CBD is increasingly being sought after to alleviate a myriad of conditions such as epileptic seizures, nausea, pain, and more. But humans aren’t the only ones benefiting from the magical cannabinoid—dogs and cats are also starting to reap the healing rewards of therapeutic cannabis. Naturally, these new developments and practices raise a host of questions and concerns regarding the safety and efficacy of cannabis for pets. Let’s shed some light on the impacts of CBD to navigate this new frontier of pet wellness.
Animals Have an Endocannabinoid System Too!
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is an intricate network of receptors that helps regulate and fine-tune important physiological functions, affecting everything from sleep and memory to appetite, mood, and more. Since animals are also equipped with this biological mechanism, we can make similar inferences on how they respond and react to the effects of CBD.
Is CBD for Pets Safe?
Despite its dip into the mainstream and relative availability, CBD’s effects on pets is still understudied. The definitive answer to how safe it is in the long-term isn’t yet known. We do know that it’s non-toxic. Moreover, significant anecdotal evidence suggests that short-term effects are very similar to those in humans and pose no discernible health risks.
It’s important to underscore that you need to be extra careful about the kinds of CBD products you’re administering. Full-spectrum CBD oils, for instance, can contain THC, which should not be given to your cat or dog. While THC probably won’t kill your pets, its effects could make them feel extremely uncomfortable and result in an overdose-like state.
Why Administer CBD to Your Pets?
For those seeking a more holistic approach to optimizing their pets’ health and wellness, CBD offers a suitable alternative. It can treat a range of conditions including seizures, anxiety, and arthritis. Also, unlike THC, CBD’s healing benefits can be reaped without producing the “high” we generally associate with cannabis—it’s non-intoxicating. Here are a few of the most common ailments CBD has been known to treat:
CBD activates the serotonin receptors in not just humans but also cats and dogs, which can help relieve your pet’s anxiety. The cannabinoid is an effective natural remedy.
CBD is increasingly being used to manage and reduce the occurrence of seizures in those suffering from epilepsy. Pets are starting to benefit from this treatment as well, with many owners eschewing the harmful side effects brought on by prescription drugs including lethargy, dizziness, and long-term liver damage.
CBD for Dogs and Cats with Cancer
As with humans, the pet world is opting for CBD as a form of palliative care. Because conventional cancer treatments carry with them a host of undesirable side effects, many pet owners have turned to CBD for managing pain, inflammation, nausea, and loss of appetite.
There are hosts of other ailments for which CBD is administered: lack of appetite, sleep, separation anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, and more. A recent study showed that CBD was effective in decreasing pain and increasing activity in dogs suffering from osteoarthritis (a condition where cartilage cushioning the ends of bones wears down over time) with no significant side effects reported.
CBD for Dogs
Whether for enhancing overall health or treating specific ailments, CBD for dogs has amassed significant attention in the pet-wellness world.
CBD Dosage for Dogs
The main things to consider are the dog’s size, weight, and activity level. A general rule of thumb is to start with low doses—say, 0.5 to 1 mg per 10 lbs of body weight—while closely monitoring and gradually increasing as needed. In other words, low and slow is the way to go. According to holistic vet and author Judy Morgan, D.V.M., a dosage of 1 mg per 10 lbs of body weight twice a day is a good starting point.
The Effects of CBD on Dogs
Although the scientific data on CBD usage for dogs is sparse, we can glean a few possible side effects based on how CDB affects humans. As CBD can decrease the production of saliva, your dog might experience increased thirst. It can also result in lowered blood pressure (causing a feeling of light-headedness) as well as slight drowsiness brought about by the cannabinoid’s calming effects.
CBD for Cats
Just like with dogs, CBD can be used to treat a wide range of feline ailments including anxiety, pain, arthritis, and more. Cat owners have reported rewarding results and positive responsiveness.
CBD Dosage for Cats
Until further research yields conclusive results, it’s recommended to begin with a very small dosage, with approximately 0.5 mg per 10 lbs of body weight as a general starting point. It’s been noted that CBD has a shorter half-life in cats than dogs of equal size, so your kitty may require more frequent dosages to optimise results.
The Effects of CBD on Cats
CBD is often used to induce relaxation in overly stressed or anxious cats, with the main side-effect being a general feeling of sedation. If your cat appears more lethargic or lazier than usual, simply decrease the dosage and see how they respond.
Hemp Oil for Dogs and Cats
Hemp oil for cats and dogs has become quite popular as well. But it’s worth mentioning that there is a major difference between hemp oil and CBD oil. While both are derived from the same plant species—Cannabis Sativa—the number of cannabinoids they contain differs drastically. Hemp oil, also known as hemp seed oil, is extracted from the seeds of the plant and contain very little (if any) CBD. CBD oil, on the other hand, is extracted from cannabis flowers that are rich in CBD and thus contain vital medicinal properties.
While hemp oil doesn’t have the same therapeutic characteristics as CBD oil, it does serve as a good nutritional supplement due to its abundance of vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids such as omega 3, omega 6, and GMA.
CBD Products for Dogs and Cats
CBD products come in various forms and applications that make it easy for cats and dogs to consume. These products include edible treats, which also contain other essential nutrients, and tinctures that can be mixed into food or given orally. Balms as a topical healing ointment are also quite common. Be sure to only purchase products labeled with a recommended portion size and dosage.
On a final note, keep in mind that every pet is different and not all reactions will be the same. Consult with your veterinarian before administering CBD and be sure to monitor your pets closely and regularly.