A member of the coffee family, Mitragyna Speciosa, commonly known as Kratom, is getting popularity across the world, particularly in the west due to its powerful euphoric properties. Kratom, which mainly comes from Indonesia, is also found in Thailand, Malaysia, and Myanmar.
Because it belongs to the family of the coffee plant, the general perception of Kratom is that it can relieve several minor health issues and deliver the effects that a coffee plant can have on the human body. Recently, because of some similarities between dogs and humans at the biological level, many pet owners have started giving Ketum as some sort of medication to their dogs to relieve any symptoms of discomfort.
However, the question is, what are the exact effects of Ketum? Are its many benefits another myth or a fact? And is it safe to take Ketum? These are the few fundamental questions that need to be answered before taking Kratom.
Let’s dig out…
What is Kratom?
Before we move towards the effects and adverse effects of Kratom, we must have some know-how about what Kratom is. Well, Mitragyna Speciosa or Kratom is a plant whose leaves contain over 20 chemicals, out of which mainly are:
- 7-hydroxy Mitragynine
These are the active ingredients of Ketum leaves responsible for producing sedation and energizing effects. These properties are why people perceive Speciosa as a substance or compare it to other drugs that deliver euphoria and stimulate a high.
Is Kratom a substance?
Mitragyna Speciosa is composed of many potent alkaloids such as Mitragynine and 7-hydroxy Mitragynine, which are the most active ingredients of the plant. These substances activate the mu-type receptors (a substance receptor) and produce effects similar to those produced by a sense, so yeah.! Therefore, it is said to have a substance-like nature.
How does Kratom work?
Because some chemicals are involved, the exact mechanism is yet to be fully discovered and understood. However, the alkaloids, especially Mitragynine and 7-hydroxy Mitragynine, acts on mu, delta, and kappa-substance receptors. This attachment results in the release of neurotransmitters like endorphins, dynorphins, and enkephalins.
These neurotransmitters suppress the pathway that carries out the sensation of discomfort, so the signal never reaches the Central Nervous System or the CNS. In addition to that, Ketum also releases serotonin and dopamine, which play an important role in making one feel better, boosting energy, and increasing focus.
How is Kratom Effective in Dogs?
The fact that humans and dogs have some similarities at the biological level is why the herb that works so well on humans is also effective in dogs. Previously mentioned receptors, mu, kappa, and delta-substance receptors, are the same receptors that Morphine and Codeine activate.
These receptors, known for relieving discomfort and producing sedatives, are also found in dogs; moreover, these receptors operate the same way as they operate in humans. This presence of substance receptors in dogs and the interaction of the alkaloids present in Ketum give us the idea that it would have analgesic and euphoric effects in dogs.
Kratom and Appetite
One of the primary reasons people, native to the Ketum origin, take the magical herb is to boost energy and increase hunger. Therefore, pet owners, who have tried Kratom as a hunger stimulant in dogs, claim that it increases the desire to eat in dogs. However, one must remember what goes up also comes down, so if you stop giving Kratom to dogs after giving it a few times, it may lead to anorexia.
Types of Kratom for Dogs
Depending on the various effects, a few types of Korth are used for dogs.
The most potent form of Korth, made from Indonesian red strains of Kratom that provides a tremendous amount of energy, is the first choice of many pet owners across the globe. Many pet owners have reported how Maeng Da Kratom has calmed down their dogs and how it has kept them happy and refreshed.
As the name suggests, Malay Kratom is extracted from the plants found in Malaysian forests. It has a full amount of alkaloids that improve the quality of rest quite effectively. Therefore, green Malaya Kratom is suitable for dogs jumping around without rest.
3- Indo Kratom
Because it contains a high concentration of 7-hydroxy Mitragynine, pet owners claim that this Korth can be very useful in treating dogs with severe hip dysplasia. It is also used in dogs who have gone through surgery because Indo Kratom also serves as a powerful sedative substance.
4- Sunda Kratom
Sunda kratom, a fine form of Kratom, is extracted from the leaves of Kratom found solely in the Sunda Islands. Sunda is believed to make those dogs happy once again who have forgotten to be happy.
5- Bali Kratom
Originally belonging to Bali, the Bali Kratom is used with Red Kratom. This Kratom promotes relaxation and boots energy mildly.
What tests have been done so far?
Like for any other new substance, the standard procedure is to use rats or mouse models to determine the effects, adverse reactions, and toxic doses to conclude if a sense is safe for human consumption, so is the case with Speciosa too. Such experiments determine if the substance is beneficial or harmful before we prescribe them to humans because the digestive tract of rats is quite similar to human beings and depicts an almost-alike pattern of reactions which makes it easy to conclude how the substance would react once inside the human body.
Since rodents and dogs belong to the same group of vertebrates, the mammals, and have similar reactions, the result could get us different aspects of Kratom for dogs.
Back in 2007, in this study, it was concluded that the aqueous form of Mitragyna Speciosa significantly decreased the withdrawal symptoms at the dosage of 300mg/kg. In addition to that, the dosage of 100, 300, and 500mg/kg showed antidepressant activity.
This study in 2008 revealed that Kratom could be useful in preventing castor oil-induced illness because it slows down the digestion process in rats if a single dose is given per day.
Recently, in 2016 an experiment on mice suggested that the Kratom could decrease the negative and positive symptoms of social withdrawal and exaggerated climbing.
Lastly, in 2017, the scientists revealed that the derivatives of Kratom could reduce chronic aches with fewer side effects than the original one.
Does that mean Kratom is Safe for Dogs?
Since research surrounding Kratom and dogs is lacking, scientists have been unable to indefinitely conclude if Kratom is safe for dog consumption or, as a matter of fact, even for human consumption. Therefore, the above tests and information only give us an idea of how Kratom works and its possible effects. These tests do not provide factual information that determines the substance’s safety.
Even though Kratom is a potential reliever, sedative, and a happy pill in both humans and dogs, there is no evidence that it is perfectly safe for pets. Additionally, it belongs to the family of coffee and chocolate and contains closely related alkaloids that are highly toxic in canines.
Moreover, keep in mind that something safe for one mammal can be harmful to the other one, like penicillin is quite effective in humans, but when given to guinea pigs, it causes severe adverse effects. Likewise, chocolate which humans love is a well-known danger for dogs.
Problems associated with administration of Kratom.
Let’s, for a moment, consider that Kratom is perfectly safe for the dogs; the question that remains is how are we going to administer it? Kratom has a bitter and grassy taste, something that is not appealing to dogs’ taste buds.
Another problem associated with Kratom is the determination of dosage. Compared to the aqueous extract and modified alkaloids used in experiments, finding accurate doses in the whole Kratom plant or powdery form, which are normally used, is difficult.
What is the alternative drog of Kratom?
As suggested by many pet owners, Cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical obtained from the Cannabis sativa plant, can be the alternative form of Kratom that can be used to treat dogs. CBD oil is a research-based formula, scientifically proven not toxic to dogs and cats, that can be used externally and sublingually.
Dogs often undergo a high level of unease and restlessness either after a traumatic event or accident, after separation, or after tense events such as a thunderstorm. CBD is a much safer and more suitable option in treating these conditions, and it has shown significant results in this.
During transitional periods, such as moving to a different home or environment, it is common for dogs to experience fear and increased levels of nervousness. CBD has also been effective in calming dogs going through such periods.
Like any other thing that offers benefits associated with a substance, Kratom is also getting popular day by day. People are taking the herb themselves and giving it to their pets as well.
Kratom is undoubtedly a powerful herbal cure that boosts energy in both humans and dogs, but whether it is safe in dogs is yet to be discovered. Therefore, as per the famous saying, “prevention is better than cure,” we would suggest that you do not use Kratom for dogs for now; instead, go for its safer alternatives such as CBD, which has been proven effective for pets. However, if you still want to use it for your dog, you must consult a veterinarian first.
Lastly, try to start with low dosages and closely observe changes in your pet’s behavior. And if anything starts to feel weird, take it to a vet the first thing to avoid any mishaps.