CBD for Dogs and Cats? Here’s What You Need to Know
CBD shows promise as an alternative to traditional pharmaceuticals in providing relief for many human ailments, but can the same be said for your pet? Many pet owners want to know about CBD for dogs and cats: In fact, 63 percent of veterinarians report having been asked about CBD oil for pets at least monthly, if not weekly or daily.
So, is CBD good and safe for your pet? The answer seems to be yes. There is evidence CBD provides relief from a range of pet ailments from anxiety to seizures.
“High-level evidence on efficacy is scant, to be sure, but CBD oil is considered safe and effective by a growing number of veterinary practitioners who aren’t your typical devotees of alternative medicine, says Veterinarian Patty Khuly. “I fall squarely into that camp. Count me among the converted.”
Much of the evidence is anecdotal. For instance more than 100 people were on hand to during a recent FDA hearing to testify that their pets benefit from CBD for conditions including epilepsy, arthritis, chronic pain and anxiety.
Said one pet owner “My dog used to destroy many of my belongings in the house if we left him alone for too long. After beginning treatment with a low dose of CBD my dog has ceased to have that behavior and overall seems more relaxed.”
What is CBD?
CBD is an acronym for cannabidiol, a compound that occurs naturally in both marijuana and hemp. It’s found in very high concentrations in certain strains of hemp and is widely regarded to possess great medicinal value.
Most CBD (cannabidiol) comes from the agricultural hemp plant, a fast-growing member of flowering plants in the family Cannabaceae. Marijuana belongs to the same family of plants. While marijuana and hemp are similar in many ways, they differ in their phytochemical composition. Hemp has lower concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the psychoactive compound in marijuana that gets you “high,” and it has higher concentrations of CBD, which doesn’t produce the “high” of marijuana.
Hemp is recognized as a legal agricultural product following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.
Legal CBD must contain less than 0.3% of THC. This is very important because dogs are highly sensitive the THC molecule (not as much is known about cats). Too much THC can cause vomiting, depression, tremors, seizures, disorientation, hyperactivity, stupor or even death. That’s not true of the non-psychoactive CBD (cannabidiol) molecule, which pets seem to tolerate well and causes no adverse effects.
Studies on Pets Show Promising Results
However, recent studies have shown that the anecdotal tales are backed by science. While more studies have looked at CBD’s effects on humans, there are two that specifically studied the effect of CBD on dogs and cats:
- A Cornell University Study published in 2018 in the journal Frontiers of Veterinary Science, measured the results of cannabidiol on pain and arthritis in dogs and found 2 mg/kg of CBD twice daily produced a significant decrease in pain and increase in activity, with no side effects.
- Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences studied the effects of cannabidiol in dogs with epilepsy. The results of the study, published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2017, were that 89 percent of dogs who received CBD in the clinical trial had a reduction in the frequency of seizures.
But as CBD use becomes more widespread, more studies are expected: Researchers at University of Pennsylvania’s Veterinary Clinical Investigations Center have begun to study the effectiveness of CBD in treating joint immobility in dogs in what is believe to be the largest-scale scientific study of cannabinoid therapy for pets. Results are expected to be available this spring/summer.
What to look for when buying CBD for Dogs and Cats
CBD is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so some unscrupulous merchants are selling inferior products simply because they can. The hemp plants they use to produce CBD might be grown in a place where the ground contains heavy metals and foreign substances. There may be more than the amount of THC than indicated on the label, which as already mentioned, could be toxic to your pet. Finally, there may be harmful chemicals or contaminants present in the product.
When buying CBD for dogs or cats make sure you:
- Purchase only products tested by an independent, third-party lab. An independent, third-party lab is used so that the product can be tested and certified by a neutral, unbiased source.The labs can test cannabinoid levels (CBD and THC), and look for traces of heavy metals, pesticides, and solvents that could be dangerous to your pet’s health.
- Look for a product that contains organically grown hemp from the United States. Colorado is where many believe the best hemp is produced. When you buy in the US, you know you’re buying a product that’s been manufactured using good manufacturing practices.
- Make sure the product is from a reputable seller. Check online reviews and reviews on the brand’s website. Look for independent lab results posted online that show the product is pure and contaminant-free.
- Make sure the product is labeled “THC-free” (meaning it contains less than 0.3% THC by weight, or up to 3 parts of THC for every thousand parts of oil by weight).
- Check to make sure there is no Xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar substitute that’s dangerous, and can even be fatal to dogs.
Cats and CBD
Veterinarian Dr. Angie Krause of Boulder Holistic Vet recommends the use of CBD for pets she sees in her practice.
“Over the past few years, I have been using cannabis (CBD) for many of my feline patients with excellent results” Krause writes in the practice’s blog. “I have been extremely impressed with the improvement in quality of life for so many cats and I want all cat parents to know about this powerful and natural resource.”
Krause says CBD can help alleviate the following conditions:
- inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- chronic upper respiratory infections
Dogs and CBD
“In our clinic, we have seen beneficial therapeutic results in our patients using CBD products derived from industrial hemp, particularly in pets with arthritic pain and anxiety issues,” wrote the team at Hawthorne Veterinary Clinic in Oregon.
The Hawthorne Clinic said other conditions in dogs that may be alleviated by CDB include:
- behavioral problems.
Dr. Krause adds to the list:
How much CBD to give your pet
You should consult with your veterinarian before beginning a CBD regimen for your pet. CBD oil is the best way to get the most efficacy and can be administered orally or in food. We recommend starting with as low a dose possible, about 2 mg per 10 lbs. per day. Monitor your pet’s reaction and increase from there to twice a day, then to higher dosages.
Wait 30-60 minutes for the product to work. Like humans, all pets react differently to CBD, so it may take some trial and error to get the results you’re looking for.
According to the American Kennel Club, based on the effects seen in humans, there are a few side effects that might occur with your pet:
- Dry mouth: Your pet may show increased thirst and water intake.
- Lowered blood pressure: High doses may cause a small lowering of blood pressure that could create a feeling of light-headedness.
- Drowsiness: The calming effect of CBD can also cause slight drowsiness, especially when using higher doses.
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Sunrise CBD oil for pets comes with a handy dropper so you can measure the exact amount needed. Each drop is equal to 2 mg. You can order our pet drops at https://sunrisecbd.com/product/cbd-pet-drops/.