What is Kratom?
Many people have used kratom products for their health benefits. It offers various effects, some of the most popular ones including:
- Cognitive support
- Nootropic support
- Anxiolytic properties
- Stress-relieving properties
- Analgesic properties- relaxing, sedating
- Stimulating properties- energizing, increased sense of focus
Since many pet owners are already using or have heard of cannabidiol (CBD) being an effective option when it comes to achy joints and allergies in canines, it has brought up the question of whether or not kratom could be used similarly.
It’s also natural and has been known to possess effects somewhat similar to that of CBD.
Is Kratom Safe For Dogs?
The short answer is, “not likely.”
While kratom hasn’t been proven dangerous for dogs, and there are people who have reported giving it to their pets safely — there’s no proof it isn’t toxic either. Additionally, there are similar herbs (such as coffee and chocolate) that contain closely related alkaloids that we know are highly toxic to canines.
Even if kratom was safe for dogs — how would you even administer it? Kratom has a notoriously bitter, grassy taste — something any dog would turn their nose up at.
How Does Kratom Work?
Kratom has built a reputation for its powerful abilities to reduce physical pain, doing so by activating the mu-, kappa-, and delta-opioid receptors in the brain.
These receptors are the same as the ones activated by substances such as codeine and morphine. While they share this similarity on which receptors in the brain they interact with, kratom has not yet been proven to cause the respiratory depression associated with some of these more classic opioids.
Animals also have opioid receptors in their brains that operate very similar to how humans do. They also possess kappa, delta, and mu receptors.
Kratom’s main alkaloid, called mitragynine, interacts with these receptors. Therefore we do know that kratom would have an effect on canines like it does with humans, so yes, it could potentially beneficially work for dogs.
But should you give kratom to your dog? Not necessarily.
There simply are not enough studies that have been performed to prove if the herb is safe for our furry friends. At the moment, kratom use should be exclusively for dog owners and humans in general.
While kratom is not the best choice for managing your dog’s pain and anxiety (CBD is a better option), let’s take a more in-depth look at some kratom animal studies to better understand how kratom might work for a dog if it were to be administered to them.
Animal Studies Involving Kratom
The standard is using rat or mouse models to determine doses for effectiveness and safety surrounding any types of new substances that are being tested. This helps them to observe and identify if the substance could be beneficial for humans in any way or if it could potentially be harmful.
Since rodents are mammals, these studies could shed some light on how kratom might affect other mammals, too (such as dogs).
Scientists have uncovered a few different things regarding kratom and rodents:
- Study #1 — One study from 2007 revealed that an aqueous extract of Mitragyna speciosa noticeably improved an addicted mouse’s withdrawal symptoms . The kratom proved to be effective at improving depressive symptoms without reducing spontaneous activity level.
- Study #2 — Another study from 2008 revealed that kratom could slow digestion in rats or stop diarrhea when given just one dose per day. After two weeks, their digestion was back to operating normally .
- Study #3 — A study from 2016 conducted on mice revealed that kratom could alleviate positive and negative symptoms of psychosis in rodents. The behavior included social withdrawal and exaggerated climbing .
- Study #4 — Lastly, a study in 2017 revealed that kratom derivatives were able to effectively relieve chronic pain in rodents and proved to have fewer side effects than the original compound .
Although these studies were conducted on mice and rats, keep in mind that they are also mammals, just like dogs. While this information and test may be able to give us some sort of idea of how kratom would work for another mammal, like a dog, for instance, we still don’t have solid evidence to prove that it is completely safe for canines.
Something to be considered is that penicillin is perfectly safe for humans, but it is toxic to guinea pigs. Chocolate isn’t good for dogs, and as we all know, it’s very much enjoyed and loved by humans. Some things that are safe or that are ingested by humans aren’t always good for our pets.
Dosage may be difficult to determine for canines when using the whole kratom plant or powders compared to aqueous extracts or modified alkaloids, which are the forms of kratom used in the studies above.
Is Kratom Considered Safe for Dogs?
When it comes to whether or not your pet needs kratom or some other alternative to live a more comfortable life, you’ll have to consider the fact that there could be some adverse effects or reactions when using kratom for your dog. Like we mentioned before, some things used by humans are not good for dogs.
With humans, there’s a wide range of side effects that can be associated with kratom use. The most common being mild nausea, dry mouth, constipation, vomiting, or headache. In canines, it is a bit harder to tell what negative side effects they would experience from using kratom, as there have not been studies done to observe this.
Since research surrounding dogs and kratom is lacking, the question you really would want to ask is if your dog would be safe after consuming too much. One study from 1992 concluded that kratom could be fatal in large amounts, as it revealed that a dose of 920 mg/kg given to dogs was not toxic, but a dose of 200 mg/kg given to rats was lethal .
You could always speak to your vet about kratom if it is something you really believe would benefit your dog; however, if your vet does not recommend using the herb, you should refrain from using it and try something else.
There have been trials done by normal people who happen to use kratom and who are aware of the herbs’ many benefits, and who have decided to test it out on their dog. If you do a quick search online for kratom and dogs on Reddit, you’ll notice various examples of dog owners using kratom for their pets.
Personal experiences online lean towards the theory being that kratom can be beneficial for dogs who might struggle with chronic pain or anxiety, including separation anxiety. While these results are interesting, we still do not know what the long-term effects of kratom would have on a dog.
User Report #1:
One user said, “I’d like to report the initial results were pretty good. I gave him one level 1/4 tablespoon of red Bali mixed with peanut butter. He licked it up and didn’t seem to mind the taste. This seemed to ease up his stiffness and give him a bit of a boost, my wife worked late today and he seemed more intrigued at trying to beg for more handouts than about any pain. He also ate quite well which is good. This is initially promising. I’ll have to try it a few more times.” –Thewatchfuleye1
User Report #2
Another stated, “My little dog had somehow injured his leg a few days ago, limping and going so slowly…in a great deal of pain. After not improving in 24 hrs, I gave him 1/4 tsp of some red Sumatra mixed in 1 tsp of peanut butter and he ate it up. By midday, he was putting weight back on it, by the end of the day he was back to his old self. He is an older dog, 11 y.o. Shih tzu weighs 13 lbs.” –magaorelse
Does My Dog Need Kratom?
Kratom has been thought to be especially helpful at relieving pain, anxiety, stress, and depression.
While research on dogs and kratom is still in infancy, the real-life experiences of dog owners across the map and the studies conducted on rodents show promise when it comes to kratom being a valuable tool for dogs with physical pain or anxiety.
It’s important to remember that rodents, while they are mammals, still aren’t dogs. The species are completely different, and the effects may be well-tolerated by mice and rats but not by canines. If more research is conducted on the effects of kratom on dogs, we may be able to find a definitive answer on whether it should be administered to them or not. Until then, it would be best to play it safe.
Dogs with separation anxiety or anxiety during stressful events, such as thunderstorms, have found great success from ingesting CBD. When dogs experience a traumatic event or accident, it also induces sometimes overbearing levels of anxiety and restlessness in canines. CBD has been a much safer, more effective option when it comes to managing these issues in dogs.
Events like moving to a different home or environment, something many rescue dogs go through, can also be incredibly difficult for some dogs and will invoke a sense of serious fear and anxiety. Cannabidiol can also be used to calm them down during transitional periods like this.
Key Takeaway: Don’t Give Your Dog Kratom
While kratom has been shown to offer some benefits for mammals, it has also been known to cause some problems in canines in larger doses, like seizures, kidney failure, and liver failure, and even death.
The risks outweigh the benefits with this one, so for now, keep your kratom to yourself.
Remember to start with a small amount, and always pay attention to how your dog is acting after ingesting kratom. If you are concerned about giving your dog kratom, speak with a holistic veterinarian about using kratom for your dog’s pain and anxiety first.
- Kumarnsit, E., Keawpradub, N., & Nuankaew, W. (2007). Effect of Mitragyna speciosa aqueous extract on ethanol withdrawal symptoms in mice. Fitoterapia, 78(3), 182-185.
- Chittrakarn, S., Sawangjaroen, K., Prasettho, S., Janchawee, B., & Keawpradub, N. (2008). Inhibitory effects of kratom leaf extract (Mitragyna speciosa Korth.) on the rat gastrointestinal tract. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 116(1), 173-178.
- Vijeepallam, K., Pandy, V., Kunasegaran, T., Murugan, D. D., & Naidu, M. (2016). Mitragyna speciosa leaf extract exhibits antipsychotic-like effect with the potential to alleviate positive and negative symptoms of psychosis in mice. Frontiers in pharmacology, 7, 464.
- Chin, K. Y., & Mark-Lee, W. F. (2018). A review on the antinociceptive effects of Mitragyna speciosa and its derivatives on animal model. Current drug targets, 19(12), 1359-1365.
- Fluyau, D., & Revadigar, N. (2017). Biochemical benefits, diagnosis, and clinical risks evaluation of kratom. Frontiers in psychiatry, 8, 62.