July 18, 2020 10 min read

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With dogs being prone to eye diseases like glaucoma and cataracts, using both preventative therapies and natural remedies works. CBD rich hemp oil as a natural dietary supplement for dogs affected with glaucoma may not only ease anxiety, pain, and nausea stemming from this condition but also offers therapeutic value without any intoxication.

Today, 40% of dogs will be affected by glaucoma, and lose their eyesight. Unfortunately, glaucoma affects us all. Dogs included! Glaucoma in dogs occurs when there is an imbalance in the production of fluid (aqueous humor), as well as an imbalance in the drainage of aqueous humor in the dog’s eye. This results in a buildup of fluid that increases pressure in the eye to dangerously high levels. With increased eye pressure, the optic disk and retina are negatively affected.

Glaucoma is an emergency health issue in dogs that needs immediate veterinary care to avoid the destruction of the retina and optic disk. When your dog suffers from eye pain related to glaucoma, there may also be behavioral changes. That said, it’s important to visit your veterinarian at the first sign of an  eye infection to get the proper treatment.

Research also indicates that certain dog breeds may be prone to glaucoma like the Swedish Valhund dog breed. A defect in the gene called MERTK results in a form of progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) that results in glaucoma and blindness in dogs.

Dog Breeds Prone to Glaucoma

  • Akitas
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Chow Chows
  • Poodles
  • Swedish Valhunds
  • English Springer Spaniels
  • Samoyeds
  • Dalmatians
  • Great Danes
  • Chihuahuas
  • Schnauzers
  • Basset Hounds
  • Beagles
  • Jack Russell Terriers

Glaucoma in Dogs

There are two types of glaucoma in dogs: Primary and secondary. Primary glaucoma is genetically based, and comes from a genetic abnormality or a genetic condition. Secondary glaucoma in dogs occurs when an eye condition results in an imbalance in the production and drainage of aqueous humor. (eye fluid)

Glaucoma can result from cataracts, lens displacement, retinal detachment, and eye cancer. The constant increased pressure may result in optic disk damage, as well as damage to the retina. That said, it’s necessary to consult with your veterinarian as to the first signs of an eye infection, to prevent serious eye conditions like glaucoma from affecting your furry best friend.

Signs of Early to Moderate Glaucoma in Dogs

  • Mildly dilated pupils
  • Early enlargement of the eye
  • Mild congestion in the veins in the conjunctiva
  • Redness of the eye
  • Behavioral changes 
  • Cloudy eye
  • Winking of the eye
  • Pain
  • Vision loss

Signs of Prolonged Eye Pressure in Dogs

If your dog is not treated early enough for glaucoma and has had prolonged eye pressure, symptoms are much more serious.

  • Eye lens may become displaced
  • Eyeball is enlarged
  • Corneal membrane may have tears
  • Excessive pain
  • Behavioral changes like aggression
  • Degeneration in the affected eye

Signs of Secondary Glaucoma or Glaucoma Resulting from a Secondary Eye Infections in Dogs

  • Excessively red eyes
  • Eye cloudiness
  • Increased eye pressure with pain
  • Pupil constriction
  • Iris may attach to the cornea or to the eye lens
  • Iris edge may attach in a circular motion to the eye lens
  • Minimal appetite
  • Lethargy

Head shaking with pain from increased eye pressure

  • Eye debris in the front part of the eye

Your veterinarian will use a tonometer to measure eye pressure in your dog, and may recommend medical or surgical eye treatment so that eye pressure can be decreased. With glaucoma it’s important that eye pressure is decreased quickly, to decrease chances of extensive eye damage. He may also prescribe medication to draw out eye fluid, or to decrease fluid production in the eye. With glaucoma, treatment necessitates long term treatment, and veterinary care, as well as pain meds. Additionally, it may be best to discuss  CBD oils for dogs with glaucoma as a pain reliever.

If Your Dog Has Glaucoma, He May Benefit from CBD

Here’s the deal on why CBD may be beneficial for your dog’s eye health.

What is CBD Oil?

“Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the naturally occurring cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. It is a 21-carbon terpenophenolic compound which is formed following decarboxylation from a cannabidiolic acid precursor, although it can also be produced synthetically,” via WHO.

CBD does not cause a “high” in your dog, and is a compound of hemp and cannabis. Additionally, CBD is derived from the hemp plant, but can also be derived from the marijuana plant. CBD hardly ever contains delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the compound that gives marijuana its “high” effect. High-quality CBD is non-toxic and considered safe for pets and humans alike.

There are almost no side-effects, apart from those coming from a low-quality CBD oil that may contain contaminants. It’s always best to look out for the cheaper qualities of some CBD oils that probably will have no certificate of analysis (COA)

Although rare, side effects in dogs may include sleepiness and nausea. That said, pet parents should always consider discussing the use of CBD with their veterinarians before purchasing a CBD pet product. This is important for two reasons. Firstly, pet parents need to purchase a high-quality, veterinary approved CBD pet product that will be safe and effective for their pets. Secondly, it’s important that the dosage and potency be discussed with an expert because specific dosages will be more appropriate for specific health conditions. That said, some CBD oils may take a few weeks to have a full impact on your dog for chronic pain relief. This is because it’s safer to always begin with the lowest CBD dosage and increase the dosage over time. This is much safer and prevents adverse reactions from occurring in case your dog has a reaction to a specific ingredient.

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

The endocannabinoid system has two cannabinoid receptors which are CB1 and CB2. CBG has an effect on both CB1 and CB2 by increasing the levels of anandamide (AEA) in the body. That said, the endocannabinoid (ECS) system is important in dogs, and aids in the function of maintaining homeostasis.

New Advanced CBD Formulas for Pets

This is one of the most exciting times in the CBD industry. Today, we have a variety of high-quality CBD oil supplements, dog treats, hemp-based chews, capsules, and topicals with added ingredients that boost and maintain your pet’s overall health. 

CBD oil supplement manufacturers are passionate about giving optimal support for pets through theirADVANCED CBD FORMULAS

Here’s what’s so great about these new and advanced formulas:

  • DHA & EPA from seafood and plants
  • Omega-3’s
  • Hip & Joint support
  • Calming support
  • Precise dosage
  • Gourmet and assorted flavors 
  • Soft chews and soft-baked bites for senior pets
  • CBD pet products that address specific issues like anxiety, chronic pain or illness
  • Easy-to-swallow capsules
  • High-quality hemp that is THC-free and veterinarian approved
  • Most importantly, CBD products that are THC-free
  • Veterinary formulated CBD products that are naturally hypoallergenic & 100% biodegradable
  • Cruelty-free CBD products
  • High-quality ingredients that are sourced and manufactured in the US
  • Joint CBD products that are terpene rich with full-spectrum hemp.
  • CBD pet products with added antimicrobial bee propolis to help fight infections and calm allergies
  • CBD pet products with added coconut oil to help pets absorb CBD tinctures and promote easier digestion in all pets.
  • Topical salves for easier application and great for joint pain, stress and anxiety.
  • Freeze-dried CBD treats that contain no pesticides, no herbicides or toxic chemicals.
  • Hemp oil topical creams for joint and connective tissue problems like inflammation, burns, and scratches.

CBD as a Therapeutic Neuroprotective Antioxidant to Boost Eye Health in Dogs

With dogs being prone to eye diseases like glaucoma and cataracts, using both preventative therapies and natural remedies works. We tend to take our dog’s eye health for granted until there’s a problem like a serious eye infection.

Dogs benefit fromantioxidants like CBD that may benefit ocular health. This can be done by complementing your dog’s diet with specific antioxidants that will prevent oxidative stress. Antioxidants also protect your dog’s eyes every day by attacking oxidative stress, and protecting against free radical production.

Antioxidants like CBD also prevent inflammation of the eye. Additionally, older dogs have a depleted level of antioxidants. They also will suffer from normal aging of the retina, which will result in gradual night vision loss. By adding specific antioxidants, which are essential for maintaining health and proper biological function, you’re inhibiting the oxidation process, and preventing chronic diseases and illness, caused by free radicals that continuously damage cells.

An earlystudy done on CBD in 1998 was one of the first studies to demonstrate howCBD as an antioxidant was found to be more beneficial than vitamins C and E. The study adds that “The lack of psychoactivity associated with cannabidiol allows it to be administered in higher doses than would be possible with psychotropic cannabinoids such as THC. Furthermore, the ability of cannabidiol to protect against neuronal injury without inhibiting NMDAr (N-methyl-d-aspartate) receptors may reduce the occurrence of toxicity or side effects associated with NMDAr antagonists. Previous studies have indicated that cannabidiol is not toxic, even when chronically administered to humans or given in large acute doses of 700 mg/day,” via NCBI.

 CBD Oil and Glaucoma in Dogs

 CBD oil breaks down peroxynitrite on contact.CBD is an antioxidant that prevents the formation of  peroxynitrite inside the cell. CBD oil may help to prevent blindness by stopping the apoptosis of neurons. That said, CBD with CBN, and CBG may help with glaucoma in dogs. 

When it comes to dogs and glaucoma, or chronic ocular hypertension, eye pressure can reach 45-65 mmHg, resulting in an extremely painful condition. Your veterinarian needs to always be in your dog’s life when dealing with health issues. CBD use should not be a reason not to consult and work together with your veterinarian since dogs with health conditions will need to have a veterinary diagnosis that is accurate with traditional veterinary care and drugs. That said,CBD rich hemp oil as a natural dietary supplement needs to be discussed with your veterinarian prior to use, to also see if there are drug interactions.

 Is CBD Oil Safe for Dogs?

 Veterinary News DVM 360 adds that cannabinoids that are beneficial to health undergo the first-class metabolism, and says that there is more of a risk from toxicity with inhalant products than with oral products. That said, Veterinary News  DVM 360 states that “The drug is eliminated by hepatic metabolism and biliary excretion in five days in dogs. Cannabinoids are very safe in dogs; indeed, a life-threatening dose of THC is hard to determine. “Toxicity” often reflects the ingestion of another compound in the product eaten, such as chocolate.”

 CBD Glaucoma Research

 Brand new 2018 research about the effects of CBD on glaucoma adds that “Glaucoma represents several optic neuropathies leading to irreversible blindness through progressive  retinal ganglion cell (RGC) loss.

The reduction of  intraocular pressure (IOP) is known as the only modifiable factor in the treatment of this disorder. Application of exogenouscannabinoids to lower IOP has attracted the attention of scientists as potential agents for the treatment of glaucoma. Accordingly,  neuroprotective effect of these agents has been recently described through modulation of  endocannabinoid system in the eye,” via Science Direct.

Another study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology adds that “Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world. In spite of the diverse therapeutic possibilities, new and better treatments for glaucoma are highly desirable. Cannabinoids effectively lower the intraocular pressure (IOP) and have neuroprotective actions. Thus, they could potentially be useful in the treatment of glaucoma, “via NCBI

A 2003 study demonstrated that “in glaucoma, the increased release of glutamate is the major cause of retinal ganglion cell death. Cannabinoids have been demonstrated to protect neuron cultures from glutamate-induced death,” via PubMed.

This study concluded that “The effect of THC was in part mediated by the cannabinoid receptor CB1. These results suggest the potential use of CBD as a novel topical therapy for the treatment of glaucoma. The effect of THC was in part mediated by the cannabinoid receptor CB1. These results suggest the potential use of CBD as a novel topical therapy for the treatment of glaucoma.”

Another 2006 pilot study wanting to assess the effect on intraocular pressure (IOP) and the safety and tolerability of oromucosal administration of a low dose of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9-THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) on people added that “A single 5 mg sublingual dose of Delta-9-THC reduced the IOP temporarily and was well tolerated by most patients. Sublingual administration of 20 mg CBD did not reduce IOP, whereas 40 mg CBD produced a transient increase IOP rise,” via PubMed.

In yet an additional study, it was found that that 0.1% THC in light mineral oil, when applied directly to the eyes of a patient with high blood pressure with glaucoma, resulting in decreased systolic blood pressure.

What is CBG?

CBG may have plenty of potential health benefits for dogs.  CBD and CBG are both cannabinoids that will not get your dog “high, with both having few side effects. Using a full-spectrum oil of the highest -quality that has been purchased from a reputable CBD brand helps ensure safety with minimal side-effects.

CBG Tips for Pet Parents

Cannabis strains usually carry less than 10% CBG, yet hemp strains will yield much more CBG with some as high as 94%, and a THC level as low as 0.001%. Because of the restrictions in testing cannabis, it makes it much more difficult to find out about accurate research linked to CBG use. 

Here’s The Take on CBG in Pet Products

CBG is found in much lower concentrations than CBD and THC. It also has no psychoactive properties, meaning that your pooch will not get ‘high”. CBG does not change the effect of THC in the body. It binds with CB2 receptors (found in the body, but not in the brain and nervous system), and can stop other compounds from binding with CB1 receptors. (found in the nervous system and brain) 

When exposed to light or heat, CBG is broken down in the cannabis plant. CBG and CBD are both not addictive, and have few side effects if any. Long term research still needs to be done on the use of both CBD and CBG.

Cannabigerol Use for Intraocular Pressure

The use of CBD oil for glaucoma has been backed up by several studies. A 1984 study demonstrated that “intraocular pressure, ocular toxicity and neurotoxicity after administration of cannabinol or cannabigerol lower ocular tension considerably. While cannabinol had a modest effect on intraocular pressure after a single dose, it caused a more significant reduction in ocular tension during chronic administration. Cannabigerol had similar effects, but the magnitude of response to its chronic administration was greater,” via PubMed. 

This study concludes that the use of hemp-based products and cannabis supplements, when administered in the right dosage, proved effective in treating glaucoma in dogs. As usual, consult with your veterinarian for the best CBD oil products for dogs with glaucoma is recommended. That said, hemp-based CBD pet products offer all the chemicals from the hemp plant which includes CBD, CBN, and CBG, as well as numerous other compounds like terpenes and cannabinoids.

With CBD pet products positively surging forward, pet parents have no shortage of choices. It’s important for pet parents to do their homework together with their veterinarian, prior to purchasing a CBD supplement for their dogs. With research demonstrating the positive impacts ofCBD as an antioxidant and powerful dietary supplement, it’s necessary to hone in on the differing tincture potencies and lab testing procedures to ensure product purity, safety, and efficacy.


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Meet The Author

Claudia Bensimoun

Claudia Bensimoun author of CBD for dogs with Glaucoma

Claudia Bensimoun is a freelance journalist and author, and specializes in veterinary content, and eBooks. She's a long-time feature writer for Animal Wellness magazine, Fido Friendly magazine, and the United States Dog Agility Association. In addition, Bensimoun has written for numerous pet websites, magazines, newspapers and online publications. Her interests include wildlife conservation, animal welfare, disaster/ humanitarian relief, veterinary research, and veganism.