Do you have a pet at home? Specifically a dog, cat, horse, or other mammalian that has been displaying symptoms of distress, such as skittishness or lethargy? Perhaps you suspect that your favorite furry family member might be experiencing pain or anxiety? Or maybe your pet has received a serious medical diagnosis, such as cancer or intractable epilepsy? While we would never suggest CBD products as a “miracle cure” (and you should ALWAYS consult with your personal veterinarian prior to attempting treatment of any of your animal’s concerning symptoms) we may have an option for providing Fido or Fluffy with some much-needed relief.
Cannabidiol – aka “CBD” – is one of the most prevalent cannabinoids present in cannabis plants. While cannabis itself remains a controversial plant to some, recent legislation in the United States has made it legal to produce and distribute CBD products as long as the final product maintains a THC content of less than 0.03%.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the cannabinoid most responsible for the psychoactive effects associated with cannabis use. However many cannabis plants in the United States are now bred specifically to minimize THC content, while maximizing CBD, in order to stay within federal regulations for legal sale. Cannabis plants that contain 0.03% THC or less are referred to as “hemp” plants. This is the origin of most commercially-available CBD supplements, including those labeled for pet consumption.
How could CBD benefit my pet?
CBD is considered to be an effective medication option in all mammals due to the presence of our Endocannabinoid System. This internal regulatory system evolved around 600 million years ago, but remained unidentified until the 1990s.
Initially, this system was believed to exist solely within the brain and nerves. However, in 2008 scientists from Indiana University discovered cannabinoid receptors throughout the body, including within the:
- immune cells,
- fat tissue,
- skeletal muscle,
- blood vessels,
- and gastrointestinal tract.
- relieve pain,
- control seizures,
- reduce inflammation,
- treat nausea,
- stimulate appetite,
- manage anxiety, ]
- promote heart health,
- and potentially inhibit tumor growth.
According to this study, CBD may also be effective in treating the painful symptoms of canine osteoarthritis. Due to its known efficacy, in 2018 the UK also classified CBD as a medication for use in veterinary practice.
Is CBD safe for my dog?
While CBD is widely considered safe for mammals, it is possible that some side effects could be expected. In order to decrease the likelihood of these negative symptoms, we recommend always following the recommended dosage according to weight.
- CBD can lead to a decrease in the production of saliva, therefore dry mouth and increased thirst is a common side effect. Make sure to have fresh water available at all times.
- CBD can sometimes lead to a temporary drop in blood pressure. This is normally not bothersome, but could result in a short period of lightheadedness.
- Drowsiness is another common side effect of CBD therapy. Due to its calming effects, CBD can result in sleepiness, but this is most likely with higher doses.
Is CBD safe and effective for other pets, or just dogs?
Dogs, cats, horses, and any mammals with an endocannabinoid system can use CBD. However, it is important to begin with a low dose and to check labels carefully in case of any unknown allergies or sensitivity to added ingredients (such as flavoring or preservatives).
How much CBD should I give my pet?
Every living being that has a spinal column – meaning all mammals – possess an internal endocannabinoid system, and should therefore be considered a potential candidate for cannabidiol therapy. That said, not every mammal will respond the same way, and – as evidenced by human trials – the positive benefits of CBD treatment vary greatly, even among members of the same species. Bearing this in mind, while we do have evidence of CBD being used to successfully treat a wide variety of medical conditions in both humans and some animals, this is not to say that every creature will respond in a positive way.
It must also be recognized that while cannabis research involving human trials are limited, cannabis trials among domestic pets tend to be even more sparse. Simply put, the scientific community has not invested a great deal of resources into conducting trials to establish efficacy or dosing guidelines for any form of cannabis therapy, but even less so when referring to treatment of veterinary conditions. For this reason, before starting a CBD regimen, we highly recommend meeting with a trusted medical professional – ideally one who is already familiar with your individual medical history – to discuss the specific undesirable or bothersome symptoms you are hoping to alleviate. This same advice also applies to treating our pets.
Additionally, as when beginning any new medication or supplement, we recommend starting with the lowest possible “test” dose, and evaluating the patient’s response carefully before choosing to increase dosage. While this is a quick guide to suggested low and standard CBD dosage amounts based on the weight of your pet, we always recommend starting slow and with an abundance of caution, as sometimes allergies and adverse reactions can be unpredictable. However, when compared to many pharmaceutical options on the market today, it is also important to recognize that the likelihood of experiencing negative side-effects from CBD is much less of a concern than with most synthetic medications, and the vast majority of patients who try CBD therapy also choose to continue CBD therapy without hesitation.
It is also important to note that CBD therapy is generally considered most effective when taken consistently. Many CBD users find it helpful to take a lower or standard dose of CBD every day, in order to ensure it remains at a constant level in their system and can work preventatively to decrease unwanted symptoms. This is good advice when managing veterinary conditions, as well. On days when symptoms are worse, or in the case of acute distress, you can add an additional dose of CBD in order to boost its effects.
To determine the LOW (starter) daily dose of CBD for your pet, we recommend 0.05mg per pound, one to two times daily. The STANDARD recommended dose of CBD is 0.125mg per pound, one to two times daily. The chart below may serve as a quick reference.
CBD Dosing Guidelines for Pets
|PET’S WEIGHT||LOW DOSE||STANDARD DOSE|
|1-20lbs||0.5-1mg one to two times daily (0.05mg/lb)||0.125-2.5mg one to two times daily (0.125mg/lb)|
|21-40lbs||1.05-2mg one to two times daily (0.05mg/lb)||2.62-5mg one to two times daily (0.125mg/lb)|
|41-100lbs||2.05-5mg one to two times daily(0.05mg/lb)||5.12-12.5mg one to two times daily (0.125mg/lb)|
Where type of CBD product is best for my pet?
According to this study from 2018, which evaluated canine responses to three different forms of CBD, including oil, capsule, and a topical cream, the most efficient delivery method was found to be oil. The oil remained in the dogs’ bloodstream longest and performed the most consistently across different dogs. Capsules were also considered effective, but the cream “performed too inconsistently to draw any conclusions”.
Where can I find CBD for my pet?
When shopping for a CBD supplement, there are a few important tips to keep in mind.
First and foremost, not all CBD products on the market are created equal. It is important to purchase a high-quality product that is free from pesticides, fungicides or solvents. Organic products are best. It’s also important to avoid price shopping, as higher-quality CBD products are typically more expensive to produce, whereas lower-cost products may contain toxic chemical additives such as herbicides, or heavy metals. Ideally your CBD product should be free from additives, other than natural flavoring.
Independent Lab Results
The producer of your CBD product should also have third-party independent lab results available for consumers, often printed on the label as a QR code or lot number that can be referenced back to the manufacturer’s website. These results should confirm the advertised amount of CBD on the labeled product.
Many products on the market only contain trace amounts of CBD, or often none at all. This is why it is critical to check the lab results associated with your product, and never buy a product that doesn’t provide this information. These results should also confirm that your product contains no more than 0.03% THC.
CBD Oil Over Treats for Your Pet
We also highly recommend choosing to purchase CBD Oil for your pet, as opposed to CBD edible treats. CBD Oil allows you to adjust your pet’s dose by drop, and to give more or less CBD depending upon their response and the severity of the condition you are treating. One way we love to administer CBD oil to our pets is to put the necessary number of drops onto one of their favorite crunchy treats. Just make sure the treat absorbs the CBD before giving it to your pet. Mixing your pet’s daily dose of CBD into their regular food is another easy and efficient method.