vitamins, such as vitamins E and B complex, and minerals like magnesium, potassium, and zinc, which are naturally present in hemp plants. These nutrients contribute to the overall nutritional profile of CBD oil.

Carrier Oils

CBD oil is often diluted in a carrier oil for easier administration and absorption. Common carrier oils include hemp seed oil, coconut oil, olive oil, and MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil. Each carrier oil has unique nutritional benefits and may influence the bioavailability of CBD.

Trace Elements

CBD oil may contain trace elements of other compounds, including chlorophyll, plant waxes, and cannabinoids produced during extraction. These trace elements vary depending on the extraction method used.

Benefits of Hemp Oil for Pancreatitis in Dogs

While research on hemp oil specifically for pancreatitis in dogs is limited, several potential benefits make it a topic of interest among pet owners and veterinarians: 

hemp oil for dogs, pancreatitis

Strong Anti-Inflammatory Properties

CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which plays a role in regulating inflammation. By modulating the inflammatory response, hemp oil may help reduce inflammation in the pancreas, easing discomfort and promoting the healing of pancreatitis in dogs.

Pain Relief

Pancreatitis can be extremely painful for dogs. Hemp oil's pain-relieving properties improve the dog's level of comfort and quality of life during the recovery process.

Stress and Anxiety Reduction

Pancreatitis and its symptoms can cause stress and anxiety in dogs. Hemp oil has been studied for its potential to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation, which may benefit dogs dealing with the physical and emotional challenges of pancreatitis.

Appetite Stimulation

Loss of appetite is common in dogs with pancreatitis. Hemp oil may help stimulate appetite by interacting with the dog's ECS, potentially encouraging them to eat and maintain adequate nutrition during recovery while enhancing the digestion process.

Nausea and Vomiting Control

These are frequent symptoms of pancreatitis. Hemp oil's antiemetic properties may help reduce GI pain, nausea, and vomiting episodes, improving the dog's overall comfort and well-being.

Overall Well-Being

Hemp oil's holistic effects on the endocannabinoid system contribute to the dog's overall well-being, supporting immune function, sleep quality, and mood regulation, which are essential aspects of recovery from both acute and chronic pancreatitis.

Considerations when Using Hemp Oil for Pancreatitis In Dogs

Below is a list of key considerations to keep in mind:

Consultation with a Veterinarian

Always consult your veterinarian before starting any new supplement or treatment for your dog, especially if they have pancreatitis or other health conditions. A holistic veterinarian will provide personalized guidance based on your dog's specific needs, health status, and potential interactions with other medications or treatments.

pancreatitis in dogs, hemp

Quality of Hemp Oil

Choose high-quality hemp oil specifically formulated for pets. Look for products that are organic, cold-pressed, and free from additives, pesticides, and contaminants. Third-party lab testing can ensure the product's potency and purity.

Monitoring for Effects

Monitor your dog closely for any changes or improvements in symptoms after starting hemp oil. Look for signs of reduced pain, improved appetite, decreased anxiety, and overall well-being. Report any adverse reactions or concerns to your veterinarian promptly.

Integration with Treatment Plan

Hemp oil should complement, not replace, traditional veterinary care and treatment for pancreatitis. Follow your veterinarian's recommendations regarding medication, diet, and management strategies alongside hemp oil use. Inform your veterinarian about any supplements or treatments your dog is receiving.

Long-Term Use

Consider the long-term use of hemp oil for your dog with pancreatitis. Discuss with your veterinarian how long it's appropriate to continue using hemp oil and whether any adjustments to the treatment plan are necessary based on how your dog responds and their health status.

Holistic Approach

Hemp oil should be part of a holistic regimen to managing pancreatitis in dogs. This includes proper veterinary care, dietary modifications (such as a low-fat diet), regular exercise, stress management, and monitoring of overall health and well-being.

Potential Side Effects of Hemp Oil

Here are some potential side effects of hemp oil in dogs:

hemp farm

Digestive Upset: One of the most common side effects of hemp oil in dogs is digestive upset. This may manifest as diarrhea, vomiting, or changes in appetite. Starting with a low dosage and gradually increasing it can help minimize digestive issues and improve gut health.

Dry Mouth: Hemp oil can sometimes cause dry mouth, also known as cottonmouth in dogs. This may lead to increased thirst and changes in drinking behavior. Ensure your dog has access to fresh water to stay hydrated.

Drowsiness: In some cases, hemp oil may cause drowsiness, particularly at higher doses. Dogs may appear lethargic, sleepy, or less active than usual. Adjusting the dosage or administering the oil at a different time of day may help manage drowsiness.

Low Blood Pressure: Hemp oil may cause a temporary drop in blood pressure, leading to symptoms such as lightheadedness, weakness, or fainting. Monitor your dog for signs of low blood pressure and seek veterinary advice if you notice any concerning symptoms.

Potential Drug Interactions: Hemp oil can interact with certain medications, particularly those metabolized by the liver. It's essential to inform your veterinarian about any medications your dog is taking, including supplements, before starting hemp oil to prevent potential drug interactions.

Allergic Reactions: While rare, some dogs may be allergic to hemp oil or components of the hemp plant. Signs of an allergic reaction may include itching, hives, swelling, or difficulty breathing. If you suspect an allergic reaction, discontinue use and seek veterinary attention immediately.

Impact on Liver Enzymes: There is some concern that long-term use of high doses of hemp oil may cause severe organ damage by affecting liver enzymes in dogs. Regular monitoring of liver function through blood tests can help detect any changes early on.

Dosage and Administration of CBD Oil

Determining the appropriate dosage and administration of hemp oil to treat dogs with pancreatitis requires consideration of factors such as the dog's weight, severity of pancreatitis, and individual response. It's crucial to consult with a veterinarian for personalized guidance. However, here are some general guidelines for the dosage and administration of hemp oil for dogs: 

hemp oil delivery 

Dosage Guidelines

Start Low and Gradually Increase: Begin with a low dosage of hemp oil, typically around 0.25 mg to 0.5 mg of CBD per pound of body weight, administered once or twice daily. Monitor your dog's response and gradually increase the dosage as needed.

Consider the CBD Concentration: Hemp oil products vary in CBD concentration. Pay attention to the CBD content per milliliter or drop to calculate the appropriate dosage based on your dog's weight.

Adjust Based on Response: Observe your dog for improvements in symptoms such as reduced pain, improved appetite, decreased anxiety, and overall well-being. If desired effects are not achieved, consider increasing the dosage incrementally.

Administration Tips

Mix with Pet Food: Hemp oil can be mixed with your dog's food for easier administration. This can help mask the taste and make it more palatable for your dog.

Direct Administration: Alternatively, you can administer hemp oil directly into your dog's mouth using a dropper or syringe. Lift your dog's lip and place the dropper or syringe near the back of the tongue to minimize spitting out.

Consistency: Administer hemp oil consistently at the same time(s) each day to maintain steady levels in your dog's system. This will help optimize its effectiveness.

Observe for Side Effects: Monitor your dog closely for any potential side effects, such as digestive upset, drowsiness, or changes in behavior, especially when starting a higher or lower dosage.

The Bottom Line

Hemp oil, known for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, holds promise in alleviating chronic pain and inflammation associated with pancreatic conditions in dogs. While veterinary medicine research on its specific benefits for dogs with acute or chronic pancreatitis is ongoing, many pet parents and veterinarians have observed positive outcomes when integrated into a comprehensive treatment plan.

check mark, final word on hemp oil for pancreatitis 

IV fluid therapy is a crucial aspect of treating pancreatitis and other pancreatic issues in dogs, helping to address dehydration, maintain electrolyte balance, and support overall organ function. However, it's essential to complement medical interventions with holistic approaches, such as dietary modifications like a low-fat diet, pain management strategies, and potential supplementation like hemp oil.

Managing a pup's pancreatic problems, whether due to bacterial or viral infections, chronic pain, abdominal trauma, or gastric tract diseases, is a serious undertaking that requires careful attention and comprehensive care. The challenges posed by such illnesses affect both the pup and the pet owners who strive to provide the best possible treatment and support.

Furthermore, pet owners must work closely with their veterinarians to determine the most appropriate dosage and administration of hemp oil, considering the pup's specific needs and health status. By integrating holistic approaches, proper medical care, and supportive therapies, you can help your furry companion manage pancreatic issues and lead a happy healthy life.



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  3. Cridge, H., Twedt, D. C., Marolf, A. J., Sharkey, L. C., & Steiner, J. M. (2021). Advances in the diagnosis of acute pancreatitis in dogs. Journal of veterinary internal medicine, 35(6), 2572–2587. https://doi.org/10.1111/jvim.16292

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Lianne McLeod, DVM, is a former writer for The Spruce Pets, contributing articles for 11 years. Before Dr. McLeod began writing about pet care, she worked several years in small animal practice. She has written extensively about the care and keeping of exotic pets and pet health care. She now researches water quality and chronic disease at the University of Saskatchewan. Lianne McLeod earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. She also received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Simon Fraser University. She continued her education and received a Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of Saskatchewan. Now, she splits her time between her family, research and writing about pet health for all the animal lovers out there.
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