Many pet owners are ecstatic about the benefits of CBD for their animals. If you go to youtube and search “CBD for pets,” you’ll find several videos of dogs having seizures, the owner spraying CBD into their mouths, and the seizure completely stopping a few seconds later.
However, if you ask a vet about using CBD for your pet, they’re required to tell you,“At this time there is no scientific data on the use or dosage for CBD in pets, only anecdotal. Because CBD products at this time are not regulated, there is no way of ensuring the efficacy for various purposes, ranging from anxiety, arthritis, or even epilepsy. There [are] no current studies on dosage for CBD to correctly and effectively dose a 6-pound chihuahua or a 150-pound mastiff. The time may come when the science has true answers, but it is not now.”
Though veterinarians can’t recommend CBD, that doesn’t mean that it’s illegal or not helpful. Retired veterinarian and founder of Middletown Veterinary Hospital in Wisconsin, Dr. Robert Klostermann, gives CBD to his pets. “I also have two older dogs, and one of them has developed separation anxiety in his old age, so I decided to see if CBD could help. After one week of treatment, I really noticed a difference in my little dog.” He adds, “The evidence is limited, but there is now evidence that reveals CBD can be helpful for certain ailments, and that’s something that we didn’t have before.”
Common Uses of CBD for Pets
So far the only FDA-approved use of CBD for humans is for 2 forms of epilepsy. Combined with the fact that epilepsy is the most common neurological condition in dogs, it’s no surprise that using CBD for seizures is one of the most common uses of CBD in animals. Other common uses include:
- excessive barking
- anti-anxiety due to travel, thunderstorms, fireworks, separation anxiety, moving, visiting the vet, and other stressful events
- aggression towards other animals or humans
- mood disorders
- joint pain
- muscle spasms
- recovery from surgery
- appetite stimulant
- benefits for the heart
Are There Negative Side Effects of CBD for Animals?
As there hasn’t been much research on the side effects of CBD for pets, researchers believe that animals will respond similarly to humans. The most common side effects for humans (though these don’t happen for all users) include drowsiness, dry mouth, and lowered blood pressure.
Dr. Gary Richter, holistic veterinarian and medical director of Montclair Veterinary Hospital and Holistic Veterinary Care in Oakland, California, explains that CBD oil is generally safe for cats. The potential negative side effects include constipation, diarrhea, and sedation.
If you’re considering giving your pet CBD, talk to your vet about potential side effects and interactions with other medications they’re taking. Many pet owners have found a decreased need for pharmaceuticals after starting their pet on CBD, but it’s safest to start with small doses.
It’s important to understand that CBD and marijuana are different and that you should never give marijuana to your animal. Marijuana is toxic to animals. The active ingredient in marijuana is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), so when choosing a product for your pet, look for a product that’s been specifically made for animals that has no THC.
What Are the Best CBD Products for Animals?
The best CBD products for your pet are those that are formulated for animals. They will be free of smells, which can prevent them from taking the product. They will also be free of THC, which is toxic for them and can make them high.
Ideally use an organic CBD product that includes a certificate of analysis (COA) to make sure it’s free of pesticides, microbes, and other contaminants. The CBD industry is still very young and unregulated, so you have to be very careful about what you buy. You will spend more money on an organic CBD product, but you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’re not taking a chance on your pet’s health.
The best forms of CBD are sprays, tinctures, and chews. If you want faster results, sprays and tinctures don’t need to pass through the digestive system.
Proper Dosing for Pets
1-5 mg of CBD per 10 pounds of body weight is a good guideline. If you’re apprehensive, start on the lower end of this range and watch for changes in behavior. The best way is to keep a journal tracking the dose, when administered, and other behaviors such as their mood, energy levels, sleep, bathroom habits, as well as changes in appetite.
CBD Research on Pets
In a 2018 study from the United Kingdom, CBD was effective for the treatment of seizures in mice and rats. It found that CBD is well-tolerated, is an effective anti-seizure method, reduces seizures, and also showed that CBD can reverse epilepsy-induced cognitive deficits which commonly occur with seizure patients.
Dr. Stephanie McGrath of Colorado State University conducted a small study on dogs with epilepsy and found that 89% of dogs that were given CBD had fewer seizures. She said, “Overall, what we found seems very promising.”
Cornell University conducted a study that gave CBD oil to dogs with osteoarthritis every 12 hours for 4 weeks. Pain levels were determined using the University of Pennsylvania’s Canine Brief Pain Inventory. Dogs who received CBD oil had less pain that the dogs who were given a placebo.