Last updated on 27 September 2021
Decades of research and study have shown irrefutable proof that cannabis contains medicinal properties1. This is the obvious reason why veterinarians are interested in using CBD oil for cats and dogs since both have an endocannabinoid system that is capable of processing CBD.
Using CBD for pets is now widely legal and available in most countries and states in the US. If you live in the USA, we’ve got you covered with our in-depth and state-specific CBD legal guide.
Like for humans, CBD oils for pets come in a variety of forms to treat various ailments. CBD is is a natural approach to treating common health issues in animals such as epilepsy or arthritis. The benefits of using CBD weigh up against the risks, making it a safe and effective solution.
So let’s take a look at CBD oils and see how they can benefit your pets.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol or CBD is a natural tincture or concentrated extract of the cannabis plants. It is high in the level of cannabinoid and low in the level of THC, and since THC is the compound supplying the psychoactive effect, it is impossible to get “high” from CBD oil, as long as these oils are so low in THC percentage as most CBD oils are. These oils are often made by passing a solvent such as butane, olive oil, alcohol, CO2, and ice water over the mature matter of the cannabis plants.
As the solvents pass through and over the stalk, stems, and leaves, they will extract or dissolve the cannabinoid, trichomes, terpenes, and hold these components in the solution. These solvents are then evaporated, leaving an oily concentrate called CBD oil.
Are CBD Products Safe for Dogs?
It is necessary to understand that CBD oil for dogs is non-psychotropic. This means that there is no way to make your pets “high” with these products. That is perhaps the greatest thing about CBD oil: it brings all medical benefits without the psychotropic effects of high THC cannabis.
Now that you understand what CBD oil is, let’s see how it can benefit your pets.
Which Types of Pets Benefit From Taking CBD?
In general, most pets classified as the chordate (with a backbone) have an endocannabinoid system just like humans. This system plays an essential role in processing CBD components in CBD oils. That means you can use these products for nearly all types of pets including cats, dogs, and even horses.
Can You Give CBD to Fish?
Interestingly enough, mollusks, fish, and amphibians also have an endocannabinoid system. In fact, using cannabis or CBD oil for animals needs to be taken more seriously in terms of natural healing.
Just like humans, pets can suffer from a variety of diseases and illnesses, both mental and physical. Many scientific studies have proven that CBD oil can have a positive effect on alleviating and treating common health issues in humans. It is also possible to use it for dogs and cats since they have an endocannabinoid system to process. Here we will discuss the reasons for using CBD to treat your pet.
The Benefits Of Using CBD For Pets
Below are listed the most common benefits of why so many pet owners use CBD for their pets.
1. Combat Anxiety
Depression and anxiety happen when there is a chemical imbalance in the brain. Dogs are especially susceptible to this disorder. Reports from veterinarians and medical experts have shown that the use of CBD oil can help stabilize and normalize a chemical fluctuation which results in these health issues2.
Also, the CBD component might interact with both the serotonin and adenosine receptors in your dog’s brain to enable it to work properly. Many people like to use CBD oil to help combat Separation Anxiety or Anxiety from fireworks and thunderstorms in dogs.
2. Kill Cancer Cells
Evidence from research shows that CBD oil has a significant impact on preventing cancer cells from growing and spreading3. Although laboratory studies have just been conducted on rats and mice, numerous reports from medical experts and doctors have revealed several very promising results.
3. Stop Seizures
A seizure is a disruption in the electrical activities that might lead to violent shaking. Seizures often originate from the brain and could be very challenging to treat. Recently, some scientific studies have shown that the use of CBD can significantly lower the number and intensity of these electrical disruptions in the brains of most pets.4
4. Relieve Pain
Swelling and pain in dogs and cats are regulated by the vanilloid receptor in the brain. When the CBD interacts with those kinds of neurons, it is proved to effectively block and prevent the receptor from turning on and signaling the body to feel the pain5.
5. Stimulate Appetite
Research has shown that CBD can decrease nausea and stimulate the appetite through interaction with multiple neurons in your pet’s brain. As a result, it encourages an already-ill dog to repair itself, particularly when your dog is suffering from systemic illnesses like seizures or cancer6. The body always needs energy from food to fight those ailments, and if it cannot digest enough nourishment, your pets can face many serious problems.
How To Use CBD for Pets
CBD oils are usually given to pets orally, meaning that the simplest way to use is to put them directly into the mouth of your dogs or cats with the help of an eyedropper. However, this might be a challenging task for those dogs that behave badly.
The most popular way to use CBD oil for your dogs and cats is to drip it into their treats or meals. Make sure to wait a few minutes for the oil to soak in because CBD isn’t a fast-acting chemical. The suggested amount is 1 drop of CBD oil for each pound of treats or food. However, do not combine this product with poultry since it would upset the balance of fatty acid in your pet’s digestive system.
In addition, you can use a hand-feeding syringe with a plastic dropper or a silicone feeding tip to apply the CBD oils directly to the back of their gum line/cheek or the middle of their tongue. For issues like minor wounds, rashes, sores, and hot spots, applying CBD oil as the tincture or salve can be a better option.
If all of these methods do not work, you should try applying the drops in a water bowl. Keep in mind that this is only the last resort since oil drops would be splashed out of a bowl easily.
Cannabis Oil for Pets – Possible Side Effects
The side effects of using CBD, or cannabis oil, for pets are relatively minimal and only happen in some extreme cases. The most commonly reported problems among many vets and doctors are lethargy and drowsiness. However, drowsiness seems like a benefit for many dog owners. On average, your dogs should sleep approximately 13 hours each day. Some extreme reported side effects include vomiting and itchiness, but these cases are extremely rare.
Can my Dog Overdose on CBD?
Be careful overdosing with CBD, because it can pose a serious risk for your cats and dogs. If they end up taking too many THC components, they are likely to feel blazed. The side effects of an overdose might last from several hours to a couple of days, depending on the excess amount of CBD oil. In these cases, it is not unusual for your pets to lose the appetite and not being able to perform simple activities like standing.
In spite of what many pet owners often claim, dogs and cats aren’t able to tell you whether they feel anxious or how much pain they are feeling. Therefore, after giving CBD oil to pets, make sure to observe carefully the effects by noticing any changes in their appetite, energy levels, behavior, and other activities.
If you suspect that your pets have taken an overdose of CBD oil or any of those signs do happen, immediately stop the treatment and bring them to your veterinarian. Also, make sure to monitor them and prevent this problem from occurring again.
Do Veterinarians Recommend CBD for Pets?
When you are considering purchasing CBD products for your pet, it is recommended to have a talk with your veterinarian. Do not be surprised if your veterinarian recommends against using cannabis to treat your pet. Though many scientific studies have shown promising results, they are relatively new to most doctors.
Doctors and veterinarians may not stay up to date with the latest science, so take their advice but do not let it discourage you from researching the possibility of using CBD oils for your pets. It’s ideal to find an open-minded veterinarian who has knowledge and experience using CBD oil. In general, they can give you overall guidance concerning all things related to cannabis for animals, thereby pointing you in the right direction to choose the best CBD oil for your pet.
Do your own research, and then talk to other pet owners to get useful recommendations. Keep in mind that the side effect is almost nil, so it will not hurt to apply a little CBD oil for your dogs or cats. If your pet shows some bad effects, it is easy to stop it immediately.
It is also important to select a CBD product which is completely extracted from organic cannabis plants. This is to ensure that it is totally free from mold, pesticides, and heavy metals, which can be fatal for many pets.
How Much CBD Should You Give Your Pet?
As said earlier, overdosing of CBD oil can result in some side effects and psychoactive problems in your pets. Therefore, it is important to give your pet the right dosage. Unfortunately, research and studies surrounding the correct amount of CBD oil for pets are still not comprehensive.
The rule of thumb that is currently recommended by many veterinarians is to give 1 drop for every 10 pounds of your pet’s weight. But instead of using CBD products blindly on your pet, you should first have a talk with an experienced veterinarian who understands CBD. If he or she has never used CBD oils, try to encourage the vet to do his or her own research or you could even share some articles about these products.
What If My Veterinarian Doesn’t Recommend CBD?
If you decide to give CBD oil to your dog without a veterinarian’s approval, here is a general guideline recommended by vets who use CBD.
Refer to our recommended progression in using CBD oil for your pets:
- Start with one drop of CBD oil for every 10 pounds (4,5 kgs) of your pet’s weight, only once a day
- Keep giving one drop every 10 pounds (4,5 kgs) one time per day for one week
- Increase the dosage to twice a day after that
- Keep giving the dosage twice a day for one week
- Increase the dosage to 3 times a day and keep for one week
Of course, you can increase the dosage based on the pattern above if necessary. It is easy to notice that the number of drops every 10 pound doesn’t change in this progression. Just the frequency with which you apply these drops is adjusted. Observe any reaction from your pets and choose the right dosage which can provide the expected health benefits without any side effects.
CBD for Pets – Customer Reviews
Paradise of Dogs – The dog shelter which made CBD Oil a “must have” for their dogs
The following case comes from a Hungarian dog shelter called “Paradise of Dogs”. The dogs of the shelter regularly get treated with products donated by a CBD company.
These photos were taken by the owner of the Hungarian animal shelter “Paradise of Dogs”. In the pictures you can see a before/after comparison of a dog with a skin disease called demodicosis. The photos were taken one month apart. The dog was regularly treated with CBD oil.
Everything is great
“Everything’s great! Both the advice and the shipping! The most important thing: my dog is well!”
The CBD oil is super for dogs
Our dog gets the CBD oil twice a day two drops under the food
It’s been around for half a year now.
Even our veterinarian recommended it…helps with chronic pain anxiety and much more…I can only recommend it
Overall, many decades of studies have proven that medical cannabis or more specifically CBD oils have innumerable health benefits for animals. You can use these products on a regular basis to keep your pets healthy and to help alleviate anxiety, pain, cancer or seizures.
Though CBD oils are less toxic to pets as compared to other medicines, an overdose would lead to some possible side effects in your dogs or cats. If using CBD oils properly, you will have a happy, furry friend by your side for years.
- Hill, K., Palastro, M., Johnson, B. and Ditre, J. (2017). Cannabis and Pain: A Clinical Review. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 2(1), pp.96-104.
- Crippa, J., Derenusson, G., Ferrari, T., Wichert-Ana, L., Duran, F., Martin-Santos, R., Simões, M., Bhattacharyya, S., Fusar-Poli, P., Atakan, Z., Filho, A., Freitas-Ferrari, M., McGuire, P., Zuardi, A., Busatto, G. and Hallak, J. (2010). Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 25(1), pp.121-130.
- Lukhele, S. and Motadi, L. (2016). Cannabidiol rather than Cannabis sativa extracts inhibit cell growth and induce apoptosis in cervical cancer cells. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 16(1).
- CARLINI, E. and CUNHA, J. (1981). Hypnotic and Antiepileptic Effects of Cannabidiol. The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 21(S1), pp.417S-427S.
- Xiong, W., Cui, T., Cheng, K., Yang, F., Chen, S., Willenbring, D., Guan, Y., Pan, H., Ren, K., Xu, Y. and Zhang, L. (2012). Cannabinoids suppress inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting α3 glycine receptors. The Journal of Experimental Medicine, 209(6), pp.1121-1134.
- National Cancer Institute. (2019). Cannabis and Cannabinoids (PDQ®)–Health Professional Version. [online] Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/hp/cannabis-pdq#section/all