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CBD oil is talked about everywhere these days. It’s mentioned in the news, on TV, in magazines, and on social media. You’ve probably heard at least one person you know mention CBD, especially if you live with a chronic condition like anxiety, pain, or poor sleep. There seems to be no shortage of potential health benefits of CBD in people.
CBD is found in products such as oils, muscle creams, edibles like gummies, vapes, and cosmetic products. With the soaring popularity of CBD Oil, people are now turning to CBD for their pets. You can now even find CBD products for pets, like CBD oils, doggie treats and cat treats. Like humans, animals can suffer from many of the same health ailments. But, does it work for pets? Here is what you need to know about using CBD for your furry friends to make a more informed decision.
What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of over 100 cannabinoids, or plant chemicals, found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Most people think of marijuana when they hear cannabis, but Cannabis sativa is the plant the both marijuana and hemp are produced from. The difference between marijuana and hemp is in the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the cannabinoid that causes the intoxication, or “high,” that people experience when they smoke or ingest marijuana. Hemp has less than 0.3% THC by dry weight, whereas marijuana has more than 0.3% THC. Therefore, hemp and hemp products, like hemp-derived CBD, do not get you high.
CBD interacts with the CB1 and CB2 receptors that belong to the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in our bodies. Our bodies actually produce our own “cannabinoids” called endocannabinoids. The ECS is a very important system in our body that is involved in maintaining homeostasis, or balance, and helps our bodies function optimally. The ECS is has an important role in regulating mood, pain, sleep, as well as many other health conditions. CBD works by supplementing our endocannabinoid system.
Just like humans, animals have an endocannabinoid system that CBD, and other cannabinoids, can interact with. And, since CBD is not intoxicating, people are turning to CBD, rather than THC, to get health benefits without the “high” for themselves as well as their furry family members.
How does CBD affects dogs and cats?
Although there are no formal studies on how CBD affects dogs and cats, what researchers do know is that CBD, and other cannabinoids, interact with the receptors of the ECS located in the nervous system and other organs in the body, which helps maintain balance in the body and help keep it in a healthy state.
What Health Problems in Dogs and Cats Might CBD Help?
CBD is not FDA approved for pets, so we can not, nor do we, make any medical claims. But, if you search online, you will find countless stories of pet owners describing their older dog with arthritis running and playing like they were a puppy again, or their pet being less scared during thunderstorms, or the frequency of seizures improving. People have reported using CBD in their pet for conditions such as:
-Neuropathy and nerve pain
-Inflammation and Inflammatory conditions
-Inflammatory Bowel Disease
-Skin and coat conditions
Unfortunately, there are no definitive scientific data on using CBD to treat pets, but there have been some small studies, with larger studies planned.
A study by Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine in 2018  showed that taking CBD oil at a dose of 2 mg/kg body weight twice a day for 4 weeks in dogs with osteoarthritis helped increase comfort and activity of the dogs with no reported side effects.
A randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial in 2018  demonstrated that dogs with diagnosed osteoarthritis receiving a daily dose of 0.3 mg/kg of a CBD infused oil for 4 weeks exhibited significantly reduced pain and improvement in functional performance.
In a pilot study from Colorado State University in 2018  on use of CBD in dogs with seizures, preliminary data showed almost 90% of dogs taking the CBD oil had a significant reduction in seizures compared to only about 20% in the placebo group.
A Canadian study in 2019 , asked pet owners who had given their pets hemp or marijuana products how well it worked for them compared to conventional medications. They found that cannabis products were the same or more effective than conventional medications for pain relief (77.2%), reducing inflammation (70.8%), relieving anxiety (67.7%), helping with thunderstorm or fireworks phobia (32.9%), helping with sleep (46.6%), reducing nausea and vomiting (25.8%), seizures (26.3%), and helping suppress muscle spasms (28.3%).
There are larger studies planned to research CBD’s affect on pain, seizures and cancer.
Possible Side Effects of CBD in Pets
Overall, high CBD containing oils seem to be safe and well tolerated.
A recent study published in 2020  investigated the safety of escalating doses of CBD oil compared to high THC oil in 10 dogs. There were 10 doses, ranging from 18.3-640.5 mg of CBD per dose (~2-62 mg/kg), and found that the dogs tolerated the escalating doses of CBD well, and CBD had a favorable safety profile, compared to high THC oils.
There have been some reports of elevated liver enzymes, however. In the same osteoarthritis study mentioned above by Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine, some dogs were found to have an incidental rise in alkaline phosphatase levels.
Some other potentially mild side effects might include dry mouth, mild diarrhea, or sleepiness.
What CBD Products Can I give My Pet?
Because CBD, especially for pets, is largely unregulated, it can be difficult to know which CBD products are safe, free from contaminants, and contain the ingredients the product label claims. And, while it may be safe to give your pet some human CBD products, some of these human CBD products may contain additives, flavorings, or other ingredients, such as grapeseed oil or xylitol, which may be toxic to your pet.
Therefore, it is best to give your pet a product labeled specifically for pets. Also, when shopping around, whether online or in a retail store, look to see that lab test results are available for the CBD product, and that it is made following good manufacturing practices (GMP).
How To Give Your Pet CBD
A CBD oil is the best way to give your pet CBD. A dropper allows you to more accurately titrate and control how much CBD your pet is getting. If you give your pet CBD treats, you either have to give multiples of the treat, i.e. 1, or 2 or 3 pieces, etc., or you have to cut the treat in half or quarters, which is an inaccurate way to dose the CBD. With an oil, you can count the drops, and know how much CBD is in each drop, or if the dropper is marked/graduated, you can easily measure it out. Just drop the CBD oil directly into your pet’s mouth, or you can place it on their food or treat.
Most pet owners report that their pets have no issue with the taste, and some pets seem to really enjoy it. However, if your pet is not particularly fond of the flavor, you may want to try CBD treats that have pet friendly flavors, such as salmon, bacon, or different fruit and vegetable flavors. However, it is always advisable to double check to ensure there are no additives or flavorings that may be toxic to your pet. Also, buying CBD pet treats will likely be more expensive than just placing drops of CBD oil on their normal treat.
What Dose of CBD Should You Give Your Pet?
As recommended for humans, also follow the adage of starting low and going slow with pets. This will help minimize potential side effects, and help you find the minimum effective dose, so you your pet is not taking more than it needs, and therefore, wasting CBD.
Dosing for pets is based on bodyweight. Typically, 1-5 mg per every 10 lbs of weight. Some pets may only need smaller “micro-doses.” Stay at the dose for 1 week before moving up on the dose. This will give it some time to build up in the body, as well as allow you to monitor your pet for benefits and any side effects.
CBD for pets is becoming more and more popular as pet owners are realizing the health benefits their furry family members could experience. Although there are a lot of reports from pet owners about the benefits, and a small number of studies showing it may be helpful, more research is needed.
If you do decide to try CBD for your pet, it is always advisable to check with your veterinarian first. When giving your pet anything new, including CBD, start with a small amount, monitor closely for the effect, and go up on the dose slowly.
If you want to give it a try, check out our Pet CBD Oil here.
The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional or veterinarian.