There’s a growing interest in herbal supplements and holistic health approaches today. One such herb is Kratom. Some people believe this leaf helps them manage pain, depression, and anxiety while others use it for recreational purposes.
What is Kratom, what’s in it, and how does it act? Does it have the same potential benefits for Fido as for humans, and is it safe?
We’ll seek to answer these questions and more as we explore this plant-based supplement.
What Ingredients Are In Kratom?
Kratom is a tree that’s found in Southeast Asia. Traditionally people chew on dried leaves or use it to make a tea elixir. Producers in Thailand also use the plant to make a powder preparation.
There are over 20 active chemicals in the leaves including some compounds that have analgesic and opioid-like effects. The main active ingredients are:
- 7-hydroxy mitragynine
Mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine are the main chemicals that can produce analgesic effects similar to codeine, and they may also demonstrate some anti-inflammatory properties.
Speciociliatine, Pynantheine, and Speciogynine also have some analgesic effects and can also influence behavior and the function of smooth muscles in animals.
Can We Give Kratom For Dogs?
Currently, this substance is not approved for any use by the FDA because of limited research and potential risks of addiction and dependence. That being said, Kratom is available in some specialty stores and on the internet. People claim using this herb helps them manage anxiety, depression, pain, and stress.
But what about Fido? Like CBD oil for dogs, some people use Kratom as an alternative approach for managing their pooch’s pain. These owners report that their pups show noticeable improvements after ingesting the supplement. There are also holistic veterinarians that turn to the herb as a natural treatment option for their patients.
There are risks and side effects involved with giving this plant to dogs, and we’ll discuss them later in this post. If you elect to try Kratom for your furbaby, be well informed.
Is Kratom An Opioid?
Kratom is a herbal remedy with several chemical compounds. The primary ingredients listed above are alkaloid substances that, like other opioids, can link to mu-type brain receptors and produce effects like pain relief, sedation, and a sense of pleasure. The most active substances are Mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine.
What Does Kratom Do?
Perhaps because there’s a combination of chemicals in Kratom, it can act in different ways. Some of the actions depend on the dose level.
- It can provide analgesia or pain relief.
- It can also behave as a cough suppressant in animals.
- In low doses, it functions as a stimulant by acting on adenosine, adrenergic, and serotonin receptors in the brain.
- In higher doses, it performs as a sedative by acting against mu, kappa, and delta-opioid receptors in the brain.
Is Kratom Regulated By The FDA?
Kratom is not FDA approved for any medical use, so distributors can not legally advertise this supplement as a way to treat any medical conditions. It is not currently on the list of prohibited products under the Controlled Substances Act, but the DEA lists it as a Drug and Chemical of Concern.
This substance falls under FDA and DEA regulation as an herbal product and is considered legal in the United States. However, there are some states and cities that prohibit possession of this substance.
What Do Veterinarians Say About Kratom For Dogs?
Other Veterinarians And Doctors
Veterinarian opinion varies when it comes to giving Kratom to dogs. Some veterinarians will allow pups to have small doses of the substance to help alleviate pain and anxiety. Dr. Fox suggests that this drug may be a safe alternative to prescription opioids, and he calls for further studies in animals.
Others in the medical field stress that we don’t know enough about Kratom to recommend its use, and there are serious risks (such as dependency and liver damage) involved with consuming the drug.
My Personal Opinion?
We don’t know enough about Kratom yet. I agree with Dr. Fox that we need to study this substance to understand it’s actions, metabolism, and side effects. There are promising reports about how it can benefit dogs, but it must be handled with extreme care.
In the case of old pooches with painful terminal conditions like cancer, I might consider trying Kratom to improve their quality of life.
What Are The Potential Benefits To Giving Your Dog Kratom?
There are many unsubstantiated claims as to the effects of taking Kratom. Scientific support for reported benefits in people is still limited. In animals, studies suggest that this substance could help with a number of conditions.
1) Anti-Anxiety Medicine
If you’ve ever dealt with a dog that goes crazy when you leave them alone, you understand that our furbabies can suffer from anxiety just like we can. As an opioid, Kratom might be able to stimulate energy and help to calm your pal’s nerves.
2) Arthritis Relief
People in Southeast Asia have been using Kratom for pain relief for many years, and animal studies suggest that this herb may provide similar effects in dogs.
These results could be good news for canine companions suffering from arthritis pain. Some owners that give Kratom to their arthritic furry friends report happier, more active pups.
3) Chronic Pain Relief
Because the alkaloid drugs in Kratom act on the mu-type opioid receptors to create analgesia, the herb could be useful to help relieve pain.
In a research trial, 62 out of 66 dogs that received Kratom to treat their pain showed noticeable improvements. For dogs with ongoing aches and soreness, this herb might provide comfort.
4) Seizure Treatment
There is conflicting information about the effectiveness of Kratom to treat seizures.
On the one hand, some individuals with pets that suffer from epilepsy or other conditions that cause seizures report improvement after taking Kratom. Some experience no more seizures while others have only minor episodes.
However, according to the American Psychiatric Association and other sources, there are also cases of Kratom-induced seizures in people. Some of the trigger events occurred when the patient combined this herb with other substances.
5) Appetite Stimulant
One reason that people chew on Kratom leaves is to increase their energy and appetite. As a stimulant, this substance will likely boost your pal’s activity level and desire to eat. Just remember, what goes up must come down. If you stop giving your pooch Kratom, it can lead to a decreased appetite or anorexia.
6) Energy Stimulant
At low to moderate doses, Kratom acts as a mild stimulant. The chemicals react with brain receptors to stimulate alertness and energy levels.
Understanding Red Kratom For Dog Pain
There are different strains of Kratom mostly based on their originating source. Each one has some variation in the effects that people claim to experience when they use it. Of these strains, those that come from leaves with a red vein have a reputation for higher potency.
Red Kratom strains are the most popular varieties, and they can be the hardest to find. They’re known for their tendency to provide pain relief and relaxation. The chemical composition of these leaves appears to dull the body’s ability to sense pain. The potential to create this effect could be useful in treating dogs with injuries or chronic debilitation.
A study of the market shows that pet owners prefer to use Red Kratom over other varieties to help their canine companions manage pain symptoms.
5 Best Kratom Strains For Dogs According To Their Owners
1) Maeng Da Kratom
Maeng Da is a strain of Red Kratom that comes from Indonesia. Breeders developed this variety to provide a high level of potency for pain relief and energy stimulation. Pet owners like Maeng Da for its ability to soothe pain sensation and help pups feel refreshed.
2) Green Malay Kratom
This Kratom strain comes from Malaysian forests. It is one of the most potent types of Green Kratom available and has a high alkaloid concentration. Green Malay can work to ease pain and overcome insomnia so that your furbaby gets the rest he needs. If your pup is restless, this variety might be helpful.
3) Sunda Kratom
Powder supplements from Kratom leaves grown on the Sunda Islands are collectively known as Sunda Kratom. There are different types of this strain, and canine owners have had good results with two of them.
- Bali Kratom – As you would suspect, Bali Kratom grows on the island by the same name. This variety offers similar pain relief properties to Red Kratom. It also offers a light energy boost and a euphoric sense of relaxation.
- Borneo Kratom – The Borneo strain has a reputation for helping with anxiety. Users report that it can help to relieve extreme pain and calm your pal’s nerves. Owners prefer this strain for muscle pain.
4) Indo Kratom
Indo Kratom leaves contain a high level of 7-hydroxy mitragynine. This strain seems to be an effective pain reliever, and it can also act as a sedative.
How To Administer Kratom To Dogs
Humans use Kratom in tea, take it in capsules, or as a powder. What about dogs? This herb has a bitter taste, and your pal is likely to spit it out unless you make it more interesting to him.
Ways Owners Give Kratom To Their Pups
- Sugarless peanut butter – Add Kratom to some sugar-free peanut butter to mask the bitter taste. Most pups go crazy for this sandwich spread, so they’ll see it as a treat. Using sugarless will help you to avoid high fructose syrups and other ingredients that Fido doesn’t need. Start with just 2 grams of Kratom powder in 1 tablespoon of peanut butter.
- Add to treats – Mix a small amount of Kratom powder with a special treat like hamburger or beef bits.
- With fruit – Puree some apples or get a little canned pumpkin and mix the Kratom in it. Then let your furbaby lick it out of his dish.
- Mix it with beef bone broth – Canines love beef broth. The amount of kratom you need won’t affect the flavor. Stir the powder in and let your four-footed pal lap up the blend.
- Mix it with their dinner – If you use moist food, you can stir the powder right into their food.
- Rub it on their gums – Some owners rub a Kratom solution on their canine pal’s gums. The surface vessels in the mucous membranes will absorb the liquid quickly. This can help when Fido is in extreme pain.
There are no dosing guidelines for dogs, so finding the right amount involves some trial and error. Start small as higher dosages can have negative side effects including:
- Liver damage
Some veterinarians and owners use a Kratom calculator for human dosages to determine how much to give their pooches based on weight.
Adding probiotics when you give Kratom to your furry friend can support the digestion of the alkaloid compounds.
Is Kratom Toxic To Dogs?
A review of studies on the effects of Kratom in humans and animals suggests that Kratom is minimally toxic. At very high doses, it can damage the liver and cause seizures, but current research does not show toxic effects at lower levels.
A Look At The Risks And Possible Side Effects Of Kratom
Although Kratom can not legally be marketed as a drug in the United States, many of its actions resemble other controlled substances like codeine and morphine.
The University of Maryland, School of Pharmacy published a document in 2014 that summarizes the risks and possible side effects of this herb. The FDA also warns people against using Kratom because of serious safety concerns.
The Mayo Clinic reports a number of side effects in humans. Although more studies are needed, it is possible that dogs could experience many of the same adverse results.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Tongue numbness and dry mouth
- Constipation and changes in the urine
- Liver damage
- Hallucinations and aggression
- Muscle tremors and seizures
- Brain swelling
- Difficulty breathing
- Thyroid problems
What Are Dog Owners Saying About Kratom?
Pet owners who give Kratom to their furbabies report promising results. Caregivers tell us they use this supplement for a variety of reasons including to help their pups with arthritis, cancer pain, injuries, anxiety, and depression.
Below are some of the things that different people shared about using this herb.
D.N. from New Hampshire
D.N. has an elderly Shiba Inu who dislocated his hip when he slipped on the stairs. When his prescription medications made this pup irritable and lethargic, D.N. told Dr. Fox, “I tried kratom; within hours of the first dose, he seemed a lot happier. I have been using 1/4 teaspoon of red strains of kratom twice a day for about eight months now. He is old and likes his sleep, but with the Kratom, he is more like his old self: interested in dog things and engaging with his people, a great appetite and firm, regular stools. I know he is feeling a lot better, and he has nearly all of his mobility back(except stairs).”
The American Kratom Association has anecdotal reports about kratom use in pets.
- Dominique shares that when she gives the herb to her pit 3-legged bull, “you can see the relief both in his expression and movement within 20 minutes.”
- Katie reports that she had a dog with terminal cancer, and when she gave him some Kratom, “Lo and behold, the old bastard got up from his somber sad corner of the world and started playing for the first time in months, and he ate for the first time in a couple of days, it was like he was a totally new dog.”
- Julie has an elderly pup with bad arthritis. She says, “He was at the point where he could hardly get up or walk… Everybody has noticed the difference in him, in fact, my husband was getting a little annoyed because now he’s up and begging in the kitchen again lol! If I am late for a dose he will come and find me to remind me, so I know even he knows it’s helping him.”
These are a few of the testimonials that dog owners have shared about trying Kratom to help their furbabies.
Final Thoughts On Kratom For Dogs
For dog owners seeking herbal alternatives to traditional pain and anxiety medications, there’s some promising information about Kratom. People who use this substance to help their canine companions report benefits that include increased energy, less anxiety, and noticeable pain relief.
However, there’s also some concerning information about this herbal supplement, and using it does not come risk-free. If you want to experiment with Kratom, talk to your veterinarian first and use extreme caution.