How CBD Impacts Pets—and When it’s Okay to Give CBD for dogs or cats
Today, pets are more part of the family than ever. Pet owners are showing just how much with their wallets—pet industry sales have grown by 2.6% annually over the past five years. Owners want to care for their furry friends just like they care for themselves—which now means pets are getting a dose of wellness. From consciously-sourced pet food to anti-anxiety supplements, lifestyle products for pets are cropping up everywhere.
And that trend now includes cannabis: As more people turn to medical cannabis and cannabis-based wellness products to help them sleep, de-stress, and manage pain symptoms, CBD oil is becoming increasingly common for man’s best friend, too. But despite the surge in pet-specific wellness products, CBD supplements still unfamiliar territory for most pet owners. So what is CBD, how can it help your pets, and is it safe? Below, we explore everything you should know before giving your pup CBD.
What is CBD, and How Does it Work?
Most commonly known as CBD, cannabidiol is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. Only hemp-derived CBD is legal at the federal level in the U.S, meaning products that contain 0.3% or less of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid responsible for producing a “high.”
CBD is often used to help reduce symptoms of pain and calm stress, anxiety, and other emotional disorders. With non-psychoactive properties, the compound can offer relief without negative side effects.
How Can CBD Help Pets?
Especially as they age, pets experience a variety of health conditions—just like humans. Arthritis, pain, and emotional disorders like anxiety are all conditions that affect dogs and cats.
Until 2018, veterinarians weren’t able to prescribe or recommend CBD for dogs because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified it as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Now, some forms of CBD are acceptable for medical use in humans, and scientists are exploring the various ways cannabidiol can ease pets’ pain symptoms and lessen conditions that negatively impact their quality of life.
A study backed by Cornell University veterinarians found that in dogs suffering from osteoarthritis, a 2mg dose of CBD helped alleviate pain over the four-week study. Though the control group was small, no owners reported any adverse side effects.
CBD has also been studied in relation to pets and stress. Animals are thought to absorb emotional stress from their owners. A 2019 study measured stress levels in pairs of pet owners and dogs over an extended period of time, and researchers found that humans with higher amounts of stress increased their pets’ cortisol levels.
Many owners report improvement in their companions’ fight or flight responses, joint mobility, sleep, and more with the addition of CBD-infused products.
What Types of CBD Products are Available for Pets?
Pets don’t have nearly as many CBD options as their owners, but there are still a variety of formats available online and in your neighborhood pet store.
Pets have a different bioavailability—or ability to absorb a substance into their bloodstream—than humans. Because of genetic differences, it’s important to give pets CBD that is only high-quality.
- Capsules – Capsules, or gel caps, are a small pill containing a dose to be taken orally. Pet owners may want to hide these in their pet’s food to go unnoticed.
- Treats – Pets want edibles, too. CBD-infused treats are a tasty way to administer their daily dose of calm. Pets need to digest CBD that is ingested, so it may take longer to feel the effects.
- Topical treatments – Some anti-inflammatory pet products come in a topical form, to be applied on the fur or skin. This quick-absorbing method can provide temporary relief from pain or inflammation.
- Tinctures – Liquid tinctures are sold in a thick oil or spray bottle and are designed to take sublingually (under the tongue). Tinctures enter a pet’s bloodstream quicker than edibles since they don’t need to digest.
The type of CBD that’s best for your pet may depend on the severity of their condition, their eating habits, their medical history, and more.
When to Add CBD to Your Pet’s Routine?
If your pet is suffering from pain or whimpers from the moment you leave home to the moment you return, CBD may be a possible treatment option. Pets are loved ones for many owners, and cannabinoids have the potential to make the lives of dogs, cats, and other furry friends better.
Not all CBD products are high-quality, so it’s important to adequately research a brand’s sourcing methods and ingredients and purchase from a brand you trust. EirHealth is just one example of a brand that uses only the purest ingredients and full-spectrum CBD that contains all of the terpenes that enhance its effects.
As with any new regimen or treatment, consult your veterinarian before introducing CBD to your dog or other pet. Discuss any possible side effects with them and monitor your pet closely for any adverse signs.
- Pet Stores Industry in the US – Market Research Report.” IBISWorld, April 2019. https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-trends/market-research-reports/retail-trade/miscellaneous-store-retailers/pet-stores.html
- Dr. Wailani Sung. “PetMD.” PetMD, August 6, 2019. https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/behavioral/c_dg_fears_phobia_anxiety
- “FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products: Q&A.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA, April 2, 2019. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-regulation-cannabis-and-cannabis-derived-products-questions-and-answers
- Sundman, Ann-Sofie, Enya Van Poucke, Ann-Charlotte Svensson Holm, Åshild Faresjö, Elvar Theodorsson, Per Jensen, and Lina S. V. Roth. “Long-Term Stress Levels Are Synchronized in Dogs and Their Owners.” Scientific Reports 9, no. 1 (June 2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-43851-x
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