Can CBD for Pets really improve the lives of our four-legged friends, or is it just a part of the current CBD craze? We’ll give you the full story straight from the horse’s mouth (yes, there’s CBD for horses too!).
It’s a great time to be a pet. Booming industries have been made out of pet boutiques, pet resorts, gourmet pet cafes, and even pet therapists. So, it’s no surprise that CBD for pets is a growing trend.
But giving CBD to our fuzzy friends may not be just another fad. Anecdotal evidence from thousands of pet owners suggests that CBD is a potent pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, anti-epileptic, and anti-anxiety solution for animals.
In fact, the evidence is so strong that the Canine Health Foundation sponsored a study by Colorado State University to better understand the effects of CBD on dogs (more on the surprising findings below).
What exactly is the story behind CBD for pets? Does it really work? And if so, what are the risks?
In this article, we are going to tell you all about CBD for pets, including what it’s used for and what the science says. If you’d like to give it a try, we’ll even tell you how to get some and what the proper dosage is for your pet.
What is CBD for Pets?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural component of the cannabis plant that has been linked to health benefits in animals and humans in multiple studies. CBD is just one of many cannabinoids (compounds found in the cannabis plant), all of which affect the body in different ways via the endocannabinoid system.
NOTE: THC is another well-known cannabinoid. It is the cannabinoid abundantly found in marijuana, and it gets both humans and animals “high.” CBD is a completely different component and does not have this effect.
CBD products are made by extracting CBD from cannabis and processing it in a way that can be consumed. The most common way is to mix it with a carrier oil like olive oil or coconut oil.
Once the oil is made, humans and pets can take it directly or they can mix it with food, water, lotions, or other substances.
CBD pet products commonly come in two forms:
What’s the Difference Between CBD for People and CBD for Pets?
There are only two differences between CBD for people and CBD for pets: the packaging and the delivery method.
The CBD itself is normally the exact same as the CBD sold to humans, and this makes sense. CBD extracted from hemp is an all-natural extract that shouldn’t contain any additives. There’s not really a way to develop the basic extract that would be different from that made for humans.
If you have tried CBD yourself and found it beneficial, then you can rest assured the CBD you buy for your pet will have a similar or identical makeup (if you buy it from the same company).
Though we don’t recommend sharing a bag of CBD pet treats with your pooch.
The Benefits of CBD for Pets?
Pet owners have been abuzz for years about the effect that CBD has on their pets. And it’s not just confined to internet forums. Even veterinarians are showing an increased openness to recommending CBD products to their patients.
A recent survey of American veterinarians found that over 30% had at some point recommended CBD products to pet owners and about 18% had prescribed them.
What are the benefits of CBD for pets? Here are some common conditions in pets that some say CBD can help.
Anxiety is one of the most common conditions of house pets like dogs and cats. This is because these animals are very social and can have adverse reactions to the way they are treated by humans. Separation anxiety is especially common and can affect even the most spoiled, pampered pets.
CBD has been shown to have a calming effect on people and animals. Pet owners have noted that CBD allows their pets to relax and that it gets rid of skittishness. This can be especially useful during stressful times like thunderstorms and having guests to the house.
The landmark CBD study on dogs that we mentioned previously concerned the anti-epileptic effects of CBD on dogs. This study was spurred on because so many pet owners have seen drastic improvements from epileptic pets after giving them CBD.
The study confirmed what pet owners had observed. Researchers saw a reduction in seizures in 89% of the canine subjects after administering CBD. The lead researcher, Dr. Stephanie McGrath, a Ph.D. in neurology, called the results “promising and exciting.”
Seizures affect about 1 in 50 dogs and cats, which is no small number. Evidence is growing that CBD may provide these animals with all-natural relief and help them live long and happy lives.
Pain affects many of our pets for years without us even noticing. Moodiness and a lack of playfulness in older animals is commonly associated with age (in dogs) and personality (in cats). But the truth is, it’s not in the nature of domesticated animals to be antisocial.
These issues are usually an indication that your pet is dealing with discomfort or pain. About 1 in 3 cats suffers from painful arthritis, and dogs suffer commonly from a number of conditions but will hide their pain instinctively, as it is a sign of weakness.
Studies on humans and animals suggest that CBD can help to reduce pain much in the same way as pain killers, though without the negative side effects. Pet owners have been thrilled to “get their pets back” after trying CBD. This return of their pets’ young and spunky personalities is likely due to a reduction in pain and a boost in their quality of life.
Inflammation causes painful conditions like arthritis in animals, but it also causes chronic disease and terribly uncomfortable gastro-intestinal issues.
The risk or inflammation-related discomfort rises exponentially in overweight pets. Because over half of all dogs and cats in the US are overweight or obese, it means that there are a lot of animals in pain due to inflammation.
One of CBD’s most powerful effects is as an anti-inflammatory. In human studies, CBD has been shown to interact with endocannabinoid receptors in our bodies to stop inflammation before it starts.
No studies have been done on how CBD helps inflammation in pets, but we know that all mammals have the same endocannabinoid system and receptors that humans do, so it’s not a far leap to suggest that the benefits could be similar.
While there is not enough evidence yet to know the effects of CBD on cancer, there have been some promising studies.
One 2016 study showed that CBD inhibited the growth of many types of cancer cells. This could be a game-changer for pet owners, as CBD could be a possible preventative measure for one of the most deadly diseases our pets can face.
As we mentioned above, CBD is an anti-inflammatory compound, and chronic inflammation can also lead to various types of cancer. Keeping your pet’s joints and vital organs free from inflammation can also help to keep cancer away.
IMPORTANT: Research on CBD for pets is NOT conclusive. Only one study has been conducted on dogs, and while it was promising, more research needs to be done to confirm the results. No studies have been conducted on cats or other pets. There have been no studies conducted on pets that provide any evidence that CBD can help any of the conditions on this list apart from seizures. However, animal studies on mice and rats have demonstrated promising results in all of the categories above.
Are There Side Effects of CBD on Pets?
There are some potential side effects of CBD on pets that have been observed by pet owners and veterinarians, though they are minor and uncommon.
Possible side effects include:
It’s important to note that fatigue is the most common side effect observed in pets, and that it is seen in less than 10% of animals, according to the veterinarian survey we mentioned earlier in this article. Other side effects were so rare that they were considered negligible.
What are the Risks?
CBD is considered largely risk-free for pets, as no dangerous or adverse effects have been reported. Though it is important to note that studies have not confirmed that CBD is not harmful. It is possible that CBD could have some negative effects if the dosage given is too high, so make sure to follow the dosage guidelines in this article (see below).
Another important thing to note is that CBD products often contain THC (the psychoactive component of cannabis). THC can be toxic to pets if taken in high doses.
In most CBD products, the amount of THC is extremely low and will have no effect on your pet. Other CBD products contain higher amounts of THC, but these products are only sold in states where marijuana is legal, and they are NOT intended for pets.
To avoid any potential risks when giving your pet CBD, follow these guidelines:
What’s The Right CBD Dose for Pets?
Choosing a CBD dosage for pets is not easy. This is largely because they can’t tell you if it’s working, but also because pets come in many sizes and CBD comes in many concentrations.
To understand dosage, first check the label or instructions from the CBD pet product you’ve purchased. If you bought treats, there should be some dosage indication on the package.
If you’ve bought CBD oil for your pet, you can consult the following dosage table.
Pet Weight (lbs)
Drops of CBD Oil (500mg bottle)
Where Can I Buy CBD for Pets?
You can find CBD just about everywhere these days, but it’s important to choose a trustworthy company before you decide to buy. Many pop-up brands are selling poor-quality CBD for high prices. This is because CBD is hugely popular but not yet approved by the FDA. In essence, there are no regulatory standards.
Yet, there are many companies that produce very high-quality CBD for Pets. They carefully cultivate their own hemp strains from seed to shelf, and they have their products tested by third-party labs for safety and effectiveness throughout the production process.
If you’d like to learn more about honest CBD companies that sell CBD for pets, check out the CBD company reviews on this site. We feature some of the most in-depth CBD reviews online, and we only recommend CBD producers of the very highest quality.
When it comes to taking care of your pet, it’s worth understanding all of your options. CBD for pets could be an effective and all-natural treatment for a number of conditions that plague dogs and cats, and it appears to be very safe. CBD for pets is helping pet owners increase the quality of their best friends’ lives across the country. Why not fetch some for your pet and give it a try?