CBD Oil for Dogs and Cats: How it can help your pets
When it comes to our pets, there’s not much we wouldn’t do to keep them happy and healthy. Whether it’s the food they eat, levels of exercise, or making sure they have comfy spots for sleeping, there are times we take better care of them than we do ourselves.
CBD, short for Cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring, non-psychoactive chemical that is extracted from cannabis and hemp plants. When introduced to the market, many people flocked to CBD for a natural remedy to help with anxiety, arthritis, seizures, and so much more. Naturally, we began to wonder if our furry family members could also benefit from this seemingly incredible supplement. But it also opened the door to a slew of questions –
- Is CBD safe for my dog or cat?
- Can my pet use the same products I do?
- Is all CBD the same?
- Have there been any clinical trials, ie. science, conducted with CBD and pets?
- Will CBD have the same benefits for my pet that it does for me?
- How does the dosing information differ for pets?
- How do I know which CBD pet products to buy?
Many of these questions are still being answered, but over the last few years we’ve learned a lot about the ins and outs of pet CBD.
Is CBD safe for my dog or cat?
As of the writing of this post, the FDA has yet to approve any CBD products for pets, and only one CBD product has FDA approval for human use. However, many humans and pet owners continue to use them because of the perceived health benefits. Many of the benefits are still being explored.
When it comes to the bare-bones question of CBD being safe or harmful though, there are products that you can feel secure using. You should look for products that engaged within the scientific community by sponsoring clinical trials and worked with veterinary and pet safety organizations.
For example, Applied Basic Science Corporation, or ABSC Organics, went so far as to sponsor a clinical trial for canine safety, as well as epilepsy and arthritis. They’re also conducting clinical trials for drug-resistant epilepsy, in partnership with the American Kennel Club.
If you’re ever unsure, research the product you’re using. Ideally, it’s organic and made from certified hemp or cannabis plant, is free of toxins, residual solvents, heavy metals, free of herbicides and pesticides, and free of GMOs. Phew, that’s a mouthful.
What products should I use for my pet?
As with the foods we eat and vitamins and medicines we take, it’s best for your pet to use CBD that is specifically designed for animals. Flavor and smell play a big part – many pet CBD products are flavored with ingredients that are more enticing to our furry friends, such as chicken, fish, or beef. Even pumpkin has additional nutritional benefits for pets.
Additionally, pet CBD product quantities and dosing are geared for their smaller bodies and systems (e.g. metabolism).
CBD treats to try
Can CBD be used to treat anxiety and other conditions for my pet?
There are a handful of conditions – most notable epilepsy and arthritis – that have real data to back up the effectiveness of CBD as a treatment. Clinical trials conducted at both Colorado State University and Cornell University show that CBD can help canines suffering from seizures and arthritis.
Research on CBD as a treatment for anxiety is ongoing. However, anecdotal evidence (i.e., user feedback) shows that CBD works when it comes to relieving pet stress and improving quality of life.
How much CBD should my pet be given?
Dosing is often one of the biggest questions that comes up when talking about CBD for pets. There are different amounts of CBD in every product, from treats to CBD tinctures (digestible oils) to lotions and balms, measured in milligrams, or mg.
The biggest consideration when determining the amount of CBD for your pet is their weight. An example of dosage amounts for different size animals can be found here and outlines, for example, that a 30lb dog taking a tincture with a density of 40 mg of CBD per mL should receive .25mL per dose. This is no different when administering medicines or antibiotics to your children, for example.
What are the potential side effects for my pet if I give them CBD?
Some common side effects from CBD products are often not due to the CBD itself, but due to the oils used in delivery. One example is that pets in clinical trials experienced loose bowel movements due to the tincture oil.
Another thing to keep an eye on is your pet’s liver function levels, as CBD has been shown to elevate liver enzyme levels. CBD is not harmful, but if your pet has existing liver trouble it’s definitely worth discussing with your veterinarian.
It should be noted that some animals experience small amounts of lethargy when taking CBD. As long as you’re choosing a product with low or non-detectable traces of THC, however, your pet shouldn’t experience any kind of “high.”
What are some things I should do when starting my pet on CBD?
First, always make sure you consult, or at the very least notify, your veterinarian when adding a new medication or supplement to your pet’s regimen. Some vets are happy to discuss CBD as an option, while others are more hesitant.
Regardless, it’s always good to check. Next, start with the recommended dosage. Also, it’s wise to keep a journal so that you have a reference for when CBD was given, how much was given, and any noticeable changes your pet experienced with the product.
We’re still learning more about CBD for pets every day, but signs point to it being generally safe and often effective. As with any medication, buy the product with the research behind it. Talk to a vet before adding anything to your pet’s regimen.