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Is CBD Safe For Pets?

Added 30 July 2022

CBD for pets

The medical cannabis industry is booming like never before, sparking a lot of interest (and questions) for pet owners — is CBD safe for your pets? And, does cannabis offer the same health benefits for animals?

Naturally, you're going to approach a veterinarian seeking answers. Some doctors are aware of the benefits of cannabis, but some may try to talk you out of it. 

However, it’s not their fault — this is due to cannabis prohibition, lack of clinical studies, and stigma — leading to a lot of misunderstandings. Plus, one primary cannabinoid (CBD) is safe but the other (THC) is toxic for pets. 

But no more! In this article, find out what the rewards and risks are of CBD for pets. 

Can you Give CBD to Pets?

can you give CBD to pets

The pet industry is MASSIVE. In 2017, pet owners spent $69.51 million on their pets in the US alone. This includes vet care, food, supplies, and other services. 

As per projections, the same numbers are expected to hit USD 125 million by the end of 2017. A large portion of this is thanks to the array of CBD products targeted at pets. 

Of course, this came from a lot of pet owners’ concerns — they are looking for safer health alternatives for their pets. So, here is how CBD can help your pets.

  • CBD for Dogs

CBD for dogs

So, is CBD safe for dogs?

While a lot of research is still going on, so far, researchers have found conclusive evidence that CBD can be given to dogs to help with various ailments

The common ailments that CBD or cannabidiol can help your dog with include separation anxiety, arthritis, pain, injuries, seizures, etc. — almost like humans. And you can rest assured that your pet will be completely safe and comfortable when you do so — as long as you stick to CBD. 

THC is toxic for dogs (and most other pets), so ensure the CBD products you choose are derived from hemp and contain no more than 0.3% THC. More on this later. 

  • CBD for Cats

cbd for cats

A similar principle applies to cats — you can use CBD to treat various ailments in cats, including painful conditions like inflammation and arthritis. 

CBD is also helpful for anxiety in cats, which will help your cat avoid stress-related urinary crystals and appetite loss in the future.

CBD may even be useful for aiding cats suffering from seizures, pancreatitis, and cancer. However, more research is required in these cases — all the present claims are purely anecdotal. 

If you look at the various anecdotal data on the internet, cat owners have found CBD products far better than pharmaceutical products, especially in the form of topical sprays and ointments. 

  • CBD for All Animals

CBD for other animals

Not just for cats and dogs, CBD is also helpful for other pets. 

For example, horse owners have found that CBD products help their horses deal with pain, appetite problems, stress, and other serious conditions like degenerative ligament disease. 

In addition, the Kentucky Equine Research states that CBD can help horses deal with skin conditions and allergies, too.

CBD has been found quite beneficial for other exotic pets and animals, too. For instance, an Arizonian park has been using CBD to treat cancer, seizures, and anxiety in animals like goats, pythons, lions, and tigers.

What are the Conditions CBD Can Help Animals With?

What conditions can CBD help with

The health benefits of CBD on humans seem endless, with discoveries made almost every month. The same applies to pets. CBD can help with many of the same conditions that pets may suffer from. 

Here are the common ailments CBD can help with.

  • Pain and Inflammation

Pets are prone to a lot of pain and inflammation, which may arise from various things they do, or due to a health condition. These include injuries they suffer from falling off the couch, eating a honeybee, or suffering from arthritis. 

In these cases, CBD works as a terrific alternative to pharmaceutical pain medications. Traditional pain medications are infamous for causing stomach problems, sedation, and kidney problems in the long run. CBD does not induce any of these side effects.

  • Kidney Problems

As mentioned above, kidney issues are common in pets consuming pharmaceutical medications. On the other hand, CBD not only avoids this side effect but can also help treat various kidney ailments your pet may suffer from. 

  • Anxiety

Anxiety is another common ailment that many pets suffer from, especially separation anxiety. Other forms of anxiety often arise from personality, illness, or age. 

While there are many traditional medications available for pets to deal with anxiety, they tend to make pets feel sleepy and sluggish. Instead, CBD comes in handy by calming down your pet’s system without any sedative effects. 

  • Nausea and Appetite Problems

If your pet suffers nausea or appetite problems, which may make them vomit frequently or lose appetite, your pet is at a risk of dehydration and weight loss, which can significantly affect their health. 

CBD and other cannabinoids present in cannabis can help your pet deal with nausea, prevent vomiting, and even stimulate appetite. 

But this stimulated appetite is not the munchies that you may experience after consuming cannabis. Munchies are caused by THC, making you want to eat more by stimulating your olfactory senses. Instead, CBD works on the TCS receptors to stimulate appetite. It is a lot safer.

  • Seizures

CBD is gaining a lot of popularity for being an excellent treatment for epilepsy in humans. This prompted researchers to study CBD’s effect on pets suffering from epilepsy. And while studies are still ongoing, the findings so far point in a positive direction.

CBD can help your pets deal with seizures and appetite. How that works and to what extent is still unclear, but anecdotal evidence points out that it is just as safe for pets as it is for humans.

Best CBD Products for Pets

best CBD products for pets

Cannabis is helpful for pets, but not all forms of cannabis are. THC is highly toxic. This is why you must learn more about what makes a product suitable for pets. Conversely, you should also research products you should stay away from.

CBD is helpful, but you need to ensure it comes from hemp or contains no more than 0.3% THC. Pets are far more sensitive to cannabis, so THC can be disastrous for them. 

You can choose from a wide array of CBD products available in the market, from CBD and hemp seed oil to CBD topicals and CBD gummies. The best CBD products for dogs, cats and other pets include the following:

  • CBD/Hemp Extracts

Hemp extracts are nothing but CBD extracts derived from hemp. It is extracted from the entire plant, not just the flowers, and it offers a terrific alternative to traditional medications for your pet.

CBD extracts or oils are the best if you want to help your furry friends because they allow for precise dosages. CBD oils also react quickly, compared to edibles, which can take a while. 

In a nutshell, CBD oil allows you to control just how much CBD your pet consumes and serves as a health supplement instead of a cannabis product. 

If you have used CBD before, you know that they are available as isolates, full-spectrum, and broad-spectrum oils. Similarly, you have a range of CBD companies that offer full spectrum oils for your pets. 

But, are full-spectrum oils safe for your pets? You're probably thinking that you wouldn't touch those products with a 10-foot pole because of the inclusion of THC. However full-spectrum oils created with the right dosage of THC and CBD can still be beneficial. 

Full spectrum oils, whether for humans or animals, are more beneficial than broad-spectrum oils and isolates because they offer the therapeutic properties of the entire plant. 

However, if you go for full-spectrum oils you must remember that the dosage is very important. Just like the effectiveness of CBD depends on the dosage for humans the same applies to your furry friends as well.  

If you administer the proper dosage to your cat or dog it may help to control severe problems. In addition, you must ascertain that the full-spectrum product you purchase is extracted from hemp instead of the cannabis plant. 

  • Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp seed oil is derived by cold-pressing hemp seeds, and this is not only high in CBD but also contains other nutrients like proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin E — a great dietary supplement for your pet.

  • CBD Topicals

CBD topicals are nothing but creams or salves or lotions infused with CBD extracts. Just like other methods of consumption, your pet will gain relief if the dosage is right. 

CBD topicals come in the form of creams, salves, lotions, balms, etc, for humans. Similarly, you can find topicals for your pets as well. For pets, creams or salves made with CBD compounds are the best options. 

They can be directly applied to their skin to deal with conditions like skin allergies, joint pain or inflammation, allergic reactions, or muscle pain. 

CBD topicals are meant only for external use. They are quick to take action as they target local areas. 

CBD topicals are not as potent as CBD oils or tinctures or other extracts. Since it doesn't enter the bloodstream, your pet will not feel high even if there is a little bit of THC infused in the topical. 

Many companies include other ingredients such as menthol or capsaicin along with CBD to enhance the effectiveness of the product. 

  • CBD Tinctures

While CBD oils are often made by combining CBD extracts with carrier oils such as hemp, olive, or coconut oil, tinctures are made the same way except that they contain alcohol. 

Some tinctures also contain oil or glycerine. Essentially, it is a combination of alcohol glycerine or oil infused with CBD compounds. 

Tinctures are usually available in bottles that come with droppers so it makes it easy for you to administer them to your pets. Tinctures are great but they are not as potent as oils or extracts. However, they do work if you're looking to control minor symptoms of muscle pain anxiety or stress, nausea, etc. 

If you have never used cannabis products for your pet before, a tincture may be a good starting point. Go for the lowest dosage possible and then scale it up after understanding how your pet reacts to it. Needless to say, it is very important to talk to your veterinarian before going for any product. 

First, recognize the dosage your pet is comfortable with and administer it orally. Always remember that CBD works more efficiently depending on the consumption method. 

For instance, smoking or vaping CBD produces instant effects within 1 to 3 minutes and lasts for at least half an hour for humans. On the other hand, a sublingual route of administration works by placing a few drops of the tincture under your tongue and waiting for it to be absorbed. 

The sublingual method of consuming CBD oil is considered the best for both pets and humans as the effects last for quite a while. In addition, the effects are faster compared to other methods. 

Simply put, the sublingual method of consuming CBD helps your dog or cat efficiently absorb CBD compounds. The cannabinoid is distributed into the bloodstream and also allows for controlling the dosage in a better manner.  

You can find tinctures with various potencies online or in dispensaries today. Most companies use various flavors to mask the bitter taste of hemp. You can also mix it with food if your pet refuses to let you administer the tincture under its tongue. 

CBD tinctures can help with various elements including seizures, nausea, anxiety, appetite loss, and other aches your friend may feel during old age. You can use CBD tinctures just like you would any other dietary supplement, but make sure you are aware of the dosage. 

  • CBD Edibles

CBD edibles come in many forms and they are easy for pets to consume. Unlike medications, your pet will likely look forward to consuming their CBD edibles. And you can even mix CBD edibles in their food. 

We still don’t recommend choosing any random CBD product and giving it to your pet. This area needs more clinal trials. The safest option right now is to check with a veterinarian, especially one that offers alternative or holistic solutions. 

Risk of Cannabis for Pets

risk of cannabis for pets

CBD has many rewards for pets, but there are also a few risks. While CBD is completely safe for pets, you need to ensure your pet does not consume any product that contains more than 0.3% THC. 

Pets' endocannabinoid system contains 30x more CB1 receptors than humans and THC is considered toxic for them. Most animals can't tolerate lots of THC. 

Here are the signs of cannabis (THC) intoxication in pets:

  • Glassy eyes
  • Whining or crying 
  • Lethargy 
  • Lack of coordination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tremors 
  • Unregulated body temperature
  • Seizures
  • Coma 

So, ensure the product you use is CBD-dominant and does not contain more than 0.3% THC. And if you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above in your pets after administering cannabis products, seek veterinary help immediately. 

How to Choose CBD products for Pets

How to choose CBD products for pets

Choosing the right CBD product for humans is challenging because there are many fake companies in the market. However, it is even more difficult to choose the right product for your pets. 

So how do you ensure that the product to purchase is genuine? Well here are a few things we should look for before ordering that CBD oil, tincture, or edible online or in your local dispensary:

  1. Discuss everything with your veterinarian

It's easy to read articles on Google and fall for the hype of CBD and other cannabis products. However, it is important to talk to your doctor before clicking that buy button. 

Just like every human body is different and reacts in various ways to medications, pets are the same. Hemp products might suit some pets but they may have no effects on other animals at all. 

Therefore, it is important to discuss everything with your doctor who knows your pet's history and how they react to certain medications. 

  1. Source of hemp

High-quality hemp produces high-quality CBD oil — there's no doubt about that. Therefore it is important only to go for companies that source organic hemp grown on local farms. 

If the company fails to post more details about their source of hemp you should probably move on and look for other trusted companies. 

  1. Lab reports

Many companies source inexpensive CBD isolates from other countries, mix them with some carrier oils, and pass them off as CBD oils. However, such oils can be contaminated with microbes, heavy metals, and other contaminants, making it dangerous to consume them. 

Since CBD is usually sold as a health supplement, there won't be strict regulations to control bad apples. Therefore the onus is on the customer to do some research and only go for companies that are genuine and trusted by many users. 

The only way to figure out if a company is selling a genuine CBD product is to go through their lab reports. Lab reports will also tell you about each ingredient in detail apart from an in-depth description of any contaminants involved. It's even better if the products are tested through third-party laboratories. 

Last but not least lab reports will tell you when the product was manufactured. You don't want to go for expired products especially when it involves your pets. 

Genuine companies constantly update their lab reports with lots of information so you know exactly what you are getting. If a company does not post their lab reports you can be sure that they can't be trusted, so you can carry on and resume your hunt for good companies. 

  1. Reputation

There is a lot of competition in the CBD industry, so companies have to work and put in a lot of effort to maintain their reputation. Many reputed companies offer a vast source of knowledge so you understand everything there is to know about CBD. 

Trustworthy companies also share their method of extraction and their ways of developing their product, so you know exactly what your pet is consuming. Most importantly, you get some peace of mind knowing that you're giving the best CBD product to your pooch. 

Genuine companies welcome customers with their questions, so don't be shy and shoot any questions you have. If a representative from the company helps you with your queries, posts lab reports, and sources certified organic hemp to create their products, your search ends there. 

Summary: Is CBD Safe for Pets?

Is CBD safe for cats? Dogs?

The answer is yes, CBD products are completely safe for your pet — as long as they contain very less THC.

Many studies have found that CBD can offer various health benefits for pets and help them deal with ailments like anxiety, pain and inflammation, skin allergies, seizures, and many more. And more studies continue. 

Soon enough, we will have a large database of studies that show exactly how and in what ways CBD can help pets. There's a definite interaction between the ECS present in an animal's body and CBD positively, making it a promising supplement. 

It is very important to look for quite a few factors before you purchase CBD products for your beloved pets. Although THC can be harmful to your pets, full-spectrum oils are beneficial if they are administered with the proper dosage. Full-spectrum oils offer the benefits of the entire plant rather than focusing on one single cannabinoid. 

Whether you go for full-spectrum, broad-spectrum oils, or isolates, you must always look for lab reports posted by the company. Lab reports, also known as COAs or certificates of analysis, will tell you everything you need to know about the product including the ingredients and the contaminants that may be present. 

You should also look for reputed companies rather than going for random ones. Last but not least, try searching for companies that source organic hemp from local farms instead of importing it from other countries. 

If you want your furry little friend to benefit from CBD, you can discuss it with your vet and choose CBD products derived from hemp plants. 








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