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Have you ever been curious about giving CBD oil to your pet? Chances are you’ve already come across several different CBD pet products maybe you weren’t informed enough to make a conscious decision.
And if you’re reading this, this means you haven’t given up on the idea yet and you’re ready to learn more about CBD oil for pets.
Like humans, pets have endocannabinoid systems, which means CBD oil can produce similar effects and benefits in their bodies.
The main challenges of buying CBD oil for pets revolve around finding a quality product in the first place and dosing the oil for specific conditions.
In this guide, we’ll show you how your pet may benefit from CBD oil and we’ll cover the essentials of dosing and buying CBD products so that you can improve the quality of your pup’s life in a natural way.
What is CBD?
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a natural compound found in cannabis plants. It occurs both in marijuana and its non-psychoactive cousin — hemp.
People have been using cannabis for medical purposes for centuries, and the world of holistic veterinary science is now discovering its therapeutic qualities in pets.
There are over 113 identified chemicals in the cannabis plant — they’re known as cannabinoids.
Out of those 113, there are two main cannabinoids: cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Most people are more familiar with THC due to its psychoactive properties that make you high, but CBD is a bit different. It’s a non-psychoactive compound, so it can’t get you high no matter how hard you try.
But instead, it may allow the user to experience a multitude of health benefits by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system to promote chemical balance in the body.
The endocannabinoid system is a complex neurochemical network with cannabinoid receptors found in the brain, nervous system, immune system, glands, and organs. It’s the body’s main command center for controlling every homeostatic function, from memory to mood, sensory perception, cognitive function, immunity, and more.
All mammals — humans, dogs, and cats — rely on the performance of the endocannabinoid system. Whenever it gets compromised, it disturbs the aforementioned chemical balance, leading to dysfunction and many serious illnesses when neglected.
CBD interacts with the cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system to act as a natural anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective agent with a range of health benefits. This compound can also slow the breakdown of the body’s own endocannabinoids, making them more available.
Long story short, CBD is a natural regulator of the endocannabinoid system that supports it in maintaining the proper functioning of a person.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is a high-CBD extract sourced from cannabis plants. For pets, the only option is the CBD oil derived from hemp. Hemp plants contain less than 0.3% THC and thus cannot make your pet intoxicated.
CBD oil is obtained through some kind of extraction — usually pressurized CO2 or alcohol — to pull the CBD along with other compounds from the plant material. Manufacturers then suspend the oily extract in a carrier oil, such as MCT oil, hemp seed oil, or olive oil.
In its traditional form, CBD is applied sublingually as drops. The natural compounds from hemp (e.g. essential oils) give it a distinct, earthy and nutty taste — sometimes bitter if the oil features a raw CBD extract.
CBD oil may contain anywhere from 5% to 30% of CBD.
What Are Pet Owners Using CBD Oil For?
According to online reports from pet owners, CBD oil has a plethora of applications, some of which include:
- Separation anxiety
- Lack of appetite
- Weakened immunity
- Aggressive behavior
- Problems with attention
- Muscle spasms
- Joint pain and inflammation, especially in older pets
- Aid in recovery from illness or surgeries
Let’s shed more light on the most common uses of CBD oil for pets.
1. CBD Oil for Joint Pain & Stiffness
According to PetCareRx reports, 20% of all pets will experience developmental or degenerative pain at some point in their lives. Whether the main reason is due to the age or genetics, joint pain always takes a toll on your pet’s quality of life.
It can start as mild aches, but over time, it can turn into chronic pain that prevents them from doing what they love — running around and fetching.
Conventional treatment options for joint pain and stiffness include weight management, increased physical activity, surgeries, steroid treatments, and painkillers. However, those methods aren’t good for every pet in the long run.
CBD has been shown as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent in many animal studies. While it won’t cure arthritis, it may significantly curb inflammation and reduce pain. With no pain, cats are free to jump, play around, and be more active overall throughout the day.
2. CBD Oil for Chronic Pain
Arthritis is just one of the many types of pain CBD is known to alleviate. With cannabinoid receptors spread throughout the body, the effects of cannabidiol reach different areas that experience increased inflammation and neuropathic pain.
CBD can prove especially useful in relieving pain caused by acute pancreatitis, a condition that involves crippling abdominal pain and is usually accompanied by nausea and lack of appetite. The disease allegedly has its roots in the inflammation of the pancreas that leads to overactivity in digestive enzymes.
CBD oil can relieve inflammation in the pancreas to trigger the appropriate response of the immune system and bring that organ back to balance.
3. CBD Oil for Anxiety
The majority of research on CBD as a possible treatment for anxiety revolve around human studies, but as we said, humans and canine endocannabinoid systems are the same — and thus, pets can benefit from CBD oil pretty much in the same way we do.
Holistic veterinarians often recommend CBD for pets suffering from phobias, anxiety, and general stress. CBD encourages calmness by modulating the GABA receptors in the brain. GABA receptors act a hand brake for our nervous system, turning down our inner volume when we get too aroused.
On top of that, CBD improves communication between endocannabinoid receptors, allowing for better chemical transmissions. The compound triggers a response that helps the body adapt to tension and mitigate the fight-or-flight response.
4. CBD Oil for Allergies
Allergies appear when the immune system tries to protect the body against the compounds it deems dangerous for a person. The immune system releases a chemical called histamine. Histamine triggers a number of allergic reactions including swelling, hives, itchiness, runny nose, or congestion.
Recent research shows that along with anti-inflammatory properties, CBD may also prevent the immune system from releasing histamine. According to a study published in Pulmonary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, CBD reduces the airway obstruction in animals that resulted from increased histamine production.
This, paired with CBD’s capability of curbing inflammation, makes CBD oil a potential solution to allergies in pets.
Will CBD Oil Make My Pet High?
No, CBD oil cannot and shouldn’t make your pet high. The reason for this goes back to the differences between the two most prevalent cannabinoids in cannabis — CBD and THC.
Unlike THC, CBD has no psychoactive properties at all. This cannabinoid appears in higher concentrations in hemp plants rather than marijuana. Marijuana flowers rarely contain more than 1% of CBD unless selectively bred for medical use. Hemp, on the other hand, is very high in CBD and low in THC, carrying less than 0.3% of the psychoactive compound.
CBD oil from hemp is legal in all 50 states, so you’re free to use it with your dog or cat. It doesn’t have any mind-altering effects and thus is completely safe for your four-legged friend.
How to Use CBD Oil With Pets
There are two main CBD product types designed specifically for pets — CBD oil and CBD pet treats.
The first product can be administered sublingually. You need to fill the dropper with your pet’s recommended dose of CBD and apply it under its tongue. If your buddy can hold it there for at least 30 seconds — it’s all the better.
However, if your pet doesn’t like the distinct taste of natural CBD oil, you may want to try the latter option. CBD pet treats are available in different shapes, sizes, and flavors to suit the pet’s preferences. They also come with a fixed dose of CBD per treat, which makes dosing much easier.
Here’s the estimated onset of CBD effects based on the route of administration:
- Sublingual drops: 15–20 minutes
- Edibles: 30–90 minutes
For chronic conditions, your pet may need to wait for a few weeks to notice the difference, so if the effects aren’t there, stay patient and monitor your pet’s behavior, adjusting the dosage as needed along the way.
How Much CBD Oil Should You Give to Your Pet?
There are no definite guidelines on CBD doses because the FDA doesn’t approve any medical use of CBD save for childhood forms of epilepsy
However, experts and researchers recommend starting with 1 mg – 5 mg per 10 pounds of the pet’s body weight and observe how it responds. If you’ve never given CBD oil to your pet, it’s best to stick to the lower end of that range — gradually increasing the amount to reach the effective dose.
Here’s a general dosage guideline for using CBD with pets based on weight:
- 10 pounds: 1 mg – 5 mg
- 20 pounds: 2 mg – 10 mg
- 30 pounds: 3 mg – 15 mg
- 40 pounds: 4 mg – 20 mg
- 50 pounds: 5 mg – 25 mg
- 60 pounds: 6 mg – 30 mg
- 70 pounds: 7 mg – 35 mg
- 80 pounds: 8 mg – 40 mg
- 90 pounds: 9 mg – 45 mg
Now, you probably wonder what would happen if your pet took too much of CBD oil at a time. Worry not, nothing bad is going to happen!
What Are the Side Effects Or Risks of Using CBD Oil for Pets?
Initial studies report that CBD oil has no negative impact on pets, although veterinary professionals always suggest that pet owners start with low doses. There’s still a lot researchers don’t know about CBD oil, so it’s best to introduce this form of cannabidiol slowly to avoid possible unwanted effects.
Potential side effects of CBD observed in humans and pets include:
- Dry mouth
- Lowered blood pressure
- Diarrhea (extremely rare cases)
CBD oil may also interact with some medications as it blocks an enzyme in the liver responsible for breaking them down. In some cases, this quality may have a positive effect on your pet because it makes the medication more effective.
As always, we recommend consulting with a CBD-friendly veterinarian about proper dosing and possible side effects before giving CBD oil to your pup.
How to Choose a High-Quality CBD Oil Product
No two CBD oils are the same. The abundance of different companies and the lack of regulations in terms of the quality of CBD oil has created much room for fly-by-night companies.
In order to avoid buying CBD oil for pets from a shady source, make sure to follow these tips:
- Only buy CBD oil sourced from organic hemp plants
- Always check the Certificate of Analysis (COA) for each batch of the product. These certificates are the lab testing results that list the entire content of CBD oil.
- Choose full-spectrum extracts over CBD isolate
- Beware of cheap CBD oils — the manufacturing process and the cost of qualified staff is too expensive to ask for bargain prices.
- Buy CBD oil in its traditional form if you aim for the maximum potency and bioavailability.
What’s your experience with using CBD oil for pets? Do you even give CBD oil to your dog or cat? Share your stories in the comment section below!