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CBD For Animals

CBD and Animals

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is a type of chemical naturally found in cannabis. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it’s nonpsychoactive, which means it won’t produce a “high.”
Research on CBD is in its early stages, but some studies and anecdotal evidence have found that it may be helpful in treating conditions like anxiety, pain, cancer, and arthritis. CBD pet products are marketed as a natural way to treat these conditions in dogs, making pet owners curious.

It’s important to understand that just because these products are for sale doesn’t necessarily mean they’re considered safe or beneficial for pets.

Currently, there are no CBD products approved by the FDA for use in animals — as a drug or as food. Given that, this article will cover current research into CBD use for dogs, as well as explain the possible risks and benefits to help you make an informed decision.


What stance do veterinarians take on CBD?

A recent survey of 2,131 participants conducted by the VIN News Service found that 63 percent of veterinarians reported that they were asked about CBD oil for pets at least once a month.

But veterinarians aren’t always willing to discuss it — those who advise clients on using CBD for their pets can risk penalties and license suspension in some states.

In other states, veterinarians have a little more freedom. California recently passed a law that prevents state regulators from penalizing veterinarians for talking with clients about using cannabis for their pets, including potential side effects and toxicities.

Other bills like this are in the works, but for now, don’t expect your veterinarian to recommend CBD products, and definitely don’t expect a prescription.

Even in states where medicinal cannabis is legal, the existing laws only allow for a human healthcare provider to prescribe cannabis to people. They don’t authorize veterinarians to administer, dispense, prescribe, or recommend such products for use in animal patients.

Uses of CBD in dogs

Research done on CBD and humans has shown that it may be effective in treating epilepsy, anxiety, irritable bowel disease (IBD), and chronic pain. But only a few reliable studies have been done on the effects of CBD in dogs.

One study from 2018 Trusted Source sought to assess safety, anti-inflammatory properties, and anti-pain properties of a CBD oil in dogs with osteoarthritis. Researchers gave dogs doses of 2 or 8 milligrams (mg) per kilogram (kg) of body weight.

Eighty percent of the dogs showed improvement in their pain and mobility, as measured by two veterinary resources — the canine brief pain inventory and the Hudson activity scale. However, it’s important to note that this study was funded by a CBD producer, so the results may be biased.

A small study published in 2019 Trusted Source found that epileptic dogs given CBD in addition to seizure medication had significantly fewer seizures than those that received seizure medication and a placebo.

However, similar numbers of dogs in both the CBD group and the placebo group responded to treatment and had decreases in seizure activity. The authors recommended further testing before reaching any definitive conclusions.

While these studies and others like them could give a window into CBD’s medicinal potential for dogs, more studies are needed to confirm this research.

Ways to give CBD to dogs

CBD for pets comes in many forms, like treats, oils, and creams. But research on the efficacy of each method is sparse.

One Colorado State University study from 2018Trusted Source on dogs with epilepsy found that CBD oil, given orally, was more effective than a cream or gel capsule. However, more research is needed before any conclusions can be made.

How much to give a dog

The previously referenced 2018 study on dogs with osteoarthritis showed that the most effective dose for increasing the dogs’ comfort and activity levels was 2 mg per kg of weight.

However, because this study may be biased, and because other data on CBD dosage for dogs is sparse, this shouldn’t be considered a dosing recommendation.

Every dog will respond differently, which is why it’s important to start with a small dose, monitor your pet’s results, and adjust from there. Most products will offer dosing suggestions, but keep in mind that these are developed by the manufacturer.

Since CBD isn’t regulated, there’s no way to tell how much is safe and effective to give a dog.

Is CBD Good For Dogs?

There’s been a lot of media buzz in recent years about the therapeutic potential of CBD for humans, but what about our beloved furry friends?

As a pet owner, it can be hard to watch the family dog suffer from arthritis, nausea, or anxiety. The good news is, CBD has many of the same pharmacological mechanisms when administered to dogs as it does in people.

The Proof is in the Research

Since the legalization of hemp-based CBD in 2018, scientists have been producing a growing body of research into its safety and efficacy in both lab tests and clinical settings. Before testing CBD products on humans, these researchers usually start with lab animals like mice, rats, and, yes, dogs. There’s plenty of laboratory and clinical evidence to support the use of CBD as a veterinary supplement.

Like people, dogs have endocannabinoid receptors throughout their bodies. CBD acts indirectly on these receptors to support central and peripheral nervous system health and help to maintain a state of homeostasis in the body.

Unique Concerns for Pet Owners

When administering CBD to pets, it’s important to choose a vendor like Vive CBD that sells specialized veterinary supplements. Dosing and administering herbal supplements designed for humans can be very challenging. When pet owners buy CBD dog treats or other specialized products, they won’t have to worry about dose titration.

It’s also very important to avoid giving pets full-spectrum CBD products that contain THC. This plant-based compound doesn’t just produce psychoactive effects that can leave dogs feeling distressed. It can also be toxic in animals, even in small amounts.

Common Canine Conditions That Can Be Managed With CBD

CBD can help pets manage a diverse array of symptoms. They range from chronic pain to seizures, anxiety, decreased appetite, and more.

CBD Relieves Pain

There is extensive evidence to show that CBD can help both humans and their beloved pets manage various types of pain. That includes nerve pain, pain related to inflammation, and mobility problems related to arthritis. CBD may be especially helpful as a wellness supplement for aging dogs.

CBD Can Reduce Anxiety

Many pets suffer from anxiety during thunderstorms, in the presence of other dogs, or when their humans aren’t home. CBD can help to reduce anxiety in dogs, helping to eliminate problematic behaviors like excessive barking, indoor urination, or destroying the furniture. It can be especially helpful for pets that suffer from noise phobias.

CBD Can Reduce Seizures

Humans aren’t the only ones who can get epileptic or non-epileptic seizures. Dogs can also develop seizure disorders. CBD can help to reduce the frequency and intensity of epileptic seizures, and unlike most prescription medications, it doesn’t cause liver damage.

CBD Can Help with Stomach

Upset There are many reasons a dog might develop stomach upset. No matter what’s causing this symptom, CBD can help to alleviate vomiting and nausea. It can also increase appetite in animals with serious health conditions like cancer that can disrupt normal eating patterns.

CBD May Have Anti-Tumor Effects

Researchers are exploring the possibility that CBD could help reduce the spread of tumors by blocking cancer cells’ ability to reproduce. It isn’t a cure-all, and no credible sources are claiming that CBD can cure cancer. However, CBD may make a good complementary treatment for dogs undergoing conventional cancer therapies.

CBD Side Effects in Dogs

There haven’t been any studies to date that specifically evaluate CBD’s potential side effects in dogs. However, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence available. The most common side effects reported by pet owners include:

Increased thirst
Lowered blood pressure when given in large amounts

The good news is, pet owners can minimize these side effects with correct dosing. Minimum doses usually start at 0.05mg/kg of body weight. Maximum daily doses are less than 5mg/kg of body weight.

It’s always best to use the lowest effective dose, so start by administering a very small amount of CBD to the dog. If the dog responds well, stick with that dose. If the supplement doesn’t produce any results, up the animal’s dose very slowly. Don’t administer CBD more often than every six hours.