Is CBD Safe for Pets?
If your pet suffers from anxiety or chronic pain, you might have heard of CBD as a way to manage their symptoms. CBD has become a popular term in wellness groups over the past decade due to the increase in legalization of marijuana. However, with CBD’s recent introduction comes a lack of research on its effects on pets. Therefore, you should always consult your veterinarian before bringing CBD into your pet’s routine. But with proper dosing and quality product, CBD can be a beneficial resource for a variety of uses. Read on to learn more about what CBD is, what it does, and how to use it for pets.
What is CBD?
The term ‘CBD’ is short for cannabidiol, which is one of the two main ingredients in marijuana. The other ingredient is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC for short). GoodRX describes THC as “the substance responsible for the ‘high’ people experience when they use marijuana.” Cannabidiol/CBD, on the other hand, does not contain those elements and will not result in a ‘high.’ However, it can have an effect on brain activity, which is what leads to reduced stress and other benefits.
What are the benefits of CBD for pets?
Known for a myriad of advantages, CBD has gained popularity with pet owners for its pain and stress relief. Additionally, it has gained traction for other reasons like reducing inflammation and seizure frequency. Specifically, Great Pet Care writes that CBD products may be able to help your pet with:
Anti-inflammatory (i.e. hypersensitivity, dermatitis)
Reduction in pain
Reduction in seizures and convulsions
Immune system support (i.e. autoimmune disease, cancer)
Nervous system support
Cardiovascular system support
Reduction in anxiety
It is important to note that there is not yet pet-based research to back these claims. This information is gathered from human and veterinary studies, so there is no guarantee that your pet will have these results. It is assumed that our pets also experience improvements from cannabidiol because, like humans, cats and dogs have an endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS serves as a “unique communications system in the brain and body that affects many important functions, including how a pet feels, moves, and reacts” (Great Pet Care). Also, every animal is different and has their own unique genetic makeup that may not agree with CBD.
How do you administer CBD to pets?
You can find pet CBD products in a number of forms. The two most common are oils and treats; both of which are given orally. These work best for combating stress, anxiety, and pain. Bottled oils are particularly useful for beginners, as they allow you to easily increase the dose at a slow rate. Another frequent application method for pet CBD is topically as a lotion, gel, or cream. These are ideal for surface-level pain, minor aches, rashes, and other localized areas of the body. No matter what form you choose, it is critical that you start your pet on a low dose and increase it gradually.
Some professionals recommend beginning with a half or even a quarter of your pet’s suggested dose on the product label. Evaluate your pet’s condition over the following 30 to 60 minutes; after which you may administer a second dose of the same amount if your pet does not respond to the first round. Symptom relief could happen within the first 30 minutes, or it could even be a few weeks before the CBD takes full effect. Every pet is different, so just start slow and give their body ample time to adjust.
What are the risks?
One noteworthy fact about CBD for pets is that it has not been approved by the FDA yet (in any form). There is CBD that has been approved by the FDA for human use. Nevertheless, no products containing CBD and intended for use on animals have been officially deemed acceptable by the FDA. Generally, CBD is considered safe for pets. The only known side effects are similar to those experienced by humans, such as fatigue, changes in appetite, and soft stool. A larger dose means your pet is more likely to experience these byproducts, which is why proper dosing is so essential.
Additionally, it is worth mentioning that CBD products for humans should not be used on pets. Although all CBD is technically the same, there may be unknown substances that are toxic for animals in human CBD products (such as chocolate, essential oils, and more). You are also more likely to administer the incorrect dosage when trying to use human-intended CBD on your pets. Moreover, products for pets are typically flavored to appeal to their tastebuds (chicken, fish, etc.). This helps with picky or apprehensive pets. Therefore, it is best to only apply CBD to your pets if it is meant for animal use.
CBD is a natural remedy for pain, anxiety, and more; but it should always be used responsibly, especially on pets! You should always start slow when introducing CBD to your pet for the first time. Remember to always check the label to find the correct ratio to give them and check the ingredients while you’re at it for anything toxic to pets. You will probably try a few different brands, application methods, and doses before you find what works the best. Lastly, be sure to consult your veterinarian for their professional input prior to introducing new CBD products to your pet.
Thank you to the following sources:https://www.greatpetcare.com/wellness/cbd-for-pets-benefits-uses-and-things-to-consider/